Our Thoughts on Running Giveaways

on August 31 | in Contests & Giveaways | by | with 120 Comments

Thank you so much for your participation in our recent giveaway experiment using Rafflecopter. I read every one of your comments and appreciate your thoughtful feedback. Some of the things that were said made me feel like I should clarify our giveaway philosophy and also make a decision about how we would use a tool like Rafflecopter. Giveaways are a huge part of the online craft community, but I haven’t see a lot of disclosure or discourse about what bloggers and businesses are thinking when they do one, so here goes.

Giveaways are Cool but Content is our Priority

Great prizes have always been part of our blog model. We work closely with lots of different companies to run amazing product giveaways we think you’d love to win. Sometimes a giveaway makes the difference between someone looking at the excerpt in their feed reader and making the jump over to the blog, which is one of our goals. But mostly we work on developing unique, well-written sewing content. We don’t want to cram promotions down your throat all the time so we try to find a good balance. For the most part, we usually include a giveaway as part of more meaty content rather than have it stand alone. Our philosophy is this–readers should take something away from their visit to our blog even if they don’t win the prize.

Jumping Through Hoops is Lame

We completely understand that you don’t want to jump through a million hoops in order to enter a giveaway. As we mentioned at the start of our last Giveaway Day, we know it is annoying when you have to go to Facebook, then Twitter, sign up for a newsletter, come back to the blog and then do 10 pushups. For that reason, we will probably stick with a model of one entry per person, but with choices so you can either Like, Tweet, comment, etc.

Participation is Valuable

Let’s say we have a new tutorial written by a guest contributor. The contributor put a lot of effort into it and it is the best tutorial EVER. We get 20,000 unique visitors that day but because there is no giveaway at the end, you know how many comments it gets? About 15. If, however, we have a giveaway and ask people to comment, here is what happens:

  • The hard-working author gets some props.
  • We get feedback about what you like, what you don’t like, what questions you have, etc. Market research.
  • Potential advertisers who aren’t looking at our analytics have a better idea of who is stopping by and what is happening here. 300 comments is more appealing to them than 15 even if it is the same number of eyes looking at the site.
  • Now this is just the educator in me talking, but I believe that if you have to act on something, it sets it in your brain better. If you look at a great tutorial for a handbag, I believe you will be more likely to remember it and where you saw it if you have to construct a sentence about it. (But I admit I could completely off base on that one.)

Social Media has its Place

We have always been proud of the genuine community of sewists that we’ve been a part of. We love to facilitate interactions among people, the sharing of ideas, the advancement of skills and authentic dialog about the sewing industry. We can do that here, on the blog, but we also find that social media can be very useful for communicating small bits of information,  tracking trends and talking to people. We’d love to have you join us on some of these other sites, but we completely understand if you don’t want to do that.  Unless there is a good, relevant reason, we won’t force involvement in social media in order to participate in blog giveaways. (Although we may conduct giveaways or other promotions on the other sites as well as the blog.)

Rafflecopter is a Winner!

I’d say the majority of feedback about Rafflecopter was positive. We won’t use it all the time, but we’ll definitely put it in our toolbox. Thanks for your honest opinions, both positive and negative.

What are your thoughts about giveaways? If you use them, do you have guiding principles to help you decide when or how?

PS–The Too Muchery giveaway is still open through today.

PPS–The team at Rafflecopter also appreciates your feedback and want you to know that some of the concerns you had will be addressed in the next release, which is coming out in a few weeks. Since Rafflecopter is still in it’s early stages and you have to wait for an invitation, they’ve offered our readers a pass to the front of the line.  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/+me/sewmamasew/

PPPs–I have to clarify that nearly all the giveaways and contests we’ve ever hosted have been open to international entries. We ship scores of Free Fabric Friday winners as well as dozens of books and other prizes to international winners every year.

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120 Responses to Our Thoughts on Running Giveaways

  1. Tianna says:

    To me giveaways are no fun when you have to go check out another site, like them on facebook, or tweet about it. Isn’t one entry enough. Keep up the awesome work.

  2. Kelly says:

    I love your blog. Your tutorials have showed me some wonderful blogs as well. I started sewing when I was 8 and now my adult daughters and teenage son are learning to to sew. Sew Mama Sew is my go to site to help answer any questions they have. Your site has also encouraged me to learn new techniques. Please keep up the wonderful job you are doing. Your giveaways are great but I visit this site because it has such great content!

  3. Kritta22 says:

    Guilty as charged. I usually read you on my rss feed through my phone and if I have time, I will jump over here to comment.
    I really do enjoy your site. One way I’ve seen giveaways done is take a previous post and randomly draw from the comments. That way it’s benefitting people who actually comment instead of the giveaway seekers.

  4. CarolB says:

    I have never left a comment before, never entered a giveaway, and do not have website, twitter, facebook — or even a cellphone! I’m a quilter who now makes all-things-grandson. It’s the “grandson” part that has encouraged me to search out tutorials and kid-stuff ideas from more creative folks, and I’ve been astounded at the quality of bloggers’ offerings. But I have skipped reading the responses because of the endless repetition of “so cute!” or similar. Yet it does seem as though, unless one is able to rush to the sewing machine immediately, there’s not a lot of real feedback to offer. Then again, I have made some things from instructions/tutorials and never gone back with a comment, either. Partly, as a computer-moron, I don’t even know where I’ve been, just stumbling around as the links take me…. but from now on, I WILL come up with a sentence or two of acknowledgement. Thank you for your efforts. They are appreciated more than you can ever know.

  5. delia says:

    Re: using giveaways to elicit meaningful comments. If I am truly moved, I usually make a thoughtful comment. However, comments for giveaways end up being pretty generic, so unless the giveaway prompt asks for a very specific comment, you won’t be getting much info from me. Ditto everyone else about hesitancy to involve facebook or twitter to participate in giveaways. There are a lot of things I like, but they aren’t necessarily things that are relevant to my social networking friends.

  6. Maureen from Ventura says:

    I completely agree with Gillian’s comment of August 31st! That is exactly my opinion. I will definitely be leaving comments in the future!

  7. all8garden says:

    I like giveaways but I will not follow anyone. I don’t even follow my own blog. (I mean I write on it regularly but I don’t use a reader and whatnot.) I know I’m in the minority here but I actually go to the blogs that I like because I appreciate when others boost my stats and I assume that others do too. I use facebook only for family and friends and I’ve “hidden” a few of them too because they were filling up my page with gaming and “liking” everything. Ugh. I want to know what’s really going on with the people I love. (Sorry, soap box.)

    Unfortunately, I rarely comment on crafty type blogs because there’s usually so much praise, my little comment would just seem like more noise. I’ll have to change that and post something sincere about the awesomeness of their post or tutorial.

    SMS is in a link list on my blog and I visit here almost everyday because I love the content. If I love what I see, I’ll be back, if content is pretty consistent with that I add a link.

    For other bloggers with giveaways – please don’t ask me to dance naked around an oak tree at midnight during the summer solstice chanting your blog name with a megahorn. It’s just not gonna happen, even if I love you. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it (i.e. SMS giveaway weeks) but it’s not for me or my wee bit of blog buddies. The thought of it just makes me tired.

  8. Connie says:

    I really enjoy giveaways and agree that people have a tendancy to leave a post more often if there is a giveaway. I prefer them to be a one comment giveaway instead of jumping all over the place.

  9. Renate says:

    I agree with the other couple of commenters who mentioned this – the one thing most giveaway posters forget to mention is whether the giveaway is open internationally or not!

  10. NONNIE says:

    I too have give aways but I run mine kind of different…

    NEVER announced. I put all the names in a hat of people who have commented in the past on my blogs, I then draw out a name.

