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Archive for the ‘Tours’ Category

Marcus posted an interesting interview with author Austin Boyd today on the effectiveness of blog tours. Read it and see what you think.

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Communication is key during a blog tour to ensure everyone is on the same page. Participants in Mary DeMuth’s blog tour felt like the communication was “just right” so I’ve outlined our communication plan for you below.

1) Invitation email from author: Mary sent out an email to her various networks asking people if they wanted to participate in her upcoming tour.2) Welcome email from author: I created an email list from all the people who were interested in participating and we sent a welcome email from Mary. This email stated the goals for the tour and introduced me as the Blog Tour Director.

3) Instructional email from director: This email announced the blog tour website, provided general instructions, gave an overview of the options for posting and requested answers to the following questionnaire:

1) Does your assigned week work for you? If not, please let me know which week you’d prefer.
2) Please verify for me which blog(s) you’ll be posting on and what day(s).
3) Please let me know what buzz post option you selected.
4) Any other questions or issues?

In  the future, I will only ask participants to verify the schedule, verify the blogs on which they will post and ask for any additional questions.

4) Reminder email from director: A few days before the participants’ assigned weeks, I sent out an email reminding them of the goals for the tour, some key points, any updates and an overview of what they could find on the website.

5) Summary email from director: After the participants’ weeks, I sent out an email thanking them for their participation and summarizing the postings on each blog during their specific week. (I made all of these summaries available on the centralized website as well.)

6) Follow up email from director: At the end of the entire tour, I sent out a final email to all participants that included a thank you note from Mary, a thank you from myself, and a short questionnaire to solicit feedback on the tour itself.

A few final pointers about your communication: Make it quick and concise. People skim over long emails, and if you’ve included important information they may miss it. Along those same lines, place important information at the top of the email. Use short paragraphs and highlight key dates or actions with bolding or underlining.

Hope that helps get you started!

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As mentioned in the previous post, the centralized website was a key component of Mary DeMuth’s blog tour. From the end of June through mid-August, the website was viewed nearly 700 times. From my perspective, that’s around 700 emails with questions or requests for information that I did not have to answer. The website also allowed participants to access the information they needed at any time of the day or night and provided a consistent location to find it. They didn’t have to remember where they filed all of the emails about the tour or worry that they accidentally deleted it.

So for those of you who wish to set up one for your next tours, I’ve outlined the pieces that were included. While it may feel overwhelming to set up, the reduced number of questions and emails is worth the time and effort. Every piece of information was used by at least some of the participants, so I recommend including it all.

Welcome page: Included a welcome message, blog tour instructions, overview of the posting options, posting schedule and contact information. See a sample here.

Sidebar: Was visible from every page in order to allow easy navigation around the entire site

* APT Home
* APT Summary – link to a page summarizing all of the posts on the tour
* Book Excerpt – link to Mary’s book excerpt on the publisher’s website
* Interview Example – link to a good example of an author interview
* Book Review Example – link to a good example of a book review
* Topic Reflection Example – link to a good example of a topic reflection
* Buy Post Example – link to a page we set up with an example of a buy post
* Mary Interview – link to a page we set up with the text of a canned interview
* Book Cover Image – link to the image, remember to make the dimensions small enough to be easily used on a blog
* Photo of Mary – link to the image, same note to remember as above
* HTML Codes – link to a page we set up that allowed bloggers to literally cut and paste all the HTML codes they might need (see additional info below)
* Blog Links – link to a page where bloggers could click on any blog participating in the tour, organized by participating week
* Other Important Links – links to Mary’s website and blog, where to purchase the book, my blog, and Marcus Goodyear’s blog
* Contact Mary – mailto link to email Mary, when you clicked on this link it opened a new message in your default mail program with the subject “APT Tour”
* Contact Tour Director – mailto link to email me, when you clicked on this link it opened a new message in your default mail program with the subject “APT Tour”

HTML Code page: Provided the HTML code to create a link to Amazon, the book excerpt, Mary’s website, Mary’s blog, and to all of the participants’ blogs (by week). Also provided code for posting a picture of the book cover and the complete buy post.

