This is the fifth and final post in our series on how to build and launch a successful natural products blogger outreach program. This collection of posts addresses the mindset, resources and strategy needed to launch and maintain a thriving blog ambassador program for your natural product line or brand. Read parts one, two, three and four here.
You’ve made it! If you're reading this post, I can assume that you have made it through the rest of our series and are now ready to run your first giveaway. In this post, we will tackle must-haves for a successful giveaway, while highlighting a few roadblocks that can easily trip you up if you’re not aware of them.
In order to get the most from your blogger relationships, it is essential that you remain organized and understand what you can and cannot do (or ask bloggers to do) within blogger giveaways. As is the case with social media, it's important to stay current and do your research to ensure that you are not violating any rules that would leave your brand vulnerable legally.
While this post cannot serve as an exhaustive list, the below points will help steer you in the right direction and alert you to other resources you can use to ensure you’re current on rules and best practices.
Determine what success looks like before you launch.
What do you want to achieve with your giveaway? How will you know it was a success? Work with your team to determine the answers to these questions so that you can refer back to them and use them as guides when deciding which bloggers to work with and how your giveaways will be executed to accomplish those goals. Don't get distracted by the bright shiny idea of giveaways and sweepstakes if you don't have the WHY ironed out yet.
Keep it simple.
As you think through your blog giveaway, it can be easy to get overzealous with fun ideas to implement and asks of the blogger. Be aware of this tendency to overcomplicate giveaways, especially in the beginning. It's best to include one major task and make things fairly simple for the blogger’s community to engage in the giveaway. You can use tools like Rafflecopter to help streamline the entry process. However, you'll want to first have the discussion with the blogger or research his or her past giveaways to see how they are typically run.
Some examples of “asks” could include: following your brand on social media, opting into your brand’s e-newsletter, leaving a comment on the blog with an answer to a question that provides you consumer feedback or filling out an entry form.
Potential roadblock: Requiring the blogger’s audience to complete tasks that involve leaving the blog post to opt into an e-newsletter and then coming back to complete another action is an example of over-complicating a giveaway and could lead to confusion or less audience participation.
Know the rules and when to get your legal team involved.
A good rule of thumb in consulting your lawyer before launching a giveaway is whether it is a one-time give away on a blog post involving a blogger specific audience, or if you are trying to do something on a larger scale--say a national giveaway for free product for a year. You'll definitely want to bring your lawyer in on the conversation to ensure that you are not violating any laws. Particularly, if you are running a national giveaway or a sweepstakes that will run in several states, there are different laws in place. Read this article from Rafflecopter to start, and then take the conversation deeper with your lawyer to ensure you are not leaving your brand vulnerable. It's worth the cost and research upfront and will prepare you for future giveaways and sweepstakes.
Ensure measurement is possible and determine how measurement can be achieved tactically.
Just like knowing the goal of your giveaway before you move on to the planning stage, it's essential that you know how you can measure success back to the reason you launched the giveaway in the first place. Will you be measuring clickthroughs? New email subscribers gained? Social media following increases? Will you be measuring sales in a particular region or for a specific product? Once you've decided what you will be measuring, the next step is precisely how to measure. Tools like bitly can help track clickthroughs with custom trackable URLs (links).
Potential Roadblock: You'll also want to be sure you have the measurement conversation with the blogger you’re partnering with so that he or she understands the importance of using the links you provide and communicating exact instructions for readers to enter to win.
Create compelling content with branded visuals.
Bloggers are very busy and often greatly appreciate when a brand provides them with content and images as a starting point. You'll have to ask the preference of the bloggers you are partnering with to see if they would like more or less content written by your team. Some bloggers like to write everything themselves, while others greatly appreciate the help. Regardless of how much content you share in written form, you'll definitely want to share branded images like your logo, product images and styled photos if you have them to help ensure that the final blog post comes out looking visually appealing.
Potential Roadblock: Be sure that you do not ask several bloggers to share the same written content (beyond a paragraph), or Google may penalize you for duplicate content.
Create a promotion strategy for your team and the blogger.
Several weeks prior to when your giveaway goes live, you'll want to outline a promotion strategy for the blog post. Consider social media, your brand's website, your brand’s e-newsletter and the social media and content channels of the blogger who will be running the giveaway. Set clear expectations with your social media and content team and the blogger to ensure that everyone capitalizes on promotion to its full potential.
Potential Roadblock: Make sure you have a plan in place for pre-promotion, promotion during the giveaway and announcing the winner after it concludes.
Communicate winners as soon as possible and exceed expectations.
Finally, once your giveaway has concluded, you'll want to be sure to reach out to the blogger to thank them and obtain the giveaway contact information for the winners. Typically the winners are chosen randomly using a tool or the blogger's preferred method of selection (as long as it's random and fair). Once the winner (or winners) is selected, the blogger should send you the winner’s address.
Potential Roadblock: Be sure to follow up with the blogger if you do not receive addresses right away, and make sure you send whatever was promised within 48 hours. The last thing you want after a successful giveaway is to damage any of the relationships you worked so hard to build by shipping late or forgetting to send winnings completely. A good best practice is to ask the blogger for the winner’s email address so you can confirm when their prize has shipped.
And there you have it. You are now ready to deep dive into the world of blog ambassadors. I hope this series has been informative and helpful and that you are looking forward to working with bloggers to generate awareness for your natural brand, whether it be a one-time giveaway or a comprehensive blog ambassador strategy. If you have questions beyond what has been covered in this series, feel free to leave your comments below. Or, you can send me an email and I'll be happy to help.