Many bloggers will run giveaway contests to try to get more traffic or new readers. Books and gift cards seem to be the most popular prizes. It appears that in most cases, the blogger is paying for the prize which I think is a bad idea.
Who enters these contests?
- Professional contest trollers – They set Google alerts and hang out together on forums to find out where the contests are. These people don’t give a rat’s ass about your blog – all they want is a chance at winning something they can either use as cash (gift certificate) or resell (book, merchandise). You will never a new reader out of these people.
- Existing readers – Your current readers will likely enter the contest, but what do you gain if they enter or win? Nothing.
You might get the occasional new reader from a contest, but your cost per acquisition will be enormous and not worth it. Readers want to read your content – giving items away has nothing to do with your content.
Even if you can buy new readers – what is the point? If you are trying to make money – regular readers don’t pay the bills – search engine visitors do.
How to get more readers
If you really want to spend money on your business, spend it where it might have some effect. Pay for content – this content can go on your site or can be used for guest post material which will provide more links to your site.
If you really want more readers, start working on guest posts. Yes, they take time, but they will be far more effective at gaining new readers than any contest.
Note – This article is only referring to contests where the site owner is paying for the prize. If you can get someone else to sponsor it – then go for it!
See my follow up article: Blog giveaway contests are not always a waste of time. Some are very profitable.