TIPS FOR BEING AN AWESOME BLOG HOST and a FABULOUS BLOG GUEST!
Recently, I did something that should have made the average person a little cray-cray. Beings I’m already a little cray-cray, I didn’t have far to go. I just wrapped up managing an 11-week blog tour, hosting authors on my site WHILE contributing to several blogs for other authors AND participating in a Facebook Party or two. This isn’t something I recommend you do simultaneously especially so when you have a full-time job outside of the home as I do.
BUT, honestly, IT IS and WAS SO MUCH FUN and a great learning experience that I can take, learn from and do an even better job next time. Here’re some lessons I wanted to share.
Note, this includes tips for BOTH being a host and being a great guest contributor. Like two ice cream flavors, YUM!
Get Organized. IF YOU ARE NOT an ORGANIZED, it will drive you insane. I can understand why people hire out the blog tour and running it but honestly after doing this, it’s really all about organization and good notes. I’m telling you, you absolutely CAN DO IT!
Edit your own stuff – I’m not the best editor. I have two freelance editors I use for my books, just to ensure an error free mss., (and still some things get missed). Don’t beat yourself up. IF you’re not the best editor like me, use Grammarly and write shorter, more concise sentences.
Start the post right away – This goes back to organization. As soon as I agreed to blog for someone, I cut and pasted the info into the word doc where I’d write the actual post. Many times I forgot what I was writing and for who, so starting even a few sentences right away will mitigate issues later. An excel spreadsheet would also help but I’m not the excel spreadsheet type. Write in a notebook if that’s your thing. Just capture it in whatever wawy works best for you so you know what you owe to whom you owe it.
Vary the bio/excerpt portion. I wish I had changed up both my pics and excerpts that I submitted to various sites. In the future, I’ll come up with about five different excerpts and have them ready to go and am already doing that for my next release. Remember some people are following you around to the various sites (and I’ll also list what/where I’ve been (it’s recently been added to the landing page here at Teegarner.com) and you’re listing through social media and you’ll likely recap your visits in one of your newsletters/twitter, etc.). Beings you’re trying to be here, there and everywhere, give everyone something different to read and look at each time. Especially with the excerpts, the more different pieces they can read from your book, more they will likely be intrigued.
Send stuff on (ahead of) time.I, as a WordPress lover, advocate, poster child have enjoyed the scheduler (same for Constant Contact) TREMENDOUSLY. Most bloggers are scheduling things ahead of time. No one is sitting around waiting for your post to then arrange it, edit if their nice enough to do this and then upload it. Make it easy for them. Even the most tech-savvy author needs a little time to dress up the post and ensure it is previewing correctly.
Send stuff altogether AND send some unusual and fun stuff too! There should no more than 2-3 attachments, the photo, the blog post (if it’s not in the body of the e-mail) and the book cover pic. You could also send an extra or two, like a good pic to sum up what you’re talking about. Below, is a short list of some extra fun things you can send. Remember how important visuals are for any posts. You can also send:
You sitting at your office desk
You writing at a coffee shop or signing books at an event
A photo of your plotting outline (Kaia Danielle was kind enough to send hers, I love these, Sticky-Note Junkie that I am)
A picture of your favorite writer tools; your desk – messy or cluttered, it’s fun to look at, no matter what.
Remember, make it relevant to the topic and remember visuals are viewed (how many ever) more times more than just text
Funny cartoon (remember for anything you choose that’s not your own, ensure you have permissions or free usage terms, you don’t want to get yourself NOR the host author into copyright trouble).
Watch your word count– I think that going 100 or so words beyond what people asked for won’t kill anyone. I think it’s completely improper Blog Etiquette when you drone on and on forever. And I’m a fan of droning on and on forever, but a. most people won’t read it, they will be tired and won’t come back. b. You are free to do whatever the heck you want at your own site. You earned it BUT on someone else’s site, adhere to the length suggested. FULL DISCLOSURE when I wrote my post for my own site, I didn’t adhere to word limits. It’s MY site. When I write for others I DO my best to adhere to word limits. I wrote a post for someone and it was just a few words (less than 10) over the count and I asked her and she said it was fine.
Remember to promote it. And promote it, and promote it and promote it some more. The whole point of this is exposure. The blogger will send it out to her/his fan base and you should be doing the same and tagging one another. My blog isn’t hugely popular but it’s growing thanks to some awesome author-friends. Don’t forget to ask friends to make comments, to view and to the discussion. You can set it up in Hootsuite/Buffer App, you can write a list of varied posts that you’ll just cut and paste and have them ready to go. Be sure to follow the Blogger right away after confirming your contribution so it pops up if you’re tweeting or FB’ing real time and you don’t have to search for their handle.
Shout out the other guests on the blog. I realize you’re here for the purpose of promoting your book, supporting another author and gaining exposure but try not to be one of those people (eyes rolling). Remember you’re building an online community and you’re networking – as hard as that may be- virtually when it’s someone else’s turn, stop by the blog and say hi. Comment on the person that was there before you. Continue to visit (even after your post is long gone). Build it into part of your promotion and be genuine and read the posts. If they’re short (remember? See number 7 in this list), it should take you just a few minutes. You could even ask the host who else is coming on the blog? Then go and like and follow them.
Invite them back to your blog in the very near future.Most want to repay the favor. They want you on their blog but they also want to visit others too! Ask them to come on your blog, and FOLLOW UP to arrange a date with them to do so at least within the next few months.
REPOST! If it’s all right with the Blog Host (and usually it’s fine) to repost your original blog (giving credit to where it originally appeared) on your site. I think you should wait, however, until the special promotion -if the author is having one- is over. If it’s just a regular post/hop, then a month’s wait is kosher (to me). Beings that it’s hard to come up with lots of different and original content, this is simply like repurposing content you’ve already written. Nothing wrong with that so long as you give credit AND it could still be the same exact content but why not update it a tad bit if you have something new to add?
That’s it! Remember to have fun. Share some fun and quirky things about you and your personality. Offer free content and let people know more about you and not just your writing.