How To Set Up A Successful Blog Tour + A FREE Guide
Early in my career, I had to go on multiple press tours with the various musicians I worked with. They were expensive, overwhelming, and completely exhausting. So when blogs came around and offered a positive alternative in doing blog tours, I happily jumped on board.
The concept of a blog tour is to is to find blogs that share a similar audience and create an online "tour" by providing content for multiple blogs to draw attention to your book and expand your audience. When you hit a wide range of blogs that have active and dedicated audiences, you can cover a lot of ground.
To be perfectly honest with you, as the ease and affordability of a blog tour lost its shine, I developed mixed feelings about blog tours. For one, they are rather time consuming. It’s not something that you toss together at the last minute. You can hire PR firms to coordinate a blog tour for you, but it will cost you. And while I’ve seen some successful blog tours, unfortunately I've also seen quite a few quite a few flops.
Done right, blog tours can be a great way to expand your audience, give you much needed publicity for your new book, and help you gain credibility. In many cases, blog tours have the potential to reach as many people as traditional media outlets, and they target your ideal reader. With a little know-how, an author can organize and coordinate a blog tour themselves without having to depend on a publisher or publicity team.
So I would like to offer you the information you need to see success with your blog tour here in this post. I’m also proving a FREE blog tour worksheet that you can download at the end of this post to help you plan and organize your tour. Here’s the steps to get your blog tour up and running:
STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL READER
In order for your blog tour to be successful there needs to be a strategy behind it. The cornerstone of your strategy always centers around your ideal reader. When you know precisely who you want to connect with, you will be able to narrow down which blogs to reach out to.
**We are providing a FREE 3-part video series on how to find and identify your ideal reader on social media! Sign up to be notified when that will be available at www.mixtusmedia.com/freecourse.
STEP 2: RESEARCH
You don’t want to rush through the research part of planning your blog tour. The blogs you choose to write for will either make or break your tour. Start off with a Google search. The formula I start off with is “your book genre + book blog” (i.e.: “historical romance book blogs”).
Another research tip is to look at other authors in your genre and see where they got coverage. If they featured that author they very well might consider you as well. That formula would look like “author name + blog review” or “author name + blog tour” (i.e.: “Patricia Cornwell blog reviews” or “Patricia Cornwell blog tour”).
After you compile some results from your research consider the following:
- When was their last post?
- Are there comments on their posts?
- Is the blog active on social media?
- Are their followers active on there social media accounts?
- Do they accept submissions?
- What is their submission process?
You want to connect with bloggers that have an active community. It won’t do you or your book any good if no one is reading the blog or taking part in conversations. See how often they post on the blog, if there are comments on their posts, and if they have shares/likes/comments on social media. If they only post sporadically and don’t have an active audience on social media, I’d pass.
Also, many of the good book bloggers will share their submission process for reviews and coverage. Show them respect by following their requirements. Remember, they are trying to sort through hundreds of submissions every month so make sure that you follow through on your end.
STEP 3: CREATE A LIST
Applying your research methods listed above, I would suggest finding at least 10-20 blogs to start off with and compiling them into a list. Not all of them will work for you, so gather more than you’ll need.
Write your list in a way that features your top blog choices first, contacting your top choices right away and then working your way down the list.
STEP 4: DETERMINE YOUR RESOURCES
Bloggers might request different information and resources from you to be featured. Some might want you to write a guest blog post, others might want to review your book, and some will do a quick Q&A. Figure out how much time you have to dedicate to writing additional content, answering questions they submit, and what chapters you would like to use as excerpts. Getting all of your resources gathered into one place (including your headshot and book cover) is helpful in keeping everything organized.
STEP 5: FIGURE OUT YOUR TIMEFRAME
Look at your calendar to figure out how much time you want to spend on the blog tour and establish a potential start and finish date.
How long a blog tour lasts really depends on how much time you can dedicate to it. I would suggest spreading it out over a few weeks. If you want it to be longer or shorter than two weeks, that is totally up to you. It depends on how many blogs you get locked down and how much time you have available.
STEP 6: CONTACT BLOGGERS
Most bloggers feature their contact information on their website. Sometimes it takes a little bit of searching, but most make it easy to find. Once you have this contact information I would highly recommend that you start a database of bloggers. That way you will have a good starting point for your next blog tour, or you can just to stay in touch with them for possible coverage down the road.
The key with contacting bloggers is to do your research. Bloggers want to know that you are familiar with their blog and what they cover. Be sure to read several posts, familiarize yourself with who they are speaking to, and make sure your book will be a good fit.
And a VERY IMPORTANT TIP: Contact bloggers at least 3-4 weeks ahead of when you want your blog tour to take place. You aren't the only author who is contacting them and they have a lot to manage and plan out. Chances are if you contact them the week before you want your tour to go live, it won't happen. Be considerate and give them plenty of notice so they can schedule it accordingly.
STEP 7: Stay ORGANIZEd
Make sure you keep yourself organized throughout the planning process for your blog tour. Organization helps make sure that everything goes smoothly and that you keep your sanity. I would highly suggest keeping everything in one place (either a notebook, in a folder on your computer, Evernote, etc.) to make sure everything is easy to find and organized.
Here is a system for you to keep track of everything while planning your tour:
- Create a list or calendar entries with the dates for your blog tour posts' deadlines and when each post will go live.
- Write down what each post is going to feature (a guest blog post, a review, a Q&A, etc.) and any special or specific guidelines that the post needs to follow.
- In your database or contacts group, enter name of each blog where your posts will be featured, as well as the name of the blogger and their email address.
- Make a note which posts will include a giveaway.
- Indicate which tasks you have completed or not, since it may be easy to forget things as information rolls in.
STEP 8: CONSIDER GIVEAWAYS
Consider doing a special giveaway on all of the blogs on your tour. It's OK if only some specific blogs work to give something away. Free incentives and drawings can help get your book in front of new eyes - who doesn’t love to win something? And bloggers love to give things away to their readers. And if there is some other product that is of value which helps reinforce what your book is about, go for it!
STEP 9: ANNOUNCE THE TOUR
Once you have several blog stops confirmed, announce the blog tour on your website, newsletter, and social media. Create an image (we suggest using Adobe Spark) that you can share that has the blog stops for your tour along with the URL for each stop.
STEP 10: FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE DELIVERY
Be considerate of each blogger’s schedule and send your post and information at least a week a head of time. Considering their schedule (and timeframe) is key in creating lasting relationships with these bloggers, which will help the next time you want to do a blog tour.
STEP 11: FOLLOW UP
Send each blogger a personal thank you for their support and for taking part in your blog tour. Make sure that they receive everything that they need (like books to mail out to winners, prizes, etc.) and thank them again. They are a huge part of your blog tour being a success!
I’m going to cover some additional information and insight into planning a successful blog tour on Facebook Live, so check out our Facebook Page for that!
Planning and executing a blog tour can be time consuming, but it can also greatly expand your reach and introduce you to a world of new readers. Work ahead of time, get yourself organized, and follow these steps to a successful blog tour!
Download your FREE blog tour worksheet below!
Now I want to hear from you! Have you taken part in a blog tour? What were some lessons you learned? What did you find to work well? Let me know in the comments below!