Blogger U: Giveaways 101

blogger u header

Giveaways are all the rage in the blogging community right now– they’re a great way to gain more readers, followers, make new blogger friends, and (of course) make someone’s day with a special prize!

Basic Giveaway Schematics

The most popular giveaways are Rafflecopter giveaways (or the very similar widget, Gleam). The first thing you need to do when planning a Rafflecopter/Gleam giveaway is to figure out your prize. There are several ways to offer a prize:

  • A sponsored prize (that a sponsor donates for you to give away)
  • A group prize (where each blogger pitches in a sum to buy a gift card or item to give away)

Secondly, set up your Rafflecopter/Gleam widget. The way the widgets work: for each entry the participant needs to do a task (such as follow you on Twitter, comment on your blog, etc.) When doing a sponsored giveaway, I always suggest putting the sponsor’s links on the top out of common courtesy, since they are donating the prize.

If you get the chance to be invited to a group giveaway, I highly suggest you join in! It is a great way to gain exposure since everyone in the giveaway will be posting it on their blogs and promoting it via their social accounts, which also means way more entries and more new followers. Be mindful of your budget when participating in group giveaways; they can get a little pricey and add up quick! That little $20 per giveaway can turn into $200+ fast!

Get Loopy

Instagram loop giveaways are super hot right now, also. How loop giveaways work:

  • A group of bloggers or shops get together to give away a large prize (all paying money to pay for the giveaway prize).
  • Once the prize is determined, everyone is sent the giveaway image, instructions about the giveaway to be posted in the caption of the image, a buddy they need to tag on the image, and the exact time and day of when the giveaway will be posted.
  • During a loop giveaway it is crucial that all bloggers/shops post the giveaway at the exact same time so the loop will be complete!

The rules tend to fluctuate on loop giveaways, but the standard entry is the participant has to like the image, tag a friend in the comments, follow the blogger/shop, and then tap the image to see which blogger/shop to go to next. They continue to go through the whole loop, following all of the bloggers/shops as they go, and then are fully entered in the giveaway once they get back to the blogger/image where they started.

Word to the Wise

While giveaways (both Rafflecopter/Gleam and Instagram loop) are a great way to gain new followers, be prepared for some of those followers to unfollow after the giveaway ends. While you won’t lose all the followers you gained, you may lose a significant number. There are also quite a few accounts created specifically to enter giveaways (ie, not real users, just users who have created accounts in hopes of winning).

And while participating in giveaways is a great opportunity for your readers to earn prizes, note some users find Instagram loop giveaways to be annoying (especially when it’s time to launch a loop giveaway and all the bloggers post the initial loop image, clogging up feeds with the same photo over and over during that time). You may want to spread out your participating in loop giveaways to keep your followers from being overwhelmed. It’s all about a healthy balance between sponsored/giveaway content and original content!

If you have any questions about giveaways, don’t hesitate to ask!


Shannon blogs at Upbeat Soles and is an ambassador of The Blogger Collective.


3 thoughts on “Blogger U: Giveaways 101

  1. I love participating in loop giveaways with other bloggers and shops. I have worked with Oh My Gosh Beck on a giveaway but wondered if you know who else puts together rafflecopter giveaways from time to time?


  2. This is so helpful! I have been thinking about participating in my first giveaway and this is really helpful. I’m hoping to connect with some food bloggers on something food-related (like a green smoothie recipe book, spiralizer, etc.)


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