In an earlier post of mine, What to Do When You Just Can’t Get a Review, I made the suggestion that a great way for authors to increase their exposure was to write a guest post for a popular book blogger. It’s a win-win situation: you, the author, benefits from the blogger’s established and loyal following, and the blogger benefits by getting your content for free.
But there are two critical tactics which go hand-in-hand that you must include as part of your guest post if you want it to be seen, shared and talked about. And those are … incentive, and a call-to-action.
It’s common sense, isn’t it? You need to give readers a reason to share your guest post on social media. Otherwise they’ll read it, say “Hmm, interesting,” and then go on their merry way. If they don’t share it, then their followers won’t see it, and their followers’ followers won’t see it, and so on.
Unfortunately, even though it seems like common sense, it is not common practice – or, at least, it’s not as common practice as it should be. I’ve come across it time and again: great authors are putting up great guest posts, yet none of them go any farther than the followers of that one blog. The potential audience is huge, yet the opportunity is not taken.
And why is that? It’s because the author is giving the reader no reason to comment or share. There is no discernible call to action.
It hurts my heart to see such a wasted opportunity, honestly.
I’ve learned a lot from hosting the Indie Author Feature. One of the things I’ve learned is that you not only have to provide incentive to your readers, you need to make it extremely easy for readers to take up your call-to-action. In the Indie Author Feature, the incentive I coordinate with my authors is a giveaway, and the call to action is a tweet-to-win contest.
And I make it very easy for readers to tweet to win.
I do this using a free service called Click To Tweet. With this service, you decide what your twitter message will be, and Click To Tweet will encode it for you to include in your post. Once someone clicks on your shiny new coded tweet, the app will take the reader directly to his or her twitter page with the message all ready to be posted.
Two clicks is all it takes, and your blog post is shared. It’s simple, it’s beautiful, and it really works for extending the reach of your guest post.
Giving readers incentive to share your post, and making it easy for them to do so, is what makes a guest post a success. Leverage your host blogger’s existing following, and their existing following, with incentive, and a clear and easy call-to-action.