One of the go-tos of the blogger world is the giveaway. Giveaways for products specific to your niche or readership can be a great way to increase your social media following and increase reader engagement. While they can be effective, I think that when it comes to giveaways, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Reasons why you should use giveaways sparingly:
1. They take web space away from real content. As a blogger, I spend a lot of time reading other blogs, both for inspiration and for my own personal entertainment and edification. One of the things that turns me off from a blog is when all that seems to be published are posts about giveaways. I read blogs because I want to learn something new, laugh, or otherwise benefit. If I wanted free things all the time, I’d obsessively enter Publisher’s Clearing House or something. Giveaway posts, if written in a way that the giveaway is secondary to some sort of content, can be much more tolerable, but bloggers should be careful as to not make giveaways the focus.
2. They cheapen your blog, if used too much. This ties into the first reason. If your blog becomes more about giving away things than it is about content, readers are going to begin to view your blog as a haven for free stuff, not a thoughtful, helpful, or otherwise valuable site. Readers will skim your content to find the “free stuff” posts and your hard-hitting thoughts on body image or politics or whatever else will get lost in the shuffle.
3. They can inflate your stats. Let’s be honest, if you’re asked to like a blog’s Facebook page in order to enter a giveaway, do you really care that much what the page is about? At its core, a giveaway is a way to gain numbers, not readers. The hope is that by persuading some people into liking your Facebook page with the offer of free stuff, you’ll be able to convert them to readers by giving them exposure to your content, but numbers are not the same as readers. Inflated stats could be good if you’re looking for brand partnerships or sponsorships, but I personally would feel guilty touting around my stats when I know that 3/4 of the people that follow me are actually just numbers, not involved readers.
I love giveaways, and think they can be a really fun way to share your favorite products with your readers and gain some new readers, but they have to be used as a way to bring new readers to your content, not replace your content altogether.
What are your thoughts on giveaways?