spaghettipie

Lessons Learned from Mary’s Blog Tour

I know it’s been some time since the end of Mary DeMuths 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. Most likely, I’ll post them on my other blog, though. 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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12 comments

  1. Pingback: Anatomy of a Blog Tour - Startling Stats from Mary DeMuth’s 6 Week Tour — Goodword Editing

  2. Well, there’s my post above this comment as you can see. I agree with everything you’ve said here.

    The tour felt great while it was happening. A big part of that feeling came from Mary herself, I think. She wrote a book that is really meaningful and important and applicable to my daily life as I try to raise my kids well.

    The numbers are different than what we expected, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just is. The good thing about blog tours is that they can be measured. Of course, that also means we know precisely whether we reach our goals or not.

    Tina and Mary, it was a complete joy to work on this stuff with you. Thanks for your patience and friendship.

  3. >>The tour felt great while it was happening. A big part of that feeling came from Mary herself, I think. She wrote a book that is really meaningful and important and applicable to my daily life as I try to raise my kids well.>>

    A big amen to this.

  4. This was one of the best blog tours I’ve participated. I learned a lot that will help me with the blog tours I organize. One good tip was the site for the blog. I will definitely be using this for my next blog tour. It sure beats sending out emails. All your questions are answered on this site.

    Thanks for letting me be a part of the tour.

  5. spaghettipie

    MG – So glad to get an opportunity to work with you. Let’s do it again sometime.

    A – Thank YOU. All the bloggers are the ones who really made the tour possible.

    J – I’d be interested to hear your take on what makes blog tours successful and how you define a successful tour.

    R – I totally agree!

    L – I’m glad that you found some useful take-aways. One of the reasons I was interested in helping (aside from the fact that I just wanted to help my friend!) was because blog tours fascinate me. It was a great learning experience, and I’m glad you were a part!

  6. Hi, Tina.

    Christian Fiction Blog did not participate in this blog tour. I love Mary to pieces, but I think the fact that I didn’t receive a book was why I didn’t participate.

    Don’t be mad. 🙂 I have valid reasons. Christian Fiction Blog is a blog that earns money via affiliated marketing, advertisements, and it’s pay subscribed syndicated column, which is only available to bookstore sellers. Some publicists and publishing houses have learned of my newsletter and send me many books and their qtrly release catalogs. I stack these books in my inbox bookshelf according to month and week I will be reviewing them. If I don’t have a book on that shelf, then my mind can’t remember to write an entry or a review about them. Sorry.

    If I received an email or notice letting me know that I won’t receive a book, but sent me a schedule to interview Mary or some other perk to keep me focused on featuring the book, then I would have loved to put her there.

    Now what I have done is speak about her books in my church’s parenting bible study. She is in rotation to be featured in 2008. Maybe between now and then I will purchased the book. 🙂

  7. On Canned Interview or Blog Entry…

    These tools are great for the blogger. I use them when I need a blog break. But I rarely cut and paste anymore, because I know my audience, it’s limits and what it needs.

    I’ll share some of techniques for enhancing a blog tour entry later today.

    Great effort and you all did far better than you realize.

  8. spaghettipie

    D – Thanks for stopping and your comment. I’ll look forward to popping over to your blog later to read your post.

  9. I discovered this article while surfing over Thanksgiving 2008. Great analysis.

    My observation is that mechanically, you did a lot of really important things to get the word out. The comment that described the content that you used for your blog posts was very revealing.

    My experience with news releases, media, and blogs is that media and their audience response is based on what people see and read. The content of your posts on every blog has to be galvanizing and must motivate the action you want people to take. If you develop and test copy, you can identify the words and sequence of that results in desired action. People of like mind (e.g., a targeted audience) will respond similarly.

    This crucial copy determines everything that spins off of all blog sites you post to.

    So my question is this:

    Did you design and test your copy before you started your blog tour?

    Did you know that if you said A-B-C-D-E that you got a known response and action?

    To me, this is the crucial point of this exercise.

    Paul J. Krupin
    Direct Contact PR
    http://www.directcontactpr.com

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