Bill Frederick on Choosing Blogs to Visit on a Virtual Book Tour

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on July 30, 2008 in Ghostwriting / Books, Marketing
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Today I'd like to welcome guest poster, and author of the My Virtual Book Tour Secrets e-book, Bill Frederick. As you may remember, I recently posted about virtual publicity tours. One type of virtual book publicity tour we talked about was the virtual blog tour. In this post, Bill will share with you a formula for choosing blogs worth contacting (those most likely to offer you exposure for your new release) when it comes to setting up a virtual publicity tour for your own book.

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Many authors are discovering the value of adding virtual book tours to their book’s promotional campaign. The success of any virtual book tour depends on your ability to locate targeted, high-trafficked blogs to approach.

According to Technorati’s “The State of the Live Web” report, (http://technorati.com/weblog/2007/04/328.html) “… there are over 70 million blogs in the blogosphere today. And there are an estimated 120,000 new blogs being created worldwide each and every day.

That's about 1.4 blogs created every second of every day. That's a lot of potential hosts for your virtual book tour. There are some problems with many of these blogs though. Among other things, their creators abandon them in a month or two, they receive little or no traffic (readers), or they’re splogs (spam blogs).

So, how do you determine which of the 70 million blogs is worth approaching? I use a simple two-step system for locating targeted blogs.


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First, before I even begin evaluating specific blogs to contact for a virtual book tour, I develop a list of 20 or so keywords that best describe my book and its topic. I combine keywords to come up with phrases that people might use when searching for the topic of my book.

After I’ve developed my list of 20 keywords I set up a Google Alert (http://www.google.com/alerts) for each one of the keyword phrases. Google will then email me an update each time one of my keywords is mentioned in the blogosphere … including a link to the post and blog that mentioned my phrase. I can then visit the blog and determine its Blog Rank and then decide if I want to approach the owner asking them if they’d be interested in hosting a stop on my virtual book tour.

That brings me to the criteria I use for selecting blogs to approach.

In a nutshell, my Formula for Successful Blog Selection is:

H + F + P + D + L + C + T = BR

I use a blog’s BR, or Blog Rank, to decide whether or not I want to approach the blog owner for possible inclusion in my virtual book tour.

The H stands for History.

Basically, how old is the blog? Generally speaking, older blogs have had  more time to be ranked in the search engines; resulting in more traffic and usually more readers. You can find out how old a blog is by checking its “archives.” If a blog is less than one year old I score it a “0,” one to two years old it scores a “1,” and older than three years it receives a score of “2.”

The F in the formula is for Focus.

Does the blog’s theme match your book’s theme? Or, is the blog’s theme about books in general? If you answer, “Yes,” to either question, give the blog a “1,” if your answer is “No,” score the blog a “0.”

The P is for Posting Frequency.

How often does the owner post a new article on the blog? The blogs you want to approach for your virtual book tour should post neither too often nor too infrequently. The minimum posting frequency you should consider is a weekly post. Better yet, is a blog that posts new content three to five days per week. If a
blog posts once a month or less, score it a “0.” If a post is made once a week, score the blog a “1.” And, if the blog posts three or more times per week, give the blog a score of “2.”

The D in the formula is for Domain.

Is the blog you’re considering hosted on its own server with its own domain name? Or is it hosted on one of the free blog hosts? If you answered “Yes,” to the blog has its own server and domain, give the blog a “1,” if your answer is “No,” score the blog a “0.”

L is for Links, backlinks in particular.

Backlinks are incoming links from other websites. Search engines often use the number of backlinks a site has as a measure of its popularity. While Google will give you a rough idea of the number of backlinks a blog has, I find that Yahoo gives more accurate information. The search that you want to type into the Yahoo.com search box looks like this:

link:www.domainname.com (no spaces)

The number you're interested in will show next to Inlinks. If the number is less than 1,000, score the blog a "0," if the number is between 1,000 and 5,000 score the blog a "1," if it is greater than 5,000 give the blog a score of "2."

