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Book Blogging 101 - Promoting Your Contest

Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section or email me parajunkee at gmail dot com

Q: How can I better promote my contest?

A: Get out there and spread the word!

This of course like all of the BIG TOPICs of the BB world can be controversal.

Two opposing camps

Anti-Extra Entries Pro-Extra Entries
Extra Entries
Where am I in all of this? Well if you've entereted any of my contests, you'll know I see nothing wrong with a few Extra Entries. So, I'm approaching this post from that camp. I've stated it before, I started this blog as a Marketing experiment - my goal is to be read, increase my SEO and Google prescence and to have a LOT OF FUN along the way. I could have started a Social Media blog or a Design blog but what fun is that? I do that all day long in my 9 to 5. So, I'll market my hobby. On that note lets do some Marketing right? And what are we Marketing? Our blog! The books we LOVE and the Authors that Write those books!

What are one of the ways we get new followers to our blogs??? A CONTEST!

You see it everyday. Car Dealerships offer iPods if you come in test drive. Dentist offices offer FREE WHITENEING with referring a patient to them. Cable companies offer FREE HBO if you join up today. Buy 1 Get 1 Free. Like us on Facebook for a chance win an iPad, Follow Us on twitter for that...
Everyone is doing it - why not join the rat race?

But. And a big BUT. If you have a contest and no one knows about it, how can it make an impact? If a bear craps in the woods and all that right?

My company participated in an exposition. To attract attention to our booth we offer a Free iPad for entrants. But attendees have to fill out a form so we can collect their email addresses so we can contact them later with newsletters and everything. The employees that were in the booth though did not engage the crowd, did not even put the sign up, they just placed the box on the booth with a little letter that said iPad giveaway. Ten people entered. Great chances for those ten people right? Why didn't it work? Because they didn't promote it. You can be giving away a Ferarri and if no one knows about the contest - then what good will it do.

I'll stop blathering and get to the point. How do you promote this contest?

Extra Entries work.

Case Study:

Sally is one of your 100 followers. She sees you are having a contest. You have on your contest that a BLOG POST will get you 10 extra entries and a TWEET will get you 2 extra entries.

Sally really likes your book giveaway selection so she does a blog post.

Sally posts and she has a following of 200 people.

Twenty people read that post. Five people also like your book giveaway selection so they head on over to your blog and enter the contest.

All Five Tweet out your contest. Out of those five people Sookie has a big following so she reaches six people. Vida also has a big following so she reaches three. You now have 14 new followers/contest entrants. Of those new nine followers those people tweet/post and they reach eight more people, those eight reach six more people. Just by adding an Extra Entries area you have picked up almost 30 followers/giveaway entrants.

What kind of Extra Entries should I offer?

Focus those extra entries on promotion of the contest.

• Create a button if you have a PAINT or Photoshop program - get someone to make one for you *hint hint.* Those buttons work, they put them on their sidebar and people see them, it spreads the word.
  1. Make sure your contest title is catchy and gets the point down.
  2. Make sure your blog name is on the button.
  3. Make sure you offer the link back code so when clicking on the button it takes people to your blog.
Here I've even made a few for you - you can put the name of your blog at the bottom in th space underneath. Aren't I nice???
100 Followers 100 Followers
100 Followers 100 Followers

• Offer extra entries for a blog post
• Offer extra entries for a TWEET
• Offer extra entries for any kind of SPREAD THE WORD - facebook, myspace, standing on the corner of a busy highway with a sign!

Social Networking.

How many times do I have to say it. But get on the Social Networking train. Get on twitter. Get on facebook. Get on the Ning sites that focus on book blogging and say hi to everyone! Just introduce yourself, make friends, gain followers be SOCIALBLE. It takes time, but it works.

New ones pop up every day, you can join them all, or you can focus the main ones.

How to beat those Social Networking Streets?

1. Go to the Ning Book Blogs site: there are set forums/groups for contests, post your contests in those forums. DO NOT SPAM.

2. Go on twitter and TWEET your contest. Again...DO NOT SPAM.

3. Search for contest posts/blogs etc. These are set posts on blogs that say LINK up your contests, or blogs dedicated to JUST CONTESTs. Email the moderator if they don't have a set submission area, that you have a contest. I follow Pixie's Just Contest Stuff: but I'm sure there are a lot more out there. Seach on Google for those type of sites. Another winged blogger does a contest find post:

4. Send out a Goodreads Event to all your friends on Goodreads

5. Invite your close friends by email {This is iffy - because it borders on SPAM and can turn some people off}

6. Tweet the author and tell them you are hosting a contest for their book - maybe they will retweet

7. Find fan sites of the authors and maybe leave a comment that you are giving away the book - AGAIN...repeat after me DO NOT SPAM

OK am I done here? Do you get the idea???

