Do Bloggy Give-Aways Translate Into More Readers?

carnival_buttonAlmost every blog I visit these days is having some sort of give-a-way – gift cards, hand made crafts, blog candy, children’s products and some bloggers are even giving away computers!  It seems just about everyone has something to give.  Product review blogs, particularly by mommy bloggers are popping up everywhere!  How these mommies are getting product to review blows my mind ’cause hey!  Hello manufacturers – I like free stuff too!  Even I’ve hosted give-a-ways – my most recent one being two WedgEZ during the #GNO twitter party on Tuesday night.  (Actually these were sent to me by the manufacturer last spring to review – I got them through a Twitter contact).  While its great that companies are reaching out to their consumers and making them feel special I wonder, are these bloggers generating more readers or just trying to get free stuff?

Do giveaways generate more readers? 

In my experience?  No.  It definitely generates more blog traffic – I’ll give it that.  During bloggy giveaway weeks I see a huge spark in traffic, but it hasn’t translated into any new readers.  By new I mean regular readers, people who comment at least once a week.  The new traffic I get during giveaway weeks rarely comments on any of my posts other than the giveaway post.  Even after I respond personally to every entrant in a giveaway, I don’t generally see any increase in subscribers and definitely no increase in regular readers. 

Building A Community

They say the secret to regular readers is to build a community.  Do giveaways help build community?  In my opinion not really – people stop by, comment and hope that they get emailed to tell them they won.  After their initial comment, the visitor never returns.  Maybe I’m doing something wrong?  Maybe the way I run my giveaways doesn’t help to build community?  Is there a secret to running successful giveaways?  This brings me back to my original thoughts – commenting and interacting with your readers is the best way to build a sense of community. 

What About Finding New Readers?

Don’t ask me – I’m horrible at finding new readers, however, ProBlogger also has 10 Techniques for Finding New Readers – here they are:

10. Write at least five major “pillar” articles.
9. Write one new blog post per day minimum.
8. Use a proper domain name.
(I’ll have to disagree on this one – Don Mills Diva seems to have an endless stream of awesome readers and she has a blogspot address: http://donmillsdiva.blogspot.com – her secret?  Great content!)
7. Start commenting on other blogs.
6. Trackback and link to other blogs in your blog posts. (Which reminds me, Janet at Three and Holding had a kick butt Christmas song for the blogosphere on her blog yesterday that I meant to share with you: http://threeandholding.blogspot.com)
5. Encourage comments on your own blog.
4. Submit your latest pillar article to a blog carnival.
3. Submit your blog to blogtopsites.com.
2. Submit your articles to EzineArticles.com.
1. Write more pillar articles.

Notice that none of the tips include hosting bloggy giveaways?  Which leads me to think that if I do somehow obtain free product to review, I should just randomly send it to the wonderful readers I have and love.  Now what do you think of that?  Would you keep coming back to me if I showed you the love  and randomly gave out free stuff?  Or would you think I was just creepy?

19 thoughts on “Do Bloggy Give-Aways Translate Into More Readers?

  1. I picked up two new firefighters who are now readers of our blog on a daily basis thanks to our HP Magic Giveaway. Even if we only gained two more readers, well then, nothing to complain about at all. :)

    FireMoms last blog post..Be Fire Smart!

    1. Hmmm – giving away computers might be a bit a rather extra-ordinary situation. However I would love to pick up some firefighter readers, especially if they sent me free calendars :)

      Thanks for stopping by!
      -Janice aka @momontherun

  2. I found a few new blogs to become regular readers of through the Bloggy Carnival and I subscribe to at least 35% of the blogs I sign up for giveaways at. Possibly more. You’re right that in general giveaways just generate more traffic but It’s nice to be able to gift something to someone, even if I don’t know them.

    Callistas last blog post..Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale

  3. Yeah, you have to make it clear when they sign up that you’ll be sending them emails from time to time. Marketing-type people tell me it is easier to sell email list ads than online ads, but personally I don’t like email lists. (That’s why I have a website) I’d rather people went to the site and commented (creating a resource for other people) than read everything in a newsletter. However, if you are trying to market an event or a product it’s probably worth maintaining an email list.

