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How to Run a Blog Giveaway (and Which Mistakes to Avoid)

Last Updated on December 9, 2020 by Stacey Corrin

Do you want to know how to run a blog giveaway? Blog contests and giveaways are an excellent way to do something positive for your audience while growing your brand. But how do you create one, and what mistakes should you avoid?

In this article, we’ll show you how to run a blog giveaway, all while avoiding the most common mistakes. But first, let’s look at why running a giveaway on your blog is such a great idea.

Why Learn How to Run a Blog Giveaway?

Almost every type of blog runs contests. Some bloggers run blog contests and giveaways as part of paid brand partnerships, for example, a beauty blog giveaway working with makeup brands. Yet, others do it to fill a gap in their content calendars.

But the big question is, why should you set up a giveaway on your blog?

Look at it this way; if you’re posting regular content, chances are you’re generating far more organic traffic to your blog than your Facebook page or Twitter profile. Therefore your blog is the perfect place to reach an audience of targeted users.

With this in mind, here are a few more reasons why you should run a giveaway for your blog:

  • Traffic – Successful giveaways can drive heaps of traffic to your blog.
  • Subscribers – Contests are a great way to increase blog subscribers and grow your email list.
  • Social Media – A good giveaway can increase your reach on social media and boost blog followers.
  • Regular Content – Providing regular, quality blog content is a signal used by search engines to rank your blog.
  • Rules – By running a giveaway on your blog, you have more control over your giveaway rules and can avoid the restrictions placed on you by social media platforms.

As you can see, running a giveaway has tons of potential for growing your blog and doing something fun and exciting for your audience. Some of the best blog giveaway ideas can have a huge effect on your business’s bottom line.

Now let’s look at how to set up a giveaway on your blog that your visitors will love.

How to Run a Giveaway on Your Blog

To set up and launch a contest on your blog, follow the steps we’ve provided in our blog giveaways how-to below. They’ll walk you through the entire process, from choosing the best giveaway tool to picking a winner for your contest.

Let’s get to it!

Step 1. Use RafflePress to Setup Your Giveaway

The first step is to pick a blog giveaway tool to make running your blog contest easy and efficient. There’s a wide range of contest tools available, and if you’d like an overview, check out our comparison of Rafflecopter vs. Gleam vs. RafflePress here.

Yet, for this tutorial, we’ll use RafflePress, the best WordPress giveaway plugin for bloggers.

Since most bloggers use WordPress, RafflePress is the best choice because it’s built from the ground up for WordPress users.

What this means for bloggers is an easy way to build and host your giveaway. Plus, there are built-in social sharing features to grow your blog, increase followers, and attract more website traffic.

how to run a blog giveaway with RafflePress blog giveaway tool

Even better, the ready-made contest templates help you get up and running with just a few clicks. To help you get started, here’s everything you need to know to create an online contest with RafflePress.

Next up, it’s time to decide what prize you’ll be offering to your readers.

Step 2. Clearly Define Your Prize

When you’re choosing a giveaway prize, there are some key things to keep in mind. Your prize should first be something that encourages people to enter your contest. That means it needs to be relevant to your audience and something desirable enough to spur them into action.

For example, blogs based on book reviews can consider running a book giveaway with an amazon gift card, or if you’re a beauty blogger, a bundle of big-ticket beauty products would be an excellent prize.

Related: What Happened to Amazon Giveaways? (+ How to Still Run Them)

Secondly, you need to make it crystal clear what winners will receive. That means having the prize written in the contest title, headings, and descriptions.

You should also include details on how many winners you’ll choose, the number of prizes on offer, and the total prize value. Including the value of the prize in your heading or description is further encouragement that makes people not want to miss out on the chance of winning.

Value of the prize

Step 3. Make It Easy to Enter Your Blog Giveaway

After choosing a prize for your giveaway, you should ensure it’s easy for blog visitors to enter for the chance to win. When using RafflePress to create a giveaway on your blog, you can ask people to complete many actions to earn entries.

The best giveaway actions for your blog are:

  • Leave a Comment: Ask visitors to leave a comment on your blog post to enter.
  • Subscribe to RSS Feed: Encourage people to follow your blog’s RSS Feed for bonus giveaway entries.
  • Join an Email Newsletter: Ask users to subscribe to your blog’s email list for more entries.
How to run a blog giveaway: Leave a blog comment giveaway entry

You can also use RafflePress’s giveaway actions to promote your blog on social media. For instance, users can earn bonus entries by:

  • Liking your Facebook page.
  • Sharing your giveaway on Facebook.
  • Tweeting a message.
  • Following you on LinkedIn.
  • Sharing your giveaway on LinkedIn.
  • Following you on Pinterest.
  • Referring friends.

