The Beginners Guide to Promoting a Book – Part Three: Blog Tours
So far in our "Beginners Guide to Promoting A Book" series we covered the essentials you need in place before launching your book, and in the second installment we talked about a timeline that will guide you throughout the process leading up to the release of your book. This time we will talk about a key to expanding your audience within promotion: a blog tour.
The idea of a blog tour is relatively new but one that is becoming more and more popular because it's incredibly effective and inexpensive. The concept is to find blogs that have the audience that you want to reach with your product and create an online "tour" by providing content for multiple blogs that center around what you want to promote. You hit a wide range of blogs that have dedicated audiences and you cover a lot of ground. And it's all done online...so you don't have to go anywhere...and you don't have to be away from your family...and you don't have to spend money for travel...and...you get the picture.
Now don't get me wrong, doing book signings at a local bookstore or library is very important and beneficial. This isn't dismissing that. Blog tours are a great addition to your promotional plan in not only expanding your reach online but also introducing your book to new readers.
Here are the secrets to planning a successful blog tour:
Step 1: Identify your audience
In order for your blog tour to be successful there needs to be a strategy behind it. The cornerstone of your strategy centers around targeting who your audience is. This doesn’t need to be an exact science but you need to know WHO you are talking to in order to know WHERE you will find them. Once you figure that out you can find the best blogs to connect with to reach your audience.
If you aren’t familiar with many bloggers regarding your subject matter, simply do a Google search. Another way is to look at what blog coverage other authors in your genre have received and reach out to those bloggers.
Step 2: Create a list
Do your research and create a list of blogs that would fit your target audience. I would suggest finding at least 20-30 blogs (depending on how long you want your blog tour to last). Find more than what you need because not everyone will either be willing or available for your tour.
Put your list in a why that features your top blog choices first and then go down the list. That way you will contact your top choices right away and then filter them on down.
Step 3: Determine your resources
Bloggers might request different information and resources from you to be featured. Some might want a guest blog, 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 4: Figure out your timeframe
Look at your calendar to figure out a) how much time you want to spend on the blog tour, b) the date your book will be released or available, and c) a potential start and finish date to your tour.
How long a blog tour lasts really depends on how much time you can dedicate to it. I would suggest spreading it out over two weeks. You can have several posts throughout the week scheduled and cover a lot of ground. Again, 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 5: Contact bloggers
Most bloggers feature their contact information on their website. Sometimes it takes a little bit of searching, but most good bloggers make it easy to find. I would highly recommend that once you have this contact information to start a database of bloggers so you will have it ready for your next blog tour or just to stay in touch with them for possible coverage down the road.
The key with contacting bloggers and being successful with it 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 product will be a good fit.
Step 6: Organize yourself
Making sure you keep yourself organized throughout the planning of your blog tour will 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.
In planning out your tour here is a way for you to keep track of everything:
- Create a list or calendar with the dates your blog tour land on
- 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 post needs to follow
- The name of the blog each post will be featured on as well as the name of the blogger & their email address
- When the post will go live
- If it will include a giveaway
Also, be sure to make a note if you have completed each task or not. As information rolls in you might forget if you have finished the tasks, so make sure you remind yourself with a note.
Step 7: Consider Giveaways
Consider doing a special giveaway on all of the blogs (or some specific blogs on your tour) that will not only get your book in front of new eyes, but who doesn’t love to win something? That and bloggers looove to give things away to their readers. If there is something else that is of value that connects to what your book is about, go for it!
Step 8: Announce the tour
Once you have several blog stops confirmed, announce the blog tour on your website, newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, anywhere you can think of promoting it. If you have traditional media interviews make sure to mention it.
Step 9: 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. Being considerate of 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 10: Follow up
Send each blogger a personal thank you for their support and for taking part in your blog tour. Make sure that they received everything that they need (like books to mail out to winners, prizes, etc.) and thank them again. They contributed to your tour being a success!
Blog tours are work but they provide a huge pay off in expanding your reach and drawing new new fans. Your next release will be even easier because you set up everything right the first time around and established great relationships with bloggers.
QUESTION: Have you planned or taken part in a book blog tour? What did you learn? What tips/suggestions do you have? Leave a comment below!