Last time we talked about the importance of a website as your main marketing tool. This week’s marketing tool, a blog, can be a part of your website or its own separate entity. As a reminder, your website is the hub of your marketing efforts, so if you decide to have a blog in lieu of a website, you still need to include the elements of a successful website in your blog.
So how can blogging benefit you as a writer? For one, it is better than a static website which won’t get much traffic through the magic of SEO and Google search. A blog platform also allows you to update your site more easily. Blogging allows you to connect your life with your work. For example, I write about my personal paranormal experiences (I grew up in a haunted house, so I’ve had a few) and about haunted places I’ve visited because my writing contains paranormal elements. It gives a more multi-dimensional feel to who I am as a writer, because I not only make up stories about the Other Side, but have also experienced the paranormal.
When you get a good following, you will want to interact with and update readers about what is going on with you and your writing. Next week, we’ll talk about social media, which is a great way to interact with readers, but keep in mind that blogging allows you to go more in-depth than just a tweet or a Facebook status.
Here are my general tips for blogging:
- STAY POSITIVE. People don’t want negativity, they want to come to your blog and be entertained or informed.
- Capture email addresses. One of the great advantages of a blog is that you can capture email addresses for your database, so make sure you set up an RSS feed or email newsletter (like Mail Chimp). That way you can communicate with readers about news in your writing life, like upcoming book releases.
- Post regularly. Set yourself a goal and stick to it; I post 1-2 times per month for my blogs. Keep in mind that you can schedule your posts, so if you want to sit down one week and write an entire month of posts–or even an entire year of posts–you can.
- Focus. Find your niche (as an individual or as a group) and stick to it. Look at your blog’s stats to decide which posts are really working for you and which aren’t. If you get a lot of traffic or comments, you know it’s working.
In addition to periodically blogging on my website, I also write for the group blog you are currently reading, The Lit Ladies, which is managed by my critique group. It’s tagline is, “Six Women Writing Their Truths Into Fiction,” so basically we write about the things that inspire our writing. We offer readers of our blog two things. First, insight into the categories that inspire our novels (paranormal, YA, mystery, crime, etc.). Second, we give writing tips for those wanting to successfully write their own truths into fiction. It may take you some time to pin down your focus, but choose your niche otherwise you will get lost in the blogosphere.
As for group blogs, there are a few REALLY BIG pros to not going it alone. For one, you can take turns and still have a good amount of content on your blog. For example, our group creates 1-2 posts per week. If you were taking that on by yourself, it could be daunting, but that only requires each of us Lit Ladies to blog 1-4 times per month. We may do more if we are currently promoting a book or have more to say. We may do less if we’re busily writing the next novel or are going through a stretch of writer’s block. Another big plus for group blogs is that you can easily cross-promote each other’s work. Many times I’ll retweet or repost something on Facebook to promote the Lit Ladies’ new books. And, unlike an individual blog, my Lit Ladies comment on my entry and get a conversation going about my post. Again, you don’t have to go it alone.
So whether you decide to develop an individual blog and/or write for a group blog, blogging is an important channel in developing relationships with your readers. It gives more depth to who you are as a writer over the “easier” social media channels that we’ll talk about next week.
This week, consider whether to blog or not to blog. Will you go it alone or could you write for a group blog? Read this article to get more information about the pros and cons of blogging.
If you missed the original post, marketing tip for writers, click here.
Enjoy your marketing journey.