12.02.2009

Juliea's Guide To Entering Blog Giveaways (and maybe even winning one!)

I spend a LOT of time entering blog giveaways. I've only been doing this for about 2 months now, but have had great success. It started when I decided to start actively seeking blogs written by mothers (mostly breastfeeding mothers) who might be interested in doing a review and giveaways of my Nursing Clips. As I was discovering this incredible world and network of blogging mothers, I also discovered GIVEAWAYS! That's right, man - they just GIVE stuff away! What a wonderful concept! I started to enter figuring right off the bat that I have a better chance at winning this than most other things I might enter myself into. The odds are far more in the individuals favor when you are just up against anywhere between 5 to 500 people (give or take) rather than 5000. I became hooked pretty quickly and the fever spread like wildfire....especially once I started winning!


Am I some kind of expert on winning giveaways? No. Not by any means...but have I won giveaways and gotten the things that I've won with no strings attached? Yes.  The giveaways are real. I know it may seem a little too good to be true, but it is not. They really are just giving stuff away and you really could be one of the winners. I've never won anything really, so I'm certainly not chalking up my winning successes to that. It's simple. Enter enough giveaways using the maximum number of entries they allow (and that you are willing to do) and you will win one eventually. 


How blog Reviews and Giveaways Work:


 The idea behind a blog giveaway is simple, really. A blogger receives a (usually) free product to review and sometimes giveaway to one of their readers. The difference between a review and a giveaway is a review is simply an article about a product that the blogger receives and a giveaway is a review where the blogger writes the article about the product and then offers their readers something from the company to win. Often the item that was reviewed - but not the same one. The blogger gets to keep the product in exchange for writing the review and hosting the giveaway. After all, it directly makes people aware of their company. It's free advertisement and people (especially mothers) like to hear from someone else why they should or should not buy something. Word of mouth is very powerful, as is the power of suggestion. They may not buy something from the company now, but there is a seed planted. They are more probable to remember that company when they do need or want it. Blog giveaways are win, win, win because the company gets free advertisement (save the cost of their product), the blogger gets free product as well as hits and followers on their blog, and the reader gets the chance to win something pretty sweet. 


Entering Blog Giveaways:


Usually, the way that you would enter a giveaway is by leaving a comment on that blog entry. Each comment is an entry and once the giveaway has ended the blogger randomly picks a number (usually from Random.org) and that numbered comment wins. At the end of each giveaway will be instructions on exactly how to enter. Follow their instructions because all giveaways are different. You will get used to what one blog has for their entries and this is how you can build a strategy, but it's important to read what they have to say and do the giveaway as instructed or you could be disqualified. 


Extra Entries:


When I find a blog with giveaways I start with the giveaway that is going to end first. I leave the first mandatory comment. Usually this entails going to the company's website and leaving a comment about something else that caught your eye or what you would choose if you won. You also MUST remember to put your e mail address in the first comment so that the blogger knows how to reach you if you do win. Then I examine what they offer for additional entries. This usually consists of a few staple things.


  •  Follow This Blog Publicly - this means they want you to follow through google friend - publicly. All that means is that when you follow them through Google you do not do it anonymously. You will see a widget on their side bar that has small images of people who are following them and a place where it will have a button that says "Follow". You will need a google account to follow the blog, mine is tied to it through my Yahoo E mail account. It's worth setting up because it takes no time at all and you only have to do it once per blog. This means you will have an additional entry for each of their giveaways that offer an extra entry for this.
  • Subscribe Via E Mail - If a blog has an entry for this, look for a place on their side bar that gives a place for your E Mail and says "Subscribe" somewhere (like the box at the top of our side bar on the right). This is an EXCELLENT way to keep up with blog giveaways. My favorite blogs are the ones that offer this because it is a reminder in my inbox every day to enter giveaways and lets me know what ones they have to offer. Otherwise I would have to seek them out daily which isn't easy to remember to do.
  • Follow On Twitter - This will say either just follow or follow AND tweet the giveaway. If it doesn't specify to tweet, just following their twitter is all you have to do for that entry. Otherwise, just decide how badly you want the item and let that determine whether or not you are going to retweet the giveaway. Setting up a twitter is easy and worth it for this. Often times they will also give you another entry for following the company that the giveaway is for and once it's set up it's easy to follow anyone.
  • Fan On Facebook - Many of the blogs also have a fan site or group on Facebook. Becoming a fan of theirs is simple and it really makes for an easy entry. There is often an option for fanning the business as well.
  • Blog About This Giveaway - Many of them have an option for fellow bloggers to blog about their giveaway and link back to them and often times the company participating in the giveaway. I usually do not do this unless I REALLY want the item. My blog would literally be consumed with posts for giveaways if I did.
  • Grabbing A Button - A lot of blogs have "buttons" which are small advertisements with an HTML box below or around it somewhere that you can copy and paste anywhere that you can input HTML (such as your own blog or My Space Page). You can see my list of buttons on the right column, these were all taken from sites that host giveaways, so this might be a great place for you to start in your quest for good sites. You'll also find that most of these sites also have their own blog roll of other blogs where you might find even more giveaway sites. Putting a button on your page counts as an easy extra entry (sometimes two) and it's also a good way to keep track of the blogs that you like. I do recommend doing this if you have a place to do it.
These are the main extra entries on the giveaways. Sometimes there are other entries for things like subscribing to the company's newsletter or hearting the company's Etsy. Make sure to read the bottom of the giveaway post to make sure that you are getting the most out of your chances to win.

