I’m going to wiggle my magic wand and become a fashion blogger with lots of social media followers.
One morning, I open up my inbox to an email from the Marketing Department at Ace Hotel. They are wondering if I’d be interested in co-hosting a giveaway for a two nights stay at their Palm Springs property. In return, I get a three nights stay at any of their properties.
I look out my window at the dreary San Francisco fog and imagine putting on a maxi dress and flip flops and hanging out in Palm Springs. My fingers can’t type yes fast enough.
We hop on the phone and decide that the primary goal for the giveaway will be to increase our Instagram followers. And we decide that we are going to have them enter by submitting photos that we will judge (AKA a contest).
Our giveaway details
We hash out the details and decide the following:
- Entries will be counted for a specific two-day period in May 2015
- That the winner will receive a voucher good for a two nights stay in a specific type of room at the Palm Springs property
- Only US residents over the age of 18 can enter
- That there are two ways to enter: (1) following both of our Instagram accounts, and (2) posting a photo of what they would wear on their Palm Springs getaway with a specific hashtag
- That there is only one entry per Instagram account
- That the winning photo will be picked based on creativity, originality, and relationship to contest criteria
- That the Ace Hotel Social Media manager, a fashion blogger friend, and I will judge the entries and pick the winner
- That the winner will be notified via Instagram Direct and will have 24 hours to provide a valid email address that Ace Hotel can deliver the voucher to
- That we will be able to use the photographs submitted by all entrants on our social media accounts and marketing materials
As we close up the call Ace Hotel promises to run these rules past their in-house counsel. So that the suits can let us know if we need to exclude residents of any specific state. Ace Hotel also promises to set up an Official Rules page on their website.
Finally, they agree to put together some marketing collateral that we can use to promote the giveaway. The graphic will have the entry dates, that no purchase is necessary, that the giveaway is void where prohibited, and a shortlink to the Official Rules.
We hang up the phone and I start dreaming of my Palm Springs getaway.
I’ve now turned back into your friendly legal educator.
Hosting a legit giveaway
The story above outlines how to do a blog giveaway without running into legal trouble.
The 5 steps to hosting a legit giveaway:
- Decide the goals of the giveaway
- Determine if you have to host a sweepstakes or contest based on your goals
- Write Official Rules and post them to your website
- Figure out if residents of any specific U.S. state must be excluded
- Create promotional material that mentions the start/end date of giveaway, that no purchase is necessary, that the giveaway is void where prohibited, and a link to the Official Rules
What are your biggest fears about hosting a blog giveaway? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below so that I can cover them as we go through each piece.