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Monday, June 28, 2010

What's a Blog Tour? ~ Kathy Carlton Willis

Blog tours are like virtual book tours. We provide blog hosts with information we want them to post on their blogs for us, and then they drive traffic through social networking to those sites. Each blogger has a different realm of influence—a different readership. The combined effect of being on multiple blogs in the same week helps increase your search engine rankings and exposure. Some of the blog hosts will also write reviews of the book. Some just post what we provide them. They are accustomed to working with us, so it’s a happy partnership. For their effort, we send them a copy of the book they are promoting.

Lots of companies are using bloggers to help with marketing and free advertising, as well as consumer reviews. Ask Target who their biggest fans are, and they will say “mommy bloggers.”

So, it’s sort of like running the same commercial on a bunch of different stations at once so that you get multiple audiences. And it stimulates an appetite for the book by the very consumers we hope will purchase the title.

Marketing experts say that consumers often need 7 “touches” before they make a purchase, so we like to try to get the word out in a variety of ways to achieve this purpose: newspaper, social networking, radio, TV, internet, reviews, bloggers, book signings, speaking events, advertising, etc. We also try to do direct-to-consumer awareness and pitch-to-media promotion as well. So, blog tours provide one touch in a plan that includes several other elements as well.

How do blogging and/or blog tours fit into an author’s overall marketing plan?
Blogging by the author helps set them up as an expert on certain subjects-each blog should fit a niche. It develops a readership and a platform. It also allows the author to network with other bloggers and trade services such as blog tours.

Blog tours fit into the marketing plan because they develop a grassroots level exposure to the book, creating buzz thanks to the oldest PR method on the planet, “word of mouth.” Other bloggers will reach readers the author couldn’t reach any other way.

What method do you use to plan the blog tour?

Normally we use an e-blast that has the press release of the book, including the author bio, the photo of the book cover, photo of the author, and a Q & A style interview with the author. We also like to add one other element to personalize the tour—sort of like lagniappe (a little something extra). And some of our authors also choose to provide a grand prize giveaway, so we coordinate the drawing of that winner.

Any other additional thoughts on blogging and blog tours?
I would highly recommend authors be willing to post blog tours for other authors on their sites, to develop a network so that when their own books are ready to go on tour, they already have a long list of blog tour hosts ready and willing to return the favor.

We have over 500 in our database for blog tours, and often run between 25-50 hosts who volunteer for any given tour. Some authors select the number they wish to limit their tour (if books are limited) or they tell us to run as many as possible.

What the blog tour service covers:

  • designing custom e-blast

  • sending e-blast to our database of blog tour hosts

  • making a mailing list of all volunteers

  • mailing complimentary books to all blog tour hosts signed up for this tour

  • following up with volunteers and answering any questions

  • posting blog tour on our professional blog and listing all blog links to drive traffic to all the blog tour hosts

  • following up with any stragglers who haven’t posted the blog tour before the tour wraps up

  • gathering names of finalists for giveaway from blog tour hosts

  • writing e-blast announcing prize winner and thanking all hosts for their participation

Here are some examples of blog tours:

Today’s article is by Kathy Carlton Willis, wife to Russ, mom to Jazzy the Boston Terrier, author, editor, publicist and a certified CLASSeminars speaker. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications encompasses her many passions. Learn more about how she reflects Christ as she shines the spotlight on others at: or


  1. Thanks for this. I've never really understood blog tours. This has helped me. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for sharing your post about What's a Blog Tour. I've been looking for the right answer to that question for over a month now. Thank you for your help.

  3. So glad this article was beneficial to you all--I appreciate the feedback. Shine On!

  4. Geni White said,
    This will be my first blog tour and I'm delighted to be involved. I've read the book Kathy and Russ sent and consider it excellent. I'll be posting a review on Nov. 12 on two blogs.


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