    Jenyum/Tacomamamas last blog post..School Funding, And Other Cheerful Holiday Topics.

    1. In reply to: CARYN B

      I guess entering giveaways generates more readers than hosting them? LOL. Don’t worry – I always comment back and am on my way over to read more of your blog 😉

  4. Is it bad that I don’t give a shit if anyone reads my blog? My family & friends do, and almost never comment (except the few that are bloggers themselves) and that’s enough for me. My review blog, though, is a different story. With 20 000 uniques a week now it’s rather huge in my opinion but I don’t delude myself – people come for the chance at free stuff. 😉

    much more than a moms last blog post..Didi & Ditto Preschool – Review & Giveaway!

  5. I think they can encourage visitors, AND if they find good stuff….(and content that interests them!) then they will visit again.
    I think linking and commenting are also good ways to find new readers…

    Michelle Kostyas last blog post..Feeding Monkeys

  6. I had a giveaway last month (I think) and had one comment – maybe nobody wanted what I was giving since the person who won won’t tell me his address to send it to :)

    I do some of the stuff up there but I do wonder about the traffic thing. I don’t give a shit if someone stops by once and leaves a comment, that means nothing to me. I do enjoy the people who regularly stop by and send some wishes or give their opinions, even if there aren’t many… it makes me feel less alone in my thoughts.

    I don’t want traffic for the sake of traffic. My posts may not interest anyone ever, but I’m still gonna post them whether or not there’s traffic. I’ll just appreciate what I have and enjoy any new regulars if that happens.

  7. You do get more readers, but they are readers who like to win free stuff! Give-aways are a slippery slope, once you go there it is hard to go back.

    The majority of my giveaways aren’t given to me to give away, I buy them and give them away.

    I am trying to make my blog a mix of decent content, photos, and some giveaway goodness. I must say I don’t like the blogs that are just about ‘give aways’ tell you about contests and giveaways only.

    There are loads of folks fighting over this lately and I say, “HEY, it’s your blog, do what the hell you want with it”!

    When I started my blog it was and extension of my business, and we gave away tons of product. Now that it is just me blogging for the sake of blogging, my audience has shrunk but I think I am slowly gaining ‘friends’ who are following for fun and not stuff.

    Mommyknows

    mommyknowss last blog post..$25 iTunes Giveaway

  8. i used to have a different blog that had close to 500 readers/day. i had to shut it down because of my in-laws. but…when i reopened under a different name…i lost a TON of readers…
    but…i used to blog obsessively. i don’t have the time anymore. so…i have a few faithful blog friends. i’ve met a couple more through venues like linkreferral, blog catalog and cre8buzz.
    giveaways…they don’t insure your readers will come back once the giveaway is over…but, they are fun to do.

  9. Hi Janice,
    Could you let me know which blogs are giving away the new computers? I really need to replace this old one, and I don’t think Santa is going to help me out… :)
    Seriously though, you raise a good question here that I often wonder about (it does seem like a lot of blogs are giving away stuff these days). I don’t think it works long term. I think the best way to get new readers (and keep them) is to write interesting stuff, and read and comment on other people’s blogs. Of course that’s a lot more work than giving stuff away. 😉 Fortunately, I’m still in the “honeymoon phase” with my new blog and don’t care about my reader count yet, and I can also write about anything that strikes my fancy, like funny looking goldfish zebra-striped disco shoes…
    Anyway, thanks for letting me comment. Merry Christmas!
    ~ Steve, aka the trade show guru

    Steve | Trade Show Gurus last blog post..Top 3 Trade Show Display Design Mistakes

  10. I’m the category of blog with a small number of readers, but for a giveaway my comment reader count goes way up. I’m not buying the giveaways, so it is no skin off my nose. I actually like writing the review portion. I have been turning review articles in to other related articles and submitting the articles elsewhere. For right now I am making zero dinero on blogging but loving every minute of the writing and finding new networks and entering giveaways.

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