9 Steps to an Effective Virtual Book Tour

BY DANA SITAR You can easily waste a lot of effort producing guest posts for little gain if you don’t have a solid plan. Follow these steps to ensure you get the most out of every guest post appearance.
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The buzz in the blogosphere is that guest posting is your key to success as a blogger. The practice helps you connect with top bloggers and draw their readers to your blog or books.

Even more impactful than the occasional guest post is a well-planned blog tour (or virtual book tour). Plan a series of high-profile guest posts around a book launch or other special event to really get noticed.

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Guest post by Dana Sitar, author and digital publishing coach. She shares resources, tips, and tools through coaching, courses, and the DIY Writing community at WritersBucketList.com.

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Dana Sitar Launch course logo

Her course, Launch Your eBook, is all about building excitement around the thing you've been pouring your heart into for months (or years!) Learn to do Launch Week right with LaunchYourEbookfrom DIY Writing.

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The whole effect of a blog tour is far greater than the sum of its individual posts. When readers see you at several related blogs writing as an expert in your genre or niche, all packed into a few days, they're going to remember you. They'll follow you, subscribe, check out other work – they'll stick around for the long haul, become part of your community, and get acquainted with your work. That impact is priceless, whether they buy your book or not.

You can easily waste a lot of effort producing guest posts for little gain if you don’t have a solid plan. Follow these steps to ensure you get the most out of every guest post appearance.

1. Research relevant blogs.

Long before you’re ready to start your promotion, start looking at blogs in your niche. Tons of book blogs exist to help you promote fiction. If you're promoting nonfiction or your blog, e-course, newsletter, etc., a simple Google search will help you find other blogs in your niche.

Once you find some blogs you like, engage with them! Follow them, comment, and share their articles with your followers. Become part of the blog community, so that when you’re ready to pitch, you’re familiar with the content, audience, needs, and guidelines of the blogs. Compile a list of blogs that accept guest posts, including their contact info.

2. Know your goals.

Before you pitch any ideas or write your blog posts, make sure you know what you hope to get out of this blog tour. Every post should tie into your goal and include a clear action step for readers to take. For example:

Are you trying to sell a lot of books? You'll want to include a buy link, so make sure your host blogs will allow it.

Or, are you trying to drive traffic to your blog? You'll want to include relevant links to articles at your blog and a bio with a link to the home page, so make sure your host blogs allow links and a bio.

3. Brainstorm post topics and draft blog posts.

Come up with a list of post ideas that display your expertise, pertain to the blogs on your list, and align with your promotional goals for the blog tour. Jot 10 to 20 post titles, outline them, and write up a few complete posts to get ahead of the game before sending a round of pitches.

4. Don’t forget interviews and book reviews!

Your blog tour doesn't have to be comprised entirely of your guest posts. Remember to include blogs that will interview you or review your book (if applicable). These add variety to your tour and offer a blog’s readers another way to get to know you. They also take a little bit of work off your plate, because they don’t require you to come up with and write another blog post!

5. Pitch your posts.

Send a personalized pitch email to each blogger. Be sure to include basic info about your blog tour, and explain why your post is relevant to the blog’s readers. When your post is accepted, make sure you know what the blogger wants and allows you to include in the post.

6. Build a calendar.

Plug your blog tour stops into a calendar to help you stay on top of the planning and deadlines. You can also build a public calendar through Google calendar, a WordPress plugin, or a landing page on your blog that lets your readers know where you're stopping on the tour.

7. Acknowledge the blogs who host you.

Make a point to share your guest posts with your network, so your readers and friends are exposed to the blogs who host you — share the link on Facebook and LinkedIn, re-tweet, mention it on your blog, etc.

Sharing will not only help draw new readers to your host's blog, but it will also help you show your readers that you're getting published outside of your own blog, which increases your credibility.

8. Keep an eye on your post.

Be sure to stop back to your guest post frequently to read and reply to readers' comments.

Engaging with readers is courteous to the host blog, and it will also make you more memorable to the blog’s readers.

9. Follow up.

After the post is published, send a quick follow-up email to the host to say thank you. Let them know you appreciated being a part of their blog community, and offer to reciprocate the hospitality when you can.

A book launch is far more than an opportunity to push book sales (though, it’s a great opportunity for that, too). It’s also a perfect time to get into the world – and the blogosphere – and let readers know what you’re all about. Planning your blog tour strategically and engaging courteously with host communities will help you boost your author brand far beyond this one book!

Thanks for visiting The Writer's Dig blog. For more great writing advice, click here.

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Brian A. Klems is the online editor of Writer's Digest and author of the popular gift bookOh Boy, You're Having a Girl: A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlems
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