I’m writing this mini-challenge as part of the Biannual Blogathon Bash, a twice a year event where bloggers focus on working on their sites. I decided to write about hosting giveaway hops since its something I enjoy doing and have done many times. I hosted my very first giveaway hop in December 2010, The Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop, where over 200 blogs participated. Since then, I’ve run a number of hops- some sponsored, others not and have learned what works and what doesn’t work. Today I will share with you some tips on how you can organize and run your own giveaway hop!
1. Theme: The first step is to decide on a theme (if any) for your hop. Some ideas are to base it around a holiday (ie. Father’s Day, Halloween), event (Back to School, Birthday), category (ie. Gadgets, Gift Cards), or eligibility (ie. Canada giveaways, International giveaways). You will ask participants to have prizes for their giveaways that fit the theme of the hop.
2. Dates: The next step is to figure out when the hop will run and for what length of time which are usually anywhere from 5 to 14 days. There’s so many events out there now that it is hard to not overlap with someone else’s event. I try to not plan for mine to be at the same time as someone else’s hop, but it sometimes cannot be avoided.
3. Button: Make a button or hire someone to make you one for your event. Do this before you put up your post for sign ups. I’ve hired MamaNYC and Just Married with Graphics in the past to make my buttons.
4. Minimum Prize Value: This is the minimum value that the bloggers must have for their individual giveaways. I’ve seen them anywhere from $15 to $100 minimum prize value. It really depends on the theme of the hop so use your best judgment. I usually keep mine either $15 to $25 to make it easier for bloggers to participate.
5. Co-host (optional): Find a fellow blogger that you know and trust to help you plan and run the giveaway hop. Make sure you know them well though and how they work because you don’t want to be stuck doing all the work and them taking the credit.
6. Create a Google Form and/or Linky: Bloggers will need to sign up to join the hop and you will need their email to send them all the details of the hop. I normally do BOTH the Google Form and the Linky in my sign up post. I ask bloggers to first fill out the form and then add themselves to the linky. This saves me from having to create the linky at a later date. However, be aware that people do not always follow directions. Some bloggers will just add their link to the linky and NOT fill out the form and vice versa. I have to cross reference and make sure everyone who is in the form is also on the linky. Some linky services are Linky Tools (paid), Simply Linked, Misterlinky (paid) and InLinkz. I use Linky Tools.
7. Grand Prize (optional): Some giveaway hops have a grand prize on the host blogs that is sponsored by a company. If you do plan on finding a sponsor for the giveaway hop, I would suggest asking for payment from the sponsor. They will be getting lots of promotion by you and the participating bloggers sending traffic to enter the grand prize giveaway.
1. Post Sign-ups for Bloggers: I post on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and also sent out an email blast to bloggers subscribed to my Events Newsletter. Share in your Facebook groups (make sure to ask the admins for permission first though!).
In your sign-up post make sure to include the following key information:
- Name of Giveaway Hop
- Minimum Prize Value
- Link to Sign up form and/or Linky
- Event Button
- Blogger Incentive (optional)**
Requirements*: I wanted to discuss a little about requirements for bloggers to join the hop. I myself prefer FREE & no strings attached for blogs to join my hops. Some hops require participants to post about the sign-ups or put the event button on their sidebar. Personally I will not join events that require this (and I know other bloggers who think the same way as me) so if you do go that route, please understand that some blogs will not join. Also, some hops also have an admin fee to join. However, I’ve been noticing less hops that have a fee compared to this time last year so the trend seems to be going towards free hop.
Blogger Incentive**: To encourage other bloggers to spread the word about the hop, some organizers will offer a blogger incentive prize to the blogger who refers the most people to join the hop. The prize is usually something like $20 to $25 Paypal. I notice that when people do offer some kind of blogger incentive that many blogs will promote it and will ask others to join and say they sent them.
2. List the Giveaway Hop on Other Sites: Some sites will post about your event for free. You can list your giveaway in my Events Directory for free. Other bloggers with similar services include Sunshine and Sippy Cups Weekly Bloggertunities and Giveaway Promote (paid or barter option).
Organizing the Hop
1. Email Participants: About a week prior to the start of the giveaway hop, you will want to email all the participants. In the email include a sample post (especially if it is a sponsored giveaway hop so they can mention the grand prize & sponsor), links to the hosts, linky code, button (attach to the email though so no one hotlinks from your site), and event hashtag. Remind them again of the dates of the hop and what time their post should be up. I normally start mine at midnight EST. I would also recommend telling them that you will be removing blogs who have not posted their giveaway by a certain time. I tell my participants I remove links starting at noon EST the following day.
Mention for them to include who can enter in the giveaway (ie. US, Canada or worldwide). It is frustrating for people and you as the host to not know who can enter the giveaway. I also tell them to include the value of the giveaway if it is over $100 in the title of their giveaway and I will add that info to the linky.
The Night the Giveaway Hop Starts
1. Be Available: Make sure you are home the night the hop starts and expect a long night. There’s always last minute questions from people so you want to make sure you are around to answer them.
2. Update the Linky: As soon as the hop starts, I go visit all the blogs on the linky and update it with their direct link. This makes it SO MUCH easier for participants to enter the giveaway. I know myself, I will not search a blog to find a giveaway and I’m sure others won’t either.
I also include the prize value if it is over $100 and listed in the title.
****Very Important**** Include eligibility in the title PLEASE! Let people know it’s US only or Canada only so they don’t waste their time! I’m Canadian so it’s very annoying to find a hop that doesn’t say who can enter in the linky. Who has time to scan 100+ posts? Not me.
Here’s an example of how my links will look on the linky: Blog Name- Prize Value- Eligibility (Simply Stacie- $100 Value- US/CAN)
I have also started putting “No Giveaway” beside blogs that haven’t posted their giveaway when I check them after midnight EST the night of the launch.
The Morning After The Giveaway Hop Starts
1 Update the linky: Again you are back to updating the linky. I find that many blogs will have their giveaways posted by morning so I update the linky with the direct link and pertinent info and remove the “No Giveaway” from their listing.
At noon EST, I clean up the linky deleting blogs who have not posted.
Promoting the Giveaway Hop
1. Enter the giveaways in the hop: This supports the bloggers who have joined and their sponsors.
2. Tweet: I tweet every giveaway in my hop daily as long as they have a tweet entry in their giveaway or on their post.
3. Facebook: Select one or two giveaways in the hop at random and promote it via your Facebook page.
4. Newsletter (optional): For my last hop, I sent out a dedicated email newsletter to my weekly giveaway subscribers showcasing all the giveaways in my hop. I separated them by who can enter ie: Worldwide, US & Canada, Canada, etc.
The next giveaway hop I’ve got on the agenda is the Global Giveaway Hop. You are more than welcome to join if you wish!
Mini Challenge – Plan your own Giveaway Hop!
The first step is the most important one. Plan your hop and figure out all the details. Your hop is more likely to be successful if it is well planned and organized.
Leave me a link in the comments to your sign up post OR tell me the details of your hop if you haven’t put up the sign up post yet.