One of the great perks of working at a public relations agency is the sheer volume and types of clients you wind up working with. Recently, we had the chance to work with a publisher promoting both their company and several key authors, which meant figuring out how to best reach a variety of intended audiences in a short period of time. In this case, the answer turned out to be blog tours.
How to Do Blog Tours
This was the first question we asked ourselves when we realized why we should offer blog tours for our clients. As a team, we developed a process for a successful blog tour in a series of steps:
Obvious, but a necessary step. Before you start to research ask yourself: What audience are you trying to reach? What blogs serve that audience? Not only that, but check to see if they’ve ever done a blog tour before. Some bloggers love blog tours because they get to participate with other bloggers, but others can’t commit to the time – or want a more exclusive approach.
2. Type of Tour – Get Specific!
Long before I ever ran a book tour, I remember a highly successful book tour that took over my Twitter feed with profile picture changes, hashtags and ‘teams.’ The publicist for this book (hint: it was a Veronica Roth book) got so specific, and so creative, that everyone wanted to be a part of the blog tour. It also got everyone in the community talking about the book! That is the dream – not only for publicists and authors, but also for bloggers.
Our team has found that the most successful blog tours are those that get specific. Anyone can create a blog tour asking everyone to read the book and post a review, but this is a chance for PR pros to prove their creativity and activate bloggers to really take a personal interest in the book. What we found to be effective is blog tour topics divided by chapter — this takes the pressure off of bloggers inundated with book requests to skim an entire book before the tour date, and allows them to be thoughtful in their posts.
3. Create a Toolkit
Once your blog tour is set and bloggers are in place, make sure you create a handy dandy toolkit full of all the information you would like your designated bloggers to share. This will allow them easy access and help to avoid any mistaken information being shared! Not to mention it gives you the opportunity to push specific focuses once more. Our toolkits usually include author information, a synopsis of the book, logos, book covers and any other important assets or extras from the book!
4. Followup, Followup, FOLLOWUP
This is where you activate the authors. Bloggers who cover books love direct access to the authors. Whether they asked for a Q&A or only wrote a review, make sure to encourage your client to check in on the blog tour! Most clients don’t need the encouragement since they are excited to see the coverage, but it never hurts to make sure! This will also show bloggers that you are grateful for their support and encourage them to want to work with you again.
Have any other tips for how to do blog tours? Success stories or lessons learned? Any favorite blog tours you’ve participated in? Share them with us in the comments below!