Southern Mom Loves: 6 Ways to Make Money Blogging: #6 Organizing Multi-Blog Giveaways

6 Ways to Make Money Blogging: #6 Organizing Multi-Blog Giveaways

Sunday, September 28, 2014

If you're a blogger, you know how much time and effort goes into blogging. It's not just writing, but also photographing, editing, designing, promoting, networking, pitching, organizing events, etc., etc., etc.. It's a full-time job getting your blog high in your reader's lists, and you're likely also losing money with hosting and domain costs.

If you've been wondering how to monetize your blog, I can help. You won't get rich quick, but you'll start by making enough to cover your blogging costs and your time. :) There are many bloggers out there who make a full-time income, and then some, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work. Using these methods, I hope to start earning a full-time income from blogging while also being able to stay at home to care for my family.

I get asked constantly how to make money online, so I thought I would share everything I've learned in one place. It became a monster of a post, and was hard to get through, so I broke it up into 6 easy-to-digest pieces ending with #6: Organizing Multiple Blog Giveaways.

#6 Organizing Multiple Blog Giveaways 

Referenced previously, multi-blog giveaways involve a ton of work, but can be lucrative. I know a few bloggers who specialize in doing just this. They monetize every giveaway that they host, from small-value to huge prizes. They obviously also spend a lot of time pitching companies and reviewing, but with that often comes the opportunity to host a big giveaway, which can generate income for you.

If you haven't joined in a "Blogger Opp" or hosted one yourself, you may not know that the co-hosts pay for their spots in the giveaway. It benefits them by giving their blog a backlink on every participating blog, and they also get more links higher up in the giveaway widget. There are usually also options to pay for links if the co-host spots are filled, or if you only want a few links, or a link other than social media (email sign-up, facebook comment, daily vote.)

I have seen giveaways with as few as one co-host, and as many as 10 or 15. It all depends on the prize offered; if the prize is an extremely high value, it will entice more entrants, so will have more bloggers that want to participate and draw that traffic to their blogs. If you've worked to score such a great prize, you can charge your co-hosts more for a spot at the top.

Alternately, if you score a pair of socks to give away, you are less likely to get anyone who wants to participate. I would say a good rule is that the prize must be $25 or more to make it an opp (short for opportunity), and even then, I wouldn't charge to bring other bloggers in. In this case, they usually get a free link or two in the widget to entice them to promote, and that's okay, you will benefit from their promotion and they will benefit by offering a prize to their readers.

For a giveaway with a $100 value or more, or if is an extremely cool prize (laptop, iPad, etc.), I have seen bloggers charge anywhere from $10 - $35 for a co-host spot. The co-hosts usually get a backlink (their blog's name linked to their blog) at the top of the post html and 4 social media links, also an added bonus like an email sign-up or a mention in the giveaway graphic itself. The more you charge for your spot, the more of a benefit you must provide for your co-hosts.

You'll need some kind of experience creating graphics and editing photos, and a lot of bloggers that don't own Photoshop use Picmonkey online. If you are familiar with Photoshop, but don't own the program, there is a free online version. If you want a program that you can download for free that has most of the functionality of Photoshop, you can try Gimp.

Once you secure a really cool prize, it's time to get to organizing. I've listed some of the steps below, and you can do all or some, depending on the size of your opp.

NOTE: If you don't have a Google account through gmail or Google+, I suggest signing up for one now. It's free, gives you access to Google Docs, Google Spreadsheet, & Google Forms programs, gives you lots of free storage for your online forms and docs through Google Drive, and most of the steps below rely on these programs for their share-ability. If you have a Google account, they're the same for all of Google's products, so you're all set there. Here is a complete list of Google products. You can find what you'll need under 'Home & Office'. Bookmark these sites, because you'll use them often.

Also, if you do not have a Paypal account, sign up for one immediately! If you do work online, it is the #1 way you will be paid!!!

