Bloggers are key influencers in today’s buyer market and should play a pretty consistent role in your book promotion efforts.
That being said, it’s usually a lot of work, takes real finesse, and forces you to develop a thick skin and come to terms with the fact that all authors hear ‘no,’ even the most successful ones.
But you won’t hear ‘yes’ without the same efforts that also produce the ‘no’s’.
So a successful collaboration with a blogger who already has the eyes of hundreds or thousands of individuals in your target buyer market is not an opportunity you want to throw away. (After you finish this article, go here for more ideas on how to find and pitch book bloggers.)
Since we’ve now (hopefully) come to terms with the fact that you need to be researching and pitching bloggers as part of your book promotion plan, I want to give you some tips based on some of the biggest blogger complaints that will definitely affect your chances of getting a ‘yes’ next time.
Complaint #1: Not making it personal.
Whatever you do, take the time to figure out the blog owner’s name or how they refer to themselves. Sure, it may be a fun handle that gives them a bit on anonymity but we’re authors, we can appreciate a pen name. This is a big deal.
Book promotion is about selling your brand, and you don’t want to sell something generic and mass produced, right?
So speak to the blog owner in a way that shows you care about the platform they’ve built, their communication style, and the overall vibe they’re putting out there.
I get frustrated with this when people contact us who want to be featured on the Author Marketing Experts blog, they address it to “website owner” when Penny Sansevieri is literally all over our website and easy to confirm with a quick Google search.
Complaint #2: Not following site rules.
Most bloggers provide guidelines for contacting them or submitting ideas for feature or review. This is not because they’re bored and need more content for their site.
Respect the fact that some people prefer email, some (rarely) don’t mind phone calls, and some like to keep their inbox organized by requesting specific subject lines be used depending on the nature of your communications.
And in addition to the contact rules, they may have specific rules about submission requires – some may only take traditionally published, some may only take submissions before a certain day of the month.
The point is, this complaint is valid, because they’re trying to give you an opportunity to gauge whether or not you’re a good fit for their platform, they’re putting in the effort, so you should too.
Complaint #3: Not doing your research.
In addition to understanding the blog owner, you also need to understand their followers. So much about book promotion involves understanding your target market and how they tick, so use that insight to improve your chances with bloggers. If you haven’t downloaded my reader profile worksheet yet, it will really help you to know your reader. And, you can get it free here.
We see this so much with the Author Marketing Experts blog, we get pitches from people who want us to feature their latest infographic on website coding, which is really not the kind of content the majority of our followers need from us.
Read through a number of posts, check out the comments, if the blogger does giveaways and special online events see how these were structured because I can tell you right now they DO understand their audience, so their choices give you a lot of insider tips on what their followers respond to.
Complaint #4: Not creating a unique offering.
This plays off of complaint #3, where understanding your audience also means you need to bring something to the table that they’ll respond to.
Yes, your book is awesome, but don’t get cocky, it’s not enough in a lot of cases.
Offer additional copies for a reader drawing or giveaway. Maybe you have a teaser chapter they can download from the blog directly. Perhaps you have a useful worksheet you’ve created. (Check out my list of bonus content ideas that influencers will find irresistible.)
And when I say ‘maybe’ and ‘perhaps’ what I really mean is, work on these now if you don’t already have them.
Your book promotion arsenal should always include a couple of freebie options and materials that are ready to rock and roll when an opportunity arises. And continually brainstorm these ideas, because most bloggers want to offer something unique and special to their readers, so don’t plan on having the same teaser posted to multiple blogs you’re reaching out to – that’s kind of lame and shows lack of creativity.
Be ready to offer something unique to the blogger along with a free copy of your book in their chosen format.
Complaint #5: Not respecting their time.
Proceed with caution when it comes to following up on communications. One genuine follow up can show you’re taking your offer to them seriously. More than that gets into dangerous Fatal Attraction territory. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but you get the point.
Hopefully even if the answer is ‘no’ the first time around, the blogger will give you some insight into why, and you can make notes on your pitching tracker that could help you try again in the future.
The goal is to be courteous and to learn from the ‘no’s’ and understand that you need to rack some of those up for every yes – it’s all part of the book promotion game.
At the end of the day, despite your frustrations, the above complaints are valid but taking them seriously will really strengthen your offering and I’m confident will start leading to more ‘yes’ responses with consistent effort.