    I see it as a reward for loyalty.

    I frequently pick a small prize from my prize box matching the commenter to the post they give. I contact them by email for their address and send it to them in the mail.

    I am a hobby quilter and do not have a lot of money, so some of my gifts are used books, duplicate patterns, self cut charms, jelly rolls or layer cakes. I work out of my stash but I try to match modern to modern quilter and traditional to traditional quilter.

    My biggest problem is getting to a post office as I work before and after they open up. I hate Saturday runs to the post office.



  11. Joke says:

    Oh and I wanted to add:
    I really liked this post 🙂 Thanks so much for telling us your thoughts and listening to ours!

  12. Joke says:

    I agree with Cheri: I don’t want to annoy my friends with tweeting, posting on Facebook or blogging about giveaways. Maybe I would if it was a contest and we actually had to make something to get the prize, then I’d be telling my friends to look what I made 🙂
    But if it’s a giveaway, I prefer a one entry system.
    That said: I just went over to Facebook to like you! I’ve been tinkering with my newsfeed to slowly weed out posts from friends I’m not interested in (I want to be their Facebook friend, but I’ll go to their page if I want to know what they’re up to) and let in more content from pages. Sometimes an RSS feed just gets overwhelming, and the selectiveness of Facebook showing you the most recent items helps. But I keep my Facebook likes private. Sometimes I wish I could choose which Likes to show to friends and which ones I want to keep private.
    Some other things:
    – Honestly I’ve been zooming over Sew Mama Sew’s giveaways. Once every while I’ll check my feed to see if there was an interesting tutorial lately, but I’m not checking it daily anymore. I do the same with other blogs.
    – I only participate in giveaways I really want to win. It just takes too much time to “jump through the hoops” otherwise 🙂 If I wouldn’t want to buy the prize, I shouldn’t participate in the giveaway
    – Sometimes I do participate in giveaways on blogs I’ve never been to when another blogger posts about it. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable, but it seems that in these cases the purpose is to get new readers over and hooked. And, it works on me sometimes! A solution for this: I’ve seen blogposts in which the blogger managed to host a giveaway for people who already subscribed to the blog three months earlier.
    – I’m guilty of not commenting as well on non-giveaway posts (but I haven’t been commenting on many giveaway post either :)). I’ll try to be better at that, but there’s just so much content to read that I sometimes just don’t find the time and, like others, don’t see the value of adding my “cute!!!” I’d rather be a quality over quantity commenter, I’ll post a comment when I use a tutorial and want to thank the author 🙂 But I’ll try to comment more often 🙂

  13. I have been running giveaways on The Creative Mama Series i have been running on my blog…each crafty mama interviewed has chosen to offer something up as a giveaway. This spreads the word about their beautiful work and values and brings new readers to my blog.
    I have won a few giveaways lately, my studio/bedroom is home to two beautiful pieces of art i won…they light up my world and inspire me as much as do the women who created them. I like to think offering giveaways does that for others.
    Many of my readers hadnt known the word ‘giveaway’ in blogland, never mind the concept behind it. So explaining had me really get clear on what they meant to me. As well as wanting to bring a little ray of giveaway love into folks lives, it is an attempt to change peoples attitudes to leaving a comment. Here in NZ, blog readers seem way more shy to comment than say, in the US and the dominant readership culture on the blog seems to set the standard. I am more aware now, to leave a comment when i feel moved about a blogpost i read. I love these posts of yours…exploring online ethics as it were…the last one i got alot out of was the quilting debate. Great work sms folks..gettin’ us all thinking while we sew!

  14. Thimbleanna says:

    What a great topic! Here’s my two cents:
    I rarely enter giveaways — unless it’s something that I REALLY love. If I have to jump through hoops, I’ll absolutely skip it. I just don’t have time to follow twitter and facebook — most of it is just noise.
    As for when I decide to do giveaways — I just do them when I feel like it. I NEVER ask them to jump through hoops. I don’t care if they advertise my giveaway — I want my prize to be for my regular readers — not someone who’s just coming for the loot.
    When I read blogs, I’m looking for content. Most of the time, if a blog title says giveaway in the header I just skip it in my reader. Sad, I know.

  15. Great, thoughtful article! Well done :D. And I totally agree that jumping through hoops is lame. I wish that trend would go away. Thanks for bringing great content and giveaways.

  16. Jeannette says:

    I think I rarely enter giveaways because I’m the most unlucky person… I never win, and it just seems futile. That said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with giveaways at all. But content is king as you mentioned, and I think to keep it real, I’d keep the content/giveaway ration about 1 to 7 or so? (Once a week?)

    I also dislike giveaways that only span one day. I always seem to miss that day! 🙂

  17. Sallie says:

    I love giveaways! I don’t like having to jump through hoops or “having to” follow someone’s blog to enter, and I really dislike having to like them on FB! I read a lot of blogs and comment on a lot of them, especially if I see a quilt or project that I really like.

  18. pbach1 says:

    interesting post. i seldom participate in giveaways because of the number of comments they generate relative to my chances of winning. (also, seldom play the lottery!) and, when they want me to cross-post comments — well, forget THAT! i’ll comment when something interests me. but, if a blog is about getting me to purchase something from a shop, you probably won’t find me going back to that blog. i read ’em for content, ideas, interesting topics. not for freebies.

  19. hi! Love this entry. TO me, when a blog I love does a giveaway alone, I just skim and don’t even bother to enter. I am much more interested in content. If a giveaway has content included and the giveaway has to do with the content- a new pattern they made or an abundance of vintage trim they found, I am more interested in that. Sponsorship giveaways are really boring to me- however, I let blogs that I advertise with do giveaways of my patterns so i guess I am a big hypocrite!

  20. Terri says:

    I often read SMS blog, rarely enter giveaways, rarely comment. To me, many of the tutorials and free patterns are great giveaways already. THAT is what I appreciate about your blog.

  21. Alison H. says:

    “Now this is just the educator in me talking, but I believe that if you have to act on something, it sets it in your brain better. If you look at a great tutorial for a handbag, I believe you will be more likely to remember it and where you saw it if you have to construct a sentence about it. (But I admit I could completely off base on that one.)”

    I’m an early childhood educator myself, and I completely agree. When you actively participate in something, you learn and remember a lot better. Part of it is learning by doing, and part of it is the verbal/social aspect. When you talk (or in this case write) about something, you use parts of your brain that you don’t use when reading. If you have an interactive discussion (in this case, a comment thread), you use even more of your brain. Kind of like how they say the best way to learn something is to teach it to somebody else. You’re forced to think about the subject in ways that you might not have if you were just studying it passively.

    I agree with pretty much all the points you made in this post and I’m really happy you addressed them. I only recently started reading your blog but it’s already becoming one of my favorites. Not just for the tutorials (and the giveaways, which I seldom enter on other blogs), but for the discussion you encourage.

    I will admit, I’m guilty of being a lurker on almost every blog I follow. Part of it is health stuff limiting my computer time, hand pain while typing, brain fog that doesn’t allow me to express my thoughts as I’d like, etc. I’m actually amazed at — and embarrassed by — how much I’ve managed to write in your blog comments this past week. And yes, the previous giveaway was the impetus. Without that, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. I wouldn’t have wanted to waste my time or yours.

    Granted, anyone who posts their work online knows that’s going to happen. As a writer I accept that — I know random strangers who stumble upon my writings don’t owe me anything — but I also know how gratifying even the smallest bit of feedback can be. I think a lot of readers probably feel like they don’t have anything worthwhile to share, especially on a major, successful blog like this. So this post did a great job of pointing out that every reader’s opinion IS valuable. The compliments, the criticism, the questions, the contributions, it’s all helpful. Whether the reader feels the desire or need to be helpful is up to them, of course, but it never hurts to remind those readers who’d like to participate that they shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. (Hopefully, even the ridiculously wordy ones!)