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I know it’s been some time since the end of Mary DeMuth‘s blog tour, and you’ve all been waiting patiently for the results, right? Well, your day has finally come! After six weeks and eighty-five blogs worth of posting and tracking, Marcus and I have some lessons to share with you about this thing called Blog Touring. I surveyed our participants and received a 36% response rate detailing what went well, what didn’t, and overall how participants felt about the tour. I’ll share about that here with you, and Marcus will give you the low-down on the actual statistics and what they mean.

The participants would tell you the overall tour was a success. The factors they seemed to use in determining that metric were the following list:

1) Ease of participation. From the blogging newbies to the technically challenged to the just plain busy, almost every single respondent to the survey mentioned at some point that Mary’s tour made it easy to participate. I’ll talk more about the tour elements we utilized that made it so.

2) Great book, great author. (In fact, if you still haven’t gotten your copy. . .) You can’t get around having a great product. And it helps that Mary DeMuth is not only a great author but a wonderful person. The majority of the participants became involved because of their relationship with Mary or their admiration for her as a person. They also really enjoyed and appreciated her book. They considered any opportunity taken to help promote Mary and her book a success.

According to participants, what went well:

1) A centralized website. Every single participant who gave feedback agreed that having a centralized website containing all of the information needed to participate in the tour was not only helpful, but key to making it easy to participate. Several people commented this was the best tour in which they had ever participated. I attribute that to the website being well-organized and chock full of information. We housed links to example postings, the excerpt, photos, and all the participating blogs. We included detailed instructions for participating in the tour, as well as the schedule and pre-written HTML codes for nearly every aspect of the tour. People appreciated being able to get what they needed without having to send a bunch of emails back and forth.

2) Options, options, options. We gave participants the option to use a canned interview, personal interview or no interview at all. Some conducted book reviews while others wrote their own commentaries on parenting or being authentic. Some people simply posted the book cover and a link to buy Authentic Parenting. A few people never even mentioned buying the book. We made an excerpt, a photo of Mary, a photo of the book cover and the canned interview easily accessible. Bottom line? Blog authors could tailor their “stop” in whatever way fit the tone of their blog.

3) Clear communication. We sent an introductory email explaining the tour, a reminder email to the blogs participating each week and a follow up email summarizing all of the blogs participating each week. Nearly every respondent to the survey stated this was the right amount of communication, and all were particularly grateful for the email reminders.

4) Blog tour director. Many people appreciated the fact that Mary had someone directing her blog tour. They received quick answers to their questions, and they didn’t feel like they were bugging Mary for stuff. As the director, I was able to help several people with technical questions so they were still able to post, allowing Mary to concentrate on the interviews and guest blogging.

5) A centralized website. Oh, did I say that already? Truly, this was key not only for the participants, but even for my sanity.

6) Contact with other blogs. Several people commented that they really enjoyed the exposure to other blogs they might not otherwise have found. I know for me, personally, I continue to read many of the blogs that participated in the tour.

Of course, they had to point out some things to improve, right? Here were the biggest complaints (although I must say, no one really complained. . .suggestions for improvement might be better way to say it):

1) Didn’t receive a copy of the book. Mary gave away 30 books, but due to the overwhelming number of participants in the tour, that didn’t even cover half of the people. It’s wonderful that everyone wanted a copy to have or give away. Hopefully they found the book worth buying themselves. A few suggested at least sending bookmarks or postcards.

2) Overuse of the canned interview. Many bloggers used the interview like an Associated Press news release: they posted it verbatim. While that is certainly convenient, when eighty-five blogs post it over six weeks’ time, well, it gets a little old. (Remember, this is feedback from the participants themselves!) I don’t really know how to address this in the future because bloggers used it enough to make it an essential tool. I guess you need to really encourage people to personalize it or use the data, but not post the interview itself.

3) Nothing else. Seriously. Not one other suggestion or complaint! I don’t say that to brag but to highlight the excellent teamwork that went on between the participants and the APT blog tour team.

I’ll try to get two more posts up this week: Anatomy of a Well-Structured Blog Tour and The Cost of Blog Touring. If you participated, I’d love to hear any additional thoughts or feedback. If you’re just interested in blog tours, tell me your thoughts about what we learned.

To read a summary of all of the participants on the blog tour, click here.

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