Are Promotional Giveaways Getting “Boring”???

A common promotional tactic for bloggers, influencers, and many companies all over the world is to use giveaways to gain followers and sell more products.

There are pros and cons to giveaways, which I will get in to in a later blog post this month, but I personally am not a big fan of them.

They often don’t lead to long-term growth in followers and engagement, but many people do see some growth in their channels while the event is running.

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My question is…are giveaways old and boring now? Are they still as interesting and exciting as they once were?

I would argue they are outdated and no longer exciting….hear me out.

Graphic by Canva

Giveaways Don’t Equal Growth

Giveaways, like I mentioned, go for more of an immediate reward — followers, shares, likes, etc. They involve people sharing the post on their social media feeds in order to spread the word and company name to more and more organizations.

Obviously this will lead to some growth. Not all of the followers you gain from the giveaway will stick around long term, but a good number will for a while.

But this approach doesn’t necessarily lead to the engagement you want. With more followers there will be more engagement, but if you gain followers that were only interested in the giveaway, they may not be interested in anything more that you have to say.

This could lead to them unfollowing you, or never interacting with your content which may not be worth your time after all.

Giveaways are Mindless

Hosting a giveaway isn’t that difficult. All you need to do is find a prize or prizes that people will want to win, write up a few basic social media posts, and then let nature take its course.

Most of the time, assuming your organization is semi-competent at social media and picking a prize, this will lead to a good number of participants.

Obviously the bigger your following before the giveaway the more people you’ll likely reach.

But competing in a giveaway is also mindless. I could scroll though my social media apps right now and find five giveaways with no problem.

Photo from Pexels

Of those five, four of them will only require me to like and share the post to be entered. The fifth might ask me to leave a comment.

It really is not that difficult, and that’s the point. They’re designed to be as simple and mindless as possible so that more people can enter them just by moving their fingers half an inch to the left.

They’re not designed to be a brilliant way to gain thousands of followers, they are designed to cost you a bit of money for the prize, but the followers and the increase in sales you get at the end will make the small investment worth it.

Giveaways are Getting Old

I see giveaways almost daily, and I enter a good number of them just for the one in a million chance that I actually win.

I’ve entered giveaways for companies that I didn’t even know existed before seeing someone share their content.

I don’t give a damn about half of these organizations, but who wouldn’t want the chance of winning a prize?

Because of how easy it is to compete in giveaways, I have found myself ignoring them lately. I find that I just don’t care anymore. I have become numb to the thrill of a contest, because my world is bombarded by them day in and day out.


What’s the Alternative?

I haven’t seen it often, but instead of hosting a giveaway, I have seen some success when people hold contests on their platforms.

They create a challenge, or a project, or anything for their followers to compete in, and then a winner is chosen.

YouTuber and Photographer, Peter McKinnon has hosted a few competitions for his followers to make short videos, and he gets tremendous success from it.

A contest won’t give you the reach that a giveaway, because it is more targeted to your followers, but reports show that it does still lead to some growth.

What contests are great at is getting more likes and comments, which leads to a more loyal following.

23 Mind Blowing Statistics On Giveaways and Contests in 2020

There are benefits to a giveaway, and there are benefits to contests. Each blog, company, influencer, etc. will have a preference and a better idea of what their followers will interact with more.

I am not saying giveaways are bad, and contests are the way of the future. What I am saying is that giveaways are old news. They’re overdone and mindless. They don’t interrupt my usual scroll through the apps on my phone. They take no thinking and require no second thought.

A contest is much more beneficial to creators and followers in the sense that it creates a connection between the two parties.

The creators make a challenge, and the followers submits something to be reviewed by the creator. A relationship is built and this will lead to more of a loyal following in the future.

Do you know of any good or bad examples of a giveaway or a contest in your area? Maybe this is more of a North American trend than a European one. Let’s hear what you think in the comments below!

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Book Tour & Review: Of Myth and Shadow by Matthew S. Cox

Before I begin, I just want to thank Blackthorn Book Tours and Matthew S. Cox for giving me a copy of this book to give an honest review for.

If you like this review, please follow me on social media for more. I post bookish content and I will be coming out with some marketing focused material starting this week.
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Title: Of Myth and Shadow
Author: Matthew S. Cox
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Page Count: 1,482
Rating: ★★★★☆

Aegaan is a vast and righteous kingdom, yet darkness gathers in the distant corners of the realm. Elven raids on small towns have inflamed racial tensions with humans, pushing distrust to hatred and the brink of war.

Anrael wanders the woods alone until a chance meeting tempts him to set aside his contempt for those who scorn his half-elven blood.

When Kylie, a naive elf terrified of humans, is thrust among them against her will, she begins to question her mother’s tales of dread.

Having lost everything dear to him, the bandit king Jhelan lives only to seek challenge in battle… until he finds himself willing to die protecting that which he hates the most.

The diabolical mystique of the dark elves cloaks L’an Thal’Sara in protection, but the cruelest lie she tells is to herself.

Thaelwyn, a virtuous knight, sets out to discover the source of the Elves’ aggression, but faces a much greater test within his mind.