You can even ask other bloggers to write a blog post to enter your giveaway.

Now that you know why having a clear prize is important, let’s put together the perfect blog post for your giveaway.

Step 4. Write an Engaging Blog Post

When running a contest, your blog post aims to encourage readers to engage and enter your competition. If your content isn’t interesting enough, they’ll click away from your post and move on to the next blog.

Think about ways you can showcase the prize and how winning it can enrich peoples’ lives somehow.

Let’s look at our previous example of a beauty giveaway.

Ask the question, “why do people visit a beauty blog“?

The answers are:

  • For beauty tips
  • To improve how they look
  • For product suggestions
  • To feel better about themselves

So those are the things you should tap into when writing your blog post. Figure out how winning your prize could solve your readers’ problems and build your post around them.

Here are a few ways you can create your giveaway blog post:

  • Write a detailed review of the prize on offer, including the pros and cons.
  • Post a video review with an unboxing of the prize and your thoughts.
  • Write a story around your experience of the product and how it’s helped you.

When you’ve created your blog post, move on to putting together the rules for your blog giveaway.

Step 5. Make Your Giveaway Rules Clear

Every successful contest has a clear set of rules for participants to follow. Rules keep your prize draw legal and fair to all entrants. They also help to weed out people looking for a quick-win that requires little effort.

Here’s a list of things to consider including in your rules:

  • Contest start and end date so users know how long your giveaway will last.
  • If your giveaway is open to international entrants or certain countries.
  • The minimum age people need to be to enter.
  • Exactly what the winner will receive.
  • If the prize can or cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative.
  • If entrants need to purchase to enter, or there’s no purchase necessary.
  • How the winners will be drawn.

Also, make it clear if your contest is sponsored or affiliated with a business or brand to maintain transparency.

Next, you need to add your rules to your giveaway. RafflePress makes this easy with the Giveaway Rules Generator, and it’s an excellent place to start if you’re not sure what to include.

The Rules Generator asks you several questions about your contest, then instantly turns them into a complete set of contest rules you can display in the RafflePress widget.

Here’s how to access the generator in RafflePress and add them to your giveaway.

First, go to your RafflePress giveaway and click Edit.

Edit giveaway

Then click Settings » Giveaway Rules.

How to run a blog giveaway:  giveaway rules

When you click the Generate Rules button, you’ll see the questionnaire mentioned above, where you can add your contest details.

Giveaway rules questionnaire

Once you’re done, click the Generate Rules button for RafflePress to generate a set of rules automatically.

Automatically generated giveaway rules

Click Save, and RaflePress’ll add them to your contest.

You can also copy and paste those rules in the body of your blog post to make them clearer to participants.

Now that you’ve created a clear set of instructions and rules, it’s time to add your contest to your blog.

Step 6. Embed and Publish Your Giveaway

Adding your giveaway to your WordPress blog is pretty straightforward. RafflePress lets you embed your contest into any post or page using a WordPress content block or shortcode.

To add your contest to a WordPress post, first, head to the post you prepared earlier and click Edit.

Then click the plus icon in the WordPress editor to add a new content block and search for RafflePress.

RafflePress giveaway WordPress block

This will reveal the RafflePress block. So go ahead and click it to add it to your blog post.

Then choose your blog giveaway from the drop-down list to embed your contest.

choose your contest form the list

Now it’s all ready to publish!

Giveaway embedded in blog post

Alternatively, you can publish your contest on a giveaway landing page to reduce distractions and focus people on entering.

You can do this by heading to your giveaway in RafflePress and clicking Edit. Then head to Settings » General.

Giveaway landing page permalink settings

From here, add URL parameters for your contest in the Page Permalink box. Then click Save.

Landing page of RafflePress blog giveaway

Now when your giveaway starts, you can send visitors to that URL to enter. This is a great way to share your contest on other platforms besides WordPress, as all you need is the landing page link.

Step 7. Promote Your Giveaway

Once you’ve launched your blog giveaway, it’s time to promote it. Promoting your contest exposes it to a broader audience, boosting its reach and attracting more participants.

how to promote a giveaway on instagram

Here are a few ideas you can use to promote your giveaway:

  • Share your giveaway blog post on social media with your followers to encourage them to enter.
  • Send an update out to your email list with a link to your giveaway post asking them to join in.
  • Submit your article to contest directories built to promote giveaways.

For even more contest promotion ideas, check out this guide we put together.

Now that you know how to promote your contest, let’s learn how to pick a winner.

Step 8. Choose Your Giveaway Winner

There are several ways to draw a winner for your giveaway. Although you should note, it largely depends on the type of contest you’re running.

