If you’re a blogger, chances are you’ve asked yourself that in a weak moment. Blogging has its challenges at all stages: In the beginning, we don’t know what to write about and don’t see a lot of return on our investment. Later, we’ve run out of topics ideas and may be disillusioned about all the time we spend on it.
If you haven’t started blogging yet, you’ve probably asked yourself the same sort of questions: What should I blog about? How will blogging help me sell books? I’ve been there, and I understand. Don’t give up! Let’s run through it again. Why are you (or should you be) blogging, and what are your goals for your blog?
- To connect with readers. Our long-term goal is to build a community of readers who might be interested in purchasing our books. We blog to begin a two-way communication with supporters who will spread the word about what we have to say to other readers who might be interested in purchasing our books.
- To practice craft, discipline, voice and style. Maintaining a blog and consistently delivering good content can help establish self-discipline while it allows a writer to practice craft. It’s almost inevitable that your writing will improve over time when you commit yourself to delivering good content in small sound bites.
- To form relationships with other authors. Blogging and social media will introduce you to a community of writers, and these generous souls share ideas on these platforms that can help us find our way. From your blog, you can reach out to other authors to learn, to cross-promote, and to swap guest posts.
- To establish an effective platform. A successful blog is ground zero for platform-building. If your goal is to get a traditional publishing contract, one of the first things an agent will do is Google you to see if you’ve done your homework.
- To blog a book or two. That’s right. With a little long-term planning, you can write a series of posts that evolve into a stand-alone work or an ebook you can package as a giveaway or incentive to subscribe to your blog. On February 25, I’ll be launching my how-to titled, Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand. Some of the content was inspired by past posts on my blog that I’ve updated, re-worked, and expanded. Then I added new content to create a stand-alone manual designed to help new bloggers leap ahead on the learning curve. The book will also help disillusioned bloggers regenerate interest in their blogs. I’m really excited about it!
- To build an email list. Of course, the primary goal of every author’s website is to sell books, but few accomplish this directly through blog-driven sales. Instead, we rely on the second most important goal for a website, which is to generate great content that prompts visitors to subscribe to our blog and/or newsletter. A great email list can be the most effective method for an author to actually sell books.
Bottom line, the real reason to blog is to get noticed. By readers, by Google and Alexa, by colleagues and peers, and by anyone else who may be able to offer support and/or opportunity.
Blogging helps build confidence!
One of the best paths to improvement is to study those who’ve been successful – to learn from the greats, the experts, the popular bloggers whose ranks you’d like to join. I mention a few of them in my new book, Blog It. I’ve found that one important element they all share is confidence. Confidence is contagious, and it comes across in the written word. Readers sense it, are inspired by it, are drawn to its energy. So go forth with confidence. Be brave, take a risk. Believe in yourself and your readers will believe in you.
Although the ultimate goal is clearly to earn an income from our books, keep in mind that those anonymous writers of ancient Chinese proverbs are right: The journey is the reward. And the journey begins on your blog!
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Molly Greene is an author, blogger, and blogging coach with a preference for reading, writing, and rural life. Her nonfiction titles include Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand and the self-awareness guide, Someone Worth Becoming (July 2013). Molly is working on a second novel, Rapunzel; her fiction debut, Mark of the Loon, is available at major online retailers. Follow and Friend her on Twitter • Goodreads • Facebook • Google+