Beneath the chaos, minions of the Destroyer search for their promised leader, a child possessing power beyond their years. If the innocent falls to darkness, a kingdom rife with hatred will surely crumble.


World Building to the Extreme

In my opinion, creating a world so well-written that even just scratching the surface of it can help you explore every inch of it is one of the tests of a great author.

It would be easy for a lot of authors to create a contained world and have the characters’ interactions as the main story driven device.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with authors who pursue that route. They are still brilliant and I love their works, but my favorite thing about books is the world I can immerse myself in.

Cox creates a beautiful world full of magical creatures. I wouldn’t say it is as well defined as Game of Thrones or similar works, but it doesn’t need to be. In Of Myth and Shadow we only scrape the surface of the realm. We know there are peoples, creatures, and places we have yet to explore, but their effects change the course of the story even when they aren’t present.

Cox has a great ability to write fantastical worlds within the first few pages of his stories, and his characters feel natural. They’re not forced or overly dramatic for the sake of the story.

A Story of Current Events

Telling a fantasy story that touches on current political and social events isn’t easy. The difference in worlds can make it difficult to properly portray the issues we see in our world.

Though it isn’t perfect, I think Cox does a good job about touching on racial issues we are seeing in our world today.

Again it’s not perfect, and you have to make some assumptions to translate it into more “modern” terms, but the fantasy world’s version can teach you some lessons if you are willing to educate yourself.

A Good End

It’s not often that I enjoy the ending of a book. I am too often disappointed or unfulfilled, that I think I have become calloused to the idea of a good ending.

Though it’s not perfect, I think Cox’s ending was just about where I wanted it to be. It wasn’t perfect, but it felt natural. None of the character storylines felt forced, out of place, or unrealistic.

Each ending felt like it was something that would have happened to them, and that is too often missed.

I am glad Cox took the time to know where his character’s stories were going, and giving them the endings that they deserved.

Final Thoughts

I’ve only recently discovered Cox, from a previous review of his book; The Girl Who Found the Sun. I’ve come to like his style of writing and his quick paced storytelling.

Of Myth and Shadow is a great Epic Fantasy novel with a lot of fun characters.

Cox does a great job of writing smart, funny characters, and I really like the young children he writes because they are often too smart for their own good, but at the same time very believable.

If you enjoyed Of Myth and Shadow, or any of my other content, make sure to follow me on social media!
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Movie Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

To make my way through the Studio Ghibli reviews I have been doing these last few months, today we have How’s Moving Castle.

If you’re Interested in my other Studio Ghibli reviews, you can find them here:

Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆

Sophie has an uneventful life at her late father’s hat shop, but all that changes when she befriends wizard Howl who lives in a magical flying castle. However, the evil Witch of Waste takes issue with their budding relationship and casts a spell on young Sophie, which ages her prematurely. Now Howl must use all his magical talents to battle the jealous hag and return Sophie to her former youth and beauty.


A Story of Self Worth

Usually we see stories of self-worth and self-love happen in teenage movies. They’re young and often have a fresh outlook on the world. Their minds are impressionable and they aren’t yet set in their ways.

Adults are usually set in their ways and understand their place in the world. We see them change some times, but not usually in the way they see themselves.

Howl’s Moving Castle follows Sophie and her journey to discovering who she really is. It’s told in the way that Studio Ghibli movies usually tell their stories: in the background of the main plot line.

Though it’s subtle, if you pay attention enough, the characters grow in a fluid, linear way. They’re not jumping from place to place in their development, they change slowly throughout the whole movie.

A Fun Adventure

In the foreground of the story, Sophie and her new found family try to save Howl as he fights against the warring humans. There is plenty of magic, feel-good fun, and tension that it makes for a great movie.

The beauty of animated movies is that you can tell a story based off the animations. The world and the time period don’t need to be mentioned, the viewer can pick that up based off of what we are seeing in the background. Animated movies do this in a way that real-life movies can’t. The message doesn’t come off as strongly as if it were animated.

Howl’s Moving Castle focuses on just the story and tells it at a perfect pace.

The magic doesn’t need to make sense, the world doesn’t need to be explained. It is a self-contained adventure that doesn’t need anything further.

Subtle Growth

My favourite part of this movie is something that happens to Sophie at different times in the movie. This is a bit of a spoiler warning, so if you haven’t seen it yet you may want to skip ahead.

Sophie is turned into an old woman at the start of the movie, and part of her story is to find a way to reverse that spell.

There is never a mention of how she can reverse it, but at times we see her slip from old-woman Sophie into the Sophie we saw at the beginning of the movie.

Nobody seems to realize it, but if you’re really paying attention, Sophie changes between the two when she has moments of personal strength.

She has moments where she acts in ways that shows she is more than what others say she is, and Sophie’s outward appearance reflects that.

When she acts as her true self, that is what the audience sees, and vice-versa.

It’s subtle throughout the movie, but I think it is a nice message for a family movie like Howl’s Moving Castle.

What did you think of Howl’s Moving Castle? Where does it rank in your Studio Ghibli favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or on social media!
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My New Posting Schedule

Hello past, present, and future word forgers!

