Tag Archive for increase followers

Hosting a Successful Giveaway on your Blog

Believe it or not, there’s an art to hosting a giveaway. No, you don’t have to have a lot of built-in traffic to have a successful giveaway. And yes, hosting a great giveaway can actually help you gain new followers.

Blog giveaways are increasingly popular these days, with some bloggers hosting a giveaway to celebrate blogiversarys, birthdays, hitting x-number of followers, or just because! Here are some blog giveaway tips we love:

Stack of Giveaway Fabric
Flickr/CraftyDame

Choosing giveaway items

The basic rule of thumb with a giveaway item is, give away something that you would like to win. Whether it’s a stack of beautiful fabric, a hand-knit scarf or a gift certificate to a favorite store, make sure it’s something that will attract the type of blog reader that you’d like to gain. This is not the time to destash your most dreaded fabrics, and if you wouldn’t enter, nobody else will either.

Setting the rules

Before posting your giveaway, you’ll need to decide a few things.

When does it end? We suggest 3 to 5 days from the start date, or longer if you are giving away a big-ticket item and want to attract the most attention. State the end date in your giveaway post.

Open to international readers? If so, specify which countries you’ll ship to, whether it’s the U.S. and Canada, or the U.K. only. You don’t want your readers to waste time entering only to find out later that they’re not eligible.

Maximum entries: How will readers enter and how many times can they enter? One entry only? One per day? Let’s say blogger x promotes a giveaway for a $20 gift card to Hobby Lobby. In order to enter, the reader must leave a comment. For another chance to win, she can become a follower of the blog. The prize value matches the effort you are asking people to put in, which is a good thing!

Contact info: If your winner has no e-mail address in his or her profile, will you draw a new winner? This may seem obvious, but best to think about these things before starting your giveaway.

How will you choose a winner? We suggest numbering the comments and using a random number tool like Random.org. But some people prefer to choose a winner based on the best answer to a question, or even writing down names on slips of paper and drawing them out of a hat.

Giveaway Winner Numbers
Flickr/hellojenuine

Working with giveaway sponsors

Oftentimes, a business or individual will choose to sponsor a giveaway on a blog that’s not their own in order to promote traffic to their shop or general interest in their product.

If you are working with a giveaway sponsor, it’s best to set up the giveaway in a way as to direct traffic to the sponsor’s blog, store or newsletter. Ask the participants to go to the site and comment on something they saw there. You’ll be much more likely to get future giveaway sponsors if you treat your sponsors right.

Getting new followers through giveaways

One of the huge benefits to hosting a giveaway is the ability to attract new visitors, and hopefully turn them into followers. While you don’t want to coerce people into following a blog they are not interested in, you do want to make it profitable for people who do decide to become a follower of your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Once you get people to your page through a giveaway link, ask them to follow through Google Friend Connect, an RSS Reader or e-mail subscription. State whether or not following your blog is required to enter. You can always ask the entrant to leave a comment, then leave a second comment if they are a follower (for an extra entry). This is a good way to attract followers who are truly interested in your craft blog.

One way to do this is to choose a product that attracts the type of reader you hope to gain. A $100 gift card to Walmart is going to attract a lot of people who may not care too much about your photo blog. On the other hand, a handmade camera strap will attract the types of people who’d love to read a creative photo blog!

Handmade Camera Strap
Flickr/tjstabb

Promoting your giveaway

“If you host it, they will come.” Well, you hope so, but this is not always the the case. Unless they have a built-in following, most bloggers will need to implement some kind of promotion for their giveaway. This can be as simple as submitting to a few giveaways blogs, or as detailed as contacting individual bloggers and asking if they’ll share about the giveaway on their sites.

Here are some tried and true places to promote your giveaway.

On Twitter, share your giveaway with a link to the short URL, and include the tags #giveaway or #win. Example: If you haven’t liked our great #earrings, get on it quick because you could #win them! http://ow.ly/4P8XN #giveaway

On Facebook, share a link to the giveaway URL, preferably with a photo of the item. Before posting, use the @ symbol to type the name of specific people or pages you’d like to alert. For example, if I’m hosting a scrapbook supplies giveaway, I’m going to post something like: @Paper Crafts Magazine readers: Enter our giveaway! (When you type the @ symbol, a dropdown list of pages you “like” will pop up.)

Getting  entrants to promote your giveaway is one of the best ways to increase your giveaway promotion organically. For people to enter, ask them to link up the giveaway on their blog, Facebook or Twitter to spread the word. If you give them an extra entry for doing so, you’ll generally get a lot of new traffic.

