Not sold on blogging? I think you should be, but it’s your choice. As a marketing tool, blogging has proven effective for many businesses. According to online marketer HubSpot’s 2012 Marketing Benchmarks report, websites that post new blog content even once or twice a month get much more traffic than those that don’t blog at all.
That’s right: Consistently adding good content via a well-written blog is one of the best ways to attract traffic. While on your site, visitors see who you are and that you have product for sale. That’s the point, along with encouraging visitors to subscribe to your email list so you have the chance to notify them – without being aggressive – when you launch new book titles. And stuff like that.
Every post forges another path to your site. Attracting readers is one of the best reasons to blog, but there are others. Let’s review the pros and cons of blogging.
Cons: If you look, you’ll find many reasons not to blog
1. Too much competition
I’ve heard the argument that a million great blogs already exist and a new blogger can’t compete. I’ve heard people say if you start a blog now, your voice will be lost on the Internet’s busy superhighways. I disagree. Most any blog can thrive, if you’re determined and persistent. You can succeed if you’re in it for the long haul.
As a writer, you compete with other books and authors, and your unique voice and style must stand out to succeed. The same is true in as you go head-to-head in the world of blogging. Fact, not fiction: Even in a competitive blogosphere, you can attract attention and produce results. Don’t let the competition scare you off.
So-called rules defining the “right” way to blog can be confusing. Potential bloggers read these myths and decide it’s too much work. They come to the conclusion blogging isn’t for them. Although best practices do exist, there is no right way to blog. What works for one may not work for another.
2. Length and frequency of posts can be daunting
In the past, experts insisted that bloggers must post at least three times a week to be successful, but that rule is dead. I’ve proven it for myself on my own blog. Author and Blogger Anne R. Allen calls it “slow blogging,” posting just once a week. Much more than that, and eventually you’ll struggle to keep your quality high, or give up.
People are overwhelmed with email, and bloggers who over-share can drive subscribers away. They’ll leave you. So post less, be consistent about when you publish new posts, and make your content top-notch. It works.
As for article length, one faction says to write short posts because online readers have no attention span, another debate says posts should be long. I say deliver your thoughts as concisely as possible, and take as many words as you need to make your point. My posts are typically 1000+ words, but I’m not opposed to shorter lengths if the topic calls for brevity. The goal is to be consistent, helpful, entertaining, inspiring, or educational, and not to wear your readers out. Don’t fret about the length or frequency of your posting schedule.
3. Blogging is a time suck
Naysayers argue that blogging takes too much time. If you categorize writing posts as a stand-alone activity, this statement may be true. However, when blogging is viewed as an important tool in a solid business plan, the perspective changes. Yes, it takes time, but you can be well rewarded for your efforts. Don’t be scared away by the time commitment – leverage each post by re-writing and re-purposing them for a book, guest posts, or re-post on blogs that welcome duplicate content.
Pros: A blog offers many benefits
In my opinion, the benefits of consistent blogging far outweigh the drawbacks. Over time, your blog will …
1. Improve your writing, both fiction and non-fiction
Writing weekly blog posts helped me become a better, faster, more confident blog post writer. That translated into being a better, faster, more confident and well-rounded writer overall. Writing blog posts has improved my fiction.
2. Help you build a community of colleagues, supporters, and readers
You’ll meet readers, authors, and other bloggers as you write, publish, promote your blog, and invite guest bloggers to set up shop on your website. As you connect, this group will support you, educate you, and help you promote your blog and your books. And vice versa.
3. Educate you about the online world
Your blog can help you learn about social media, blog promotion, and website development on a small scale at your own pace, as you build your blog and learn to effectively promote your posts – and your website – via social media platforms.
4. Help you write a non-fiction book or two
That’s right. EVERY blogger can package posts into some kind of non-fiction book. I repeat: Even fiction authors have non-fiction-related interests and expertise they can explore on their author blogs. Start with real-world topics you include in your novels. Plan a series of posts and morph those posts into an ebook to sell or give away (to attract even more subscribers). Note: Traditional publishers may frown on this, so check first.
I blogged my book Blog It! into reality, and have now outlined two more nonfiction books I plan to blog into existence. I’ll continue to do this going forward. My posts have turned into a source of income. I’m building an annuity. You can, too, if you give it a little thought.
5. Flex your creative muscle
Before I started blogging in 2011, I felt I didn’t have much to say. I literally did not know what to blog about. Since then, I’ve learned to approach it creatively. Everything I think, do, and learn has the potential to become a blog post with the right spin – maybe even ultimately a part of another book. If you need writing prompts, check out my post, 101 Fabulous Blog Topic Ideas.
6. Build your all-important author platform
Depending on Facebook might be a mistake. Facebook owns you. They can change the rules, kick you out, limit your reach, and refuse to send your posts to your followers. They run the show. Being part of author co-ops can be a fabulous thing, but it can also be tricky – you have to ask yourself whether it’s wise to put your eggs in somebody else’s basket. Your blog, on the other hand, is yours. The work you put in benefits you. No one can overturn your decisions, shut you out, or tell you how to run your show.
Readers, what’s the biggest blogging myth that either keeps you from blogging, or that you’ve proven wrong and wish would go away? Leave a comment and share!
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