A writer’s time is precious. Twenty-four hours may seem like a lot of time, but when you are an author in today’s highly competitive environment, what you choose to do with those hours can make a big difference.
The concept of blogging has been around for years now. Many who are stuck in the writing world of the last decade may turn up their noses at the idea of creating a blog. Some writers feel that publishing books and articles for major publications is still the only way to earn respect and that writing a blog is just a waste of precious time. Perhaps in the past there was some truth to that statement, however in the current world of cyberspace, blogging has changed dramatically.
Today, having an online presence is essential not just for writers, but for anyone who wants to be taken seriously in the professional world. If you’re a writer or storyteller, blogging is perhaps the largest piece to the puzzle of your online presence. In a world where everyone is bombarded with technology and information, blogs offer a place of solace and allow those who have discovered your website to take a deep breath and connect with you on a personal level. Giving people a glimpse into your world is important, particularly if you want to appeal to loyal readers and fans, who place a lot of value on authenticity. There is no better way to do that than to start your own blog.
Here are some ways blogging can help writers
Connecting With Readers: Blogging allows your readers to see inside your world. Imagine how excited Harry Potter fans get when watching a J.K. Rowling interview. When people find a good book, they remain loyal to the author, that is, if the author makes his or herself available to them. A blog gives a writer a chance to show up for their fans. Each post, if written well, can feel like a direct conversation between you and them. Between books, you can fill them in on your process, take them “behind the scenes” and give them a glimpse into what it is like to be a writer. When they see the formulation of what comes next, they are filled with suspense, they count down the time until your book is published and available, because they feel closely tied to its outcome. They want to make themselves a part of your personal story.
Getting Feedback: Having a blog where readers can comment is very useful for receiving feedback on the kind of things that your audience find interesting. Some writers even post excerpts of their work-in-progress to assess what readers think, and this feedback is good because it can give them a new insight into their work which is helpful when they are ready to edit and publish. Some blogs evolve into writing communities where writers can critique each other’s posts and help each other to become better writers.
Become an Authority: If you are already an established author whose books always immediately land on the Bestseller’s List, you are probably already an authority. However, if this is not you, authority does not come out of thin air, it is something that must be established. Having a website with a good blog will lay a foundation and become a platform for building that authority. People need to trust that you know what you are talking about. If someone is going to spend their money on something that you wrote, they need to know it will be worth it. Having a blog will show them you know your stuff. Your posts are like mini books, and give a taste of what’s to come if they purchase your books. If you are a fiction writer, they will get to know your style and be able to decide if your novels are for them. If you write non-fiction, then this is even more important. Often times in non-fiction writing, there are a dozen (or more) personalities writing about the exact same thing. Having a degree doesn’t necessarily make you stand out, because most people do these days. If you are trying to teach something, or spread a message about a particular topic, your readers want to feel secure about your knowledge. Your blog posts will show them a background. They will paint a picture about who you are, what you’re about, and the message you are trying to deliver to the world.
Marketing: If you are a self-published author, then creating a website and a blog is great for marketing. The cost of maintaining a website now is minimal. In fact, with some hosting sites like Squarespace, Weebly and Wix you don’t even need to know programing, you just drag and drop your way to a beautiful site. For a few hundred dollars, you can have your own domain, a fully functional blog, and even a shop. Having a website will open the doors to a worldwide audience, and give you a lot of exposure. Combine your blog with social media and you are well on your way to success. If you are doing a book tour you can create an events page on your site and blog about each book signing. It won’t take long for fans to take notice. If you have an upcoming book, you can use your blog as a platform to generate interest. You can hold contests for free copies, and get your fans to share your posts on social media. Truly your options are as limitless as your imagination.
The Basics Your Blog Should Have:
Header/Banner + Tagline: You should have a clear and eye-catching header that makes it easy for new visitors to realise what your blog is about and what they’re going to get from it.
About Page or Bio: Your readers will want to know more about the person behind the writing. Make this information easy to find by creating a separate and detailed page that also includes your contact information.
Compelling Content: You should have interesting blog posts with catchy titles that will make your readers want to click to find out more. You can also consider adding images, videos and other media that are related to your blog posts and will add more depth to your written posts.
Comment functionality: If you want your blog to grow, you should encourage your readers to leave comments. But be careful, sometimes spammers try to post links disguised as comments. Most major blog platforms (like WordPress) can help you streamline your comment system to automatically eliminate spam activity.
Sharing functionality: Make it easy for people to share your posts on Facebook, Twitter (or just about anywhere else) through plug-ins like AddThis.
If you’re starting a new blog remember that good blogging takes practice and your first few posts may be ignored until you gain followers. It is advised to start writing a blog introducing yourself to your readers, enlighten them about your personality, hobbies and life and your reasons for connecting to them online. In blogging, it pays to be patient and consistent.
Good luck in your blogging journey!