Venus Trapped in Mars

27 May 2015

How To Put Together A Successful Giveaway + $150 Nordstrom Giveaway

Every month, I put together my ESPN 2 Sponsor's group guest post, and set up a group giveaway. Giveaways get a a much higher amount of page views than an average post, so more often than not, I'll combine the two -- the group guest post and the giveaway -- so that my ESPN2 sponsor guest post will benefit from that higher traffic.

Here are some other tips I've found successful along the way.

How I Organize a Group Guest Post

1. Google Docs
Once you make an original google doc for your sponsors who will participate in a group giveaway, you can simply reuse it every single month. With a full time job, blog and side design business, my email is difficult enough to keep up with. I use google docs to keep up with everything from blog template installations to sponsor and giveaway information. Here is a link to my google doc form for the group guest post.

2. Ask Your Sponsors for Their Top 2 Favorite Posts
Let them show off their best, most popular work for your readers to first see. Personally, I would prefer to send potential new readers to my best posts, than to take a chance that a new reader lands on a sponsored post or something that may not convey what my blog is really about.

3. Setup a Graphic
Put some effort in for your sponsors. Don't just copy and paste a blurb and some links. Make it look pretty, they'll get more clicks that way and maybe sponsor you again.

4. Ask questions that allow their personality to shine through
I'm the WORST at comping up with a good "tell me about your blog" blurb. I usually end up talking about sports too much, even though my blog is much broader than that. Although I think a blurb about their blog is effective to use in a group guest post, include another question or task that lets your readers really get a better idea of who this blogger is.

::: Some examples of questions I've used in the past :::

What are the top 5 favorite cities you've ever visited? // example

What are 5 things you would do on a weekend with no plans? // example

Hey that's a cute kid! Include a picture of you as a kid for us. // example

What GIF most accurately describes you and your blog? // example

What is your favorite pin you've pinned recently? // example

How I Organize a Group Giveaway

1. Don't let everyone contribute their own prize
When I first started blogging, everyone was doing this for their group giveaway. You'd have a giveaway that included 4 different blogger's ad space, random assortments of lipsticks, nail polishes and other odds and ends. I didn't see a big enough incentive for people to enter, and personally found it a little bizarre, so I never ran one like that. Just collect money for a cash prize or gift certificate. It is more effective, and paying your winner their prize is a heck of a lot smoother.

2. I never like to put my own personal links before I list everyone else's
When hosting a giveaway, put other's links before your own. I think it looks really bad when you open start to enter a group giveaway and the host's links are all listed first. The primary purpose of hosting a giveaway is to promote your sponsors. 

3. Don't "Collect Any Info From Visitors to Verify This Entry"
You'll see a box checked when making your Rafflecopter giveaway that says "Collect Any Info From Visitors to Verify This Entry".... uncheck that.  When you pick a winner, it will give you their full name and email address, and tell you what entry won them the giveaway. Go by that information and verify that they completed the entry. In two years, I have yet to have a single problem verifying using this process. Your entries will increase when you don't make your readers jump through hoops to enter.

4. There is no need to make people comment
I used to do this for every giveaway, and ask a silly, pointless question like "What's your favorite color?!" If that giveaway had 100 entries, that would be 100 emails in my inbox with one word answers like, "pink." COOL. You're not gaining exposure from blog comments, and it was annoying for my readers and annoying for me.

5. The Bloglovin Like/Save button is your best friend****
I have a full post on the bloglovin save/like button here. One of your first entries should be for readers to "like this post via bloglovin." When your post hits a certain amount of likes, it appears on the popular page and you have access to THOUSANDS of people you normally wouldn't reach.

6. Suggest but don't require everyone share it on their blog
Man I hate it when people tell me I HAVE to share a giveaway on my blog. I'd have probably shared it anyway, but when you tell me that it is mandatory I get peeved. Just request that your sponsors post the giveaway at the end of one of their regularly scheduled blog posts, but that it is certainly not mandatory. From past experience, this works just fine and your sponsors will more than likely post it!

Now, let's put it all to work! 

Meet my friends this month, Alanna and Rachel, and then check out this month's $150 giveaway to Nordstrom! 

Alanna & Company

::: Start Here ::: 15 Signs You're Going Through A Quarter Life Crisis // Why I Love DC
::: Get Social ::: Twitter // Insta // Facebook

What Are The Top 5 Cities Alanna Has Visited?

1. Nashville
I just visited and it's amazing. The weather is awesome (except if you have allergies, beware!), they have amazing restaurants which are somehow at the same time really affordable, and let's be real, the music scene!!
2. San Francisco
I actually didn't really like it the first time I went there, but I've been there a lot for work and it's really starting to grow on me. Tons of touristy areas but so many more places for me to visit.
3. New Orleans
There's a special place in my heart for New Orleans. I went to Mardi Gras the first year that I went there and there's nothing quite like it. It's also an amazing, completely unique culture that I love. And hello, you can get po' boys!
4. Vancouver
The natural beauty is amazing plus there's tons of outdoor activities to do. Also, great food. Are you sensing a trend here?
5. Cabo
Hands down my best vacation was in Cabo. I know a lot of people are scared to travel to Mexico but don't be for Cabo. It's safe to totally walk around the city, like 99.9% of the people speak English, and the water is perfect. You can even meet Paco the sea lion! Put it on your list for your next resort vacation!

 Small Towns and City Lights

::: Start Here ::: London Adventures: Part One // 24 Hours in Brussels
::: Get Social ::: Twitter // Insta // Facebook // Bloglovin

What Are The Top 5 Cities Rachel Has Visited?

1. London, England: 
The #1 place on my bucket list for years, and post-trip, my favorite destination I've ever visited. So much history, the accents, the decorations (at Christmastime). It was just perfect!

2. Brussels, Belgium: 
The beer, the waffles, the chocolate! Need I say more?

3. New York, New York: 
I used to live just outside of NYC, so I frequented NYC (and still do) a lot. There's so much to see/do!

4. Napa Valley: 
Wine, cheese, and views you seriously cannot beat.

5. Maui, Hawaii: 
So much adventure here! The beaches are beautiful and it's just so relaxing - and exciting at the same time.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. Bloglovin is the only way I follow blogs anymore except for Twitter and on Twitter I only follow book bloggers. I've given up Instagram, Goodreads, Disqus, Facebook, email, and GFC follows.

    Bloglovin is by far the easiest way to follow blogs and enter giveaways without cluttering up your mailbox.

  2. You make some really good points. Thanks for the advice!

  3. Girl, this is such a great post! I haven't done a giveaway in a while, but I like everything you suggested! Thanks, girl!

  4. Loving these tips.

  5. Ok, I had no idea that "Collect Any Info From Visitors to Verify This Entry" did anything special. Will definitely uncheck that from now on. Thanks for the tips!

  6. these are EXCELLENT tips. especially about the giveaway entry- thank you for saying that :)

  7. Okay, legit question here. Does it "behoove" the reader to complete all the entries (other than say, for reasons of odds are better they're selected)? AKA: If a reader only has one entry, is it pretty much impossible to win? Do computers look for people with more entries and pick them, or is it equal for everyone (aside from more entries equal more chances to win)? Does that make sense?

  8. Awesome tips, thank you for sharing! I always love these posts that you put together! Xo, Stephanie

  9. How do you get the link to "Like on Bloglovin'" for the giveaway post?


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