    One last thing: I like the idea you proposed of having giveaways that are limited to one entry per person, but everyone can choose their method of entry (social media, commenting, following/subscribing, or whatever). That seems the fairest option to keep people who don’t use social media, people with limited computer time or access, people with cognitive disabilities, people who just don’t like commenting for whatever reason, and so on from feeling like they’re being put at a disadvantage for circumstances often beyond their control.

    However, I certainly get the argument that giveaways exist to promote the blog & its advertisers, so people who do more should be rewarded with more entries. And I get that those people may feel entitled to more reward for their extra time/attention/efforts. So there’s no way to satisfy everyone, but ultimately the people doing the giveaway have the right to decide its terms. If I don’t like what they ask me to do, I can simply choose not to enter. What’s more important to me is the fact that you’ve been so open about the process, explained it honestly, and at least attempted to find out your readers’ preferences. That transparency is what impresses me about your blog just in the few days I’ve been reading it, and it’s the reason I’ll keep reading regardless of what you do with the giveaways. I’ll try to make my comments a bit more concise, though. 😉

  22. Mary Ann says:

    Hmmm… I will only enter if its something I’m interested in winning. Most of the time I’ll do one or two things but I don’t usual sign in to all the social media spots and since I don’t have a blog I can’t post buttons. But I love all the tutorials and inspiration on line and I try to comment on all my favorite blogs on a regular basis because I appreciate the time and effort the blogger puts into their posting. I have made some very good friends that way too.

  23. Stephanie says:

    Sure, I love a good giveaway or raffle, but honestly, I don’t come to blogs for that reason. If the content is interesting, I’ll come back. Sometimes, it can backfire – when a blog becomes too commercial, I lose interest and see the business rather than the passion that caused them to start a blog to begin with.

    I am the first to say I don’t comment often, but you have proven the point that you will get more comments if you ask your readers more questions. We will answer.

  24. MarciaW says:

    I like simple entries, one comment no strings attached, without jumping through hoops. All that time spent in flipping around to do other activities to earn another entry can better be spent on composing and writing one good comment.

  25. I don’t enter many giveaways as I don’t want to enter for something I couldn’t use. I can always use fabric and sewing books, though! 😉

    I really don’t like to use Facebook for anything but keeping up with my friends and family. Adding my favorite blogs tends to bog me down and I just end up hiding them. I don’t use Twitter, either so wouldn’t enter a contest that requires me to tweet.

    I have so many blogs in my reader that I really don’t comment much. I don’t think about the impact on the blog sites, though. It is too bad that advertisers can’t just rely on hits rather than number of comments. I don’t see the value in commenting just to say something that isn’t of value. I do think that a “thank you” is nice, though. So thank you for all of the nice tutorials and links you provide!

  26. Maeve says:

    First, sewmamasew is the first blog I look at daily. It has everything I want – a fabric store, great interviews, theme months, loads of tutorials to download, tons of inspiration, and an occasional giveaway. I don’t even bother to enter giveaways that I wouldn’t use personally (although I do say if I will use it to make a quilt, etc., for charity), nor do I enter those that ask me to jump through hoops (I hate those!!!). You have a good balance here and I love it. Keep up the good work with all the things you do to make this the best quilt blog on the Internet!

  27. Jacque says:

    I can understand what many of the comments are saying….but I have a question? If you want, really want something that is being given away, why not try to increase your odds of winning, by doing extra things and leaving comments? I can understand if it is something you aren’t crazy about – so, if you liked the tutorial, just leave a nice compliment for the blogger.
    However, if it is an item or product that you are dying to have, it makes sense to have five comments in a pool of 400, rather than just one.
    No one puts a gun to your head and says, “Comment!” It is solely based on how much you desire that item, isn’t it?
    Now, I guess I am coming at this from a different perspective. I am a blogger that does reviews, tutorials, and sponsored giveaways. I NEVER tell viewers they MUST do anything to have an entry….I leave it up to them if they want to comment, and if they want to “do” extras. Maybe I am in the minority because I am fairly lenient in this?

  28. Sue says:

    I don’t care for giveaways and I very rarely enter them. If the title on my feed indicates that a post is a giveaway, I usually don’t go to that post. When people have to post comments to win a prize, I NEVER read the comments for that post. There may be a gem buried in all those “I’d love to win” comments but who has the time to winnow through them.

  29. I never use facebook for anything crafty .. my work life is too tangled up there … I do use twitter and I do blog about giveaways that I think are really great …

    I have quite a few giveaways on my blog, but only when I have something nice to offer … I give my readers a lot of options but really one comment usually does the trick! I only ever enter giveaways that I want to win. It’s just a waste to win something that I’ll end up giving away myself!

  30. Keriann says:

    I agree with Anita way up there on the comments…I like simple!

  31. kathyh says:

    I like this dialog. My blog isn’t read by that many people because it is a personal journal as opposed to making serious money. I find I am drawn to bloggers who share this view. Your widespread giveaway coordination allows me to visit and read blogs I would never have discovered otherwise and the May giveaway gained me a new friend.

    I try to not take my own giveaways personally and I am happy to give something away. Lord know I like to make stuff and I need it to be given to someone who is not always a family member or friend sometimes.
    I appreciate those giveaways that do not make one jump through numerous hoops. I keep coming back to SMS because of the relevant giveaways (and probably because I have won – TWICE!!)

    I love your blog and I think you do a admirable job of maintaining the balance of supporting your store, sharing ideas, and education.
    That is actually quite difficult – doing the soft sell so well.
    You gals rock!

  32. lee says:

    I appreciate the hard work that goes into the tutorials and appreciate the giveaways. I only put in if its something I really would use. I like the tutorials and ideas more than anything else.

  33. Katie says:

    You actually need to be really careful with Facebook–it is completely against their terms of use to make taking any action on FB (liking, posting) a condition for any kind of contest. You can end up having your page shut down.

    I don’t even think you’re supposed to use FB to mention contests hosted elsewhere. You should really take a look at their actual rules, because I know of people who have had their pages (and therefore their FB presence) obliterated for lack of compliance.

  34. Lucy says:

    First, let me say… I LOVE your blog. I even have it listed in my “fun places to visit” on my sidebar. I think it’s great you are addressing this issue. I very seldom enter a giveaway because most do make you jump thru hoops. While I do get that the blog may want the giveaway to go to a “follower” and not to someone that only has visited their blog once, I also think some blogs insist they sign up as a follower to win the giveaway just so it “appears” they have a huge amount of followers. What’s the point in that? I would rather have fewer interested followers that hundreds who only visit once for the giveaway. I do find I get several hits on my blog but few comments and few followers.I have a small blog and only a few followers, but appreciate each one because I have not had to beg for them. I was surprised I had 3500 hits on one day and only a couple of comments. I do try to comment on blogs so that they know what they are blogging about is interesting and worth a comment.

  35. deborah says:

    I recently started blogging and have not done any giveaways to date. If I really love the prize and genuinely like the blog I’ll leave a comment or become a follower to enter. I don’t tweet or “like us on FB” just for a contest entry.

    Even if I don’t win, I like contests and giveaways because I’ve found new blogs this way. I leave comments on blogs because, as a blogger, I appreciate the feedback.

