A blog fills the last two needs, with proactive advice, and room for feedback, not just from your existing clientele, but from two groups we call prospects (people who are considering doing business with you) and suspects (people who should be doing business with you but don’t know it yet.) Never underestimate the power of fortuitous discovery. When someone stumbles upon your blog, they may discover you’re exactly what they need—but didn’t realize it.
It’s astonishing how many small businesses don’t blog regularly. (We all realize that as nonfiction authors, we’re in the book business, don’t we?)
To effectively build a strong audience for your blog, you need to clearly define the purpose of your blog. Who are you trying to reach? What message are you trying to convey? Your content needs to be of value to your audience. You may find it helpful to read other blogs with similar content to get ideas for yours.
Your audience will abandon you if you don’t blog regularly. Be consistent. I can tell you from personal experience that when I’ve slacked off and use the hit-or-miss method of blogging, my readership dwindles. When I post regularly, my audience grows. If possible, post at least weekly. It’s very helpful to create a reserve of blogs and schedule them ahead of time for times when you don’t have time to write. Some choose to spend a block of time monthly to create all their posts at once and then schedule them out over the month.
Your posts will catch your audience’s eye if they have good titles. For more information on how to create attention-grabbing titles, read this guest post by my friend Deb Lamb. Another way to grab attention is to include a photo or image.
Invite your audience to comment on your blog. Yes, this does mean you’ll need to moderate comments. Use a tool like Askismet to catch most spam comments and you won’t spend too much time moderating junk comments. Allowing comments allows a way for your audience to interact with you and each other.
Online readers like to quickly scan blog posts. You need to be able to quickly grab a reader’s attention. Not only does your information need to be interesting, a reader needs to find it visually appealing.
Here are some ways to be sure your blog posts are intersting and attention-grabbing:
Use subheadings (like the one above)
Use bulleted or numbered lists (like this one)
Always include an image
Caption your images
Include links to relevant information
Include a video
Write “How To” or “Tips” posts
Create a weekly themed post. Choose a particular theme to write about on the same day each week so your readers are looking forward to next week’s installment.
What other ideas have you used to create interesting and attention-grabbing blog posts? Please share in the comments below!
Wherever you are in the process as an author (fiction or nonfiction), whether you have published your book or are just beginning to outline it, there are tremendous benefits to having a blog. They include:
Regular communication with your readers or prospective readers
Establishing a personal connection with readers
The opportunity to get feedback from your readers on your ideas, characters, what they want to read next
Exposure to media outlets such as online magazines, radio and TV shows, literary agents & publishers
Building a mailing list of people looking forward to your book – and your next book! Readers can subscribe to your blog and sign up for your mailing list and be the first to know when your book comes out.
Media outlets, literary agents, and publishers will expect you to have a solid online presence, including a blog. Other opportunities such as getting online interviews and podcast interviews are much more likely when you have an established online presence. That’s not just a blog. A solid social media presence is needed as well.
Your blog is your marketing foundation. From it all the social media stuff, Facebook, Twitter, etc., just comes from what you’ve posted at your blog.
Think of your blog like the trunk of a tree and your social media as the branches coming from that one trunk. The foliage is the result of all your hard work – sales of your book! And to get the best foliage, you must cultivate.
So what do you blog about? You could write about the details of the research you are doing for your book, your character development, any of those milestone moments when you’ve finished another chapter. Include short book excerpts to engage your readers into wanting the whole book.
It’s never too early to start marketing your book. Even if you’re just getting started, NOW is the time to start blogging and cultivating your readership.
If you’d like help with social media, we specialize in helping authors manage their social media presence. Contact Sue now for a consultation.