15 Ways For Bloggers to Make More Money From Competitions

Learn strategies and tactics to work with brands to drive more revenue from contests and advertising.

People often overlook competitions as a source of revenue for their website, whether you’re a blogger or you own an E-Commerce store running regular contests can help you increase your revenue per user.

Here at Gleam we’ve been working with many businesses that do an incredible job of making giveaways work in their favour, here’s how they do it:

An important decision you’ll need to make before deciding to monetize your giveaways properly is the actual platform. We do see some bloggers that still run competitions manually, but they end up missing out on additional added value (plus all the manual time curating the entries, picking/verifying winners).

Are you making enough from competitions to justify paying for a platform?

If the answer is no, then I would suggest starting out with one of the free competition widgets. Once you get into a flow with brands that need more flexibility & complex requires then you might consider investing in a paid platform.

Some of the features that we offer here at Gleam include:

  • Beautifully designed widget with lots of embed options
  • Verified & non-verified entry types
  • Custom actions, get users to complete actions on the brands site as entry methods
  • Entrant subscriber list, build a list of users that want to get notifications of more competitions from that brand
  • More social integrations than any other platform, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter (and more being added every week).
  • Run more than just competitions, allow brands to giveaway unlockable coupon codes on your blog posts
  • Revenue tracking (coming soon), you’ll be able to show your direct revenue impact on their sales from the competition.

Try Gleam for yourself:

  Learn More   Use This Template
Partnering up with a shoe brand

The relationship between brands & bloggers is an important one to understand. You’ve built up a captive audience with your content, an audience that brands want to use for product exposure.

Getting a brand on board for a giveaway will mean that you are able to giveaway a prize that normally wouldn’t be possible, this will drive additional entries & exposure for both parties. Now you need to think about what value you think you can bring to the table, this will help you shape your offering (whilst still providing value & ROI for the brand) & determine how much you can charge.

One of the main issues you will face is that most active brands may get a PR agency to pitch on their behalf.

PR Agencies will generally try a few different types of approaches:

  • Blast (Very Common): Target many people with the same product/offer until someone says yes.
  • Targeted (Less Common): Target you directly with a bespoke offering based on your readers/blog/style.

If they offer you a product to pitch, ask for a sample first. Again you need to be very clear here about your rates & how much you expect to be compensated – otherwise you run the risk of a PR agency wanting to do all a load of work for just a product to giveaway. Remember, your time is valuable too!

Brands will have different campaign objectives depending on what they are trying to achieve, but almost all fall under one of the following categories:

  • Driving brand/product awareness
  • Getting product feedback
  • Increasing sales
  • Building a mailing list
  • Driving social actions

You can now think about how your particular website can help a brand achieve their goals.

How much value you can deliver to a brand or product will depend on a number of factors:

  • How much traffic do you generate?
  • How many mailing list subscribers do you have?
  • Previous competition entry volumes
  • Do you have a group that you can syndicate the competition to?
  • Can you drive email signups?
  • Can you drive social actions?
  • Do you have any data on direct revenue impact?
  • What value can you provide that doesn’t exist elsewhere?

Once you understand how much value exists you can now start formulating some packages that you can respond to brands with. Time & time again I see bloggers not really giving justice to the value of their user base by just running the competitions for free.

Some ideas:

When your competition is over consider whether or not you give the data back to the brand for free or not. I often get bloggers to ask upfront what value a brand places on (remember these businesses are paying CPC costs on Google Ads & social networks to drive these metrics too):

  • Emails: Often worth $1 – $2
  • Social Actions: Often worth $0.50 – $3

This means that your model becomes much more valuable, you can charge an upfront cost, then a cost afterward (that you agree upon) to release the email signups.

Another model that is becoming popular is to agree on a CPA with the brand. No upfront cost for the competition but pay per performance, have a rate card that you can agree on then invoice afterwards based on the result.

This model reduces risk, but also aligns with publishers to push for a better result.

Again, think about what brands pay already for certain actions. If you’re offering a $0.10 action cost when they currently spend $3 on Facebook Ads per like then you have some leverage.

If the platform you use allows daily entries or bonus competition entries, you can use this to drive people back to the page every day. Put CPM ads or impression based ads on these pages to drive additional revenue.

Building an email list is one of the most valuable things that you can do, ensure that you encourage entrants of your competitions to join your mailing list.

There’s a few ways you can achieve this, you could make it optional or mandatory for competition entries. The latter may get you less volume of entries, but you’ll be guaranteed to be focused on increasing the size of your email list.

If you can, allow users to opt-in to future competition notifications. If you have a loyal blog following then you can easily build a list of users that are happy to know as soon as you launch a new giveaway.

Gleam takes care of this task for you, we currently allow users to opt into competition notifications on signup (with an average opt-in rate of 234%). The more contests you run the bigger your notification list grows, which gives you powerful stats to talk to brands about. This feature is only active on the business plan.

Gleam allows you to collect emails with contest sign-up forms

Use the power of existing competitions to drive more entries into others, this is as simple as including an additional entry method that directs users to either your competitions page or a specific competition.

Give entrants additional entry methods for completing an offer, or signing up to a free trial. This preferably should be a product or service that aligns with the current giveaway – but also makes you a small commission for the referral.


Stuart McKeown

Stuart McKeown is one of the Co-founders at Gleam. Aside from writing and helping businesses grow, he also enjoys sound design and drinking tea ☕️