  36. Nichole says:

    Thanks for being so open here in talking about this and your motives. I see your point on how giveaways are valuable. I also see that when something is stimulating and relevant, it gets comments. Look at all the great discussion here and nothing is being offered in return! Several of the blogs I follow end a post with a leading questing that helps encourage comments.

    I am definitely guilty of enjoying a blog’s content (from my reader) and not jumping over to actually comment. I think that is a function of how many different blogs I try to keep up with. I always thought that the number of “views” were good enough for a blog’s marketing needs, not realizing that the number of comments is more relevant (I don’t have a blog). Thank you for illuminating this fact. I will definitely make more of an effort to comment on posts that I use or especially enjoy now that I know this. Keep up the great work, and again appreciate your candor, transparency, and commitment to good content – wish more blogs were that way.

  37. Daisy says:

    I think giveaways are a good idea, an incentive for people to check the blog everyday. The giveaways I enjoy entering the most are the ones that are easy to do so and when the prize is something worth trying for.

  38. Jayne says:

    I really enjoyed your take on the giveaway. A giveaway does make me and others ‘take notice’. I regularly check out SMS blog because of the content. It teaches me new techniques, gives me ideas and I get to learn about other people. I do enter the giveaways and leave comments, but may change the way I do leave comments. I know chances are I won’t win…..but now know that feedback is crucial! Thank You!

  39. Dana McKenzie says:

    I don’t often enter giveaways,for 2 reasons, the first is I live in Australia and most of the time I am not sure if it is open internationally, some people let you know most don’t. To be honest I am never sure even with your giveaways, sometimes if I really would like to win I spend awhile looking for that piece of info but 90% of the time I can’t find it. The second reason is I really detest facebook and twitter (sorry for those who love it) and I hate junk emails, so if I have to sign up for something that is only going to create annoyance I won’t bother. However, I always follow the links and read the blurb or tutorials but don’t often leave comments because when there are 100 I figure it is not going to get read anyway, but after reading the above I guess I should leave a comment even if it is just a quick thank you for the time and effort put in.
    One entry in the form of a comment is my vote.

  40. Melissa says:

    I love, love, love your blog. The other day I mentioned a new sewing project I wanted to tackle to my husband and he asked, “Do you know how to do that?” My response, “Well, no, but Sew, Mama, Sew will show me how.”

    I have always been too initimated to leave a comment before (even in order to enter a giveaway). I don’t have a blog, or much sewing experience. Thank you so much for letting me know that leaving a comment is like sending a thank you card for the post. You will be hearing from me more in the future!

  41. Natalija says:

    Love reading the info that your giveaways are also open to international readers. I used to try to enter giveaways in the past, only to find out in the end that it was open only to US readers. So I stopped even entering and just dismissed all the giveaway entries. But I will definitely be paying more attention here now that I have this info. I love your site and have been reading it for a very long time now. Love all the tutorials! Keep up the good work. I just had our 7th baby and we had lots of medical issues (both me and the baby and some of the other children) so my sewing has been minimal. I am hoping that things will settle down soon and that I can sew lots more now. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration.

  42. Janet K says:

    I like giveaways – they have opened up my google reader to dozens of new blogs I wouldn’t have found otherwise. However, I like the 1 entry model. I think a comment is nice especially if there is a tutorial attached. As a newish blogger, my participation has evolved from “get out!! you’re giving that away? sign me up!!” to being more selective. If I don’t really want the prize I won’t sign up, and if there are requirements beyond a comment I don’t either. Thanks for your experiment. I’d rather comment on a blog, but I think if others follow different ways that’s okay too.

  43. Susan says:

    I’m a reader, not a blogger. (At least not yet.) I am curious though; excluding whatever advertising might be on someone’s blog, what is the reason to get people onto the physical blog rather than just through the a reader? Since I read a LOT of blogs (there are so many talented people out there), I find it so much easier (and quicker) to read the blogs from Blogger Reader. When I want to comment, ask a question or access a link then I’ll open the blog. Like the majority of readers I don’t comment on every article. There just isn’t enough time. However, I think I’m in the minority for realizing that these authors spend a lot of time, energy and resources to publish something for our pleasure. In that regard, I try to comment when I can have a positive impact on the dialog or when I sincerely walk away with something good, even if it’s just a good laugh. If there is some really important reason to get people off the readers and onto the physical blogs, I wonder if it isn’t a matter of educating the viewership rather than figuring out how to do contests. And if that’s a valid point, I wonder if writers could include links in their posts such as “Was this post helpful? Click here” or “If you enjoyed today’s post, click here.” As a reader I think I would be more inclined to click a link to show my participation in their blog than trying to come up with something witty to post. Then again, I may have misunderstood the whole point of this post. In any event, thanks for your time. (As a separate note to bloggers, pretty pretty please consider contests with one entry only. If your blog really appeals to someone they’ll follow on Twitter, FB, Etsy, just because they want to. How many FB “likes” end up with “hide all comments from this person”? How many people have Twitter accounts set up for these types of things but never actually read the tweets? Just some food for thought.) Again, thanks for your time.

  44. Lorri says:

    I like your giveaways. I only enter them when I would like to have the prize (basically, if it’s fabric, I’m in!) But, really, I love the sewing projects that you post on your blog. That’s why I read it, the giveaways are just a nice bonus. 🙂

  45. Leigh Anne says:

    Well said, thanks for sharing…..and for the no “hoop jumpin'” I really appreciate that one 🙂 I think you guys have a nice balance between giveaways and AWESOME content!

  46. Catherine says:

    I love give aways, but don’t use facebook or twitter, so that makes it hard. I’d only enter if it was something I would actually use. But my biggest gripe? I’m Australian and most giveaways don’t specify whether or not international readers can enter. So to be honest, most of the time I won’t even read a giveaway post because I doubt I can enter.

  47. I am a subscriber to your blog and enjoy reading the content, I am less likely to comment here as I would to someone’s personal blog because it feels too much like a commercial blog (and there’s nothing wrong with that it just doesn’t make me feel like I want to “feedback” to the author). I am commenting in this instance because I wanted you to know that I have been a bit put off by the fact that you only hold giveaways for US residents when clearly your blog/readership is global – I am in Australia. You’ve had a few competitions I’ve really wanted to enter but have not been able to and that put’s a negative feeling toward your site. Nearly every other givewaway I have come across on the blogosphere is open to anyone globally.

  48. Ruth Fidino says:

    Thanks for not making us jump thru hoops…leaves more time for sewing.

  49. Donna S. says:

    You sound very logical to me. One chance for each. I guess I don’t realize that bloggers really want comments. I kind of feel like that takes more of the bloggers time.

  50. Molly says:

    I am a huge fan of your blog and have made several things that were inspired by content I see here- This blog has helped me and encouraged me to be a better seamstress and I so appreciate that. Your content is wonderful- as is your shop- and I just can’t imagine the sewing world without you. I do enter giveaways from time to time but what keeps me coming back is the awesome content. Keep it up- you are fabulous.

  51. SewLindaAnn says:

    That was a informative post. I liked Rafflecopter and had written so, but I wonder if there is a means of deleting all the multiple entries some people put in if you’re only supposed to enter once. I do love giveaways, it’s fun to look forward to seeing if you won. Content is what keeps me coming back and actually using information from a site, communicating and making a connection. I don’t blog or giveaway myself, but I am an active reader and participant. I too will be more mindful of commenting more often.

  52. Allison C says:

    I don’t run a blog, but I have to admit entering giveaways with a ridiculous amount of bonuses are annoying. OR when the giveaway only lets you enter if you go to facebook or twitter. What happened to just entering with a single comment? I love winning things, who doesn’t? I admit that typically giveaways peek my interest and I likely comment more, but I do try to comment from time to time if I feel I have something worthy to share. I.e. there is no giveaway here, but I think its important to support your point of one entry per person. If you like what you win you are more than likely to tell all of your friends about where you got it from (blog/artist/company), why you like, etc. So it helps the blog and the company or artist regardless if the person has to enter 10 different ways or just once.

