by: Carol Bryant, BlogPaws' PR Manager
of the many methods pet bloggers (bloggers, in general, frankly) employ to engage
fans, draw traffic, and work with pet product and service companies is to host
a giveaway or contest. It seems easy enough: You set rules, you post the
contest, and you watch as entries roll in.
There are, however, some hardfast rules and legalities pet bloggers need to know before posting any sort of product or prize contest or giveaway. Here are seven must-do's every pet blogger should know:
what you can and cannot do: Do you know the
difference between a contest, a giveaway, and a sweepstakes? BlogPaws member
and session speaker, Donna DeClemente, offered a post on BlogPaws about running
a successful sweepstakes or contest.
Facebook rules for contests: Did you know that all sweepstakes or contest promotions
that appear on a Facebook page (company, brand, blog) must run with a third
party application? According to DeClemente, “you cannot just use the Facebook
wall to collect data on the person or use the page or "Like" button
as a means to determine winners. So when you use a Facebook application
the user must "Allow" the application access to the user's personal
profile and other data.”
official rules: A sweepstakes, contest, or giveaway must have official rules
that are easy to locate. I generally link to them at the end of every contest I
host on my blog. One of my favorite
Things Dog Blog, has a set of clearly outlined rules that are worth
showcasing as a stellar example. According to a post from Social
Media Examiner, there are certain elements that “official rules” must
include and they are:
- “No purchase necessary.”
alternative method of free participation.
area of the sweepstakes and/or who is eligible to participate in the
date and scheduled termination date of the sweepstakes.
name and address of the sponsor and promoter of the contest.
of prizes, the accurate description of each prize, the retail value of
each prize and the odds of winning each type of prize.
all prizes offered will be awarded and how the prizes will be awarded.
of selection of winners and when a determination of winners will be made.
and when a list of winners can be obtained.
if your giveaway is legal: “Consideration” is something to keep in mind. If you
give something away from a sponsor, prize or money, tread cautiously about how
you proceed. If you require participants to like or follow you, the law may
deem this “consideration.” Have you ever sent participants to a third-party and
then instruct them to come back to your blog? You might be treading into “illegal lottery”
status. This is not to say you can’t run a giveaway, but understanding what is
legal and illegal is imperative. Sara of SavingforSomeday.com
shares important blog law posts worth a peek.
Bloggers Be Aware: Are you a blogger who has co-hosted contests or giveaways
with other bloggers in a group-type event? Once again, consideration needs to
be given in terms of the worth of the prizes.
a Widget or App Helps Immensely: Rafflecopter is a customizable widget bloggers
can place in their HTML to promote their contest and gain entries. According to
the official Rafflecopter website, “Rafflecopter
was created as an easy way to run giveaways or sweepstakes. Sweepstakes are
defined as prize giveaways where the winners are chosen at random where no
skill is involved (unlike an essay contest, photo/video contest, etc.)”
Be Transparent and Research What You Don’t Know: Prior to
launching any type of blog post that involves winning something, be ready for
any questions that might arise. One of my blogging buddies, Liz of Woof Woof Mama, is a stellar example
of how to do a proper contest or giveaway.
“I see so many that break all the rules, and besides being unfair
to those of us who follow them, it also gives bloggers and giveaways a bad name,”
BlogPaws conferences are an excellent resource for learning this
information and being able to ask questions, get advice, and network with others
who share your concerns.
Sheraton Premier; Tysons Corner, VA
May 16 – 18, 2013
Do you run contests or giveaways on your blog?