How to enter a blog competition

Blog competitions and giveaways are a relatively new phenomenon, and can be totally bewildering if you’ve never seen a blog before! Perhaps first I should explain what a blog is – it’s short for ‘weblog’, and people write them as an online public diary – most bloggers will update their blogs with 3 or 4 posts a week, so it can be a very time-consuming hobby. There are several different styles of competition on blogs – some blogs use entry forms, where you simply submit your name and email address, but most will want you to leave comments to enter the draw. In the UK, the majority of blog giveaways are hosted on ‘mummy blogs’ so the prizes will be family-orientated – the benefit of this is the low entry numbers.
The great thing about most blog comps is you can see at a glance how many people have entered, and what your chances are. I generally win a blog competition a week, usually small prizes like toiletries, toys or books – although I have recently won a fab £150 laundry hamper from the All Baby Advice blog!


Before you get started 
It’s possible to enter and win blog competitions without doing so, but I recommend that you sign up for a gmail account or set up a Google profile using your existing email address. To do this, go to www.google.com and choose your username, then complete your details. Having a Google account also means you can access Google Docs – I find the online spreadsheets essential for organising my comping lists!

Entry requirements
 
Many blog competitions require a compulsory method of entry, and then offer optional extra entries – for many blog giveaways you do not have to have a Twitter or Facebook account! You will usually be asked to leave each entry as a separate comment, this is because usually the blogger will use random.org to choose a winning comment from the total number of comments. They will check that the winner completed all the steps they claim to have done before awarding the prize.

The most common entry requirements are:

  • Publicly follow *blog name* on Google Friend Connect – this is a way of following blogs that you enjoy – you can view the latest updates in your Google Reader, or using an RSS App on your Smartphone. To follow a blog on Google Friend Connect look for the widget on the blog (mine is to the right) and click ‘Join this site’ – you can sign in using a Google (or Gmail), Twitter, Yahoo, AIM, Netlog or OpenID account. After doing this, leave a comment on the blog along the lines of “I follow you on GFC”
  • Follow *blog name* on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway.There will be a link to Twitter in the instructions – click this and then click ‘Follow’. To tweet about the giveaway, make sure you include the URL (web address) of the giveaway as well as the blogger’s Twitter name – often, the blogger will post the exact tweet so you can copy and paste it. After doing this, leave a comment on the blog to say you’re following and you tweeted, leaving your Twitter name. You may be requested to add a link to your Tweet – to do this, visit your Profile page at www.twitter.com and look for the time under your tweet (‘1 minute ago’ for example). Click on this, then copy the address from your browser address bar. If you’re new to Twitter, read my advice here.
  • Like *blog name* on Facebook – There will be a link to Facebook in the instructions – click this, log in to Facebook and then click ‘Like’ at the top of the page. You may also be required to leave a comment on the page, or to ‘tag’ the page in a post on your own Wall. To ‘tag’ a page, you need to Like it first, then when you start typing your update, type ‘@’ before the blog’s page name. The name should appear in a drop down menu and will appear highlighted in blue – or ‘tagged’ in your update. This means that your post contains a direct link to that page, and will usually appear on that page’s wall. After doing this, leave a comment on the blog to say you Like the page (along with your Facebook name).  
  • Subscribe to *blog name* by email – There will be a box on the blog to add your email address (it’s to the right on my blog) – you will receive an email confirming your subscription and you will need to click on the link in the email to activate your subscription. Leave a comment to say “I subscribe by email.” 
  • Follow *blog name* using Networked Blogs Access blogs on Facebook using Networked Blogs –  click ‘Follow this blog’ and then Connect via Facebook to activate.
  • Visit the sponsor’s website and answer a question about it – There will be a link to the sponsor’s website, and you might need to choose your prize, or your favourite item – return to the blog and comment with a description or a link.  
Other entry requirements can include:

  • Follow the sponsor on Twitter
  • Like the sponsor on Facebook
  • Share the competition link on Facebook
  • Blog about the competition
  • Add a badge to your blog linking to the competition
  • Comment on any of the blogger’s other posts
The important thing to remember when entering blog competitions is making sure you’re contactable! Most bloggers will get in touch with their winner by email or a Twitter Reply. If you’ve set up a Google Friend Connect profile, include an email contact on your page (see my profile as an example) – if you haven’t done this, and you don’t have a Twitter account, you will need to include your email in a comment on the blog – if you’re concerned about spammers then write it as ‘di (dot) coke (at) me (dot) com’, for example. Some bloggers want their competition entrants to be regular readers of their blog, and so they will announce you as the winner in a blog post and ask you to get in touch within a certain amount of time. To make sure you don’t miss an announcement, you should search for your name at www.google.com/reader every couple of days!

Using Rafflecopter
 

A new way of running a blog competition is Rafflecopter, which might look a bit complicated at first glance, so here’s a video explaining how to use it: 


How to Enter Rafflecopter Giveaways from Rafflecopter on Vimeo.


For a Rafflecopter competition, there will be one or more mandatory entry methods, with instructions. When you have completed these, click ‘I Did It’ to register your email address – you can then complete the optional entries. There may be an option to tweet a link daily, so if it’s a prize you really want you could do this for extra entries. If you’re entering a Rafflecopter giveaway, you leave your email address with every entry (it won’t be published), which means that there shouldn’t be any issues with the blogger being unable to contact you. With some Rafflecopter promotions, you won’t need to have a Google, Twitter or Facebook account to enter – if you like, you can just specify one mandatory entry method, which is to leave a comment on your blog. 

Where to find blog competitions
Your first stop should be my monthly SuperLucky Blog Comp Linkys, which you can access through the two links at the top right of my blog – I update the lists to remove expired comps every few days. You can also search on Twitter – but watch out as you might pick up giveaways that aren’t open to UK readers!

Once you start following blogs you will have lots of posts in your Google Reader and can search it regularly for the word ‘win’ to find the giveaways.

If you want to race through your comps quickly then blog giveaways probably won’t suit you – try to stop and have a browse of the blog rather than just comp and go! Through entering giveaways I have found some wonderful blogs and made some very good friends. If you’re lucky enough to win a prize, be patient – remember that bloggers don’t get paid to blog, and that they often have busy family lives so they might not be able to get back to you immediately – often the problem can be with the PR company who are posting the prize on!

1 Response

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. Nice blog.

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