  53. Cricket says:

    It’s interesting to hear your take on giveaways. It will make me work a little harder at leaving comments. Though I really liked rafflecopter, my general theory on giveaways is this: if I can’t think of or be bothered to make a unique and applicable comment, I shouldn’t enter.

  54. Pamela says:

    Giveaways are fun, but they are like icing on cake – a little added yum, but the cake is what we want! I am usually happy with one entry, don’t like jumping through hoops just for an extra chance.

    I definitely should be better about commenting, so often I enjoy an article, but don’t bother to say so.

  55. duff says:

    Giveaways are a funny thing–you’re right–people don’t really take the time to read or respond. When SMS giveaway day comes around, I usually ask that a specific question is answered, that’s all. I never force people to follow my blog–why would they? It’s for me! And that’s about the only time I have a giveaway–it’s so much fun looking at the blogs and awesome prizes! I saw a woman on the street the other day and she told me that she reads my blog all the time but has never commented, not even for a giveaway. thanks for the rafflecopter link–it’s neat! I really like the rafflecopter options and after signing up at their site, I think I will be using it in the future.

  56. Sandi says:

    I enter surprisingly few giveaways because I’ve won a few that were good prizes, but not necessarily something I’d choose for myself. I don’t like the idea of taking something that someone else really wants just so I can say I won.

    I am one of many who commented that I hate giveaways that make me jump through hoops. If I have to Like or Follow a blog before I can even enter the giveaway, forget it. I subscribe to blogs through Google Reader (and use the Next button in my toolbar so I can read them at their site rather than in the reader). Clicking the Follow button does nothing for me – it only benefits the blogger. HOWEVER, I’m okay with giveaways that allow multiple opportunities to enter. I may not want to blog about their entry or Like their Facebook page or tweet about them or… whatever. But if I can just leave a comment for one entry, I’ll do it. If the prize is worth the extra effort to someone else, well, I’m okay with them having five entries to my one.

  57. Esther says:

    Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa! I am guilty of the “not leaving a comment” sin (if it is one). I have read your comments and want to Thank you for explaining like you did. It gave me a clear view of Your reality, your side of the medal. Leaving a comment is the least I could do, since I follow your blog on my reader and BENEFIT from your sharing very regularly. I do like giveaways, of course, but if I have to dance the polka on one foot to participate, I just don’t enter. Thank you again!

  58. Mary Jo says:

    I also need to remember to comment or just say thank you .

    I only enter give a ways when I really would love to win,–not that I have ever won. For example, I enjoy quilting and the many aspects of creativity & design. While something on how to make a dress for a little girl may be very neat, that is not something that I would comment on because I would hope someone who really wants it will win it.

    I probably visit your blog daily and thank you for being a place I trust and respect.

  59. Ashley says:

    Great points! Thanks for sharing! I like giveaways just like the next person but I am not for jumping through hoops to get one. It is actually quite the turn off for me. If the giveaway ask for a following I will check out the blog and if it isn’t something I would read everyday I don’t enter. I would hate to ruin someones chances that really does like the blog and the giveaway. I only enter if I intend on following and really like the giveaway. I do appreciate the giveaways that are offered and I try to make sure to earn the chance for the giveaway. I have yet to win a physical prize but I have won a ton of great blogs and inspirational people.

  60. An interesting read about your competition philosophy and comments problems. One frustration I have with blog giveaways is when it isn’t stated whether it is open internationally. Bloggers seem to forget that they have readers from all around the world…

  61. Lisa 2 says:

    Thank you so much for an informative commentary on giveaways. I do think that sometimes they’re overused and just lead the reader in circles to try to drum up more advertising dollars. I actually find the free patterns/tutorials help me remember a site, and encourage me to revisit. And I don’t want my own blog, so I won’t be linking anyone into my site 🙂

  62. Kristie says:

    I dislike the hoops and don’t participate in giveaways that make you do several things or give you six ways to enter. I like simple, one entry per person giveaways. Otherwise it becomes a time suck and detracts from the content. I’ll actually read an entire entry and think about it if I don’t have to do a million things in the three free minutes I have to enter the contest.

  63. Kristen Allen says:

    I am probably the lone ranger on this, but I’ve stopped entering giveaways on sewing blogs (since there seems to be such a proliferation and chances of winning seem low), so I always click from Google Reader to your blog only when the content piques my interest. I’ll try to remember to comment more, but I love what you’re doing and love all the themed content. Keep up the great work!

  64. trash says:

    I echo so much of what many other commenters have said.
    * Love that talented people take the time to share their cleverness with tutorials.
    * Hate being asked to ‘like’ a page or blog/follow someone/subscribe to something. No thanks, I’ll just walk on by.
    *I do try and leave a comment when I stop by not always successful but I do try.

  65. Erin says:

    I appreciate your thoughtfulness and transparency.

    I have entered only a handful of giveaways, although I watch a number of blogs that do them. I only enter if it’s something that I truly want, but not every time I want it. It’s mainly because the odds of winning seem so remote (although I did win one once – and appreciated/used the prize). I’ll echo the points others have made about not participating in those that require re-tweeting or re-blogging, since I don’t do either, or fanning on FB, since I always “unlike” after the giveaway.

    I prefer giveaways to be essentially product reviews. As in, “I value this product so much, that I want to share it with you.” I often find giveaways a good opportunity to find out about new products, tools, or books. I have many of them bookmarked, not because I wanted to win, but because I was interested later purchasing in the product.

    When it’s a regular feature, giveaways for the sake of giveaways, it’s disingenuous. It’s someone pushing a book to earn a buck or tempting fans by dangling a prize. It’s not an attempt to actually connect with me. Then it’s just clogging my reader and distracting from actual content.

  66. Knitteresq says:

    Very interesting. I don’t have a blog and I always wondered what the benefit was to the blog to have a giveaway. Thanks!

  67. Mamima says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your valuable experience on runing giveways.
    As I said in my previous messages I started sewing almost by accident and since then I’m following and recomending your blog, as a useful blog with a lot of ideas for handmade gifts and with a good variety of sewing tutorials. It has been a good support to improve my sewing skils.
    The content is the key reason, but the giveways gives the dynamics encouraging an active participation.


  68. Jennyroo says:

    Kudos to those who put it into words so much more eloquently than I. Putting your name in a draw should be fun, it shouldn’t feel like work! And I am totally going to try to be a better commenter on blog posts where there isn’t a giveaway! You hard working bloggers/crafters deserve it!

  69. Amanda says:

    I enter giveaways for things I actually would like to have, and sometimes I do learn about products that I want, even if I don’t win. I definitely appreciate the content rather than just an ad for a product. And I don’t use twitter, nor do I like to advertise things on facebook, so I never enter if those are required. I like it when the post asks a specific question to be answered in the comment, because it is more fun and feels more natural.

  70. April says:

    My philosophy on giveaways is this – if I haven’t commented on a blog before, even if I’ve been reading it for a long time, I won’t participate in a giveaway. If the giveaway is a cool thing, but I wouldn’t actually use it, I won’t enter. And I think it’s because I have seen the difference in the comment number that you were talking about in the post. While they’re cool, giveaways aren’t the reason I visit blogs. I’ve never one one, but do appreciate the time and effort that it takes for bloggers to put them together 🙂

  71. Barb Colvin says:

    I follow a gazillion blogs. As a result, I am a notorious lurker. (I have tried to shorten my list–honest! lol) I love all the great tutorials, and have learned so much. I use Google Reader and have starred many tutes, but I don’t often jump over to the blogs themselves to comment. Using a reader is convenient, but I think that is part of the reason I don’t comment very often. As for giveaways–I love them–but only enter if what is offered is something I really would like to have. If I have to follow a new blog to enter, I check out the posts to see if I really want to add that blog to my huge list. If the blog isn’t a good fit, I don’t enter (even if I really would like to have the prize).