Giveaway blogs like Quilty Giveaways and Blog Giveaways will allow you to submit your crafty giveaway link. When I host a giveaway, I also like to alert One Pretty Thing, Craft Gossip, and Someday Crafts (stop by on Thursday or Friday to link up).

Craft Buds has a continual giveaway linky party where you are always welcome to link up craft supplies and handmade giveaways!

Giveaways Roundup @ Craft Buds

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

If you get nothing else from this post, I hope you pop over to Sew Mama Sew and consider participating in this year’s May Giveaway Day! You must sign up by this Friday, May 20.

Once you sign up, decided if you want to give away a handmade item or craft supplies. You’ll post a giveaway on your blog next week from Monday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 25. Sew Mama Sew will create a master list of all participants, and you will get to experience the joy of getting lots of new visitors to your blog!

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day
It’s recommended that you keep your giveaway requirements short, because people will be entering tons of giveaways in addition to yours. One strategy is to ask readers to leave a comment of some sort, and follow your blog for an extra entry. Or you can ask them to follow you on Twitter, Like you on Facebook, or subscribe to your newsletter. (Just make sure that the prize value matches what you are asking participants to do.)

Have you hosted a great giveaway? Ever been part of a not-so-good- one? Please share your own giveaways tips in the comments! And if you know of any giveaways right now, link them up on our weekly giveaways roundup! We’ll be giving away some great stuff, too.

Promote Your Craft Blog: Linky Parties

So, you make really cute, adorable things. Your Facebook friends all seem to agree, that your crafts are, hands down, the best. But how do you get the word out about your handmade goods and find new blog readers and followers?

One great way to promote your crafts blog is to participate in linky parties. Also called linkups or blog hops, linky parties are regular gatherings of like-minded crafters who are invited to post their projects via a linkup application such as InLinkz or Linky Tools.

Linky parties happen all the time, all over the place, but you just need to know where to go to find them and when! If you need a little jump-start, hop over to the Craft Buds Linky Parties Page to see where we like to party each week.

How it Works

Some linky parties allow you to post a photo, but others are text links only. (This is generally a cheaper option for the blogger hosting the party, with annual linkup services costing around $20.) I’ve personally found that linking up with text linky parties is a great way to get a lot of hits. People are often so curious about your project that they’ll click on every link and visit every blog!

Weekly linky parties happen every week on a specific day of the week. If a Linky Party is for Mondays, for example, you typically have from Monday morning until midnight to add your project, and then the submissions list will close.

There are also a few monthly linky parties, such as Fresh Sewing Day (on the first of the month at Lily’s Quilts). A linky party may also be used as a giveaway tool (like at Lily’s Quilts), where each link counts as a contest entry.

Linky Party Etiquette

The purpose of posting your project to a linky party is to 1) get more visitors to your site and 2) find new and inspiring blogs to visit. An added bonus is creating links back to your site, which will increase your SEO (search engine optimization), making it easier for people to find you online.

With all these benefits, linky parties are sometimes used incorrectly. It’s important to read the guidelines set out by the blogger hosting a linky party, because if you don’t play nice, the party isn’t nearly as much fun!

Linky Party screenshot

Screenshot: Handmade Tuesdays Linky Party at Ladybug Blessings

Etiquette for linky parties usually includes:

1) Link to a recent project post, and not a link to the front page of your blog, your Etsy store or a giveaway, unless specifically stated by the host. The Girl Creative hosts two linky parties: Just Something I Whipped Up (Sunday) is for project posts, and Creative Girls Blog Hop (Friday) is general links to craft blog. Here at Craft Buds, we host a weekly linky party specifically for giveaways at our Giveaway Roundup.

2) Visit one or more links uploaded by someone else and leave a nice comment.

3) Link back to the host’s blog via a button or text link. This is a common courtesy, and it is usually appreciated if you link back in the same blog post that you are linking up, or in your blog’s sidebar. If you participate in very many linky parties, you may wish to create a separate page for all of your linky party buttons.

4) Follow the blog hosting a linky party via RSS or Google Friend Connect. This is not always required, but subscribing is a good reminder to link up week after week. Also, this will keep you in the know in case your project was featured as a favorite that week!

More Tips

If you are really a go-getter, why not leave a nice comment for the blogger hosting the party each week? It’s a bit of work to set up and manage a regular linky party, so make sure your host knows that their efforts are appreciated, and that you are not just looking for some free promo.

Try to build relationships with the other bloggers linking up by leaving kind comments and taking an interest in their crafts. These friendships will take you much farther than a few extra page views each week! You can check your blog stats to see how many people visit your blog from each linky party that week. Then you can tailor the linky parties you visit to that information.

So friends, who hosts the best linky parties on the Web? Do you party, and if so, where?