I had no idea how to blog when I started. Why did I go to the trouble? Because I read blogging was something authors should do. Just so you know, I’m a dedicated pantser. My MO is to jump off the cliff and figure it out on the way down. On the other hand, I have a full time day job, and had to keep the blog from overwhelming my life. So I committed to publishing a new post once a week and decided I’d just have to figure out what to write as I went along. After a year of hard work, I can now share “how to blog” … and get results!
Why should I spend so much time blogging?
The overall consensus is that maintaining a blog that consistently delivers good content can help establish an author’s platform, encourage discipline, and allow a writer to practice craft and find a voice. Bottom line, the real reason to blog is to get noticed. By Google, by your colleagues and peers, and by anyone who may be able to offer support or opportunity. We blog to connect with 1) readers who might be interested in purchasing our books, 2) supporters who will spread the word about what we have to say to other readers who might be interested in purchasing our books, and 3) a community of authors and writers who share ideas that can help us find our way.
How to blog: Establish the basics
Every blogger needs to understand the basics before they begin (or soon after.) This information will help you determine the best days to post, and subjects to write about:
1) Define your target audience (Who are you writing for/talking to?)
2) Review blog analytics to interpret the days of the week that get the most traffic (What is/are the best day(s) to post?)
3) Determine the type of posts that get the most traffic (Which subjects draw the most readers?)
What should I write about and when do I post?
If you’re a brand new blogger, decide who you want your target audience to be, what kind of content will attract that readership, and the best day(s) to publish and promote your posts. This information will give you an editorial calendar for your blog. Your calendar will dictate what you’ll write about in the future and when. Ask readers and supporters to fill in once in a while with guest posts that compliment your plan. Don’t be completely rigid, though, it’s okay to stray once in while. And remember to
make have fun! of people
How to blog to be certain it isn’t a waste of time
As a mortgage industry marketing manager, I’ve learned to apply one question to everything I write for my day job: “How can I repurpose this?” For example: The basic information in a new hire’s press release morphs into a blog post, a Facebook post, and an article in the company newsletter. You can also apply this philosophy to your blog. If you determine a way to string your types/categories of posts together early on in your blogging career, in time you can compile these separate posts into a body of work to sell, or utilize as another marketing tool.
How to make a blog pay off in more ways that one
Whether your personal passion is travel, cooking, documenting your self-publishing journey, or recording anecdotes about your crazy life or eccentric sister, a properly designed, written and promoted blog can help you get noticed in your chosen field. In turn, idividual posts can be edited into a cookbook, a memoir, a travel guide, an anthology of poetry or short stories, a friendly grammar guide, or your experiences with home schooling. You can sell your ebook, or give it away as a freebie and an incentive for people to subscribe to your blog. Note: Search engines don’t like duplicate content on the web, so it’s best not to publish exact posts on other websites.
Why should I blog? Oh right. I can re-purpose my posts!
When the light bulb finally went on for me and I figured out my blog’s dual purpose, I formed a strategy that helps me determine what to write about, both now and in the future. My blogging strategy makes it easier to spend my free time writing posts (gah!). Nearly every article published on my blog falls into one of these categories (with a few exceptions):
1) An essay about my life and what I’ve learned
2) An article describing what I’ve done that works re: writing and/or social media
3) A guest post or interview that’s either an essay about the guest’s life, a techy-related article, or a self-publishing how-to.
I decided months ago that someday I’ll compile my personal essays into an ebook. And if I have any success as an author, there’s a chance I can turn my series of self-publishing-related posts into a book that documents that journey. I’m trying to make the point here that everything you write can be part of a bigger purpose, if you make a plan. Your plan will make it easier to spend your precious free time writing blog posts, and can also help you market yourself outside your blog as an author, writer, even a speaker, if that’s the way you want to go.
Blog, blog blog – and remember: It’s all about the content
My philosophy about content: It must deliver value. People want information. Readers don’t just want to know what to do, they also want to know what was successful, why, and how you did it. Posts don’t need to be long or complicated. If you write about a subject that lends itself to how-to’s, consider writing them. After a year or so, you’ll have enough chapters for a book that displays your talents, reveals your knowledge, and/or helps guide those on a similar path. And you’ll feel much better about slogging through your blogging tasks!
To recap: Establish a range of subjects your blog will cover, post consistently (whatever consistent is for you), and have a plan to repurpose your posts. Next week, I’ll discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how using great keywords in your blog posts can enhance search engine results and bring more traffic to your blog.
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