  72. alisa says:

    I only enter give aways if I really want the product. If I already have what is being given away, I just pass on it. I really don’t like having to leave a page and go back and forth to other pages to enter. I like the one comment to win style of give away and yes, it does introduce me to different blogs and shops when I click on over to a give-away post. Interesting topic. Sometimes I do feel that there are too many “commercials” on the web.

  73. Amy says:

    I notice this on my small blog all the time. I get a handful of comments on my normal posts but then when I have a giveaway, a couple of hundred. It’s frustrating. I can see why that would bother the people who offer you their tutorials. I wish I had the solution.

  74. Ariane says:

    This is a great post. I really like your premise for giveaways. I think I will use some of the ideas you shared here!! It’s nice to get reasoning behind the giveaway and how you come up with your format!! Thanks!!!

  75. Beth says:

    I’m glad that your priority is the content, not just giveaways. I love the content.

  76. Melissa says:

    I personally and tired of the giveaways. There is one blog in particular that seems to have turned into a giveaway only blog, so the content is just not there like it used to be. Giveaways are also a way to generate traffic for advertising (which like on Pioneer Woman) becomes the moneymaker. I get the traffic need for making money on a blog, but I am finding a lot of sewing and quilting blogs seem to have become annoying with less content more fabric line marketing freebies.

    I get it, I really do, but it doesn’t make me want to read the blog more. If a tutorial is great and it is garnering 20k unique visitors, isn’t that considered success? From there, where is the blog being linked to for reference of how great it is? If the guest blogger is receiving traffic following a post, that is success as well–especially for advertising traffic stats.

    I know I am probably in the minority, as I tend to not comment often on blogs anyway… but this is just my opinion. And to jump through a bunch of hoops to enter a contest? Nope, I wouldn’t.

  77. MaryRose says:

    I really appreciate you addressing this issue. I also will not jump thru hoops for a prize. I will do one entry with a comment… but that’s it.

    I like to hear about the new products out there and giveaways have increased my knowledge. I bought an Accuquilt GrandMarke (might be the accucut one) and about 20 dies because I saw it online somewhere and just had to get one.

    So for me, the information and thrill of a new products makes the contests seem fun

  78. Susie says:

    I like giveaways for the most part if it’s something I REALLY want. (By golly I WILL win an Accuquilt Go!Baby yet! C’mon Random Generator! Help a poor & budget-strained quiltin’ mama out! Dernit! LOL)

    I have nearly 400 blogs in my Reader. I open it every day and read through them. I may not comment on them but I do read them. I only comment on a post if it’s something that truly “moves” me enough to comment. (Such as this one did.)

    For the most part, I abhor the hoops and rings of fire that you have to jump through in order to enter a giveaway. Many of my blogs I acquired because I had to “follow” them due to a giveaway. I really need to go through and “thin out the herd” so to speak. One “hoop” that throws me is that I “must have a blog.” Why? I don’t have a blog and don’t want one. Heck, would people expect ME to have giveaways then too?! Ugh!

    My “like list” on Facebook needs cleaning out as well as Jennie said above. I don’t even see any of my family & friends any more for all of the “liked” crap. (Now, that doesn’t count for my actual friend’s pages that I like. I’m keepin’ them.)

    Giveaway comments crack me up too with their feigned excitement and giddiness. I always chuckle. Have you ever counted the exclamation points on one of those posts? OhMiGosh.

    I guess I just don’t “get” the point of blogging anymore. I thought that it used to be about documenting a journey, telling a story, providing information, etc. Now it seems that it’s all about advertising, giving stuff away and seeing who can win the popularity contest or something. Heck. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s my cold talking. I dunno.

    *Going back to my corner now.* LOL

  79. Beezus says:

    I don’t do giveaways, but I don’t use my blog as a platform for sewing tutorials and so on, either. To me, my blog is just my personal thoughts that I share with the world. That being said, sometimes I participate in online giveaways and sometimes I don’t. If I feel like I’m being manipulated (aka being asked to jump through too many hoops just to promote the blog) rather than being offered a chance at a nice prize for following and participating in someone else’s blog, I totally get turned off. For the most part, however, I don’t see that so much in the sewing world. What bothers me the most about giveaways, unfortunately, is that I always like to hear about new (to me) blogs that other fellow sewists/crafters follow online, but sometimes they are only sharing so that THEY can be entered into giveaways, rather than sharing because they feel like it’s a quality blog. I know there is probably a better way to say all that, but I hope you can understand what I’m saying. For my part, I never tweet about giveaways or write a post about them on FB because my friends aren’t really into the same sort of hobbies that I am, and I think that it’s pretty contrived if I do. I like to think that me just showing up and offering my time to a blog is a good enough reason for them to say thanks, here’s an opportunity to participate in a giveaway. 🙂

  80. Natacha says:

    Just wanted to say that I wholly appreciate most of your articles, giveaway or not, they are often a springboard for new ideas. However, it is true, I rarely comment, and giveaways are a great incentive for that! Thanks for all your efforts towards better sewing.

  81. Give aways are lovely, and I have won a few. I simply do not enter any that have entry requirements I think are too onerous. One thing I refuse to do is become a follower just to enter a give away. I understand why a ‘commercial’ blogger wants followers (to sell ads) but if I would not follow them because of their content then I certainly won’t follow them (even temporarily) for a give away.

    I actually question the value of give aways most of the time. I’d love to see statistics about how effective they are.


  82. Jennie says:

    All good thoughts. I only enter giveaways if it is something I honestly want. The free factor isn’t the only pull. And lately, even if I really want something, I shy away from giveaways that make me jump through hoops to enter. A simple comment is sufficient. I’ve had to clean out my “follow” list in blogger, and my “like” list on facebook of junk places that I only followed or liked in order to enter a giveaway.

  83. Theresa says:

    I love the points you make. I too am tired of running all over the net to enter a contest.

    And cluttering up the Facebook…I hardly use it for freinds and family anymore coz of the liking of other stuff instead.

    I read your blog all the time, and I am so sorry for not leaving remarks..I feel awful for it! I will do better from now on!

    I do love the contest tho..much of the time I cant afford things and it cool to win something that I can use that I wouldnt or couldnt buy for myself lol!

    Great article!

  84. Jana says:

    I love reading sewing and crafting blogs and subscribe to numerous ones via feed reader. I sometimes take the time to comment when I have a question or just particularly like what I’ve seen (that is, if the comment mechanism itself isn’t too prohibitive or complicated). Everyone can use some encouragement, and I am happy to share it, as well as to express gratitude for the someone taking the time to post something that is so helpful and beneficial.

    I rarely enter giveaways–I just don’t have time to fuss with them. I’m primarily interested in high-quality content and love what I find at Sew, Mama Sew. The last two years I have anxiously awaited your Handmade Holidays series and have made many lovely gifts using the tutorials you’ve featured. Thank you for doing what you do!

