This is part of two of a two part guest post from Julie Bonn Heath. Julie Bonn Heath is a PR/Marketing Professional, Author and National Freelance Writer. She lives on the beautiful Oregon Coast. See her blog, Marketing Jewels, at www.jbhmarketing.blogspot.com. More about Julie at www.juliebonnheath.com.
The management of a tour is very important. I tell the bloggers I’m working with that their receipt of the product is an agreement that they will post about the product honestly. However, I still must visit the blogs on the days that the post is scheduled and follow up if it is not there. There are commonly two or three bloggers on each tour that don’t post at all. Obviously, I don’t ask them to join any future tours.
Offering prizes or giveaways help bloggers compete for comments on their posts and help drive traffic. I usually offer a prize for the blogger with the most comments 7 days after their post goes live, a prize for a randomly chosen person who comments on one of the posts on the whole tour and sometimes a smaller prize for the blogger to give to a commenter on that post. The blogger can make any stipulations that they want for the individual prize entry and often do.
I also often make a blog post for the bloggers with the necessary information and the tour schedule. This assists with accountability for posting, communication with the prizes and a general excitement amongst the bloggers about the tour.
As far as tracking results, this is more difficult but not impossible. If the product is a book, I set up an affiliate link at Amazon to track clicks and sales. In addition, I track increased interest in the product by monitoring Google alerts before and after the tour and several additional parameters. Often, a product on tour will receive requests from the media for even more coverage and this has been a side benefit for several of my tours. One author received an offer for a blog job via a tour and another participated in two radio interviews. At the end of each tour, I send a “wrap up” to the client with their tour results.
It’s important to remember that an online tour can have results long after it has ended. Media mentions often stay on the Internet long-term and audience numbers will continue for as long as the links remain live.