Um...How do I know if I'm SPAMMING???

Spam or Not Spam

What is Spam?

SPAM = Spam is flooding internet paths with the same message over and over again. Forcing your message onto people that don't want to hear it.

If you are promoting irrelevant content it's Spam. So, if you are in a forum for a book club and you are posting about a contest. It is Spam.

If you are leaving comments on somones blog and you have no prior relationship with them other than you follow is Spam.

If you are emailing someone and the only way you know them is that you follow their blog - that is Spam.

If you are posting your contest over and over again on twitter - Spam.

Get it? You really don't want to Spam. Spamming does the reverse - you know the boy who cried wolf? Well if you keep shoving your contest in people's faces - well at some point they are not even going to listen to your relevant messages.


Jana said...

Thanks for all the hints. Some good ideas for my upcoming contest!

Hafsah said...

Thanks for the great post! I have a contest ending tomorrow and I wish I had read your post earlier!

Hafsah @

Danielle @ Romance Book Junkies said...

Like always you Blogging 101 Rocks!
Great topic!

April (BooksandWine) said...

This is a pretty great post, but sometimes I think extra entries can be overkill. Like, when you have to do what feels like a hundred things to enter someone's contest. Like, what works best for me is just having one extra entry for tweeting, this way I'm not spending forever counting up extra points (huge waste of my time IMHO), and it takes the person entering two seconds to copy paste a tweet. I don't even ask people to follow to enter my contests anymore, because I want my followers to consist of people who read my blog for the posts, not for the free stuff they could get. I mean, I know asking for followers from a contest works, but it's just not me. Not anymore. That's not to say I am judging people who do that, but if that's what it takes for me to enter their contest, I'll just find an easier contest to enter.

Anonymous said...

Lots of great info on this post, I hate spammers, have you noticed how bad its getting on the blogs...oh and I loved the hinting at the buttons,Im off to send you a private button email...;D

Danny said...

Always love the 101 posts, like usual you get right to the point. :)
Contest are not only a great way to spread the word about your blog they are also lots of fun!

We also offer extra entries since it's really the best way to spread the word. It doesn't cost much to just Tweet or post the contest on Facebook. What also helps is if you have a "ReTweet" and a "post on Facebook" Button so that the people have it easier to tweet/post the contest.

Anonymous said...

I really hate when people leave comments and then try and promote their giveaway there. Not really the place for it I think. Another great post.

Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

Juju at Tales of said...

Awesome advice. *high five*

ParaJunkee said...

@April - I give an extra entry for however the spread the word. I don't discriminate. I think I do require a follow though...last time I checked. Personally I don't do a huge amount of contests anymore. I've actually been having a lot of problems lately with the publishers not sending the books to the winners, or things taking a lot of time, which makes me look bad. I'm now being kinda discriminatory with who I'm doing contests with.

The most obvious of all the EXTRA ENTRY extravaganza, I think is on some of the Mommy Blogs. They have this huge amount of extras...not saying it is wrong, it is actually rather intimidating. Look at this one:

I'm a strong proponent for moderation. A little bit can go a long way.

@Tina - there has been a bit of spamming going on. I've been getting a few emails and comments. And the funny thing is the same comment email is pasted in numerous blogs in numerous don't think we see that? Why should I visit your blog/contest if you are just going to scam my comment box etc and not even say a personal hello? I don't mind if you tell me about your contest, but don't copy and paste a generic is just really impersonal. I am not scared of shameless promotion, BTW. ;)

@Danny - thank you. No it does not take much to tweet or facebook. I like those new little buttons at bottom of the posts with blogger.

@Para - like anything if it is relevant let it fly, right? Sometimes random comments do the opposite, they will actually prevent me from going to your blog instead of luring me there.

April (BooksandWine) said...

@Parajunkee I went to that site you linked! OMFG. That's insane. Who on earth has time to do all that to win something that's prolly worth 50 bucks?

Also, I think what I really meant to say, not sure if this got across, was that I am just way to lazy to check and do follow up to see if people actually followed or did the extra entries (I choose twitter b/c it just shows in my mentions column).

It's fascinating to me how go about promoting our contests and blogs. OH also there's this whole group on goodreads dedicated to blog contests. Very good place to advertise.

The Book Vixen said...

Another great Blogging 101 post!

I personally will NOT enter a contest/giveaway if there are TOO many extra entry options available (i.e. like the ones you see with the Mommy Blogs). A few opportunities to get some extra entries is okay. I like to Tweet because I like to help promote. Sidebar links are another one I'll do. And that's about it. I don't do any blog posts anymore. For the contests/giveaway I host myself, usually I'll give +2 for tweeting. And if I'm feeling it, I'll also do a +3 for a sidebar link.