  85. AnnaPK says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I totally agree with you about your use of social media. Today I saw your FB post about this article and I hopped directly over here to read it. 🙂

  86. Gina says:

    I agree with Cheri^. I like one entry per person raffles for leaving a comment. I like when there is some instruction about what to include in the comment so it’s not all “Great giveaway – I’m in” comments. You are so right about having people learn more by having to write a sentence! But I’m a teacher, too, so maybe we just LOVE making people do some summarizing 🙂

  87. amy says:

    Thanks for the in to Rafflecopter–I don’t run giveaways often (I’m just me, and nobody sponsors me but me!) but it may be a useful tool to have in the future.

    I comment when I can–but that’s not always. I do appreciate this site, though!

  88. Angelina says:

    I appreciated your article. I thought the ‘jumping through hoops” in giveaways on some blogs just exhausting and I stopped frequenting those blogs as often. I get annoyed that people won’t comment unless they get to win something…I hated looked at the stats on my old blog, seeing the thousands of people coming over from different places including this site, but I think I would feel lucky to get 7 comments.

    Kudos to you at SEWMAMASEW for looking at giveaways and writing a thoughtful article!


  89. Sandryte says:

    I really liked the new way of entering giveaways (i.e. the options to tweet, to like on FB and so on). For all sponsors I’d like to say, that I NEVER pay attention on Facebook who likes what and what they are up to. Facebook is OVERRATED! Nice blogs, good tutorials, interesting ideas on Etsy etc. – that’s what creates a desire to search more, to come back, to try it yourself.

    I think, with 1 entry you are one step forward from all the other blogs.

  90. anna says:

    great topic ladies! giveaways are so hard, so many people have many different opinions on them. I agree that hearing feedback in comments is way more awesome than just knowing you had x amount of traffic that day! It’s so fun to hear people speak up and get involved, it’s the reason I keep blogging.

  91. cheri says:

    I guess the rafflecopter “i did it” stuff is handy….but I kinda hate all the extra entry bonuses for tweeting and liking and such. I never do that. I don’t tweet, and if I did, i would not want to clutter up my tweet world with raffle entries….likewise with facebook. I kinda dont want my friends to know I spend my day entering sewing raffles. Or a year’s worth of lucky charms raffles. KWIM? Kinda embarrassing. 😐 And, it annoys me when my “friends” clutter up MY page with all their junk. SO….I prefer simple entries, one chance per person. 🙂

  92. birrrd says:

    I love that there are a lot of giveaways recently. My thoughts on them as a blogreader is that if you win you get something kind of more personal than if you participate at some riddle-whatever-giveaway somewhere. because its always connected to the blog and the content of the blog. and because every blog shares something personal or private it is always a kind of personal gift. so if i sew something out of a fabric from a giveaway it might become even more personal to me, than if i made it from a fabric i baought somewhere because it was a gift.

    ans as a blogger: i like to share something nice with someone else. to give a present and a hopefully great moment to a person i dont know. he or she will receive mail, which always makes up the day. its all about sharing joy.
    well and if someone new has a second look on my blog because he saw there is a giveaway i appreciate this as well. i also got to know great blogs because of giveaways…

    : )

  93. Melinda says:

    Love your points. Well put. I will say that, as an individual blogger who does not have sponsors, I only run giveaways when I can afford to. I have been EXTREMELY lucky to have won several fabric giveaways and I appreciate so much that people and shops are able to do it. As a newbie to quilting (10 months) I have learned so much from not only the tutorials, articles, and updates people write on their progress, but I actually learn from the giveaways as well! I started out using cheap fabrics and (I’ll be honest!) thinking that the only reason bloggers pushed what I considered the higher priced lines was because they had sponsors who could give them those lines. Only after winning some and using them did I really see the difference in quality. I try my best to comment on what I read. I understand how frustrating it is to spend HOURS and DAYS creating a tutorial only to see my hits for the day skyrocketing with no comments left. I love your website and look forward to EVERYTHING you do, not just the giveways!

  94. Firstmute says:

    I like the point about giveaways really prompting comments; it makes me think about the way that craft blogging is about creating community and that my comments are a way of giving back to all the wonderful content that I read. Often I don’t comment because, well, to put it bluntly, entropy rules: thinking up something to say about a post takes time and effort. But you’re right, or at least your implication is right: comments from readers are a big part of what writers get out of providing all of this wonderful and FREE content, and I know that comments on my (tiny) blog really make my day.

    Great food for thought!

  95. rebecca says:

    I am leaving this comment so that you know I read this article and appreciate what you have said. I love reading all your content and love the community of sewing enthusiasts it brings together. Thanks so much!

  96. Maya says:

    I love what you do here. I love the giveaways (though I have never won), I love the tutorials and I love the articles about other sewers & blogs. I have basically learned to quilt since reading the blog here.

    I don’t know much about giveaways. I have participated in two of the giveaway days so that is as far as my experience goes. I know I enjoy some kind of interaction with blog readers. On a daily basis it might be a little overwhelming so I do see the benefit in rafflecopter.

  97. beth lehman says:

    Part of my problem is that I read too much!! It’s time consuming, so I only post when I really have something to say or something resonates with me! Guilty of spending too much time skimming instead of time spent in depth. Anyone else?

    Giveaway days became too hard for me to keep track of – I only enter ones whose blogs I already read and that I love.

  98. Lisa E. says:

    Guilty as charged. I read your blog almost daily — and if I miss a post, I backtrack and find it. Sometimes, like during Handmade for the Holidays or some other themed month, I read more than once a day.

    But I usually only comment when there’s a prize or something. As a fellow educator, I think you’re right. When we DO something as part of learning, or immediately after, we’re more apt to remember it. I shall try to remember to give you all, and the fabulous guest bloggers, more feedback….thanks for all you to do enrich the web, and enrich the online crafting community.

  99. randi says:

    I do agree with all the benefits of having giveaways, but what I noticed is that many people do it for the sake of the giveaway.

    E.g. Blue Cricket Designs hosted this super awesome giveaway 3 prizes, valued at what $1000+, anyway, you had to “Like” each sponsor on Facebook. In the end, you would have to have had to liked a hundred sponsors. After the giveaway ended, the hundreds, maybe thousands of people that liked your page for the giveaway now Unlike your page because “you litter the news feed”. Many of those sponsors commented on how they went from 800 fans to 80. So really how many of these giveaways necessarily result in win-win for the blogger and the sponsor?

    As I said in my other comment, I really value the content. It makes me feel like a winner 🙂

    and if I like you on facebook — It’s because I really, really like you.

  100. Tsigeyusv says:

    I am one of those people who bookmark/subscribe/get an RSS feed to sites I find that are awesome. I also tend to comment when and if I feel the blogger has provided something other than “fluff for the mind”. Some posts are just that; bragging rights, but if someone has taken the time to write and post a tutorial that truely benefits others, I give kudos. I’ve learned some amazing things from bloggers and when I do, I try to tip my hat, as am I doing right now!

  101. Juliette says:

    Great post. I appreciate your transparency on the matter and, while I don’t expect it from all blog owners, think it helps me accept all the giveaway posts I see here.

    I have to admit I’m generally not a fan of blogs running giveaways all the time; it tends to make me feel the blog is not as authentic or original as I’d want it to be. However, I do think the occasional giveaway is a fun way to spice things up, introduce an especially cool product, and/or celebrate an occasion.

    I’m currently running my first giveaway on my own blog and it’s fun. It’s also a bit of work, so it’s definitely something I would plan for.

    However, I’m a personal craft blog, not huge site that really serves the sewing community daily with lots of wonderful tutorials and resources like SMS. I’m also non-profit, but with all the work this site is, you all deserve to be financially compensated and I can see how giveaways help facilitate that. Props to SMS for maintaining a wonderful free site and props again for being so transparent about your giveaways!

