Blogging is one of the best ways to build a platform, both as a book author and as a freelance writer. I plan on posting more about the specifics of being a freelancer, now having done it for a while, but blogging seems a good place to start, since it applies to both types of writers.
There are a lot of benefits to blogging, especially if you do it regularly. In the past few years that I’ve been blogging I have
- improved my writing skills
- learned how to beat writer’s block
- started an email list
- earned some income
- gotten other publishing opportunities/writing jobs
- met some wonderful people
- read some amazing books
- built up a small social media following
It’s taken a while to get to this point, especially since I did not commit to blogging regularly until recently, and I feel like I’m on the verge of being able to turn this into something that earns some steady income (I’ve only just started monetizing).
For other people who may be in the same boat as me, or even those are just starting or thinking of starting a blog, here’s a collection of tips I’ve stumbled across to help take things to the next level.
Building a Platform/Audience
The best, and probably hardest, thing about blogging is getting readers. Make sure that you have a way for people to subscribe to your blog, so they always know when new content is out. Also make sure that you are regularly posting new content, and that it’s high-quality, or else people won’t come back.
Your Writer Platform has a great post, “14 Things About Building a Blog Audience That You Think Are True (But Aren’t).” It emphasizes that you don’t need to post everyday, so long as your content is compelling, you want readers to engage (comment, like, share), and you can start a blog for not a ridiculous amount of money.
In “Blogging to Build an Author Platform” on The World’s Greatest Book, Dave Bricker writes about the importance of tracking analytics to see which posts readers like the most. Also, as fiction and nonfiction authors, you need to know why people will read your work.
How to Blog a Book talks about 5 rules writers can use to get discovered. It includes writing posts, sharing, and figuring out trending topics to tie in with blog posts. CommuniCATE offers a number of tools bloggers can use to get blog followers.
Idea Trash points out that it takes time to get the page view numbers up. According to him, “There is a pretty clear trend. The more I post, the more pageviews. The more interesting, compelling, or otherwise interesting things I post, the more people read the blog.”
It’s also important to keep Google in mind when blogging. Forbes has a helpful article, “10 Ways to Improve Your Google Rank.” It highlights providing testimonials/reviews, making sure Google sees www.yourblog.com the same way it sees http://yourblog.com, using keywords correctly, and getting backlinks.
Thinking like an author-preneur helps too, as using your blog to send email newsletters and gift free stories to people who sign up for your blog can really boost a platform.
Lastly, The Book Designer has a whole category of helpful posts on Author Blogging 101, which includes tips for researching, figuring out your audience, and strategies for marketing.
Blogging a Book
Blogs can be created specifically as marketing tools for books. But make sure you plan ahead. How to Blog Your Book points out that you need to figure out your audience and edit your posts.
In some cases, blogging has led to authors getting book deals. Nina Amir on Write Nonfiction Now! wrote how she got a literary agent after starting two to three blogs.
Anne R. Allen’s Blog has a post that details how 63% of readers find books because of an author’s blog or website, and sales of her books increased because of her blog. She also offers advice on how to blog successfully, which includes adding links, commenting on other blogs, and having catchy headlines.
Writing guest posts on other people’s blogs is a great way to get more traffic for your own blog. Leslie Lee Sanders has a post about how to be a great guest blogger which lays out some important steps, such as thanking the host and responding to comments.
If you’re wondering how to find sites about publishing that look for guest posts, check out my article, “Marketing Your Blog With Guest Posts.”