There are a couple of rules I use when setting up a giveaway keeping two things in mind: how does it benefit me (the blogger) and how does it benefit the brand I’m working with.
Benefitting the Blogger
Let’s be honest – a giveaway is work. To make it worthwhile, I always require that I receive and review the item that I plan to giveaway. Believe it or not, there are plenty of companies that will ask you to facilitate a giveaway with high resolution images to promote the product in question. I don’t believe in giving away anything that I haven’t personally experienced and that I feel I can endorse in some way.
Some bloggers also ask for compensation. This is not the same as doing a paid review, which most people consider unethical. This is an administrative fee that bloggers use to cover the time it takes to craft the giveaway, promote it, and facilitate it. Some companies are willing to pay the fees if the blogger has a large enough audience to make the giveaway worthwhile.
I also look for mutual promotion. In other words, I promote my giveaway and your brand and in return you help publicize my post on my blog. It’s a win-win but one where brands often fall short.
Finally, I make sure the product in question is a good fit for my blog.
Benefitting the Brand
Every piece of brand work you do is something that goes on your professional blogging resume. Make sure it’s something that you would be happy to reference and share with a future brand should you be asked.
And make sure it’s something you would be proud of. Copying and pasting web content from a brand’s site? Copying and pasting the promotional content that’s in the pitch? Neither one of these cut it in my book.
I can usually tell what a brand is after. Sometimes they want linkbacks to their site, in addition to the review. Sometimes they simply want their product name on as many websites as possible. And some simply want to take a risk with bloggers for some possible product promotion.
None of these are wrong motives but I’m working as a writer. I’m not a marketer for that brand so it’s not my job to write their marketing copy. It’s my job to give an honest opinion (even if I don’t like the product) and to write about it in a compelling way.
As for the giveaway portion of the review, I do my best to drive traffic to the brand’s site. If it’s simply about like ME, follow ME, subscribe to ME, and you’re doing it on the back of a brand, they don’t always appreciate that. Trust me. They’ve told me.
In my personal experience, I’ve found that the best ways to keep your voice flowing is to write in your own style and craft ways to enter the giveaway that encourage engagement. For example…
- Giving away shoes? Tell me what color you’d pick and where you would wear them.
Forces the reader to visit the brand site and put thought into how the product would fit into their life.
- Giving away a DVD? Tell me your favorite romantic comedy.
Readers love to share opinion and creates conversation.
- Giving away food? Share a memory from one of your favorite Thanksgiving dinners.
Helps the reader connect something personal to the product.
So here’s my advice…
If you’re a blogger and you want to do giveaways, make it a mutually beneficial relationship with your brand and never be afraid to surprise and delight.
If you’re in PR, make sure you offer something worthwhile and seek out bloggers that know how to help you. In turn, you should be prepared to help them as well.