1. Create a sign-up form. You can create, and share, your sign-up forms easily by using Google Forms. You want to include pertinent information like Name, email, blog name, blog URL, links wanted in the widget, amount paid, paypal email, etc., all depending on your opp structure. You can see an example Sign-up form here
When you start getting entries in your form, Google will create a spreadsheet with that submitted form information. Look for it in your Google Drive account. 
2. Create a Giveaway Graphic. This is an important step as this graphic will be used at the top of all of the other blogger's giveaway posts, will be posted on facebook, tweeted, pinned, etc., so it MUST draw people in to click or at least read more about it. It should contain a large photograph or representation of the prize, the title of the giveaway, the beginning and ending dates, and the host (you) so that whoever sees that button will know that it is YOUR opp.  
It needs to be eye-catching, contain all pertinent information, while still remaining readable at a small thumbnail size, so play around, zoom in and out, and make sure it looks good.  
These should be at least 600px on the longest side (I wouldn't make it any bigger or it will load more slowly), and I prefer them square. Square graphics are more compatible with Pinterest, and a lot of other site's thumbnail systems. If it is rectangular, it may be cropped to a square and you'll lose a lot of your hard work making that graphic perfect. 
Look at the giveaways listed in my right sidebar. These graphics have been scaled down to 125px wide. You can probably see examples there of great graphics that work and some not-so-great ones. You'll also see what happens when a rectangle has to be sized down to fit a small space vs. a square. 
3. Create an announcement post. This usually has all of the pertinent info about the giveaway to come, and about the Opp structure for the other bloggers. It should have a link to directly to your sign-up form (created above), and will be headed with your spectacular graphic. 
You can now use this html to create a doc for other bloggers to paste this info into their own announcement blog posts. This serves as a way to get readers, who may also be bloggers, informed of your opp, and to give the bloggers somewhere to refer their sign-ups to. 
If not requiring the bloggers to post an announcement (see below), you should at least post one of your own. That will give you a post to refer everyone to that has all the relevant information in addition to a way for them to sign up (your form link.) 
4. Create an announcement post html doc. Take the html from your own Announcement post (click the html button while in your post editor, then copy/paste) and paste it into a doc in Google Docs. You can then take the shareable link to that doc and insert it into your sign-up form (if requiring bloggers to post an announcement.) You can see an example of an Announcement Post html doc here. Easy-peasy cut and paste. (If you paste that example html into your editor, you can see an announcement post that I did.) 
Once bloggers start posting the announcement to their own blogs, other bloggers can follow the sign-up link to your form. 
NOTE: Some bloggers do not want to post an announcement post on their blogs, but this is totally up to you. You are giving them a free link, so it's your call. An announcement post will help to spread the word, but there are other ways to do this too. You can entice bloggers with a sign-up contest for the most blogger sign-ups, and the winner gets a prize. They can post the sign-up link in groups, or through their social media instead of their blogs.
If you're wondering how to get other bloggers to sign up for your opp, look to Facebook. Post it on your personal page, your business page, and start joining blogger groups (search facebook groups to find these.) Look for groups that share Opps for Bloggers.
5. Create an email group. Once you have your responses from the sign-up form, copy all of the email addresses into one email group (easy in Gmail. Go to Contacts > New Group. Name your group and then click on that name in your list of groups. Click the button at the top to Add To "YourGroupName", and paste in all of your copied emails. You can do them all at once instead of one at a time.) You'll use this group to communicate with your bloggers.
Note: If you're planning on doing more Opps in the future, now would be a good time to send an email out to this group asking if they would like to be added to your "all list", which is a list that you'll email with any future opps. If they would like to be added, they can respond with a "Yes." Please don't take advantage of their trust by emailing them about anything other than the opp they signed up for. Do not add them to your newsletter or any other mass-mailing. That's spamming and you'll be reported for it. If you ask nicely, many of these bloggers would be happy to be on your list. :)
6. Set up your Giveaway widget. There are quite a few out there. I personally use Giveaway Tools. You can also choose from Rafflecopter, PunchTab, & Gleam, As far as I know, all offer a free version. Once you're all set up, you'll want to look for the "embed code." This is the code that you'll put into your giveaway post, and the widget will display on all of the blogs that post your code. All entries will be collected in your account to enable you to verify entries and choose a winner later on. The other bloggers don't need access to your account, only the embed code (which they can also get through the "share code" if offered for that widget.)
Note: If you run a giveaway on your blog, your readers are trusting you with their personal information like name, email, and their social media names and links (although not their log on information). That means you must be behave ethically or you will not only lose your readership, you will get reported. You should NEVER use this information for anything other than verifying entries and contacting the winner. You should NEVER use this information to sign people up for your newsletter or other mass-mailing. It is spamming. Don't be a jerk.
