Writing blogs can be distracting, they can be a time sink, unproductive, and a waste of time. There, I listed most of the arguments against blogging. Now let me make my case. Being an author in 2013 is like being a small business owner. You need a marketing strategy or you will go out of business. If people can't find you, they can't buy your book. You have many choices when it comes to marketing. Here are some options from my blog on Marketing Options for Authors.
Having a digital marketing strategy is absolutely the best option in my biased opinion. Sure you can point to a few authors who don't do anything online and are still successful, but for the majority spending time and/or money online is the cost of doing business.
And I consider blogs (like websites) the foundation of a digital strategy. Not only do blogs give authors the opportunity to stay connected with their readers, they also position the author as an expert. Blogs are also the absolute best way to drive traffic to websites. For book authors in a competitive marketplace, the need to blog couldn't be higher. Let's take a closer look at some of the compelling reasons why you, as an author, need to blog.
- Blogs are a natural extension of you as a writer. Consider the time you spend blogging as an extension of your job as a writer. Publishing a book or producing any professional writing, is a small business and authors should look at it as such. Sure, the publisher will offer support and expertise, but it is the author's responsibility to build a long-term Web strategy. To communicate 24/7, which is now the expectation and the norm, you need to develop different types of content. Blogging is a great way to share your knowledge, test how your content resonates, and collaborate with others. While experts may disagree on how often you need to blog, consistency is the key. Develop a readership base by putting out a blog on a regular schedule -- whether that's once per week or twice per month. Blogs also provide you with the opportunity to link your content to your books, eBooks, whitepapers, audio recordings, slide presentations, videos and webinars, so there are lots of cross-promotional opportunities.
- You can showcase your expertise or define your niche.
Every blog you write helps define your personal brand. Developing your personal brand takes time, but the good news is that the tools are free and you already have the knowledge. As you continually write in your niche, you will connect with and identify your ideal audience. You will be positioning yourself to promote more books, as well as apps, conferences, videos, your website and more. When you become known as an expert in a field you also become more valuable to publishers and agents. Start to look at your personal brand management as your online resume or business card.
- It's the best way to drive traffic to your site.
We have touched on this a little bit, but as you regularly blog, you can include links to other blogs on your site and a link to a book you are promoting. You can share your blog in other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter where people can click on your blog and go directly to your website. You can also offer your blog as a guest blog to other popular websites in your niche, and build your following and traffic to your website at the same time.
- You can build your digital reputation.
Social media has given us great ways to protect and build our digital reputations. Today we have the ease of searching conversations, the ability to set alerts to help us monitor our names, a constant availability of learning opportunities, as well as a myriad of ways to communicate and interact with others. All of these tools, which were nonexistent just a few years ago, now make it possible for us to be proactive in maintaining, building and protecting our good name. The comments section, in particular, is a great forum for fostering discussions with your readership. You can end your blogs with a question or a direct call to action asking for feedback. When you participate in the discussion with your readers, you are investing in your audience and networking online.
- You can write your next book. Yes, creating your next book is not as easy as stringing together a collection of your blogs, but it's much easier to write a 500 to 1,000 word blog than it is to type out a 50,000 word book. Since big projects are more easily accomplished in small bites, view your blog writing as a laser-like focus on creating the chapters of your next book, one chapter at a time. The act of writing your blogs might point you in a different direction for your next book project based on audience response or a topic that resonates with you the most.
Your online platform is your ability to reach people and your blog can be one of your most effective strategies for doing so. Blogs are a powerful tool. You can find readers who are interested in your subject, build anticipation for your book, network with others in your field, establish a foundation for your social media marketing and showcase your value by letting readers sample your content. Online branding with a blog is no longer a luxury or an afterthought -- it is a necessity. And, it actually can be quite fun!
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.