Being a Gracious Virtual Host

With the new year upon us, it might be a good idea to go over some of the basics of being a gracious and proficient virtual host. For those who may be unsure as to what a virtual host is, I’m talking specifically about hosts of virtual author/book tours.

Here’s a brief description of a virtual book tour (vbt): A vbt is a promotional strategy to create visibility for the author and his book. Writers, and others, with blogs promote the author by featuring him and his work on their blogs.

I manage a group of authors in a cross-promotional group and as part of our marketing strategy we have monthly virtual tours. While each guest does not always focus entirely on his/her book (which I call “pure promo”), no matter what the guest decides to offer it is up to the host to present it in a ‘special feature kind of light,’ especially when utilizing cross-promotion.

You might be asking, why is it so important when in a cross-promotion venture. Well, because you are also the recipient of being featured. Another host is going out of his way to present you and your work in a manner that will:

1. Attract readers

2. Make your content appear fresh and interesting

3. Include images (author and book cover)

4. Lead visitors to click on the Learn More About link

5. If a book is being featured, make it appear inviting enough to hopefully warrant the reader to click on the Buy link

So, as the Good book teaches: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

Now on to what makes a gracious host:

1. Communicate with your guest. Ask what he would like to feature

2. Include Steps 1-5 above

3. PROMOTE your post. This means posting messages in your groups/forums, on Twitter, and other social networks

4. Make sure visitors will find it easy to leave a comment

5. Stop by during the day of the post to respond to commenters

6. Thank your guest for being there

7. This is super duper important: do not publish another post on the day you are featuring a guest, it would be inconsiderate. Please note this pertains to hosts' who promote and link back to their blog page rather than a direct link to their guest's featured post.

So, that pretty much sums up what is needed to be a gracious host. If you can think of other ways, I’d love hear about them.

Until next time,


Unknown said...

Great advice, Karen.

jessi said...

Great article. Thanks!

Kelly said...

Thank you for this timely advice, Karen. I'm opening up my blog to tours after the first of the year. Always looking for ways to insure everything goes smooth.

Happy Writing!

Cheryl said...

Excellent advice Karen. This and your next article should be required reading for anyone participating in a virtual book tours--hosts or guests.

While #7 isn't the most important, it is nice to be the only feature on a blog. Oftentimes we have bloggers who review several books a day, so our VBT company doesn't ask that only our client be featured on that day, but we ask for a direct link to use for promotional efforts.

Happy Holidays to you and your readers.


Kris said...

I think this is some really great advice! This is what I try to follow with my guests (now that I'm having some on my blog).

Karen Cioffi said...

Hey, All,

Thanks for stopping by.

And, Cheryl, if you're using a direct link to the guest's spot then posting others that day is fine, I completely agree. In some groups, including the VBT Writers on the Move, we link to the blog page, not the direct post.

It's under these circumstances that I feel #7 is important.

Thanks again, All,