When an extra entry says it's worth two or more entries, remember that you have to leave seperate comments for each one. Say it says "Subscribe Via E Mail (2 entries)" then you would put "I subscribe via e mail" in one comment and post it and put "I subscribe via e mail (2)" in another comment and post that.

Strategies:

On sites that have an extra entry for each giveaway that you enter on their site it is worth it to enter ALL of their giveaways - even if you aren't that interested in the item. You don't have to do any of the extra entries for the ones you are not very interested in because you aren't actually interested in winning it, you are just interested in using it as another entry for the other giveaways that you DO want to win.

Let's use one of my favorite giveaway sites - www.minnesotamamasmusthaves.com as an example. All of her giveaways have extra entries for each other giveaway you enter on her site. So, let's say she has 3 current giveaways. We'll give them names so we don't get to confused. 

Giveaway 1 = Apples 
Giveaway 2 = Oranges
Giveaway 3 = Pears

I start with the one ending first (usually the last one listed) and I do all of the entries. Even before I've entered the other ones I go ahead and leave comments for the other giveaways that are available to enter (because I'm going to enter them when I'm done entering this one). These sites usually have a spot on the side bar that lists their current giveaways. MMMH's site had the comment bow that pops out of the page so I am able to scroll up and see that list and type them in my comments easily. 

I always enter the sentence "I entered the Apples giveaway" and then I copy that so I will be able to easily post it onto the other giveaways when I get to them. Then I can just highlight "Apples" and replace it with just the names of the other giveaways. So, since I'm in giveaway 1 (apples) - I highlight it and put "Oranges" in it's place and post the comment. Then I do the same for "Pears". Then I am done (only two extra entries because there are only 3 giveaways total and you do not use the giveaway you are currently in as an extra).

Once that is done I would go to the "Oranges" giveaway and do the same thing except I would only have the "Apples and Pears" as the extra entries. Once that is done I would do the same with "Pears" and use the "Apples and Oranges" as the extra entries. Make sense?

Now - the next day you get an E mail from MMMH's about a new giveaway for "Grapes". So, you go to the post for the "Grapes" giveaway and go through all the entries for it and then put "I entered the Grapes giveaway" - copy it in that format and then replace "Grapes" with "Apples" and then post it. Then repeat once each for "Oranges and Pears". Once that is done I can go to the "Apples" post and leave a new comment saying "I entered the Grapes giveaway" (this is why I always write out the sentence with the current giveaway - so when I get to these posts I can just copy, paste and post.) and post it. "X" out of that and then go to the "Oranges and Pears" posts and do the same. As long as a giveaway hasn't ended you can continue to go back and leave new entries for new giveaways that you have entered. You may not leave comments for expired giveaways that you have entered - it has to be active at the time you leave your comment. 

The only other strategy I really have is consistency. It really is best to subscribe via E mail if you can and to enter every day. It might get overwhelming, so feel free to pick and choose from the stuff you really want. I know I wanted to win it ALL when I first discovered this, but that got really hard to keep up with. I still enter most, but am now less apt to enter a giveaway that I really have no use for winning.

One other quick tip would be to open links in a new tab. If you right click on a link it will give you this option. It's much easier than clicking on stuff and loosing your place and then having to find it through the back button. Also, when the comment box pops out look for the link at the top of the page that says
"jump to comment form" and click that instead of having to scroll all the way down each time. ;)


Winning!:

Once you win a giveaway you will be contacted via e mail by the blogger who hosted it (make sure to check your "spam" box daily). You will usually have 48-72 hours to reply and acknowledge that you won and give them shipping info (if applicable). Once they have your info they either already have the product and ship it to you themselves or they contact the company with your info and they ship it directly. 

It's that easy! And, it feels REALLY good to get fun stuff in the mail that you have won! I know a lot of the things I have won I would never be able to afford otherwise (ahem - $170 raincoat from LL Bean) so it's nice to even get the chance. So, don't be a skeptic - it IS real and it IS worth it. 

Good Luck! Feel free to repost this (as long as you give this blog credit) and ask any questions! I'd love to hear from you!!

~J.

4 comments:

Sarah said...

Great article! You did a great job explaining how to enter and maximize your entries to increase your odds. Thanks for the link too!

-Sarah

cassie_jaffe said...

wowa, thats alot of detailed info! how did you find the time?
its great!

gypsy_jewels said...

I have no idea how I find the time for half of the things I do!! :)

I'm a super multi-taking mama!

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