The C is for Comments.


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The number of comments a blog receives reveals how active the readers are. The more participation a blog community has the better. While some hot or controversial topics may receive upwards of 100 comments, the average is usually much lower. Your job is to look over the past 20 or so posts and determine the average number of comments a post receives. If the average number of comments is less than five, score the blog a “0.” If the number of comments a blog receives is greater than five, score the blog a “1.”

Finally, the T is for Tour.

Has the blog you’re considering ever host a virtual book tour before? Published a book review? Interviewed an author? If the answer is “Yes,” give the blog a “1,” if the answer is “No,” give the blog a “0.”

Adding all the scores together, H + F + P + D + L + C + T, will give you a blog’s BR or Blog Rank.

If a blog scores between 7 and 10, it is in what I refer to as the A-Range. I contact them immediately.

If a blog scores between 3 to 6, it falls in the B-Range. I’d contact them as soon as you’ve contacted and received responses from all of you’re A-Range blogs.

If a blog scores below 3, the amount of exposure that your book will receive may not be worth your time and effort. I would only contact them after all A-Range and B-Range blogs have been contacted and you still have open dates during your planned virtual book tour.

By following these two-steps, setting up Google Alerts for your book’s keywords and evaluating each blog with the Blog Rank Formula, you can set up your own successful virtual book tour.

For anyone interested in winning a free copy of "My Virtual Book Tour Secrets!", visit this site (http://www.myvirtualbooktoursecrets.com/win-a-copy.html), read the instructions, and enter. Your odds are good because I'm giving away a free copy on each of the blog tour stops. You can increase your odds by visiting the other blog tour stops and entering on those sites as well.

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8 Comments

  1. Jennifer Mattern July 30, 2008 Reply

    I just wanted to add one comment about using Yahoo to check backlinks (which they call inlinks). Take note of how the site’s URL is actually displayed. A lot of bloggers don’t use the www. version. For example, if you go to Yahoo and search link:www.allbookmarketing.com you’ll see only 24 inlinks. If you search using the correct format for the URL however – link:allbookmarketing.com you’ll see almost 4000 links. Some blogs haven’t properly set up a redirect from one version of their domain to the other too, in which cases links to each version should still show up separately (so it doesn’t hurt to check both versions to try to get a real count).

  2. Lillie Ammann July 30, 2008 Reply

    I’m planning a virtual book tour for my novel due out in a few months, and I’ll use this good advice. Thank you.

  3. Laura Christianson September 18, 2008 Reply

    The Yahoo inlinking thing can be useful. One of my blogs is a Typepad blog with the Typepad domain name masked, so I tried the link search for both the masked and unmasked domains and the results showed, respectively: 489 inlinks, 31 inlinks, and 5588 inlinks. So people need to know that the backlinking theory is relative. My inlinking “score” could be either a 0, 1, or 2, depending on how I count the inlinks. I think I’ll add them all together and give myself a 2!

    Also, many well-read blogs get very few comments and some blogs that have few readers get lots of comments from a small core group of readers. So the number of comments a blog gets reveals more about the style and tone of the blog, rather than the sheer volume of readers.

    Your ideas are good ones, however, for getting the general gist of a blog you might want to visit during a virtual tour. Thanks for sharing them.

    Laura Christianson
    co-founder, HeBlogsSheBlogs.com

  4. Jan Brogan September 18, 2008 Reply

    I’m just beginning to think about a blog tour for my upcoming book. Thank you so much for this incredibly useful post!

  5. Emma Larkins September 20, 2008 Reply

    Wow, terrific information about choosing a blog book tour host! I’m not in the process of setting up a tour myself, but that bit about Yahoo and backlinks was priceless. This is actually the first time I’ve come across it. So 1,000 is the number to work towards? I can see I’ve got a long way to go!

  6. Another good blog, full of useful information. I wish I could raise my own profile to match!!!!

    Ah well -perhaps in time.

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