Bloggers can be a powerful way to spread the word about your book but too few authors know how to find the most appropriate ones and how to approach them.
Not an afterthought
Most people consider media contacts in order of ‘importance’, with television being the golden ticket and blogs being something that you try once all other possibilities have been exhausted. However, for many books blogs can be a more efficient, achievable and targeted form of publicity than any other. The trick to getting great blog coverage lies in research and approach.
There are basically two kinds of blogs. Those that are an offshoot of another form of media, such as a newspaper, magazine or radio show, and those that stand alone, independent of any other media. Either way, they are written by a single individual or a small group and tend to have a very personal feel to them. Like humans they can be quirky, opinionated and prejudiced. You are off to a great start if you think if them as people – as wonderful and funny as your Aunt Bessie or as grumpy as your old Uncle Carl.
Pleased to meet you!
So if blogs are people, you need to get to know them as people. What do they like? What annoys them? What do they respond positively to? Fortunately they don’t keep these things a secret - bloggers write about themselves every day and you just need to read what they say. Obvious, right? But far too many people take a shotgun approach and send out communications and books to a huge number of bloggers without knowing, or caring, who they are.
Like other media, blogs do not exist to reprint every press release that is sent to them. They can get annoyed when someone sends them a communication that shows no actual knowledge of or concern for what they write about. It can be seen as rude, and a blogger, like an angry person with a megaphone, has the power to shout back at you very loudly indeed. They can write a bad review or pick apart your carefully constructed press release or worse.
So read, target and be positive and personal in your approach. Tell them why you love them. Tell them that you care about what they care about. And mean it! There are enough blogs in the world that you can find plenty that should be interested in your book, whatever your book is about. Contacting blogs can be a time consuming activity so focus on quality rather than quantity.
Research, Research, Research
So how do you find the right blogs for you? Start with a Google search, and be as specific as possible to pinpoint the ones that are interested in your subject. You will also find directories, listings and newspaper and magazine guides to the best blogs. Often these guides (or even the blogs themselves) have statistics on how many people read them to help you know where to focus your energy.
Another great way to get to know bloggers is through social media. For bloggers, social media is not only a way of advertising themselves to get traffic to their blogs but also a way of discussing the issues that they write about with others. They are usually warm, welcoming and interesting - so talk to them! And be sure to take advantage of your author networks. The author community is amazingly helpful and open and if you ask around you will receive plenty of recommendations of good blogs who like to cover your sort of material.
The fun part
Now that you know who bloggers are, what they are interested in and where their prejudices lie - give them your pitch! Tell them about your book and why they should care. Tell them how it relates to something that they posted back in June. Tell them how the main character is based on a celebrity that they blogged about. Be personal and don’t forget to tell them about yourself while you are at it – now that you know them as individuals let them get to know you.