Potato Chip Cats: How to Enter (and WIN) Blog Giveaways

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Enter (and WIN) Blog Giveaways

Having hosted a few of my own giveaways now, and having entered literally THOUSANDS of blog giveaways and sweepstakes, I would like to share with you my tried and true methods of entering and winning blog giveaways. There are a few simple steps to insure you get all your entries and don't get disqualified. Please read on and happy sweeping!

Rafflecopter Breakdown: This is the moderator view of a Rafflecopter form. I put an entry into my own giveaway so I can show you what the host sees, and why it is important that you read the instructions and validate your entries.


Entry #:
This entry option was worth 2 entries.
Name/Email: If logged in through Facebook, this is your default account name and default login email. Rafflecopter will ask your permission as an app to use this information when you log in. You can also log in with your email and name if you'd prefer, then the Facebook link will not appear in the moderator view.
Option: What did the form ask you to do? In this case, the option was Tweet about the Giveaway.
Extra Info: What information is needed to confirm your entry? In most social sharing options, a permalink will be required.
Time: The time that this entry was submitted.
IP Address (not shown): Rafflecopter uses a caching system to store your entries, so when you come back and log in as the same user, your entries should be marked as already done. If you clear your cookies, you will lose this information and may have to re-do any mandatory entries to open up more entry options.

  1. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! 
    • Simple as that. Instructions are there for your own good. Bloggers are sharing this giveaway with you to promote their blog, promote their sponsor (when applicable) and give you free stuff, so do them a favor and do it all right: start by reading all the instructions. Very often there are details apart from the form (ex. in the body of the post) that detail a mandatory entry that might not be marked mandatory in the Rafflecopter, or explain all entry options when using a comment or subscription system if there is no form.

  2. READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
    • Why bother spending any time on a giveaway you are not eligible to win? In a Rafflecopter form, check the bottom of the form and click the link "View Terms & Conditions" and an expanded paragraph will appear. See the picture (taken from my blog) for an example. If you don't meet the requirements for entrants, don't enter, because you just can't win. Save yourself some time and move on to the next giveaway.



  3. DON'T LEAVE IT BLANK
    • Many times, an entry will require extra information for the giveaway host to verify that you actually completed it. For example, if I enter a giveaway as Megan C then like a page on Facebook for an entry, I need to leave my Facebook name (not Megan C) for validation. The same goes for Twitter, Google Plus, any other social media link, and URLs (read on for info)- always leave any information the blogger will need to confirm your entry. 
    • Finding a URL/permalink: In order to validate an entry where you shared the giveaway, you will need to give the host a link to it. Basically, all you have to do is click the time-stamp on a post and copy the URL it leads to. On Twitter, use these instructions. On Facebook, follow the same idea, here are instructions. On Google Plus, again, click the time-stamp.



  4. CONFIRM, CONFIRM, CONFIRM!
    • NEVER forget to confirm every entry you said you did! If you signed up for an email, make sure to check for confirmation in your inbox- many times, you are not a subscriber until you have clicked a link to confirm it! If you signed up for a certain site or program, validate your membership! You basically remain invisible to the host until you confirm that you have joined something. You float around in the limbo of subscriptions, doomed to be disqualified. 
    • USING A HOST'S REFERRAL LINK TO JOIN A SITE
      LOTS of bloggers use online earning sites, cashback sites, coupons sites, all sorts of frugal online sites basically, and these can be an amazing source for giveaway prizes. Many times they will offer entries for joining a certain site. So here's the thing: I, personally, do not care if you are already a member of anything. If I ask you to join a site, it's because I'm a greedy little thing and I want the referral bonus (which in turn comes back to you as a reader!). Maybe other bloggers are offering entries for you already being a member, and sometimes I have a separate entry option for cases like this, but in general: good for you, but it doesn't help me. You CANNOT click "I did this" if you didn't follow the instructions and didn't use the host's referral links. Goes back to step number 1- always read the instructions.

  5. DO ENTRIES PUBLICLY, WHEN POSSIBLE
    • Although many bloggers do not use it anymore, when you join someone's site on Google Friend Connect, be sure to follow the blog publicly. This option appears when you first sign in to follow a site- follow publicly or privately. When commenting, try to use the same name you used in the entry form (this default option on Rafflecopter does not leave a place for extra info if you use a different name). If you click "Do it" on the form, then follow the instructions and leave the comment, be sure to come back to the form and click "Enter" so that you entry is counted, and your email and name are left. If you use a different name, or post anonymously, leave your email in the comment itself (written out, disguised to prevent spam as "name at email dot com") so it can be matched up to the correct entrant.
  6. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK
    • Many times a blog giveaway will feature comment entries. When you leave a comment on the giveaway post, there is usually a question ("why do you want to win?" "what do you like about this sponsor?"), so make sure to answer it. Doesn't have to be a very deep comment, but don't just ignore the question. When you are asked to leave a comment on a different blog post, bloggers are looking for relevant thoughts on NON-giveaway blog posts. You won't get away with "thanks" or "nice post." Offer a comment that is interesting to read- why is this post relevant to you? Do you agree/disagree and why? How does the post make you feel? Don't forget to come back to the giveaway form and tell the blogger where you commented.

  7. GOT SPAM? YOUR INBOX MIGHT THINK SO
    • Be sure to check your spam inbox- probably 8 out of every 10 wins go to my spam folder, because they come from individual bloggers, not the blog feed email. And check often- more often than not, a giveaway host will give you a time slot to respond to an email before picking another winner, so don't forfeit because you didn't see the email. Sometimes, there is no email- you're just supposed to check back to the blogger's post/social media accounts and look at the posted winners. 
BOTTOM LINE: Bloggers want to give you free stuff! It's true and it's awesome! They will try to make entering as easy for you as possible, so try to make giving things away as easy for them as you can. Just be careful, enter often, and you are on your way to winning! 




4 comments:

  1. Thanks for your advice and rules. It's very helpful to us who use rafflecopter for giveaways and who enter. It's greatly appreciated.

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  2. These are great tips! I am really bad about not reading the instructions all of the time. It's also very important to find out how they will contact you if you win because sometimes you have to revisit their blog to see who won. I missed out on a big win by not being clear on how the winner was going to be announced. :(
    Angela Michels

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  3. Really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for your input!