Blogging PreCourse and Blogging101

Using Blog Giveaways to Build Traffic

A really fun and exciting way to kick off a new blog is by hosting a giveaway.  This can be as simple as asking people to comment on a specific post and then picking randomly from those chosen, or as complex as creating a skill-based contest that requires entrants to complete a task of some sort where you choose a winner based on your judgment. 

The process of creating a giveaway can be a little bit time consuming, but may be very well worth it if your goal is pulling new visitors to your blog.  Here are the steps you may want to follow to create a blog giveaway…

Decide on a prize 

if your blog has a specific theme, it is always nice to choose a prize that is related to that theme.  For instance, if your blog is dedicated to reviewing local theater then tickets to an upcoming production would be the perfect giveaway.  If you don’t have the advantage of a clear theme – – maybe you simply write a mom blog – – then you might want to give away something parenting related, or even settle on a prize that anyone can be happy with such as an Amazon gift card or Restaurant.com certificate.   The most important thing is to make sure that you have your prize IN HAND before beginning your giveaway…there is nothing worse than administering a giveaway and realizing the prize you counted on giving is backordered and you won’t be able to send it to the winner for another month.

Pin down your giveaway details 

Take a tour around the blogosphere before you begin your own giveaway and check out other bloggers’ approaches to the process.  How do they word their rules?  What kind of time limits do they use?  How do they get other people to share the news of their giveaway?  This type of info will be invaluable to you as you formulate a plan for your own.  Once you have decided what the goal of your giveaway is (do you want to create just traffic, or are you hoping people will comment more?  do you want people to add you to their blogrolls?) then you can decide on what the requirements to enter your giveaway will be.  And keep in mind that the more you ask people to do, the better the prize needs to be!  No one is going to take the time to mention your blog on their social networks for the chance to win a free coffee at Starbucks. 

Create your giveaway copy and graphics 

Now that you know how you want your giveaway to go, it’s time to set it up!  Graphics will be an important part of your giveaway post, because nice pictures of prizes are a huge factor in whether visitors will give your post a long enough look to find out what your blog is really about.  And speaking of which, make sure to include some teasers about your blog, or links to a previous post in your giveaway.  It’s important that your visitors do more than just enter your giveaway…give them a reason to stick around and check things out!!

Promote!! 

Finally, once your giveaway is live, it’s time to figure out how to let people know about it.  Posting about it on your social networks is a no-brainer, but you also want to let the blogosphere know as well.  You will want to submit your giveaway to online contest directories such as Online-Contest.com, make sure the word “giveaway” is in the title of your post (to make it easy for searchers), and promote it in any forums or email loops you belong to.  Then, as another more in-depth promotional tool, you can even use a simple picture creation software to draw up a simple badge that advertises your giveaway and offer an additional entry to anyone who is willing to post the badge on their website and link it back to your giveaway!  That’s the power of networking!!

Giveaways certainly aren’t the most effective way for building an audience for your blog (good writing and strong content are!), but they will definitely help build a short-term buzz around it, and may even bring you a long-term fan or two!!  For more ideas on building blog traffic and drawing new readers to your posts, sign up for our full Blogging 101 course.

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