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Can Giveaways Be Good for Attracting New Blog Readers?

December 10th, 2008 · 6 Comments

I like getting reader questions since it gives me an inkling of what you folks want me to write about on here. Sometimes I just answer in email, but if I think the question might be shared by others, I like to highlight it in a post.

In this case, I didn’t have any experience with the subject (giveaways on blogs), so I’m hoping you will chime in with your experience in the comments below.

The question comes from Mary Emma who runs Quilting and Patchwork and Tea Time Notes:

I don’t think you’ve ever bothered with, nor felt the necessity of, using giveaways on your blogs, as far as I can see. I notice you had a writing contest, but that’s different. So many of the blogs nowadays are concentrating on giveaways/random drawings with prizes donated by sponsors.

I don’t bother to visit or enter giveaways, unless it’s a fellow blogger whom I want to support. Giveaways bring the page views, yes, but are they solid viewers who will stick by you without giveaways?

I like to provide information in an interesting and fun way to keep readers coming for that. I really don’t like to take the time to hunt up giveaways either.

What’s your take on giveaways?

Here’s the answer I sent Mary Emma:

You’re right in that I haven’t done a giveaway myself, but I’ll give you my take on it:

I certainly don’t see anything wrong with trying to generate a little buzz by giving away goodies, especially if you can get the prizes donated for free or you are giving away a copy of your book you already have on hand. If you have to put much time and effort into the project, though, I’d weigh the potential for a lasting benefit more in links than page views.

Someone who shows up because you’re giving away a prize may or may not become a regular reader, but if other bloggers link to you–because you’re having a cool giveaway–then you always win. More links help with SEO, which increases search engine traffic, which increases the likelihood of potential readers finding your site–not just this month but for months and years to come.

All in all, I suspect giveaways are probably better for rewarding existing readers than attracting new ones, but if your giveaway is buzz-worthy enough that other bloggers will mention it (and link to your site), then it could be worth doing.

That’s just my take though. SEO was where just about everyone put their emphasis when I was getting started, so I have those biased roots. ;)

In response, Mary Emma noted…

You pointed out some aspects I hadn’t realized. I do have quite a few people posting links to the giveaways. There also are some blogs out there now that mainly post listings of giveaways all over the Internet and we can send our giveaway links to them.

Now, it’s your turn. Have you run a giveaway on your blog? Did it bring in readers or did you see any noticeable benefits? Or did your existing community appreciate it (sometimes it’s worth doing just to give back to your readers)?

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Tags: Reader Questions

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dusty // Dec 10, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    I had a contest on one of my niche blogs to try and generate some interest. I did find that I kept most of my new readers after the contest was over, but I think that is because of the content I started providing (at least I hope they stayed for the content).

  • 2 carla // Dec 11, 2008 at 12:44 am

    I had two other bloggers host giveaways to bring traffic to my website and it did work. I didn’t do it on my own blog because its pretty new and I dont have a whole lot of traffic yet. I used the traffic on another blog in order to increase traffic to my site (not necessarily the blog itself though).

  • 3 Blog for Beginners // Dec 13, 2008 at 2:16 am

    Hey Lindsay

    Incidentally I’m now giving away some cool prizes where new subscribers stand a chance to win in the drawing.

    Well, I’m not doing it to create a buzz but since they are going to subscribe anyway, why not sweeten the deal and give them back a little for their vote of confidence?

    I agree with you that giveaways are probably better for rewarding the regulars. In fact, I do it on monthly basis. I just don’t shout it around.

    I would rather have loyal readers who subscribe than subscribers who are in for the prizes. That’s the reasons why the giveaways are only for new subscribers and not for MFC (made for contest) sites.


  • 4 Mary Emma Allen // Dec 13, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Thanks, Lindsay, for posting my question and your answer. I’m enjoying the responses of your readers, too. I hope this discussion helps other bloggers who are wondering about the usefulness of giveaways.

    I do find, when I offer a giveaway, I receive more responses if I post notice of it on sites/blogs that make a habit (or business) of contest postings. Apparently readers, who are interested in giveaways, seek these out and respond. Bloggy Giveaways is one that generates “beaucoup, beaucoup” viewers to one’s blog.

    I agree with Dusty and Yan…I hope the viewers stay around for the content I’m providing, too. And check out the ads!

    (Incidentally, my daughter was thrilled to win a giveaway at a beading/jewelry blog recently. She visits regularly and found this an added bonus or reward.)

  • 5 Mary // Dec 31, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Every time Ali Edwards does a giveaway, her traffic shoots sky high (but she’s a known “celebrity” in the scrapbooking world.) I’m a data person and too lazy to go look but I think 700 comments would be pretty normal over there.

    The giveaway she’s running tonight has over 1400 comments – apparently her traffic is growing!


  • 6 Mary Emma Allen // Jan 12, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks, Lindsay, for the tip about Ali’s site. I’ll have to let my daughter know about it (if she hasn’t found it already). She’s into fabric art and mixed media.

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