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves when it comes to contests/giveaways is people asking for your mailing address and making it a required entry. What do you want/need my mailing address for at this point in the game? Why do you feel the need to collect mailing addresses? This is a bit alarming to me and I will not enter any contest that requires me giving them my personal mailing address. Period. Some people say they want to mail out the prize as soon as the select a winner. If I win, it is my responsibility to claim my prize within the alloted time and if I don't, then pick a new winner.

What are your thoughts on restricting contests/giveaways to Book Bloggers? I've been pondering the idea because I've noticed a lot of people who sit there and just enter contests all day long. Not that there's anything wrong with that (it's your life, you can do what you want). But if I'm giving away a book, let's say, you kind of want the book to go to someone who (1) is going to read it and (2) someone who will review it somewhere online. Isn't this one of, if not the main reason, authors look toward Book Bloggers to host giveaways? I'm curious to see what your thoughts are on this...

Rebecca said...

this was a great blog. In fact I am bookmarking this so I can see it anytime i want to read it!

Rebecca said...

I wanted to add after reading some comments, that i give an extra entry for following but it isn't required. I just like to give my followers a bonus. I might add tweeting, b/c lately I am getting the same people entering my contests. I ask for mailing address BUT don't require you to put it. I just make a note that you can leave it so its easier for me if you win, but you don't have to put it.

Also, I used to be a mom blogger and geesh those are some tough ladies out there. They hate to follow back. Book bloggers are so nice! I love them the best and almost never mom blog anymore.

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

Great topic again Rach. I hate spam in my email and have and I agree with asking too much for my readers for entering a contest.

But I do see its all about marketing your brand/blog.

Jessi E. said...

Thanks so much for this! I have been really worried about doing extra entries, but at the same time, my blog isn't popular enough to do it without. Tweeting and all that helps so much, I've noticed. So it's really affirming to see that it's okay as long as it's not continual spamming about the contest.

Anyway, thanks again!

Tyhada said...

Great tips Rachel. I'm looking forward to hosting my first contest soon.

I have an award for you. Check it out

pixie13 said...

First, thanks for the mention :)
Second, great tips. I know there's been a backlash recently about too many extra entries. A few are OK, too many drives people away.

Nely said...

This is a great post!!!

I should quote you and reiterate what SPAM means!! I don't know about you, but lately I am being Spammed left and right... ugh

Emily said...

Nice post as always ma'am! :D

I'm of two minds on a lot of these issues- while without a doubt extra entries for contests does lead to a higher follower count, for the most part now I either ask for a comment as an entry (like with the two giveaways I have going now at the time I'm writing this) or a Google form. I admit that I'm lazy when it comes to contest entries and I'm way more likely to enter a contest that's just my name/email/blog address than one that has a million parts.

With regards to spreading the word- generally I don't mind if people are promoting their blogs and events on blog hop posts or general info posts and things like that- I feel like networking is the purpose of those posts so using high interest items to promote your blog in those arenas is okay. I mean, I'm promoting my Give the Gift of Reading event right now, but I try to limit the promotion to posts that are designed to gather followers and to couple the information with something more personal.

I think it's ultimately a question of balance- I mean, some folks think that getting an event invitation through Goodreads is spam, but I think it's pretty easy to just delete the ones I'm not interested in. Everyone's different!

Missie said...

This is such a great post, and just the kind of advice I've been wanting to read about.

I almost ranted about contests on my blog a few weeks back because there doesn't seem to be a win/win situation, and it is really hard to please everyone.

People complain about the Follower and the extra entries contests, and my question is why bother to complain? If you don't like it, don't enter.

And, I'm so tired of people who complain about Contest Junkies, when they are the ones spamming their contests!

It is all a bit overwhelming! I agree with Emily. Social Networks and Goodreads are there for the purpose of promoting. It is easy to delete or unfollow the events you are not interested in.

An interesting question would be to ask how people feel about the "Check back to see if you won" Contests. I really dislike those! I did it once on my blog and felt so guilty about it! Thankfully the winner did claim the prize, but I was ready to e-mail them. I'll never have a contest like that again.

E-mail your winners people! There are just too many awesome blogs to keep up with, aside from RL, and I don't think it is fair. But that is me.

Mariya said...

Thank you so much for this post. It was very helpful 8)

Darlene said...

Great post!

But, I need to take a few steps back before promoting my contest: I need to learn how to set up a giveaway! How do I create those cool forms in Google Docs? I would like to have a mandatory GFC entry and offer up to five additional entries for following on Twitter, tweeting, subscribe by email, RSS, Goodreads. Is there a "how" on how to create those giveaway forms?

ParaJunkee said...

@Darlene --- Try this:

Darlene said...

Thanks so much, ParaJunkee! You are so helpful!

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