As part of my blog re-branding and revamp, I’ve decided to go away from posting daily content, since it wasn’t working as intended.

Some of my posts were intended to be quick and easy posts, but I’ve decided to take a step back from those and use the free time as an opportunity to pursue some of my creative ideas instead.

With less posts coming out, and more diverse posts, my ideal schedule will look something like this:

  • Monday: Book/Manga reviews
  • Tuesday: Nothing (the occasional post if I have the free time)
  • Wednesday: “Marketing” discussion post
  • Thursday: Nothing (the occasional post if I have the free time)
  • Friday: Book/Manga quotes
  • Saturday: Movie/TV show review
  • Sunday: Nothing – a man needs a day off.

Tuesday and Thursday I might add a post here and there if I have a post idea I am excited about, or I want to run a certain “series” for a week.

Otherwise I want to use these days to try and get some serious writing done for my book and I want to plan a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, and that takes a lot of work from what I have heard.

My Future Content

Hello past, present, and future word forgers, if you didn’t know by now, I am in the process of re-branding my blog and social media channels.

If you want a bit of an update on why that is, you can read my Updates to ‘On My Bookshelf post that I wrote last week.

I don’t want to give too specific of reasons, but basically I dislike the way my content is being viewed/not viewed and it has become a bit boring and uninspiring lately.

If you like this post, and think you’ll like any of my future content, please make sure to follow me on social media!
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So… What can you expect from me in the near future?

The goal is to have a newly designed blog and social media channels in the next few weeks. It will continue to have some bookish content, but it will also have some content that focuses on marketing tactics and the marketing world (both broad ideas and some specific ones too).

It is much more interesting to me than the bookish world’s current posting styles. I don’t read enough to post about the dozens of different books that I read because I don’t read that many books.

I read enough to post reviews and the odd extra post, but that’s about it.

Instead, I hope to help people grow their blogs by talking about different marketing ideas, practices, and strategies.

Plenty of other bloggers come up with “new” and “unique” posts that are supposed to help people grow their platforms, but they are really just the same message said over and over.

There is such little difference that I would bet a lot of money on what a blogger will talk about in a post like that and I would probably win.

I can’t say my content will be 100 per cent unique. I’m sure I will have my own repetitive content just like any other blogger, but I hope to come up with some actual helpful content that it will help people.

If you have any post ideas about books, marketing, or something in between, please feel free to share to share. I have some ideas in mind already, but I want to know what content you would like to see!

Quotes from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts…but you cannot deny he’s got style…” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” 
― JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Youth can not know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.” 
― J.K. Rowling , Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Don’t put your wand there, boy! … Better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know!” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“According to Madam Pomfrey, thoughts could leave deeper scars than almost anything else.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Mistletoe,” said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry’s head. He jumped out from under it. 
“Good thinking,” said Luna seriously. “It’s often infested with nargles.” 
― J.K. Rowling , Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Updates to ‘On My Bookshelf’

Hello dear readers, I have some personal news for you today.

As you may know, I started this blog in September 2018 as a school assignment and quickly fell in love with it. I went above and beyond for the assignment and eventually took the blog to a whole new level – with daily content.

This included book reviews, top 10 lists, bookish news, discussion posts, quotes, and more.

It was a lot of work, and I missed a few days here and there, but for the most part I was dishing out content every day.

My morale went up and down with this approach. I saw some book bloggers that started after me or at the same time grow much quicker than I was.

I tried coming up with new bookish post ideas – trying to differentiate from what everyone else was doing, and it worked to a degree.

Still, it didn’t have a drastic change in my numbers.

I have some major problems with the bookblog/tube world that have made me dislike blogging a lot in the past few months.

I won’t get in to them because I’m sure nobody really cares and I don’t want anyone to feel like it is them I am calling out.

Instead I want to tell you what is going to come next for On My Bookshelf.

Well in the coming weeks you can say goodbye to this book review blog. I am giving it up and getting rid of it.

In its place, I want to design a new site and a new brand for myself. I don’t want to limit myself to book review and other bookish content.

I don’t enjoy discussing it the way the rest of the bookish world does, so I am going to take my own spin on things.

I am currently in the process of re-designing everything about On My Bookshelf into Word Forge.

This will be the new name of my site and will not be about just bookish content any more.

Instead I want to focus on other things I am interested in:

  • Graphic Design
  • Writing
  • Publishing
  • Marketing
  • Branding
  • and more

I want it to be a huge melting pot of book blogging, marketing/branding resources, writing tips, updates on my current WIP, and more.

It’s going to be half portfolio, half reviews, half marketing guide, half updates on my writing (yes I know its four halves)

I want Word Forge to turn in to something that I can maybe even make money off of one day, whether that’s consulting people, working freelance, or anything else.

I never felt truly at home in the bookish world. I was an outsider looking in, with just enough in the game to stick around.

Now, I am going to play my own game and see where it takes me. Maybe this will be amazing, maybe this will be a disaster. Either way, I have big plans for the future, and I hope that I can see this idea bloom in to something amazing.