October 6, 2012
How You Can Organize and Run Your Own Blog Tour – Part 2
In Part 1 I covered: how to begin organizing a blog tour by announcing your plans in various online locations, and how to find bloggers who would be willing to host you on their blogs. In part 2, I will discuss: what to write in emails to bloggers, how to maintain an effective “contacts list” in your email program, how to have effective exchanges with bloggers, and what to do when bloggers don’t respond to your emails.
Part 1 left off with contacting bloggers that you find on Book Blogs or on your list of followed blogs. Before I go into the new topics for today’s post, I want to mention that it is a good idea to follow the blogs of the bloggers you contact, because it is polite, and because you will be adding to your list of followed blogs which can be a helpful resource in the future. You can adjust your notification settings for the blogs you follow according to your preferences.
Now, on to how to compose and send emails to bloggers. I know it saves time to type up a standard email and send it to all the people you wish to contact, but you won’t get as many responses that way. It is more effective to write a custom email message for each blogger and to send the emails individually. The bloggers will really appreciate that you put in extra effort to speak to them individually and personally.
So when you find a blogger you wish to contact, you should first set them up as a “new contact” in your email program by adding their name, email address, and blog URL to the contact form. Before, during, and after your blog tour you should add notes to your blog tour contacts so that you will have a record of what your exchange was about. This is so if you delete their email in the future, which you probably will do eventually, you will know how you met and what your interaction was.
After adding the contact, open a new message and select their name from your contacts list. This is so they will see their name at the top of the email instead of their email address, which is more personal and effective.
Create a subject line that says: “Book review request,” “Author interview request,” “Giveaway request,” etc. Keep it short, simple, and direct so that it will avoid getting sent to the blogger’s spam folder. Compose the email message based on your instinctive feelings about the blogger and their blog, and what services they provide to authors. At minimum, you should do the following: introduce yourself, mention how you found them (e.g. I saw your post on Book Blogs that says you are looking for authors to interview…), explain briefly why you are contacting them and what your needs are (e.g. I am having a blog tour in November and I want to know if you would like to review my book/interview me/host my giveaway, etc.), state your book’s full title, provide a short description of your book if the genre or subject matter is not assumable by the title, state what you will offer them in return for their services (e.g. Free ebook in your choice of format), and include a “call to action” (e.g. Please contact me at your earliest convenience and let me know which ebook format you prefer). Each of these parts should be only one sentence long in order to keep the email short and more likely to elicit a response. Edit and proofread your email and then send it.
Create a new folder in your email program and title it “blog tour.” Move and keep all emails related to your blog tour in this folder until the blog tour is over. Next, you will just wait for the responses to come in. Don’t send a second email if you don’t hear from them on the first contact, because it likely means they are not interested. After you receive most of your responses, you can create a separate email folder for “no/no response” and put into it emails in which you didn’t receive a reply from the blogger (yet) or if the blogger said they are unable to host you (I did not have many of either of these).
Generally speaking, the best way to communicate with bloggers is by being professional, friendly, and assertive – all at the same time. You want to be professional, because you are a professional writer and a blog tour is a business exchange; you want to be friendly so that the bloggers will be more receptive to your emails; and you want to be assertive to get your needs (a successful blog tour) accomplished. (Maintain this style of communication before and during the blog tour.) Respond to your emails promptly, because there is no time to waste. Show your gratitude to the bloggers for agreeing to host you on their blog. Communicate with clear language so that your messages will be easily understood. Edit and proofread your messages before you send them to make sure they: follow the rules of your language, communicate your needs clearly, and are assertive and friendly. Think about all the information you need to provide the blogger and all the information you need from them in order to set up your blog tour. Then try to include as much information as possible in each email (without overwhelming the blogger or asking too many different questions) to keep the number of emails to a minimum. Each time you email someone, there is a chance they won’t respond, so the less emails there are (that effectively get your needs met), the better. Always end the email with a clear call to action if you need a response from them.
If you don’t get a reply from a blogger after they have already agreed to host you on their blog, you can send a followup email 3-7 days later if you need a response from them. No responses and having to follow-up makes setting up the blog tour take longer than when the blogger responds to every one of your emails promptly. This is the reason why a blog tour must be organized one month in advance. (Plus, it gives the bloggers time to read your book.) On the other hand, if you don’t need a response from the blogger at that time, wait until they contact you or until you need to send them another email.
In part 3, I will discuss how to schedule blog tour posting dates with bloggers, how to keep track of blogs and dates for your blog tour, how to network and market the start of your blog tour, and how to start the blog tour with a bang.