This also means that you cannot release this information to any other entity. If your sponsor or any other company asks you for it, they are being unethical. They may try to give you any number of reasons they need this info. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. There is no reason under the sun that they need your reader's personal information. Your readers have put their trust in you; Don't abuse it.
7. Set up your Giveaway Post. You can use the Announcement post html to help you craft your giveaway post. 
Your readers will need all of the pertinent information about the giveaway, starting with your giveaway graphic at the top. List the Event name, the Host (you), the Co-hosts, and the Sponsor (all linked to their respective sites), and include as much detailed information about the prize as possible, including additional pictures if available. 
You will also need to include the parameters for entry (ex.: Open to US only. Must be 18 or older. Starts at 10/1/14 at 12:00am CST, ends at 10/30/14 at 11:59pm CST, Void where prohibited, One entrant per household. No purchase is necessary to enter. Winning entries will be verified. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen, etc..) Remember to paste in the Giveaway widget's embed code. You will also need a disclaimer at the bottom like this (this will appear on all of the blogs for their own protection):
Disclaimer: The participating blogs were not compensated for this post. [Sponsor name] will be responsible for delivery to the winner. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, or Pinterest. Contact [Your Email] if you have any additional questions or comments.
Remember to change the wording on your own post if you were compensated with money or products; You must declare this by law. Also, if the post contains any affiliate links, you must include a disclaimer at the top of the post stating this.
You should also make a space (label this in red and remember to point it out in the email instructions) that says [Insert your own text here for SEO purposes or NO INDEX the post]. This is very important. If search engines see the same exact same text on multiple pages, it will hurt your search engine rankings. You will also show up in plagiarism checkers. Your own post should have a paragraph or two that is not in the html that you send out to the other bloggers. When you send the html out, replace your unique paragraphs with that bracketed text reminder.
Once you have your giveaway post set up, you can copy your html and distribute it to your bloggers via email. 
8. Set up a link reporting form. You will need another form to collect the posted links before you mail out the html. This should include fields for name, email, blog name, blog URL, and post link. This is a simple form you will use to keep track of which of the bloggers that signed up actually posted the giveaway. Some bloggers will sign up and give you their links for the widget, but if they do not post, you will have to remove (or not add) their links to the widget. You can find an example reporting form here. Alternately, you can just have them reply to the giveaway html email with their post link and add them to the widget as they reply. 
9. Set up and mail out your html email. You will need to get the html to your participating bloggers a few days ahead of the start date to give them time to set it up, write their own unique text, and schedule it to post. 
This email should start with all pertinent info like starting and ending dates and times, a cut-off date for late posters, your own promotion guidelines, the giveaway widget embed code, or the share link to get it, separate from the html. 
It should also include a reminder for bloggers to add text for SEO or No Index the post, and also to preview the post before scheduling to make sure the giveaway widget is working. 
Then you will either paste the html into the email for bloggers to copy/paste, or create a doc of the html only and include that link in the email. 
You might want to think about putting the html into its own doc if it is very long (5-7 pages or longer) and it would take a while to place your pointer and scroll through a ton of pages to copy it. This way, they would open the doc, hit select all, then hit copy. If you are going to put the html into a doc, please include nothing but the html in the doc; Do not include any extra information, <--html start-->, or <--html end-->. Some bloggers wouldn't catch this and it would end up in all of their posts. ;) 
I've made a doc with an example of an html email. You can use this as a loose guideline and create your own from it.

From there the bloggers will post the giveaway, and you will have to check links and promotion on your own. You will also have to promote it like mad if you want to to gain traffic and entries. I made a list a while back on Where to list your giveaways. You can refer to this post to help you promote.

Once the giveaway has ended, it's up to you to choose the winner. Each giveaway widget platform will have a button that will randomly choose a winner. You'll then have to verify their entries using the information they provided. Then comes the fun part: Notifying your winner! Sometimes that makes the whole process worth it. :)

This post became more of a monster than I intended, but I hope it has been helpful. If you can think of anything I've left out, or want to let me know what you do differently, drop me a comment or an email.

I hope this post has been helpful, and I'd love to hear about your successes! Please leave me a comment below or you can email me at! Good Luck!

Go back and read the previous posts in the series:

Laptop Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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