This week I passed another milestone. As of July 4th, I’ve officially lived four years longer than my father.
Because of this my birthday is now “differently” special. I am keenly aware that each year I am still on this earth past my father’s age is a precious gift.
We’ve all been living on borrowed time since the day we came crying into this world, but once you pass the age of a parent who died in the distant past, it serves as a reminder to enjoy this very day and get on with the doing of your life story.
People often ask me what having a birthday on the fourth of July feels like and I cannot put into proper words the fun I have enjoyed each and every one as they roar in with bushels of corn and end in a burst of fireworks.
I’ve always loved it.
I also love the small tokens of love offered to me by family and friends, be it a homemade gift, shared company, or bumping each other in the arms as the fireworks explode in the dark sky echoing with “Ooh’s” and “Ahh’s”.
My birthday is always about connection.
This year on 8 Women Dream, I’ve been writing about running a top blog and treating it like it’s a business. Fun stuff, huh?
I’ve been focusing my blog posts on the different ways to make money blogging and how to test what your readers will buy from you because you are just so darned wonderful.
While it’s not as easy as implied, it can be rewarding to figure out what your audience would like to see from you and create stronger connections with your fan base.
Blogging is about connection. It’s frustrating to me just how many writers forget this important fact.
Blogging is about how we connect with you through our shared stories, how we connect to you with our writing style, and how we connect with you by helping you. Blogging is not about the blogger.
If the blogger you can’t figure out if you are connecting with your readers, then it’s time to give them a free gift.
It’s time to make your blog feel as special as a good birthday celebration on the 4th of July. There are many ways in which to accomplish this: writing that is engaging and keeps them coming back for more, using fascinating photograph in your posts, participating in your comments and on social media, and offering a product giveaway for something free.
Recently, I seem to be on a raffle winning streak wherever I go.
This summer, I’ve won everything from garden tools to a Kindle Fire HD at every raffle event I’ve attended. Then along came my birthday, which ended up being filled with unexpected gifts like Yoga mats, champagne, and an unexpected day spent with my son driving in a convertible through the hills of the Sonoma County wine country.
My birthday served as a reminder to me of how much everyone loves small unexpected gifts and how a blog should elicit the same “what a great gift – I feel so special” feeling from your readers as often as possible.
Giveaways and freebies are more than offering great content. You need to offer your readers something more.
You should be offering a giveaway on your blog at least once every 6 months. Give away anything from a free e-book to a great gadget that your readers will love to own. Giveaways create the opportunity to offer more to your readers than your competitors.
If you are financially strapped, you can contact companies with products that will appeal to your readers. See if a company is willing to partner with you for a giveaway. You’ll need to know your site stats and have a Media Kit available.
You have nothing to lose.
Just for this blog post I contacted Amazon.com’s PR department and pitched them for a Kindle Fire giveaway for 8WD.
Your product giveaway pitch email should go something like this:
Dear [name of person if you can find it] or PR Manager [title],
My name is [your name] and I own [blog/website name] at [URL without the http://www so your email doesn’t end up in spam]. I am inquiring about if you would like to participate in possible giveaway or discount for [name the product you think is a good match for your readership] for my readers on [name of blog/website].
[Name of blog/website] is a [this is where you insert what your blog/website does for its readers,
who your blog/website is perfect for and why you are unique – keep this very brief]. My readers are [demographic and why they’d want this product]. [Blog/website name]’s media kit is located here, which covers site stats, demographics, testimonials, and other partnerships in greater detail. The purpose of this giveaway is [state purpose] and I estimate it will reach [number of readers you feel will see your promotion through email, on the site and through social media].
I have had great success with [name company and product] in past giveaways of this type. Thank you for your time in advance. I look forward to hearing back from you.
URL without http://www
Now Amazon PR did answer back to my email request to participate in a Kindle Fire Giveaway:
Thanks for your note and interest in Kindle! Unfortunately, we won’t be able to participate in this giveaway opportunity.
Although, disappointing, rejection letters do not stop me from hosting a giveaway or from pitching a list of companies with products 8 Women Dream readers will love. Now I can decide if I want to pitch another company, or buy a Kindle Fire anyway, and offer it to our 8 Women Dreamers in exchange for dream stories and how the Kindle Fire will help their dream come true.
I already placed my small, very first ebook, “Find Your Dream” in Amazon’s KDP Select Program which allows me to be a part of their Free Kindle Books Select program and give away the ebook book for free for any five days over a 90-day period. I chose Wednesday July 10 – Sunday July 14 for my ebook free giveaway on Amazon and made the book available to the Amazon library for sharing.
Top bloggers have been known to get 25,000 – 50,000 new blog readers simply by participating in the KDP Select program and offering their ebook for free and as part of the lending library.
The benefit of offering giveaways is to expose more people to who you are and your website and to reach out and make a personal connection with a reader. The idea of giveaways and freebies creates goodwill with the readers who spend time reading your posts and sharing them with their friends.
Now about giving away a Kindle Fire on my own without the help of Amazon… what are your thoughts…? Do you want one?
Should I run a “Tell 8WD Your Best Dream Story and Why You Need a Kindle” contest…?
Let me know your thoughts and feel free to share this post with your friends who have a story to tell and would love a Kindle.
And bloggers … what are you planning to give away this month?
Catherine Hughes is the founder of 8 Women Dream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead but don’t hold that against her.