It’s a sweepstakes sweeping the nation!

Nothing drives traffic to a blog or website like a free giveaway or sweepstakes. People love free stuff and will likely take the 15 seconds to click here and here to sign up.

Not only do you get to reward your audience and create buzz among the blogosphere, but you can generate new loyal followers and promote your brand or product at the same time. If the contest is done right, then truly everyone is a winner!

So here’s how you can plan out your own blog contest:

The Why

So why do you want to host a give-away? Are you promoting a product/brand or trying to gain more likes or follows on your social media sites? Or reward your readers?

Answering these questions will help you figure out how to plan your event, the criteria for “entries” and help you pitch your idea to sponsors who may want to support the contest.

Making the numbers work

First, do you have enough followers to generate the buzz you need for exposure and entries into your contest? If not, you may want to consider entering joint blog contests with other bloggers. This can help you in many ways:

You won’t be alone in planning and executing all the details

You won’t have to bear the costs of a give-away on your own

Links to your blog and social media pages will be posted on multiple websites and social media sites as well

My blog hosts a contest for a free Kindle Fire HD almost every month. Now I can’t afford to give away free Kindles so I partnered with other authors and paid a small portion. My blog, Facebook, and Twitter channels count as entries for anyone who wants a chance to win this Kindle, and the contests worked very well in boosting my subscriber numbers and generating traffic to my website.

If costs of giving away an item or gift card is trying, you can always reach out to sponsors (a store or company may not mind giving away a $50 gift-card while having their banner on your site) or if you do product reviews, you can ask for an extra product to give away.

The “legalities”

Make sure you have your rules and disclaimers written succinctly and clearly.

Does someone need to be of a certain age to enter?

Is this open to those in your home country or abroad also?

If they are following you on Twitter or Facebook as entries, then you need to read and abide by the social media sites’ rules for holding sweepstakes or your account could be deleted—without warning!

What if they followed you for an entry and then un-followed you?

“How” and “When” to enter. Some people forget to post this!

There’s an app for that!

So it may be hard to keep track of all those new subscribers, commenters, or folks tweeting your contest links. You may get hundreds or even thousands of entries. Luckily, there are some third-party apps, in which the entrants can record their entry and when the contest closes, the app will pick a winner at random. No coin tosses necessary! The two that I’ve used in the past were rafflecopter and binkd; but there are many different kinds of apps available, from free to paid services; so do your research.

It’s not a chore

Have Fun!

Because that’s what contests are really about. I once had a guest contributor post an article about Women and Seduction, and asked my readers to submit a counter-argument and the best article will be posted on my blog and social media sites, as well as the writer will receive a gift card of $25.

So it’s not always about making the entrants doing a lot of work to follow and promote you, at the core you want your readers to have fun and it’s a chance for you to be creative and another dimension to your wonderful blog.

S.C. Rhyne is a world traveler, blogger, and novelist based in New York City. When she isn’t writing or exploring, she enjoys swimming, reading historical fiction, and discovering new music. Her first novel, The Reporter and The Girl blurs the lines of reality and imagination, and conjures the emotions that bind us together. Find her on her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and blog.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • TheGirl January 3, 2014, 9:22 pm

    Thanks for having me on this blog!

    TheGirl recently posted…A lookback at 2013!My Profile

  • Dima Al Mahsiri January 9, 2014, 6:31 pm

    I like the idea of getting my readers involved in a contest for writing the best guest post, that could be fun, thank you !
    Dima Al Mahsiri recently posted…8 Money-Saving Beauty Tips (Infographic)My Profile


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