The Benefits Of A “Virtual Book Tour” (VBT) Or “Product Tour” (PT)
Times are a changing. With the amount of advances decreasing from publishers and the increase in self-publication authors are getting creative with letting the world know about them and their books. Beyond creating an author’s platform (Website, blog, social media profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, G+, Facebook, Twitter and more) authors are turning to Virtual Book Tours.
What is a VBT?
A Virtual Book Tour (VBT) is an online “event” where an author “virtually visits” a different blog each day during a specified period of time, generally 2-4 weeks in duration. For instance, if your VBT were 2 weeks long, there would be 14 blogs, and each virtual book tour blog host would be assigned a specific day on the tour.
In selecting blogs on which to appear, the author would seek out virtual book tour hosts who have good traffic aimed at specific target/niche audience(s) congruent with the topic of the book.
I connect you with virtual book tour hosts related to your book/niche. You can also suggest some bloggers, hosts, radio shows, etc., you may know that might be interested in participating.
Technically, the author doesn’t “visit” these blogs. Rather, on the assigned tour day, the book tour host would post content about the author’s book, an interview, blog post, video, blog review, radio show, article about the author, etc. Some blogs such as Blogger and WordPress allow bloggers to schedule posts in advance, making it more convenient for the blogger by automating the process.
Each virtual book tour host who is not already scheduled to conduct an author interview or podcast with the author can ask the author 2-3 questions that pertain to their particular audience.
I like to organize a VBT well in advance and provide sample questions/topics to the bloggers that can help provide them ideas on how to formulate their three questions for the author.
Example: If your book was about Autism you could ask similar questions as these examples.
- What is Autism?
- What do doctors know or not know about Autism?
- What do you feel parents need to know about Autism?
- What is your experience working with people who have Autism?
- Do you feel Autism has been portrayed properly in the media?
The author provides written answers to the host’s questions, videos, requested material, and together we assemble the “virtual tour” into a structured format, so the bloggers can more or less copy and paste the information into their blogs (of course, they can edit it as they choose). The author must be available to provide content. This is your book tour, without you it won’t succeed!
Here’s an example formula provided to bloggers:
“Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 4 of the Virtual Blog Tour for Visualizing Your Way Out Of Poverty by Sandy Bates (fictional name and title). Yesterday Sandy Bates visited Intentional Conscious Parenting hosted by Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten. Below is the inspiring interview I conducted with the phenomenal Sandy Bates.
(Interview, video, article, podcast, snippet from book, review, etc including authors links to blog, social media sites)
I hope you enjoyed this (interview, video, etc) with Sandy Bates and that you’ll check out Visualizing Your Way Out Of Poverty available at Amazon (include link). As a gift to you Sandy would like to personally invite you to her live monthly (Event Title) Telesiminar (telesiminar, podcast, free download, etc. (Add info about book and link)(This brings them to website and adds to subscriber list) To find out how to buy Sandy’s book and receive these gifts, go to [link to author’s sales page]. Blogger can also give away something as well that could lead to subscriber list (Ebook, event, etc)
Be sure to follow Sandy tomorrow when the next stop on her Virtual Blog Tour is Karen Shillings blog at [link to Karen’s blog].”
Promoting a VBT
A series of “tweets” will be created for every stop on the tour, and give them to all bloggers asking them to post at least one update per blogger/host, for each day of the tour. That means, on their designated day on the tour, dozens of people would be sending out updates with a link to authors’s blog post to potentially hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. (depending upon the size of your campaign team).
Additionally, the author would post the tour calendar, with all the links, on his/her own blog. VBT can also be included in your newsletter.
Being a VBT host on a VBT has many benefits:
- It provides blogging hosts with easy, original content for their readers.
- Because an organized team of bloggers is sending out updates for each stop on the tour, it has the potential to drive 1000s of new readers to each blog.
- It helps increase search engine rankings for the blogs, as the blog is linked to, both forwards and backwards, the other blogs on the tour.
- Bloggers on the tour get to connect with new bloggers who share common interests and speak to similar audiences.
A VBT is wonderful because:
- There is a variety of content going out about your book/company during a concentrated period of time.
- The content is easy to create.
- It expands your network.
- You may get your book promoted to 1000s of people every day for the duration of the tour.
- The content you have created could be reused for other purposes.
One other thing, if a blog post is particularly interesting, both the author and the blogger can “retweet” about it every now and then after the tour. The blogger can also create a page that has links to all previous book tours in one convenient location. You can see how I’ve created a page for all my interviews and book reviews on one page on my Intentional Conscious Parenting Blog. This gives the author a destination to point people to for past interviews, reviews, videos and more.
I hope you found this information useful. Please do feel free to leave your questions or comments below. And if you would like to discuss setting up a book launch or VBT for your book, feel free to contact me via email at email@example.com and tell me about your book project.
Time frame from start to finish is roughly 2-3 months. Length is determined by the amount of resources already provided by author, research that is still needed to be completed and products available to be included in VBT, timing of hard and soft launch of authors book.
The same format can be used to promote a company or product with appropriate changes. If a product is involved the bloggers could receive a sample and provide a review along with the Product Tour (PT). All PT posts can lead back to a contest or event on your main website or Facebook Fan Page.
The sky’s the limit in the virtual world. Together we will brainstorm what works best for you and your company.
Remember people are more interested in you than what you are selling to them. You need to be creative , meaningful and offer advice or skills that empowers and engages your audience.
As Dave Kerpen would say……………
“Just Be Likeable” ~ Dave Kerpen author of Likable Social Media, How To Delight Your Customers, Create An Irresistible Brand, And Be Generally Amazing On Facebook (and other social media networks)
Interested in becoming a virtual book tour host?
Leave a comment and blog link.