As a blogger who hosts giveaways and a person who likes to enter them, I’ve become pretty familiar with both sides of the equation. Both can take time and effort, and I can feel as though I’m not getting much of a reward from it. But being a giveaway host does give me insight that readers may not have.
In fact, I am often surprised by how entitled and, dare I say, whiny some giveaway entrants are. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem that I have at Reviews by Cole, but many of the larger giveaway sites and communities deal with the naysayers on an everyday basis. To them, I have to say, there are things you just don’t know!
1. You’re Entering for a Chance to Win
Sure, you might rack up thousands of entries, but so is everyone else. And when it comes to luck of the draw, you might just lose. And even if you win, don’t count your eggs before they hatch. By that, I mean you can’t really count yourself a winner until the prize is in your hands.
I know how much this sucks — trust me, I do! — but things come up. Sponsors back out. Packages get lost, and sometimes bloggers just lie. Even when there are good intentions, you might not respond to the email in time. And you’ve got to follow the rules.
2. You Don’t Have to Do Every Item
When I enter giveaways, I take a look at the entry types. I look for those that are easier and do them (first). I skip most social media follows because I don’t like the clutter. I don’t mind clicking links, but I prefer not to watch videos because it takes too many times. So on and so forth.
What I’m saying is that each and every one of us has to find the happy medium between increasing our odds (see above) and spending out time in the most productive way. And if a prize isn’t worth much or at least worth much to me, I’m going to expend less energy. Unless you really want the prize, you don’t need to do a page worth of entries, which often entails following dozens of Twitter and Facebook accounts.
You don’t have to, okay?
And you also don’t need to complain about those optional entries. Sure, winning is great, but it isn’t everything. And it’s not up to bloggers like myself to make it easy for you. It is a contest, after all!
3. Sharing Is Caring
Some readers don’t like sharing giveaways to others because it reduces their chances of winning. While I understand this, I think you aren’t thinking about the long term. When you bring new visitors, who might become subscribers, fans and even friends, you’re helping us with our brand. We thank you. Not only that, but increasing numbers typically means we get better opps, which means providing even better giveaway prizes in the future.
You might want the prize all to yourself, but it’s nicer to share those giveaways with your networks!
4. Bloggers Validate Winners
So don’t cheat by entering from different emails if that’s against the rules. Don’t enter gibberish into the giveaway forms if it’s a text-box style entry. We’ll invalidate your entry, and maybe even all of your entries because you don’t know how to play nice! In the worst case scenario, you might be banned from entering any giveaways on a blog, and bloggers talk. Oh, do they talk!
5. There Is Small Print
I don’t have much small print on my giveaways. I update Gleam with shipping restrictions, but that’s about it. I think all the big forms — Gleam, Giveaway Tools and Rafflecopter — state that giveaways have nothing to do with Facebook and other sites. But the option is there, and some bloggers/sites/companies use it.
In fact, you might be surprised by what that small print says. You may be signing up for an email list without realizing it. I know that I wind up on a lot of them, which irks me like no other. You may be agreeing to share your information even more than that, or saying that you absolutely will review an item on the maker’s site if you win.
Now, I know that few of us will read all that small print, but it’s good to get to know the policy of bloggers who host giveaways that you frequently enter.
As a bonus, I think it helps to remember that hosting giveaways takes work. It starts with nailing down details with the sponsor or buying the prize. And some sponsors have additional requirements about the number and type of entries we have to include.
We have to craft the post and set up the entry method. We need to take or find photos, and sometimes giveaways accompany reviews. We post it, spread the word on our social networks and then submit to multiple giveaway listing sites. We need to constantly promote our giveaways to ensure that people see them.
It’s exhausting, and your kindness is appreciated!
What else do you think people who enter giveaways need to know?