Bloggers can be a really picky bunch who don’t respond well to pitches from people they don’t know. They’ve spent so much time cultivating their readers, they aren’t likely to share that influence lightly. But I have found that once you have a relationship with a blogger, they’ll do just about anything in reason to help you.
Authors, don’t think about using bloggers to promote your book. Think about building long term relationships with bloggers to help sell a lifetime of books. Here are the steps that work well for us:
- Find them on Twitter first – use Twitter search to find bloggers that are tweeting and blogging about topics in your genre. Start RT’ing their tweets and give them a bit of sass. Most bloggers enjoy a snarky sense of humor so find ones with whom you can build rapport.
- Don’t just focus on traffic – many bloggers have huge influence with their readers despite lower traffic numbers. Read the comments on the blog to see how engaged the blogger is with their readers, and how many readers are commenting on a regular basis.
- RSS feed the blogs you are interested in – this will give you an easy way to keep up with what they’re blogging about.
- Promote the blog on your own social media accounts – we do a ton of PR for bloggers by tweeting their posts, mentioning their posts in our own blog, suggesting them to traditional media…the blog world is the most collaborative environment I’ve seen. Scratch their back and they will usually scratch yours.
- Don’t aim too high – try to find bloggers on the up and up, ones that have a fair amount of readers but aren’t overwhelmed by their fans. You can try for months to get a mention in Copyblogger and never get anywhere. Getting 15 mentions in lower traffic blogs with good influence may be just as good.
- Install the Alexa toolbar – Alexa will tell you not only the traffic stats, but give you some incredible demographics on the blogs’ readers as well. Find a blogger on Twitter that seems to match your demo, and then check them out on Alexa. This will also tell you whether the blog is on the rise or if the blogger is losing interest and readership/traffic is waning.
- Ask the blogger if you can pitch them and do it EARLY – don’t pitch bloggers after you’ve pitched all the traditional media, it’s offensive. And give the bloggers galleys if you can.
If you’re a new author, bloggers might be the most important media for your campaign. They may be the ones that flag you to the traditional media as well. Treat bloggers with as much respect as you do an editor from the New York Times. They can have tremendous influence with readers, agents, media and bookstores.
Bonnie Harris is the founder of Wax Marketing, an integrated marketing and public relations firm. Read her blog here and follow her on Twitter for more tips on promoting books, products and services in the new media world.