Unsolicited Advice: Too Many Giveaways















Even though my current blog is only a few months old, I've been blogging for three years continuously and in multiple places (Twenties Hacker. Check them out!). In no way am I an expert, but I have learned a thing or two since hitting publish for the first time. I feel a little weird about writing a how-to on blogging, but I feel compelled to complain about blogging pet peeves pass on any wisdom that I might have.
Last time on Unsolicited Advice: The Blogging Community 

Y'all, I love getting awesome free stuff; I also love giving away awesome free stuff. This is something that pretty much everyone I've ever met has in common. Companies know this, so they approach blogs to host giveaways in exchange for some online pimping. I think it's a fantastic way to expand readership, encourage interaction with readers, and introduce people to a company or product that they might not have heard about otherwise. I'm completely open to hosting giveaways

What bugs me, though, is when a blog that I read (and love!) suddenly turns into a contest posting board. There is little to no unique or interesting content, just post after post about some "wonderful" item that they are giving away. Again. I don't follow your blog because I want free stuff--that's why I go to trade shows or Costco on Sundays. I follow your blog because something about your content excited me, or interested me. I've even followed a blog because I loved their design and wanted to be able to reference it later. 

What are the telltale signs that you've sold out and turned into a giveaway machine? 
  1. You post a giveaway every day. 
  2. Your post announcing the winners of the past weeks' giveaways is longer than your About Me page. 
  3. Every post includes Rafflecopter (or similar)
  4. A reader has to go into your archives for a post that doesn't include a giveaway.
  5. You post multiple giveaways every day. 
  6. The largest tag in your tag cloud is "giveaway"
  7. You classify yourself as a fashion blogger but you're giving away a ShamWow. 
  8. You {finally} post something that doesn't include a giveaway, and vultures comment on how cheap you are for not giving something away. 
  9. You have never turned down a request to give something away, regardless of what the item is.
  10. You are the first result for "free stuff" in Google. 
So how can you ensure that you are being responsible with your giveaways? 
  1. Set goals for your blog. I have two goals when it comes to blogging: producing content that I am proud of, and making connections with new people. Any time I decide to do anything with my blog--whether it's changing the layout or posting something--I ask myself "is this going to help me achieve a goal?" If it doesn't, then it's back to the drawing board for me. 
  2. Create a plan to meet those goals. I offer sponsorships and ad swaps through my blog mostly because it is an excellent way to meet new people while simultaneously sharing the blogs that I enjoy. Through these, I've met lots of amazing people and forged some genuine friendships. The rest of my "plan" for making connections friends is to connect through social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are my favourites). {Word to the wise--Passionfruit Ads makes it ridiculously simple to offer ads and swaps.}
  3. Know your demographic. I am a beauty and lifestyle blogger, and eventually I'd love to branch out into fashion as well. Sephora, Shabby Apple, Mod Cloth, Essie, even Neutrogena--these are all brands that would fit seamlessly into my blogging persona. ShamWow or Hair Club for Men? Not exactly. Stick to hosting giveaways or writing sponsored posts for items or brands that fit your blog--even though you're "writing for yourself", ultimately if you're hosting giveaways then you are also writing for an audience. 
  4. Set limits for yourself--and stick to them. So far, I have chosen not to host giveaways on my blog. I'm still finding my voice and gaining a following, so at this point it just isn't comfortable for me. Once I am comfortable with it, I don't want to host more than two per month. Two will allow me to highlight companies that I really do enjoy and want to share, while still focusing on generating quality content. 
  5. Focus on your content and your following will grow organically. I know of many bloggers that specifically hosted giveaways because they had a 'goal' number of followers that they wanted to achieve; they hit their mark, but unfortunately their content suffered. In the end, isn't successful blogging producing something that others want to read? 
How do you deal with giveaways on your blog?