6 Ways to Win Free Stuff from Blog Giveaways

By Linsey Knerl on 21 January 2011 (Updated 13 January 2012) 10 comments

Some of you may recall that I used be a hardcore sweeper. My past winnings included everything from trips to cash to a private movie screening. In the years since I wrote that article, the landscape of prize promotions has changed drastically. More specifically, blogs have gotten in on the action, and many brands are choosing to work with them over their traditional online promotional methods. If you want a piece of the prize pie, check out these tips for scoring sweet giveaway offerings via blogs.

Why blog giveaways? Prizes can be small in value (less than $5) or large (like a new iPad or a backyard play set). The number of entries, however, are reasonable. My own blog (with a monthly reader count of less than 10,000) has given away a variety of prizes over the years. For some, like a $25 Walmart gift card, the entries were in the hundreds. For others, there were less than 10 entries! With odds like that, it pays to enter. (You just don’t see odds like that on national promotions, where the entries are often in the tens of thousands!) (See also: 6 Signs That  a Winning Notification Email Is a Fake)

Now that you’re certain you want in, here is how to find those blog promotions:

Search and Win

Back in the early days of blog giveaways (2007 or so), you had to crawl the web to find giveaways. Sites like IceRocket were useful for plugging in search terms like “giveaway” and “contest” to see who was giving away what. If you were lucky, you could find three to five new blog giveaways a day that no one had heard of. Now, of course, there are thousands of blog giveaways going on at any one time, so this method is a bit vague. If you insist on searching specifically for blog giveaways, be sure to plug in prize descriptors to narrow down the results. (Try searching “blog giveaway Tony Hawk Shred,” for example, if you want to find that particular prize being offered.) There are no guarantees that your results will net only active giveaways, but it is a start. IceRocket is still a very good tool for this method.

Sweepstakes Sites

As the number of blog giveaways increases, so does the giveaways' influence on sites like Online-Sweepstakes.com. When I joined there over eight years ago, there was no such thing as a “blog giveaway” listing. Now they make up over half of the active giveaway listings. Some longtime sweepers complain about this (they find the system of commenting for prizes more annoying than just filling out a form with automatic form-filling software). Others welcome the chance to get entered in prize drawings with a smaller number of entrants than a national prize promotion. The odds are just better. Sites like OS and SweepsAdvantage have updated their systems to accommodate the requirements for blog entries, so if you like what they have to offer, they are a great way to stay organized with your entries.

Blog Giveaway Directories

If you’ve had enough of the traditional sweepstakes altogether and want to focus solely on blog giveaways, there are a number of great directories to help you out. Among my faves are Prizey.net and Blog Giveaway Directory, both of which selectively choose which giveaways to list. Tip Junkie also allows users to add their own to the directory.

Blog-Link Roundups

One of the best ways to find a great number of giveaways at one time (in one place) is to stay on top of blog-link roundups. Link roundups are posts within popular blogs that allow other bloggers to link up their own giveaways in hopes of helping them get promoted. Sites that do this well include Deal Seeking Mom’s Giveaway Gathering and A Nut in a Nutshell’s Giveaway Parade. Both offer over 200 active blog listings each week!

Your Favorite Blog’s RSS Feed or Email Newsletter

There is always a reward for being a loyal blog follower, and that’s evident by the number of blogs that give away prizes specifically for their email or RSS feed subscribers. To ensure that you’re eligible for these “subscriber-only” promotions, be sure your subscriptions are updated and that you check your feed and emails regularly. While you can’t closely follow every blog that gives away prizes, by staying true to a handful, you can increase your odds of jumping on promotions while they are hot and the odds are in your favor.

Twitter

Yep, even Twitter is getting in on the action. Just do a search for #giveaway at any time of day, and see hundreds of Tweets promoting prizes from bloggers and brands. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll see a lot of clutter via this method, but it can be an effective way to find and enter blog giveaways that are closing soon or that are looking for last-minute entries for a poorly attended promotion.

As with any method of winning, it takes persistence and patience to see the prizes come in. I can tell you for a fact, however, that consistent entering will pay off. There are frequent visitors to my blog who enter every promotion, and they have won more than a few times. If you’re willing to put in the work of visiting blogs, commenting, and waiting, you could be a winner, too!

Have you won a prize from a blog lately? Tell us about it!

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Guest's picture
Erin

I haven't won anything, but I have a question - how do the bloggers get the stuff that they give away for free? I am assuming that they don't pay for it themselves... clues? Thanks!

Linsey Knerl's picture

Hi, Erin! Thanks for your question. Most bloggers receive the prizes free from companies that wish to have their products promoted on the blog. For example, if a cleaning products company wanted blog readers to know about a new soap they offered, they would work with the blogger to hold a giveaway on the blog, providing the soap prizes for free. I know of bloggers who have purchased their own prizes, as well. You can usually (but not always) find a disclosure at the bottom of many of the posts (or within the context of the post) stating who provided the prizes. At the conclusion of the giveaway, the blogger is either responsible for mailing the prizes directly to the winner, or the company may do so for them. This is similar to how radio stations, newspapers, and magazines get prizes for their promotions. I hope this answers your question!

Mikey Rox's picture

Really great tips, Linsey!

I don't enter blog contests much, but if I come across one it's always ideal to get in on the action. You never know what can happen. In fact, I won the wedding rings my husband and I wear from a blog/online jeweler partnership that was seeking the best "how did you meet?" story. Winning those rings saved us a couple thousand dollars and it's another great story to tell.

Linsey Knerl's picture

No way! That's an awesome prize, Mikey! I have to admit that now that I'm running so many giveaways for other people, I don't have the time or heart to hit it hard like I used to. Back in the day (when I was winning lots of prizes), I was spending an hour a day or more entering. It was worth it, however. Now, I just enjoy watching other people win ;)

Guest's picture
Darcie K

I have won some pretty cool things from blogs. Some of the things that I have won: wii games, iPod, Northface jacket, Coach purse, tons of jewelry and books, not to mention the toys! I have a storage container always full of random toys to give for birthdays and holidays!

Linsey Knerl's picture

That's awesome, Darcie! I agree that one of the best perks to winning stuff is that you can give it away. I used to give my kids the most amazing holiday gifts when I was entering giveaways. They would always ask "This is cool! Did you win it, Mama?"

Guest's picture
Sonja

People seem to think that their hard-luck stories are needed to win blog prizes. Such a turn-off. What do bloggers or companies particularly look for from contestants or have people won on a totally random basis? I've had success at winning a few times on one particular blog giveaway that I've entered so I'm wondering if it was based on what I wrote or not. Thanks for your tips!

Linsey Knerl's picture

Every giveaway is different. Some are randomly selected (so your answers won't matter), and others are based on your answer. The rules should tell you which kind of giveaway it is, however.

Guest's picture

It is my great pleasure to visit your website and to enjoy your excellent post here. I like that very much.

Guest's picture
Divsix

I recently won a Bracketron Ipad 2 cover from a twitter giveaway. I do not own an Ipad 2, but none the less it will come in handy for when (hopefully), I am able to purchase one. Surprisingly, I received it in two days after the announcement.