Blog Giveaways: Why You Should Stop Them Right Now

Thursday, January 23, 2014 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

Dear blogger who loves holding giveaways, what’s your problem? Don’t tell me you don’t have one. I’m sure you do. Maybe you just don’t know it yet.

You see, not so long ago, I loved holding blog giveaways, just like you. I had one every month for a while, in fact. But the longer I worked on my blog and my social networks, the more I realized that blog giveaways might be more of a bane than a blessing.

blog giveaway tips

Are you the type of blogger or social media manager who loves using blog giveaways or Facebook giveaways to gain more likes and followers? Then, this blog post is meant especially for you.

Blog Giveaways: Reasons They Won’t Work Anymore

You see a blog holding giveaways and your see them getting hundreds to thousands of entries on their Rafflecopter widget. You feel jealous. You want to hold your own giveaway – and you do. You get excited; people are starting to join and connect with you on your social networks.

But giveaways are like alcohol: They make for a great social lubricant but if you get carried away, you’ll just end up looking like a fool.

Having 100,000 followers is a shame if all you offer your followers is one giveaway after another.

Of your thousands of followers, how many actually hit the like button when you post status updates? How many leave a comment?

Your followers will like you for what you’re doling out – not for your content. And doesn’t that suck? When it comes to social media, it’s not just the number of followers that matters, but also the quality of engagement you have.

Besides, if they followed you because of your giveaways, they might unfollow you when you stop giving away stuff. Ask yourself, do you want your followers to follow you for the things you’re giving away? Or for your awesome blog posts and engaging social media content?

The only time you want your followers to be there primarily to win your giveaways is when your blog is a giveaway blog. Otherwise, you want people to like your page or follow you on Twitter because they like you and your content, not the stuff you’re doling out.

But If You Must Hold a Giveaway…

…Well, I can’t blame you. Here, we have a generation of bloggers who like making a detour (I used to be one of those). And I have to admit, giveaways can be tasteful if done with care.

These are the things I want to see in a giveaway. Tell me if you agree.

Giveaway Tip #1:
A blog giveaway should have awesome prizes.

cheap prizeAnd for the grand prize: One chili pepper! (Yeah, boo!)

When the prize you’re giving to the winner is just a souvenir cup from some press launch you attended, forget it. If you design a giveaway and your prize sucks, it’s not worth your time and effort. More importantly, your readers and followers deserve better.


Giveaway Tip #2:
Giveaways should be done in moderation.

crowd controlYou don’t want a crowd of fans who are just after the freebies.
C’mon, are you really that superficial?

Holding one giveaway after another is almost like admitting you don’t have the chutzpah to provide fresh, engaging, interesting content. Don’t keep using freebies to bribe people into loving you.


Giveaway Tip #3:
Giveaways should be complemented by great content.

blog contentContent is king, according to this cat that looks ready to scratch your eyes out if you beg to differ.

I won’t mind holding a giveaway if it’s just the bonus, not the highlight, of my blogging career. Have you ever seen a social media manager or a blogger who said, “I have a million followers – and they followed me because I give away stuff!” Yeah, I don’t want to be that person, either.


Giveaway Tip #4:
It’s okay to hold a cheap giveaway if it’s meant to drive a point.

make a pointHey, you! I’m holding a giveaway because I want you to listen!
Not because I think you don’t have the money to buy stuff!

For instance, if you’re giving away affordable soap bars to promote handwashing awareness , I don’t think your loyal readers would mind. But if you’re giving them away just because you got them for free and you don’t really see yourself using them, just… stop. You’re better off donating them, you know.

The Giveaway Lesson (Pun Intended)

Using giveaways to jumpstart your social networks is okay. But the longer you do your job (if you do it well), the more you realize that those giveaways will no longer work for you.

Start focusing on your content! Share more interesting stuff on Facebook and Twitter. Start sharing awesome photos on Instagram instead of abusing hashtags to get attention.

Before you litter your social networks with trivial giveaways, give it a second thought. More importantly, start blogging about stuff that people will actually want to read. Take it from someone who used to love holding giveaways but knows better now.

The blogosphere is already littered with crap; it’s time for some damage control. Know of bloggers who abuse giveaways for the sole purpose of getting more likes and followers? Post this article on your Facebook page – and pray really hard that they read it!

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!