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Posts Tagged ‘Kathy Carlton Willis’

Today, please welcome Kathy Carlton Willis of Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. As a publicist, Kathy is sharing with us some of her expertise in blogging and blog tours.

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.

Do you require or encourage authors to participate in blog tours to promote their books? Why or why not?
I do not require it, but I recommend it very highly. I offer it in most of my PR campaign packages because I believe it is a great way to get the word out about their books. Some choose not to take me up on this offer, but most are excited to utilize this method of exposure.

What type of blog tour do you suggest and why? (e.g. a short, blitz-type tour mimicking more of an online press release; a longer, multi-stop tour mimicking a physical book tour; or other structure.)
Normally I 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. Then, there are times that we add one more element that is customized to fit the theme of the book. We also offer contest giveaways.

What should be the goals of a blog tour and how do you track whether or not a blog tour is successful?
I wish I could track SALES, thanks to blog tours, but I’ve never figured out a way to do that! So, we just look at the readership for each blog and the comments listed from their readers. When I have a high number of bloggers who agree to participate in the tour, it seems more successful than those when I have less volunteers. My goal is to use the blog tour method to create additional exposure for the book. I encourage blog tour hosts to write their mailing lists to let them know the blog tour has posted. This is just one more way to increase traffic.

What does a blog tour accomplish, if anything? What data or analysis has led you to believe that?
I have no data or analysis, but I do know that word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to create interest in the book. Many consumers need to hear or read about a book multiple times before they ever consider purchasing it-so this helps to increase the number of times consumers hear about the book. It also helps create an appetite for the book-especially when the blog tour host offers to add a book review to the tour. And as a bonus, they also post the review to amazon.com and other online bookstores. So, I’m getting additional book reviewers in the process.

What do you think are the big mistakes writers make when blogging for promotion?
They don’t blog consistently enough to develop a following.
They don’t blog on topic, losing some readers along the way who just want to read about their niche.
They aren’t relatable to the readers-who are looking for a level of transparency and genuineness from the author in order to relate to them in some way.

Do you think the benefits to an author’s writing career are worth the costs of blogging? Why or why not?
I do think it is beneficial because compared to running ads or other forms of marketing and PR, blog tours are relatively inexpensive to run (the cost of the blog tour coordinator, books to give away to the hosts, books or other items to give away in contests, and shipping).

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.

Thanks so much for being a part of our series, Kathy!

To read the other interviews in this series, click here.

You can read the summary posts and discussion of what I’ve learned through these interviews over on my personal blog, click here.

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