I used to run a heaping handful of blog contests at my client’s blogs. Contests and giveaways can be fun, improve traffic stats, connect you nicely with companies and draw in and encourage new readers, but I’ve come to realize that contests and giveaways are not worth it at every blog you write for.
When it’s not worth it:
If they take too much time. Hosting a decent two week giveaway at a blog requires extra time. For example, you’ll have more comments to moderate, PR reps (or the company) hosting the giveaway to deal with, and time spent making sure the winner/s get the prize/s. For every successful and easy giveaway I’ve ran at a blog, I can name another contest that didn’t go so well. Companies ‘forget’ to send winners prizes; upset winners email you over and over; and sometimes winners don’t respond at all which pushes the giveaway into massive overtime. And we haven’t even covered the time you’ll spend securing prizes for a giveaway.
Before you run a contest you need to calculate your personal wage rate and figure out if you’re actually being paid enough to deal with a contest because trust me; 80% of them are time consuming.
If your client is sketchy. If you have a gut feeling that your blogging gig is not secure I’d think real hard before holding a giveaway. The last thing you need is to start a giveaway then get fired midway through. Plus, if a client is sketchy, why go above and beyond? Do your job of course (i.e. meet your quota) but giveaways, in my opinion are really only beneficial for the client unless you’re paid partially by revenue.
If it’s going to be too complicated. Some blog themes show comment numbers. Some don’t. Comment numbering is a must if you hold giveaways because if comments are sans numbers you’re going to need to count those comments up freestyle which is 100% obnoxious. If your client won’t install a theme or plugin that numbers comments, I’d skip holding giveaways.
If giveaways don’t work for your blog. Some blogs benefit from giveaways. Some benefit from very specific giveaways. Some blogs don’t gain anything from giveaways. Find out what sort of blog you write for and only hold a giveaway that you estimate will be a success. This means a bit of trial and error, but it’s worth it. For example, at one blog I used to write for baby clothing and beauty care prizes would yield 100s of contest entries which is beneficial because that’s a nice traffic bump. At that same blog you couldn’t pay people to enter a contest for pet supplies or books. End result – don’t hold contests for books or pet gear.
When contests may be worth it:
- If part of your job is actually to run giveaways.
- If you’re paid partially or in whole by revenue.
- If you write for a money saving type blog – in my experience you can give away almost anything at a “thrifty” type blog and traffic will come in hoards.
- If you want to get in good with a company – companies really adore bloggers who can run a decent giveaway.
- If you want to do something nice for your readers. Standing members of your blog community sometimes just deserve a fun giveaway.
- If you’re interested in a non-spammy way to promote your client’s blog.
The final say:
In most cases now, I don’t consider running blog contests for clients a good use of my time. I run them for clients who pay me well to do so – such as at gigs where I’m a community manager not only a blogger and I think blog contests are beneficial at my personal blogs, however, I’ve found that for my pure blog writing gigs my time is better spent writing or spending some time promoting the blog via social networking.
What do you think? Are blog giveaways for clients worth it or too much of a pain?