We hear it all the time: "Do you have a blog?" and maybe you do, or maybe you've thought of it and haven't been ready to take the plunge. The biggest complaint I hear is that it takes too much time and authors don't know what to write about. But there's an easy way to start, grow, and manage your blog. Let's look at a few ideas along with some tips for blog optimization and some headlines that will make readers beat a path to your virtual door.
Why Blogging (still) Matters
First off, does blogging even matter? Yes, it does. In fact, many SEO experts cite that a blog (when used regularly) can increase website traffic by 25%. Yes, blogging still matters. So if you haven't jumped on the blog bandwagon, now is the time.
The following is a list of post ideas that should help you get and keep the momentum going. Also, you'll note that I have given special consideration to our fiction authors. Being a fiction and non-fiction author myself I know that when fiction is your primary focus, it can be a tough topic to blog on:
Plan your blog posts: If you're looking for a month by month analysis of what to blog on, check out the following posts, broken down by month (with more scheduled for the months not currently listed) and packed with ideas on what to blog about. Trust me, it will really make a huge difference if you plan ahead:
Time yourself. Allocate 15 minutes a day to blogging. Once you have the ideas down pat, it should be much easier to sit down and write a post. The key is to plan, plan, plan. Once you know what you're writing about, the rest is easy.
Don't worry about long posts. You don't have to post long blog posts. If it's a relevant message it doesn't have to be long. In fact, I've posted blogs that are 50 words in length and gotten great results!
Have topic ideas ready to go. I keep a file on my computer that has a list of blogging ideas or prompts if I get stuck. Here are a few of them to consider, you can use one or all of these to blog on: Industry trends, Industry news, Writing tips, Personal stories of your success, Review a book
How-to. Never underestimate the power of a how-to blog post. Develop a series of how-to posts. Even if you're a fiction writer, remember that 83% of Americans want to write a book so it's likely someone reading your books (or a potential reader) is interested in this topic, too.
Ask questions. Ask your readers questions, grab some of the top-of-mind issues that are relevant to your market and address them on your blog.
What sparks your creativity? I mean really, really sparks your creativity? It could be sitting in a coffee house or watching it snow. Whatever it is, share it!
What book have you just read that inspired you? Or perhaps you would like to do a review of a book you just read...
What's the worst writing mistake you've ever made?
If you could pick one ideal spot to write, where would it be and why?
Optimizing your blog
It seems that optimization is the "word du jour" that everyone seems to be throwing around. But when it comes to blogging what does it really mean? Well, it's actually easier than it seems. Check out our tips below to quickly, and easily, optimize your blog!
- Create great headlines (see below for headline tips)
- Make sure that your blog is sharable on Facebook and Twitter! If you don't know what this is, ask your webmaster for "share this" buttons on your blog.
- Create PowerPoint presentations, add them to SlideShare and then add the embedded links from SlideShare to your blog.
- Always make sure and promote each blog post you write through your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter.
- Add photos to your blog. Not only are visuals a great way to capture and keep the interest of your reader, but they will also show up in Google image searches, which will get you an additional way to capture more traffic!
- If you're using WordPress, make sure that the SEO pack has been installed on your blog (ask your web person)
- Comment on other blogs in your market, with links back to your own site. This is a great way to network and get to know other bloggers in your market. Not sure how to do this? Here is my article called Social Networking on Blogs (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/social-networking-on-blog_b_408165.html)
Headlines that Pop
So, what about a great headline? Is it important? You bet. Since most of your readers will see your blog through an RSS feed, you'll want to pay special attention to your blog headlines. Check out the following idea generators to see if it doesn't spark something!
- 10 Secrets to...
- 7 Myths Exposed
- 10 Inspiring Ways to...
- 10 Funny Things That Happened to Me on the Way to Publishing My Book
- 7 Cool ways to...
- 10 Tips for the best...
- 10 Shocking reasons
- 5 Amazing Blog Sites You Must Read, and Why
- How to increase your success
- 10 Simple things you can do right now to...
See? You get the idea. Pique your reader's curiosity with a tight and highly benefit-driven headline. You don't have to use these headlines all the time, but every once in a while it's great to throw one of these in there.
The point is that it's more than just having a blog. You have to work the blog, and work the audience to help them find you. The problem with blogging has always been that it seems like it is so much work to first just create a blog, let alone market your blog so people will find you. However, I hope I've made it clear that a) it's not that hard to blog at all, and b) it's even easier to market your blog. All you need is a staple of ideas, a few hours a week, and the willingness to promote yourself. Regardless of who you hire to help you promote your book, and your message, you should still be engaged in your own success. You can be engaged by getting on your blog and talking to your market.
I hope you found this article helpful, and I wish you much success in your blog and all the benefits it will reap for your campaign!