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.
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)?