Tuesday 22 March 2011

A bloggy marvellous way to win!

If you are looking for competitions with small prizes and a good chance of winning, rather than huge prizes with a much lower chance, then blogs are the places to look. There are thousands  of blogs around now, often running competitions with prizes related to the theme of the blog. If you're not familiar with blogs and  don't have one of  your own,  it can look a little daunting. There are often several steps to complete and a comment to be made. This means it can take a little longer  to enter a comp on a blog rather than on a "normal" website,  which puts some people off. Hence instead of hundreds or thousands, entries in competitions  on blogs often have just a  few  dozen entries.

So how do you get started? You will find  it very helpful to have a Google ID and a Twitter account. You can set up  a Google ID at http://www.google.com/ or the first time you make a comment on certain blogs.  For information on how to set up a Twitter account, see the Grape Vine website Next, you need to find some competitions on blogs!

Every Friday, SuperluckyDi posts a  blog comp roundup and  Mellow Mummy posts "Prizes for Parents" which mostly features blog competitions. There is also a  list of them on Loquax, updated regularly. Once you have found a  blog whose subject matter interests  you, so it is likely to run competitions you'd like to win, have  a look to see if they have a list of favourite or recommended  blogs. They might also run competitions that interest you. And if there is a link to follow the blogger on Twitter, use it because they will almost certainly tweet about any new  competitions they run.

Once you have  a  Google ID, you will  be able to follow most blogs using Google Friend Connect,  and then you can pop over to www.google.com/reader to see a  summary of all the new  posts in the blogs you follow,to  see what you are interested in reading in more detail. That means you never need to miss  a new competition, or any other article of interest, even if you don't have time to read every blog every day.

Now to entering the actual competitions, and the first rule is "There are no rules". Bloggers are for the most part individuals, not big companies, so  don't expect to find slick organisations with neat lists of terms and  conditions. They are friendly' chatty places and the running of the competitions can be a lot more casual than you are used to. Each blogger will have their own rules and  way to enter, so you really MUST read the instructions  carefully every time. Sometimes you will be asked to follow them with Google, sometimes to comment on an item on the sponsor's website, sometimes to tweet about the competition.

There will often  be a list of tasks. Work through the tasks one at a time  and  make sure you do any that the blogger says you MUST do. If they say you MUST follow them, and you can get an extra entry for tweeting about the competition, it's  not use just posting a comment to say you have tweeted. If you don't follow them, your entry won't count.

You will almost certainly need to leave at least one comment (if you can't see a comments box,click on  the word  "comments" at the top or bottom of the post) , and unless they have an entry form with a separate space for your email address, you will also need to give them a way to contact you if you win. Please, please PLEASE don't give your email address in its normal form. There are dozens of "robots" constantly searching blogs for email addresses  to send spam emails to, and  I'm sure you already get far more spam than you want. Instead, leave your Google or Twitter ID, or write your email address  out replacing the @ with the word AT  - eg instead of fred@bloggs.com write  fred AT bloggs.com. If you leave your Google ID, your Google account must be a  public one or the blogger won't be able to contact you if you win.

Sometimes you will see that there are  several tasks to perform,each giving you an extra entry,  and the blogger asks  you to leave  a  separate comment for each one.  If they do that, it means they are going to number the comments in order to do a random draw, so don't decide to save time by putting everything into one  comment.  If you do that, you'll only get a single entry in the draw.

Blog competitions can be great fun to enter, especially for people who are still mourning the lack of tiebreaker competitions around now,  and you may well make some new friends along the way. Enjoy the journey! And remember, it's fine, in fact it's GOOD, to interact with the blogger. Bloggers do what they do for love  rather than for money, mostly, and even blogs run by bigger businesses are written by a real, friendly person rather than being put together as part of a web page.  Although they can seldom offer big prizes, they can do a lot to make comping a real pleasure!


  1. Thanks great tips and you are so right about it being simple. I used to avoid blog comps and felt they were for special groups of people who all know each other or are bloggers themselves.
    I am a stubborn person so entered anyway and I was delighted about 2 years ago to win a tote bag. It fuelled my desire to keep trying and over the years I have had some great success.
    I have realised that the rules are very simple and people see long list of entry requirements and run as it all seems complicated.
    If you take the time to read it is usually just a follow and comment thats needed.

    I now also have my own blog and my main requirement is that you follow, this is the one that causes the most problems and I so want every entry to have that chance.

    People do follow via Google Connect (the little square of photos in a blog side panel) but can make their profile closed when they join Google Blogger, so you do not see the follow. Fine if you add a way to contact to the entry.

    It was also easy to check follows when I had 50 people I would just cross reference the names with the entry even if the blog profile was closed.
    Now though I have over 600 followers and it takes forever.

    Entrants also sometimes confuse follow with Twitter following which I for one allow, as I want everyone to have a chance as they took the time to enter.

    The saddest thing for me is the person who follows has commented or answered the question but has left no way to contact, their blogger profile is closed to view, no twitter name left and one comp I had it was a third of the 100+ entries, takes an age to go through too.
    Blogger could do with simplifying the follow and having help on privacy.

    The next sad bit is Ok the person has followed they have left a Twitter name and then they do not check their mentions. I can see them on Twitter entering comps all day long on every day. I am tweeting away saying "You won!" and they do not see it unless they happen to see my tweet on my timeline.

    There I possibly have confused the issue a little hope not>

    Please Jane you could do a bitesize of just the follow and leaving ID you will make it all plainspeak and more sense than me probably.

    I hate seeing a number coming up in the random number generator and finding they are not contactable

  2. Thank you very much Jo - I am sure people will find it helpful to read about it from the point of view of someone who actually RUNS blog comps.

    Jo has stressed again how vital it is to leave some way of being contacted - and then to make sure you check it regularly. Having a Google ID isn't always enough!

  3. Thanks for this - very informative, although I'm not sure about the igoogle thing! - meaning not sure how to create an identity - but will keep trying to work it out.

  4. Great article, thanks :)

    Now off to see if my Google ID is public or not lol


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