Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What’s a Blog Hop? Social Marketing 101 Series

No Bunny Hop - Blog hop is a different animal.

(First a teaser – Laura Bradford, writing as Elizabeth LynnCasey, will be my guest on November 13th.  Her latest Southern Sewing Circle Mystery, Let it Sew, a holiday story, will release November 6th.)

Social Media is an uphill learning curve.  Marketing isn't for sissies.  Or a one-time check off your list action. You have to get your name out into the universe. Richard Bach said (Paraphrasing here…) writers are just amateurs that didn't give up.  So I keep going.  Just when I get a handle on how to schedule and complete a blog tour, I’m confronted with this new animal.  The Blog Hop.

Mostly a blog hop is a group of authors who band together to promote a theme across a variety of websites.  I've signed up for hops with themes like Autumn, or Black Friday, or even the one I've just finished as this blog runs, The Alpha Male Blog Hop.

I wonder if this is more a romance writer’s tool.  I haven’t seen a Black Friday Noir Hop, or a Kill Your Favorite Mystery Character, or Cozy Cookie Exchange Blog Hop, although these would be kind of fun. Maybe I’m just not on the right loops.

Setting up a blog hop is like herding cats as my Crimson Romance author group found out earlier this month.  First, you can’t do anything that will please everyone, so make a decision and go with it.  We tried making group decisions on the yahoo loop with little success.  Finally, we appointed a group of three authors to spearhead it, gave them our proxy to make decisions, and they came back with a great button, dates, process and a handy ‘how to’ sheet. 

Each author sets up a blog hop button (or widget – I won’t get too techy here because I’m already in technical deep water for me…) Then on the first day of the hop, participating post a blog that relates somehow to the theme and hopefully to their books.  This is a marketing tool. The blog host gives away a small gift (I like to do $5 Amazon cards because it’s easy.) And usually there’s a large giveaway from the hop organizers.  Again, the power in this is numbers.  At a $5 donation from each author, the prize can be pretty amazing, without a huge investment from an individual author. 

Blog readers go from one blog link to the next, reading and commenting, to increase their chances at winning a prize.  The more comments, the higher your chance to win.

But what’s in it for the authors who are participating in these blog hops?  Hopefully promotion and sales. You can check out my web page for examples of blog hop buttons here.

Bottom line, I’m out $10 and had to post and monitor my blog for three days.  Hopefully, I’ll see sales from the effort.  As I write this today, it’s early.  But I’m getting people to my blog which for me is great.  I’m new and I don’t have a lot of traffic, unless I beg.

What about you?  Have you participated in a blog hop either as an author or a reader? 

(Off Topic - A Member of the Council, a paranormal romantic novella, and my 2nd release ever - comes out November 5th. - I thought I'd share my cover, just in case you haven't seen it.) 



Lynn Cahoon said...

Update on the blog hop that just finished. I got over 200 new visitors at my blog and 5 new followers.

We'll see what the next one brings in November.

Megan Kelly said...

That's cool, Lynn. I don't have a blog so I'm out of luck as far as hopping as I can't offer anything back.Will someday hop and will lean on you for advice.

Megan Kelly said...

Oh, and I just got rid of that critter. She had a baby that we had to relocate too. Good luck.

Kathleen Kaska said...

This is a new one for me. I've participated in blog rolls and blog chains and blog tours. Update us on the results.