  102. Jen Higgins says:

    I like give aways, but in moderation. I really don’t like it when a blog I formerly loved seems to turn into a give away blog. I like book reviews, seeing new trends, and tutorials. I think Sew Mama Sew balances content well.

  103. Samina says:

    While I appreciate the giveaways, I come to your site for inspiration & the tutorials. I’ve learned a lot from your articles. I have to admit that I’m guilty of often being in a hurry & not always commenting to acknowledge that I’ve read the post & express my appreciation, but I’m working on that.

    I’m glad that you’re eliminating all of those hoops that some giveaways entail. I’m not much of a facebook or twitter user & I find it tedious to have to do all of things to qualify.

  104. Grandma G says:

    Does Rafflecopter keep track of whether you actually DO the things you check off? If not, it seems that it would be too easy to cheat.

  105. Jessica says:

    I love the way you all choose to do giveaways. I appreciate that I don’t have to follow, and that I have the same odds of winning as anyone else, since there is only one entry. A lot of blogs give extra entries for bloggers who repost giveaways. This is a great way to get more people’s attention, but since I don’t have a blog, I don’t have a way to participate. I think if a giveaway is good enough, as yours consistently are, people will want to repost it to share the info. That’s what blogging’s all about, right?

  106. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the feedback about your giveaway policy. I enjoyed the process of rafflecopter more than being sent in a million directions to enter. I have adopted a new “must love it and want it desperately” attitude about giveaways. It makes me sad when a blog I read and comment at on a regular basis has very few comments unless there is a giveaway. I know from experience that blog posts take lots of time. Most people do not have professional (money-making blogs) so what they give of their time deserves recognition. Thoughtful and kind comments are always appreciated and should be left whether there is a giveaway or not.

  107. Jan says:

    I am a faithful blog reader, but I find that so many of my favourite blogs focus on giveaways when what I really want is content. I’m perhaps a little overly pessimistic, but I never win anything, and I hate jumping through hoops, as you say, that when I see that a post is a giveaway, I skip it. It would probably make a difference, though, if the entry is just one entry per person and if the content is still good. Thanks for running a great blog!

  108. Jessi says:

    I don’t do giveaways as my blog is tiny. I did one of those “chain” giveaways where you reply and then you are obligated to make something for the first 5 people who reply to your blog. Well, I made my 5, but never got anything from the “upline”- it was a little disappointing. Like chain letters usually are.

    I like blog giveaways but haven’t had good experienes from one. I won something from Craft Critique that I sent my address for, but nothing ever came. I’ve never won otherwise, and with 1000+ entries, it seems like a lot of trouble for the blog owner to give something away.

    The current stash manicure give aways are amazing, but again, it is very unlikely I’d get anything, so I think I’d be just as happy reading the content about the advertised product as having a chance to win it. The chance is TINY.

    I liked the rafflecopter thing, but would really just prefer 1 entry per person- all that stuff to do is annoying.

  109. Susan C. says:

    I agree 100% with your opinion of hoop-jumping (is that a real term?). Typically if a post requires me to “Like” something and tweet it and follow on Google Connect, i just walk away, no matter how great the prize.

    I do enjoy the balance you manage to achieve between the posts and the giveaways. Keep up the great work!

  110. Cheryl Hammond says:

    I love new projects, tools & tutorials just as much as I do giveaways. But if the giveaway requires too much for its entry, I back up fast. I prefer fun & smaller giveaways that require less work than those that ask for a commitment on my part.

  111. gillian says:

    i agree with ginger above.. i read your blog almost every day, and frequently go back to the archive to look for the tutorials etc, that i missed. but i very rarely comment, not because i don’t think the content is good, but usually it’s already been said (think along the lines of “wow, beautiful, very clever, cute” etc etc etc). BUT this article has changed my mind about leaving comments even if it’s been said before.. I assumed through the power of the interwebs that you knew how many people were reading it. etc… but i will leave more comments now!

    and honestly, there are so many people putting on giveaways, so many people entering, i’m kinda over them…. i would rather have fabulous content anyday. definitely more worthwhile than having to spend 30 minutes going through twitter, facebook, etc etc and then finding out that over 1000 people entered to win a charm pack.

    keep up the awesome variety, excellent instruction and fabulous inspiration. yey!

  112. Mary says:

    It would be interesting to know the make up of your readers and those who comment. Are the majority of comments left by bloggers or non-bloggers. I find that since writing my own blog I leave more comments on other blogs as I appreciate comments left on my own, so if I have a view on a post I’ll leave a comment giveaway or no giveaway. I generally only enter giveaways on blogs that I already follow and don’t enter those with hoops to jump through!
    Keep up the great work and I’ll try to feedback more often!

  113. Amy says:

    Love your rationale. I think it matches my thinking pretty closely, too.

    Another thought to throw out there… I have a day job that requires I have a very “managed” and particular sort of online presence. Crafting is my hobby and not part of my job so I participate in the online crafting community to the extent that I can with blogger aliases and whatnot. But once the content moves over to Facebook, for example, where the terms of service require that you use your real name, I have to bow out. All of my work colleagues are over there and I just can’t mix the two worlds.

  114. Sonja says:

    What a nicely written article. I worked in marketing before mommyhood. We had a somewhat vulgar term for the corporate product giveaway. While free stuff no doubt can be a part of a branding strategy, its true effectiveness is only apparent when the “stuff” makes it into the right hands.

    I have participated in giveaway day. I have also done giveaways on my blog. I never make anyone jump through hoops, as I myself do not enter contests that make me do more than construct a sentence. After every giveaway that I hold I feel somewhat used. I want to give my stuff away. I want to give it to someone that will truly use it. Mainly I want to give it to one of my readers. The winner usually isn’t someone that has ever visited my blog before. They are in it for the free stuff. Human nature at work no doubt. So in the future when I have something to pass along…I am going to do just that. No big giveaway. Just pick one of my readers that might be able to use the “thing” and ask them if they want it. Then mail a sweet little package off to them with a little note of thanks.

    Thank you for opening up this topic for discussion!

  115. Anita says:

    I don’t like jumping through hoops and I don’t like multiple entries or liking on facebook. I like simple!

  116. I like giveaways if it is something I will really use. I have run a few giveaways to celebrate a blogaversary month, but that’s about it. I am a little blog with only one sponsored giveaway. It was fun to read the comments.

  117. Ginger says:

    You make a good point about participation. I’m guilty of doing just as you say. I read the blog everyday but usually don’t post unless it’s a giveaway. I’ll try to do better in the future. You have such wonderful content and I’ve used a lot of it often.

    I’m glad you are going to have 1 entry per person. Jumping through hoops to enter can be annoying.

  118. Lisa says:

    I love the rafflecopter and thank you so much for the link to join their site. I don’t do giveaways very often but it will be nice to know it is there! I love the thought of winning something but I have become very selective about what contests I enter because I would hate to win something that I wouldn’t use. I love the tutorials and guest posts you have and I like to comment when I read them because I know how much work goes into a tutorial! Thanks for sharing your philosophy!

  119. Christy says:

    I love giveaways, but only enter if it’s something I actually would like to have for myself, as opposed to entering just because it’s free. The only thing I really dislike is when a giveaway requires me to tweet, re-tweet, etc. as I don’t use Twitter. The simpler the better! Sounds like you have already addressed that issue above, giving different options on how to enter. I will say that now I think I may have entered that giveaway too many times. Did the enter only once at the top mean once per entry method, or to choose only one method?

  120. Sha says:

    Love the article. I too am struggling with how and when to do a giveaway and have started to set guidelines for them. I too am more concerned with content than giveaways, although this coming month I have quite a few, they are all with specific content on my blog.

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