Over the last few weeks, I have been running my first blog giveaway and thought I would share with you, my reflections on the experience of hosting a giveaway and my tip tops for anyone thinking of hosting their own giveaway. I wanted to run a giveaway to thank my followers and hopefully raise awareness of my blog within the blogging community. I spent a bit of time thinking about this and choosing a prize I thought my readers would love. Having decided on a prize I was really excited to host my giveaway. I hosted the giveaway for 2 weeks and used Rafflecopter to manage the entries and choose my winner.
Traffic Increase
Hosting a giveaway definitely increased my traffic and I saw a huge increase in my Bloglovin followers which is fantastic. Giveaway post has my highest views. However if you look more closely at where the traffic is going most people just clicked on the giveaway page and didn’t click anywhere else. Found this incredibly annoying, think the least you could do is spend a little time looking at the website you are hoping to win something from. I’m not a big business but a blogger who is buying the gift with my own money and wanted it to go to someone who genuinely reads my blog, not someone just looking for a freebie
Compers
Someone shared a link to my giveaway on the Money Supermarket Compers forum which at first I was really annoyed about. As I said earlier this was a giveaway to thank my followers for supporting my blog, not a sponsored or business giveaway. I was flooded with people entering whose twitter, Bloglovin and Instagram accounts were full of giveaways and competitions. I’ve had a look through many of these accounts and although some do look like they do genuinely follow blogs the majority were full of giveaways and competitions. I do think some people just enter everything going without even looking at the prize (I assume a lot of these will end up on eBay). I removed the tweet about this giveaway entry option to try to reduce the giveaways publicity to avoid too many of this type of entry. However, on reflection, I shouldn’t have been as annoyed about this as they were following the instructions and following my blog (which can only be a
good thing). I expected to lose a lot of these followers after the giveaway closed, however nearly all of them are still following. Maybe I was too quick to judge in assuming they weren’t genuine new followers. I will admit I have clicked on links to giveaways before and normally this has led to my finding a great new blog to follow. Sometimes I guess it takes a giveaway for someone to click the follow button.
Would I do it Again?
To be honest I’m not sure if I would. I was really looking forward to running a giveaway and spend a good bit of time thinking about a gift my readers would enjoy.  I think the value of the gift was quite high for a small bloggers giveaway and was excited to see who would win it. However, as the giveaway was shared on the compers forum and was overtaken by people only interested in entering competitions and giveaways I no longer enjoyed running the giveaway. I might have felt differently if the giveaway had been sponsored and it wasn’t going to cost me anything but because I was paying I wanted the prize to go to a genuine reader. I might reconsider in the future if a company wants me to host a giveaway, however, I don’t think I will be hosting anymore giveaways were I purchase the prize. I will just have to find a different way to thank my readers/followers.

My Top Tips for Hosting a Giveaway

Set clear terms and conditions
Make sure you have super tight terms and conditions. I just copied mine from another blog (with permission) and changed a couple of parts to suit. Although these did the job and made issues around how I will contact the winner and send out prize clear they didn’t cover anything about who can enter. I found a lot of compers entered, it wasn’t enough to state on the blog post that the giveaway was for my readers only. Still not 100% sure how you can word this in T&Cs without discriminating but it’s worth thinking about whether or not you will have any entry restrictions. Also, consider including information on how you will contact the winner and set a clear timescale for you to get in touch with them and set a deadline for them to respond. I gave 48hours which in hindsight is a little tight, I would suggest giving someone a week to get back to you. I would also make it clear the timescale for you sending the item and how long they can expect postage to take. I stated 28 days in my first email to allow for any unexpected delays.

Choose the right prize

Make sure your prize is relevant to your blog. If you run a beauty blog there is little point in giving away an electric drill! I decided on a wash/makeup bag from Alphabet Bags as I know the brand is popular with beauty bloggers and my readers would get use out of the item. Consider if you would like to receive the item before giving it away if you wouldn’t want it will your readers? Personally, I love the prize from my giveaway – so much so that I ordered one for myself as well as the winner. Write a post selling your prize with the giveaway below to encourage people to enter.
If you are buying the prize yourself make sure you can afford it and set a clear budget when considering prizes. Most people are happy to receive anything so don’t get too caught up in the value of your prize.Timescales

Make sure you give people plenty of time to enter your giveaway. I kept mine open for 2 weeks which I think worked well for the item I was giving away. If your prize has a high value I would give people as long as possible to enter, whereas if it is a smaller item you can have a shorter timescale. Also consider how often you post on your blog, if you only post once a week you should run you a giveaway for longer to give plenty of people a chance to see it, whereas if you post daily you can run your giveaway over a shorter period of time as people check your blog more often.

Don’t make people work too hard
Don’t make people jump through hoops to enter your giveaway. Rafflecopter has soo many possible ways of entry with each offering a certain number of entries. Choose one or two compulsory ways to enter then have another couple of options to add extra entries and increase their chance of winning. But make sure you keep it simple. Most people are happy to follow your blog or follow you on Twitter but do they want to like your page on Facebook or sign up for emails? Think about what you would be willing to do and don’t ask anything more from your followers.

Relax and Enjoy Hosting your Giveaway

Blog giveaways are meant to be a bit of fun so try to enjoy being the host. I found myself focusing on my traffic and checking entries when I should have been enjoying the experience. Keep
an eye on how many entries you have but don’t worry about it too much. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter is 2 or 2000 people enter your giveaway. Tweet about your giveaway, using relevant hashtags (#giveaway, #competition) if you want to encourage more people to enter. As I said earlier try not to get annoyed if lots of compers enter and don’t waste your time/energy checking everyone’s profiles to check if they are genuine or not.

