Yesterday I posted ways to increase blog traffic. Today we’re taking a closer look at using giveaways to promote page views and increase followers.
Cons of Hosting Giveaways
- They can be expensive.
- They can be time-consuming and take away time you would otherwise use to generate new content for your blog.
- The new “followers” you get (if following is required to enter) probably aren’t actually interested in your blog.
- People cheat, so you’ll have to verify the entries.
Pros of Hosting Giveaways
- If the giveaway is properly publicized, you’ll get new visitors to your blog.
- Some of these visitors might stay and become followers.
- You’ll increase your stats.
- More people will continue to follow your blog if they know you post giveaways frequently.
- You give back to the book blogging community and your followers.
My Opinion on Giveaways
If you have the money and the inclination, go for it. It’s true that giveaways don’t necessarily attract invested readers and may just inflate your stats. (Read more on this at Nose Graze.) That itself could be useful if you need higher stats to attract publishers and get ARCs, even if it’s disingenuous. However, I think most bloggers have inflated stats since readers naturally drift away, so the main goal is to not actively try to get fake numbers. The real benefit of giveaways is that they get people to visit your blog and get some people to follow your blog. Even if those people never intended to actively follow your content, you’re ahead if your posts are coming up in their Facebook or Twitter feeds. You’re now on their radar, and something you post may catch their attention in the future. This is great news, particularly for newer bloggers or bloggers who have a goal of increasing their followers. Giveaways won’t get you dedicated fans, but they’ll get you some attention, which is the first step to finding real fans.
The reality at pages unbound
Pages Unbound has hosted giveaways in the past (list here), and I even made a concerted effort to increase giveaways in 2015 because I felt I should give back to a community that has given me so much (including lots of giveaway prizes!). However, giveaways are not a major feature of our blog, partially because huge giveaways aren’t in the budget for either me or my co-blogger.
I don’t think the increase in giveaways increased our traffic or followers. This is attributable in part to the fact I hosted one-book giveaways that were US-only, in order to limit costs. This means if people weren’t interested in the particular book on offer or were interested but didn’t have a US mailing address, they couldn’t enter. Most of our followers didn’t enter, and we didn’t get many new followers; what we did get was a few non-follower cheaters using giveaway-only Twitter accounts and providing fake URLs to get more entries.
So what would I do if I wanted to use giveaways for the specific purpose of increasing blog traffic and followers? Offer book gift cards, so people could buy whatever they wanted if they won, and make sure the giveaway were open internationally. A big box of books would also be a more attractive prize than a single book, though shipping internationally would be difficult. Finally, I would cut down on entry options and only allow people to tweet about the giveaway once, instead of once per day while the giveaway was open, in order to cut down on the cheating.
Do you host giveaways on your blog? tell us why or why not in the comments!