giveaways 101.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I feel like all the stars have aligned for me to sit down & write this post:

* some of my fellow Canadian Design & Lifestyle blogettes - a term I stole right off Lauren Conrad's twitter account {sure do subscribe to her tweets along with 2.5 million other loyal Hills fans} - have been experiencing nothing short of 'sponsorship drama' where winners are being left empty handed and broken hearted :(

** Kathie - the lucky winner from our LOVE-ly Valentine's Giveaway - sent me a photo of the beautiful sign Miss Jillian made for her recent wedding anniversary.

*** as I was ooh'ing & ahh'ing over the details of Baby J's 'moustache & bowtie' birthday bash {aww-some job BTW Ana!}, I discovered that chose me - ME! - as Bip & Bop's giveaway winner! Can I just say I'm super excited about sporting this necklace come Movember {not sure if the faux-stache was the right look on me?} and as an aside to Nicole, the book page as a photo backdrop is pure genius!


I'm no expert when it comes to hosting blog giveaways, but I have a few under my belt now and here are 2 things I've {learned} from gifting away free swag:

- know your 'audience' and only take on products that {a} you truly like and {b} your readers will actually want to win. For example you won't be seeing windshield wiper blades or tire rim cleaner up for grabs on Saige Wisdom anytime soon - a roadside assistance membership or flare gun maybe ;) 

** Bloggers get contacted A LOT by PR companies wanting blog owners to promote, review and/or sponsor giveaways. When my email first started filling up with these requests I was like "oh em gee how exciting!" and then the excitement wore off because I quickly discovered that 'holy mackerel... 

- not only do you have to familiarize yourself with the product if you're not already, but you have to craft a giveaway post, figure out the entrance requirements, solicit interest, hope that someone... anyone will throw their name in the I-want-to-win hat, wait it out, select a winner, write a follow up post, introduce the lucky winner to the generous giveaway sponsor and pray; pray that the company, Etsy shop, _____ will actually follow through with their product promise and not leave you hanging.


Let's just say I learned the above the 'hard way' but I've also discovered a couple {neat tricks} that make playing giveaway host a little easier and a lot more enjoyable:

- long before my first giveaway {and son}, I started a feature that's almost extinct now called Friday Finds. It was a fun little end of the week series that highlighted my Etsy favourites. Many of these shops willingly sponsored my earlier giveaways because {a} my love for them was genuine, {b} I was already familiar with their product and {c} readers had already been introduced to their ahh-mazing'ness and were eager to win.

- why wait for giveaways to come to you? If you know there's something your blog followers would just love to win or have purchased a great product that you'd love to review, message the seller about a potential sponsorship... the worst they can say is "no". 

* caution: when I solicit giveaways I always feel MORE pressure to deliver a strong interest in the contest.

- promote, promote, promote... my favourite and most successful giveaway promotion sites include:



I'm not big on giving {advice}, but as someone who enters the occasional blog giveaway, I strongly encourage hosts to:

- please don't make it mandatory for me to follow 10 different blogs, Facebook pages, twitter accounts, Etsy shops just so I can      maybe win a $12 pillow sham.

- time is precious; show me a photo or two, do a brief product review and/or tell me about the sponsor {preferably in 30 words or less}, explain the rules and wish me luck! Oh and don't draw the contest out - 2 weeks or less thank you very much.

- there's nothing more disheartening {okay there is, but I'm going for drama here} than learning Canadian residents need not apply - boo! hiss! - show us the love Young House Love


Did I miss anything? 
Am I WAY off the mark? 
Have any useful tips or nightmare stories you'd like to share?


Rosa @ FlutterFlutter said...

Good points Sara! I always go with my gut when it comes to giveaways, and so far so good. And, of course, winning is fun too!! :)

ana {bluebirdkisses} said...

hehe that pic of you with the stache is kind of funny. The funny thing I realize about giveaways is sometimes what I LOVE isn't what everyone else loves lol but I don't care. I can't ever giveaway something I think is ugly, or useless. I just wouldn't be able to do the vendor any justice because my blog post would be horribly obviously fake :S

ooo and this november...maybe we should both take a pic with our staches and post them in maybe a combined post!

Danielle Hardy said...

Great post!! very helpful from a fellow "blogette" ;) Love #6.. if I see more then 2-3 steps, I'm out.

Sara K {SaigeWisdom} said...

of course! what have you won?? anything worth noting? I scored some custom bumper pads when I was preggers with Gabe which made me VERY happy.

Sara K {SaigeWisdom} said...

agreed {about the never giving away things personally deemed ugly or useless} and done {we're so doing a Movember mustache post}... look at us planning away.

Sara K {SaigeWisdom} said...

I'd love to read your perspective on what sponsors look/hope for when giving up goods to blogs... xo

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