In part 2, I covered email communication with bloggers and how to maintain an effective “contacts” list in your email program. In today’s post, I will discuss: how to schedule blog tour posting dates with bloggers, how to keep track of the blogs and dates for the tour, how to network and market the start of the tour, how to begin the blog tour, and how to promote the blog tour.
The way that I scheduled posting dates for the tour, and had no conflicting dates where two people wanted the same date, was I started slowly by contacting a few bloggers at a time. I started with the bloggers I had contacted first in the very beginning and replied to their last email. (One thing I would have done differently, was to forward emails I sent that were not responded to, to the blogger they were intended for, when I needed to contact the blogger again, so that all emails would have been in one email thread and they could have seen my previous messages.) In the email, I told the blogger the date range of the tour and I let them choose the date they wanted. I received responses the same day, so I emailed a few more. I mostly had one email thread per blogger to keep the exchange organized.
I made a “blog tour list” that had each blogger’s name, blog URL, email address, type of blog post, ebook format they preferred, and the scheduled posting date. I turned the Word document to “landscape” and put one blogger on each line. As I scheduled the posting dates, I typed them on my blog tour list and highlighted them in yellow so that I could easily see what dates were taken.
Around that time, I published my book and sent out the ebook copies to the bloggers. I looked at my blog tour list to see what ebook format each blogger wanted, then I emailed the ebook and cover image to each of them using the email threads I already had going. I waited at least a week before I sent them any more emails, to give them a chance to read my book.
I began receiving interview questions from the bloggers who would be interviewing me on their blog. So I answered the interview questions, and after editing my answers, I emailed it back to them right away. I also wrote my guest posts. During this time (about one week), I did as much writing as I could, because I knew that once the tour started, I would be too busy running and promoting it to do any additional writing. Plus, I didn’t want to save anything for the last minute.
Then one week before the tour started, I began promoting it. I created events on Facebook, Book Blogs, and Goodreads. For the Book Blogs and Goodreads events, I posted a description of the tour and listed all of the blogs’ URLs and posting dates (with live links). For Facebook, I did not list the blogs’ URLs and posting dates in the description of the event; I only posted a compelling description of the tour to get people psyched up for it. I also published a blog post here (on my own blog) with a full description of the blog tour and a list of all of the blogs’ names and URLs. I tweeted about the tour too.
One other thing I did – I asked the leader of my Goodread’s group, “Writers and Readers,” if I could be involved in a Q&A discussion, which is when an author is spotlighted and readers ask them questions. The group leader just happened to be looking for authors for Q&As. So we scheduled my Q&A discussion for the first three days of my tour.
Just before the tour began, I emailed everyone a blog tour banner, which listed all of the blogs’ URLs that were on the tour and had my book cover design as the background. It is a good publicity method. I created the banner myself by uploading my cover design (before I had put the title, the subtitle, and my name on it) onto a PowerPoint slide and added the blog tour information. Not all bloggers are willing to post a banner on their blog, so I did not force them, but I asked them if they would and some did.
The night before the first blogger hosted me, I sent them an email to remind them to post. The email was easy-going, but well-written, and it included the posting date. Here’s an example:
Hi [blogger’s first name],
This is a reminder to post [your review/the interview] tomorrow [month/date]. I look forward to seeing your post!
(As you can see, it’s a very simple message, used just as a reminder, without sounding pushy.)
When I woke up and went on the computer the next day, I checked my blog tour list for that day’s blog URL. Then I went on the blog to see if the post was up (most of the time it was – thanks bloggers!). I then clicked on the title of the post to display just that one post. If the post had share icons, I shared it on Twitter, Google+, my Facebook page, LinkedIn, and Digg. Otherwise, I copied and pasted the URL on those websites manually. Then I went to my Facebook event page and pasted the URL in a comment, along with a compelling description of the blog post. I then pasted the URL into the “Post Your Blog Updates Here!” forum post in the “Blog Tour” group on Book Blogs. Then I created new blog posts on Book Blogs and the Writer’s Digest Community with the title being the same as the title of the blog post and put in quotation marks; a “teaser” in the body of the new blog post with a direct link to the actual post; and appropriate tags, such as: blog post, book review/author interview, blog tour, Christine Rice, and Freelance Writing Guide (my book for the tour).
After I shared the blogger’s post everywhere possible, I emailed them to thank them for their post and for participating in my blog tour. I told them that I shared their post everywhere so that they will get some extra hits to their blog. Then I put a line through the blogger’s information on my blog tour list to show that the blog post had been successfully published and I finished communication with the blogger.
The rest of the tour consisted of the same: sending “reminder emails” the night before the next blog stop, promoting the blog post, and sending “thank you” emails the day of the post (preferably right after sharing the post). I kept all the emails in my blog tour email folder until the tour was completely over. I still have my blog tour list in case I need the information in the future.
I hope you enjoyed this 3-part series about how to organize and run your own blog tour! I hope you will take the plunge and create your own blog tour. If you do, you will save money that would have been unnecessarily spent on a blog tour company, and you will have a memorable experience. Good luck!