Unit 3: Site and Content
Part 3: Should You Have an Author Blog?
A blog can be a highly effective marketing tool for any authorpreneur, but only when used correctly. The onus is on the writer to ensure they use their blog to not only engage their audience but also organically encourage comments and social media shares to widen their target market. Blogging may seem like an easy way to market your work, but it may take a lot of time and effort to actually create an efficient blog that works for you. One of the main issues with blogging is that many authors think about it in hindsight rather than as a tool, and don’t put the effort into it that it requires. Blogging is not just about writing any type of content and posting it online, it is much more strategic than that. A blogger knows what to write about and knows what content people are interested in. Creating a popular and effective platform out of your blog can take some trial and error, and sometimes a few years, but we have some tools that can help you do this. Some of the most popular blogging models are listed below.
If you are looking for an easy way to enter the world of blogging then you can start off with using the literary citizenship model, where basically you post about what you are currently reading, watching, and/or listening to. The idea is to promote work that you love yourself, and thereby other artists and authors, and in return open up your target market to theirs and vice versa. While creating content for this type of blog is on the easier side, there are so many of them already in existence that you will need to make sure yours is original enough to stand out.
Another “easier” blogging medium is the “How To” model, where your blog contains important advice, insight, and personal writing experiences for others. These types of blogs can really appeal to other writers, and be a great resource for those just starting out. The downside is that you may end up not having enough content to post after a while or end up losing your readers because they have used your advice so well and outgrown you. This model requires a blogger to always be ready to look beyond the existing horizon and plan for more extensive content.
On a more difficult level comes the Behind the Scenes blog model where an author offers up insight into his or her book research, character development, background, and novel-writing process. This model of blog also often invites readers to participate in the creation of a book with reader competitions and character naming choice surveys. The great part of this model is that it really invites readers to become part of an author’s world. The downside is that there may not always be enough material to post on a regular basis, and it may not be the right fit for an author who prefers to keep his or her material under wraps.
The most difficult type of blog model to maintain is what we call the Personal Essay or Daily Life model. This is a great way for authors to develop their writing and creative skills, and post insights into their personal lives and thoughts. Creating personal essays that talk to others isn’t an easy feat, and acquiring a target market for this type of content, especially if you are an unknown author, can take a lot of time and perseverance.
The below graphic by Digital Marketer is *the best* list of blog post ideas I have found. You could cycle through these all year!
Once you have developed your blog and blogging style it is extremely important to remember the importance of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that we developed in a previous article. As with your website and landing page you should determine and set KPIs to monitor how well your blog is working for you, and if there is anything that requires tweaking or changing. You can set KPI tracking rules directly in Google Analytics and measure important performance data such as direct visits. Direct visit data will show you how well your blog is performing over a certain time (daily, weekly or monthly for example). If you monitor KPI performance on a regular basis you will easily be able to detect which blog posts perform well and which ones fall flat.
While your written content is, of course, the most important part of your blog, it’s easy to forget that the first things to grab a potential reader’s attention are images and intriguing headlines or captions. You can use personal photos or a stock photo, whatever your preference, but make sure that it pulls readers in and highlights your content. Stock photos don’t have to be expensive: you can find many free or inexpensive images on websites such as Flickr Creative Commons (https://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/) or Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/). Just check before using whether you need to provide image credit or not.
While a blog can be an enormous asset to any authorpreneur, before launching a blog an author should make sure it is something that is really for them. If you cannot post on a regular basis and/or are consistently searching for topics to cover, a blog may not be the right marketing tool for you. If you are willing to explore different options, remain consistent in your approach, and rely on analytics to monitor progress, with a little persistence your hard work will bear fruit.
Do you have an author blog? What works for you? Hop on over to the AuthorpreneurLaunch Forum with comments, questions or suggestions. I’ll get back to you asap.
Growth Hacking Tip: Use Gmail ads to bid on your competitors’ keywords
Use Gmail ads to target by keyword in a user’s inbox. This hack allows you to find people who are likely receiving newsletters and other promotional materials from your competitors, and target them with a similar product.
Photo of the Week: Viewing the Eclipse from a picnic table in the back yard. 🌘
Meal of the Week: ‘Squirrel Tail Fish’ from Ypbor Yan 🐿️
— Marquina (@Marquina) August 31, 2017
Also published on Medium.