11 comments on “What I Learned Hosting my First Giveaway + My Top Tips”

  1. Thought I'd just add a reply to this Jen..Very interesting. I do enjoy entering competitions and if you look , yes you will see much of my twitter feed will be full of them.. It's my hobby but I don't personally enter anything that I wouldn't be delighted to receive or win for my own personal use. Entering these has made me aware and opened my eyes to blogs in general and although I might initially enter a giveaway and not look elsewhere I run through my bloglovin feed daily (which has brought me here today and why its important to include that option on your rafflecopter ) and thoroughly enjoy them .. if something interests me and there is frequent new content I come back and if the giveaway involves a daily tweet I do more often than not read other posts at that time. If an article interests me I always comment and interact. I do mainly enjoy the beauty ones it has to be said and in praise to all you bloggers out there I have made more purchases through reading reviews,interacting and receiving personal recommendations than I ever have through receiving marketing emails and reading magazines.The professional content & photography clearly shows the hard work that goes in.
    But please don't discount compers (many bloggers also comp themselves) and if your blog is of interest they do come back. We are all normal people and consumers too that probably spend a lot of time at our computers. I honestly don't believe many enter to flog stuff on ebay.. of course there will be some but most are over the moon and very grateful to win anything they regard as a treat for themselves.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, its really interesting to hear about this from a compers point of view. I really do think its great that comping has introduced you to blogs. I hope I didn't come across too negative about compers, thinking back I was wrong to get so annoyed about it – as you say the competition will have introduced many to my blog.

    • Not at all Jen.. you didnt come across as negative at all.. Just thought I'd offer a bit of insight for you. To be honest I would probably never have looked into the world of blogging if it hadn't been for my competition hobby and I'm really pleased I did. I've already spent two hours reading through my bloglovin feed this morning when I should be moving my backside.

    • Meant to say.. I agree with Natalia that the rest is down to a bloggers talents to bring readers back. It would be a waste of time doing a giveaway if there is no other interesting content to read and attract you back and I see plenty like that.

  2. Hi Jen! very interesting insights on your first giveaway! I have written a similar (but less pro) article when I hosted my first giveaway too. I had a very similar point of view to yours. Now, I don't host that many giveaway, but I occasionally do, and honestly I started thinking a bit like Lyn here above here. No matter what attires the followers to your blog, the good thing is a percentage of them will remain your follower and the rest depends on your own talent as a blogger (which is evident). I have recently hosted a giveawy, after a long absence (5 months without blogging) in fact the giveaway was primarily planned to be hosted for my 2nd blog anniversary in October 2014 but I had terrible health and personal problems, and stopped blogging while I kept going in and out the hospital. When I finally got better around February I restarted blogging and thought I would host the giveaway since I already had purchased the prize, and the response was huge! really I never expected so much participation after 5 months of absence, and in a way all you find a bit disturbing today (compers, retweets, freebies seekers, etc) has put my blog back in the road. So I cannot complain 🙂

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. Its great that hosting a giveaway helped get your blog back. I understand what you mean about competitions raising your profile etc and do think I just found it way too overwhelming. As you say it doesn't really matter how people find your blog the point is they find it and choose to continue to follow after the giveaway is over.

  3. This was such an interesting post to read! I've never hosted a giveaway so for me it was good to read for the future. I feel like giveaways can be a bit of an odd one though, I hate those that make you jump through hoops for it but then I can see that those hosting the giveaway want something from it. I remember the Sunday Girl hosted a range of giveaways over Christmas and all you had to do was leave your e-mail address, and I liked that because it was just her simply giving stuff away to people who read her blog. Ofc the items she didn't pay for so it's slightly different! It's the only giveaway that I've ever won something haha. Good luck if you host another giveaway, this is a good post regardless 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree about entry methods and do find some bloggers make you jump through hoops to enter I like the sound of just leaving your email in the comments.

  4. This was so interesting to read! I've never hosted a giveaway and I'm not 100% sure if I'd want to yet, maybe one day.
    I think I would be like you and I'd be interested in if it gained me traffic. I'd also want my prize to go to a reader, not someone who has only followed to win a freebie. It's interesting that you wouldn't want to do it again, I can understand that it's your hard earned money and I wouldn't want to spend if I wasn't 100% sure!

    I hope that if you do do another competition that it's a more positive experience for you! 🙂 xx

    • Thanks your comment. It was interesting to see how my traffic increased – but it was only to the giveaway post so not ideal. Think I might have felt differently if I wasn't paying for the gift myself. The girl who did win was very grateful which was a positive end to the experience

  5. Hi Jen just thought I'd add my opinion here as a comper. I didn't enter your giveaway as I wasn't interested in the prize. I found this post while looking for comps to enter and it's an interesting read indeed. I comp as a hobby in the hope of winning things I want/need. I do notice quite a few bloggers don't want compers to enter their giveaways but only genuine readers. I do understand that point of view but we compers are people too, we read, we use beauty products, we buy goods we come across that we like just like 'normal' people do. I have entered a lot of blog comps in my years and have found a fair few that I love and come back to them time and time again simply the blog interests me. I do know though that there are compers that just enter anything and everything just for the win and sell/swap things on. They are the minority though. I hope this experience doesn't stop you doing giveaways in the future.

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