Most competitions draw winners randomly, whereas the number of votes determines voting contest winners. Competitions with a panel of judges, on the other hand, will need to be decided by the panel.

For this tutorial, let’s focus on drawing a winner randomly, which you can easily achieve with RafflePress.

When your contest has ended, head to the RafflePress dashboard and navigate to the contest that needs a winner. Then click Needs Winners.

Choose a contest that needs winners

Then you’ll see a page asking you to choose from the following options:

  • Winners – How many winners you’d like to pick.
  • Unverified Emails – If you’d like to include unverified entrants in the pool of potential winners
  • Verified Emails – Choose winners based on if they’ve verified their email address
RafflePress winner selection

Then go ahead and click the Choose Winners Now button.

The winner of your blog giveaway will be highlighted in the list of entrants, as shown below. Then you can click to email them with the good news.

Giveaway winner

Congratulations, you’ve now successfully run a blog giveaway and picked the winner!

Blog Giveaway Mistakes to Avoid

It’s fantastic that you know how to run a blog giveaway now. But don’t stop reading just yet. Plenty of bloggers make mistakes that are pretty easy to avoid. So we’ve covered them below to prevent you from making the same errors.

1. Not Understanding Your Goals

Not understanding your goal

The biggest mistake most bloggers make is not understanding the goal of their giveaway. Your giveaway’s goal determines the results you’ll get, so if you pick a goal that doesn’t align with what you want to achieve for your blog, the results will be poor.

Let’s break it down a little. Each type of contest generates a different result. For example, subscriber contests are for growing your email list, and social sharing contests increase your blog traffic.

Therefore if you don’t understand your goal, it’s hard to choose a contest type that works alongside it to get the desired results. So take some time to fully understand your end goal and craft a contest that suits it.

2. Failing to Remind Your Email Subscribers

16 Genuine Ways to Grow Your Email List Now

Another common mistake is not letting your email list know that you have a contest running. Most bloggers are growing their lists to help drive traffic to their blogs, so failing to tell them is a huge missed opportunity.

Your subscribers are already likely to open your emails because they took action to sign up for your list. This means they’re more likely to click through and enter your giveaway.

As soon as your contest is live, send an email out, broadcasting the fact to get your readers clicking.

Related: 15 Expert Tactics to Get More Blog Comments

3. Not Promoting Your Giveaway on Contest Directories

Best Online Sweepstakes Websites

The next mistake we see bloggers making is not submitting their giveaways to contest directories and sweepstake websites.

These sites are built specifically for listing and promoting competitions. And because thousands of people flock to these sites to find and enter contests, there’s the potential to reach a much bigger audience of active users than you would without it.

We’ve even put together a list of the best online sweepstakes websites here for you to use.

4. Missing Out on Social Media Promotion

Besides promoting your giveaway on social media once, it’s worth setting a schedule to post regularly over the time it’s running. Doing so keeps your content visible in people’s news feeds and reminds them to enter if they haven’t already done so.

What’s more, most social media networks have insights and analytics to track who’s engaged with your content so you can measure the ongoing success of your promotions.

Even better, effective promotion on sites like Instagram can help your contest go viral. You can learn all about how to go viral on Instagram here.

5. Offering an Irrelevant Prize

contest prize

Earlier, we mentioned the importance of choosing a relevant prize for your blog contest. And despite the advice out there, we see tons of people making the mistake of offering a prize their readers aren’t interested in.

An irrelevant prize like a low-value item, for example, doesn’t excite people enough to enter. And in the same way, the wrong prize won’t attract the kind of audience that sticks around on your blog after the contest has ended.

6. Not Running the Giveaway Long Enough

It’s tempting to get it published and over with as quickly as possible when running a blog contest. Let’s face it; you’re a busy blogger with lots to do.

But if the duration of your contest isn’t long enough, you won’t have enough time to spread the word and attract new entries. This can lead to fewer entries and poor results in terms of traffic and subscribers.

Instead, run your giveaway for a reasonable time. Aim for at least a week or 2 to maximize your results.

7. And Running it for Too Long

Giveaway time

On the flip side, it’s easy to make the mistake of running your giveaway for too long. And if you do this, you run the risk of people losing interest and even forgetting that they entered in the first place.

Similarly, a competition that runs for too long has no sense of urgency and doesn’t encourage people to enter quickly for fear of missing out.

We’d suggest running blog giveaways and contests for no longer than a month with that in mind.

And there you have it!

In this article, you’ve learned how to run a blog contest, along with the mistakes you should aim to avoid.

If you liked this article, why not look at our guide on how to drive traffic to your website here.

And if you want to learn about other contest types, take a look at these tutorials:

And please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for RafflePress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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