Since Deb did the previous post on the benefits of contests I thought I’d follow that theme with where to find prizes for said contests.
Sit around and wait: People will come to you if you’ve been blogging long enough. Companies and PR folks will email you and just offer stuff up. Loads of stuff. It can depend on your blog topic though. I never get any decent free prize offers at my blog about weird homes because frankly no one give houses away or other stuff related to weird homes. At my other blogs I get many offers a week though. To make sure folks can contact you, a solid contact page and email is an essential blog component.
ProfNet: Deb and I have both mentioned them before but they’re seriously a great place to get prizes. The downside, you’ll also get plenty of offers that don’t match your blog at all. I got an offer for free bleach-based products – at my green blog! Sorting all the emails can be a major pain. Other PR contacts ans sites can work as well.
Amazon.com: Or any bookstore site really. Keep up on which books are soon to be released. Often book authors are looking for people willing to do a book review and will send you a copy or two if you ask. Book contests in my experience do well.
New companies: Brand new companies and online stores are way more willing to give you prizes in trade for some promotion than say Hallmark – believe me, on one particularly brave night I asked Hallmark for some stuff. They were nice but um no. That said, don’t be afraid to ask big companies either – some will give you items.
Use your reader comments to your advantage: If you found a product you liked, wrote a review about it, and got great reader response, email the company and tell them. Companies love good responses and will often send you a prize thank you.
Other bloggers: If you get a prize offer you can’t use send the email you got with the offer to another blogger, they may reciprocate one day.
Local specialty stores: In your area there are likely little specialty stores that would love some free promotion on your blog. Visit said stores, build relationships, and set up a contest. Note that the store is more likely to particiapte if they have an online shop too – not all shops do – so check.
Spend your own money: A gamble that could or could not pay off. I did this at my blog I mentioned above; my weird home blog. Since I never get product offers there, I never do contests. One day I randomly decided to have a contest though because I do appreciate my readers there. That contest I think brought in some 300 plus comments and pumped my traffic up considerably – the extra traffic was enough to cover the amount of the cost of prizes and then some. Plus the traffic never went back down, so I’m assuming it brought in quite a few new readers. That was a good gamble. But just be forewarned I’ve seen blog contests that have zero entries so… It is a risk.
Where else have you scored prizes for blog contests?