One of the simplest but most effective ways for self-published authors to get the word out about their new books is by carrying out a book blog tour.
A well-executed blog tour makes it easy for you to gain widespread exposure quickly and to get on the radar of large groups of prospects that would very likely be interested in buying your book once it is released.
If you’ve ever though about doing a blog tour but don’t know where to begin or how to ensure that you design an effective one, keep reading to find out the steps you need to take for the best chances at success.
What’s a blog tour and why would you benefit from doing one?
A blog tour is a relatively short period of time in which an author promotes a new or existing book by making a series of stops among a predetermined group of popular blogs.
During the blog tour you are featured in posts, articles, interviews and other types of topic/interest-based resources while also getting to talk a little bit about yourself and your books in each one.
These blogs have hordes of potential prospects that are very likely to be interested in buying one or more of your books once they are exposed to your brand and marketing message.
The greatest benefit of doing a blog tour is the instant and extensive exposure it can give you to a highly targeted online audience.
During each blog tour, you effectively leverage the already established audience of each popular blog you visit and get the opportunity to position yourself directly in front of them.
Another great benefit of doing blog tours is gaining the ability to “speak” to hundreds or thousands of people without actually having to do any public speaking at all or having to physically going to a specific location.
If that sounds good to you, the next thing you need to know is exactly how to set up your blog tour in order to get the best results possible.
How to Design and Carry Out an Effective Blog Tour
Designing and executing an effective blog tour typically involves going through some very simple but specific steps.
- Pinpoint your ideal reader and target audience.
The first step to creating a winning blog tour is to figure out who you want to reach with your marketing efforts. It makes no sense to carry out any marketing or promotion without having a specific audience in mind.
By focusing on the types of readers you want to connect with it makes the search for appropriate blogs to target that much easier.
- Find bloggers to approach.
Once you know what kind of prospects you want to reach with your blog tour, the next step is doing some research to figure out which blogs you should approach to do your stops along your blog tour.
There are many different methods that you can use to find leads for blogs to target along your tour, with the easiest being to perform simple web searches that include the word “blog” along with the main topic of your book (Ex. Vegan Cooking Blog).
While you search for relevant blogs to target, be sure to make a note of whether or not the blog in question:
- is active
- is popular
- has good user engagement levels
- takes submissions from outside authors and bloggers
If a blog you’re interested in checks off most or all of these boxes, you’ve found a potential candidate.
- Create a list of around 15 blogs that you can pitch for a feature.
Continue to do your blog research until you come up with a list of approximately 15 or more potential blogs you can approach to be featured on during your blog tour.
To make the most of your time, list the blogs in order of most to least popular and be sure to contact them in that sequence.
- Start preparing long before you actually launch your blog tour.
One of the biggest secrets to carrying out a successful blog tour is to start your preparation long before you ever send out your fist email pitch.
Once you identify blogs that you want to target and that have the kind of audience you want to attract, it’s always a good idea to start reading the existing blog posts and commenting on them.
This helps to put you on the radar of the blog’s owner and their audience and helps with building an early rapport with the blogger as well.
If possible, begin this very important step at least a few weeks before sending in your first email pitch.
- Reach out to blogs about being featured.
Once you’ve done the leg work and contributed thoughtful comments on blog posts already featured on the web properties you want to target, it’s time to send a formal request to be featured on the blog.
Draft an email pitch that offers unique and interesting suggestions for a blog post idea that you think would appeal to each blog owner.
Hint: Many bloggers tend to focus on a handful of very specific topics. Take the time to comb through their existing blog posts and figure out what their most popular blog topics are and tailor your blog post pitch to have similar appeal.
If you don’t get a reply from a blog owner after sending your first email, be sure to follow up with another one within a week.
- Create a blog tour organizational calendar.
When you begin to hear back from potential blogs with positive responses, the next step is to create a blog tour organizational calendar.
This establishes how to time your blog tour stops, helps you to define your unique blogging topics and lets you properly schedule your posts, interviews, etc. with each blog along your tour.
- Consider promotional elements for your blog tour.
Another way to enhance your blog tour and make it more alluring for prospects and bloggers alike is to feature promotional elements along the way.
The simplest and most effective promotional item would be to offer a few free copies of your book as giveaways. However, you could also try going a step further by giving away a free chapter to anyone who signs up for your email list. Even better, consider giving away an entire book if you want to try experimenting with the power of “free”.
- Announce and promote the launch of your blog tour.
When everything is in place and you feel well prepared, the final step before making your first stop along your blog tour is to formally announce and promote it on your own web properties.
Make sure to blog, Tweet, send out a special ezine and rave about your upcoming tour on your Facebook page.
What Happens Once Your Blog Tour is Over?
It’s important to follow up with each of the blogs that featured you and your book and to thank them for having you. But even then, the story isn’t over.
How exactly will you know if your blog tour was a success or not?
The key is to establish parameters upfront that you can use to measure the success of your blog tour and to determine whether or not it was in fact effective.
Use measurable benchmarks such as reader comments and post views and make comparisons with similar blog posts to see if your topic of interest resonated well with your target audience.
Setting up and executing an effective blog tour isn’t difficult by any means, but it does require time and effort to uncover the sources that will make the biggest difference when it comes to marketing and promoting your latest book.
Work through the steps above and you’ll be well on your way to putting together an amazing blog tour, gaining better brand recognition and eventually scoring more book sales.
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