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 This is super duper important: do not publish another post on the day you are featuring a guest, it would be inconsiderate.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,