How to Increase Reader Engagement by Offering a Giveaway

by Brian on March 3, 2010

Gift

We gave some tips about product reviews yesterday. While reviewing a product is fine and dandy and you’ll get something for free… You have to remember, it’s not about you. It’s about your readers.

What better way to get your readers to engage with you than to not only review a product, but to give one away as well?

There are a lot of sites that specialize in giveaways, so unless that’s you’re niche, this isn’t something you want to do too often. But an occasional giveaway is something to excite your readers and incentive them to participate in your blog.

What do you offer for a giveaway?
It depends on your niche. On Chrystal’s Happy Mothering blog, she offers giveaways related to parenting such as books, maternity shirts, baby items, etc.

Back in December, ProBlogger did a giveaway for some books that he’s either finished reading or had multiple copies of.

You can giveaway just about anything, as long as it’s something your readers will be interested in.

How to you find a product for your giveaway?
There are a couple of ways that you can find a product to give away to your readers. You could purchase something yourself or giveaway a free copy of your eBook or other product from your site.

Another approach is to find a company to sponsor your giveaway. Is there a product or service you think your readers would love to win? Approach the Marketing department for the company with your idea for the giveaway on your site.

The best situation is if they provide you with one copy to review, and another copy for you to giveaway to a reader. Depending upon your niche, companies may even approach you to offer a giveaway on your site.

How do you ensure readers are engaged?
This is key. The whole point of offering a giveaway is to increase reader engagement. You will do this by providing a list of ways for your readers to earn multiple entries into the giveaway.

You should have one mandatory action to get their first entry. This could be something like visiting the sponsor’s website and leaving a comment on your blog about which product they’d like to try, or something they learned about the company.

To earn multiple entries, you can give options such as:

  1. Subscribing to your blog’s RSS feed
  2. Signing up to receive your newsletter or the sponsor’s newsletter
  3. Following you and the sponsoring company on Twitter
  4. Following you and the sponsoring company on Facebook
  5. Leaving a comment on another post on your blog
  6. Tweeting about the comment and leaving a link to the Tweet
  7. Grabbing your button and adding it to their site
  8. Blogging about your giveaway on their blog

You should instruct them that they need to leave a separate comment for each entry or it won’t be counted. This is important when you go to pick a winner.

Setting a Deadline
It’s important to choose a deadline for the contest. Clearly state the date and time the giveaway will close and when the winner will be announced. How long you run the giveaway for is up to you. It could be 3 days or 3 months… but be sure it gives enough time for you to generate a good number of comments.

Choosing a winner
The easiest and fairest way to pick a winner is to use http://www.random.org. On the home page, you’ll see “True Random Number Generator” on the right side of the page.

In “Min” enter “1” and in “Max” enter the total number of comments (entries) from your giveaway. Then click “Generate” and the “Result” will be the winner. Whichever comment matches that number is your winner.

It’s best to take a screen shot and post it on your blog so your readers can see how the winner was chosen.

Have you offered a giveaway on your blog? How did you feel it increased reader engagement?

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