Writers rejoice, blogging is not dead!
Blogging is dead. I’ve heard that a few times in the past decade. Yes, I have been blogging for almost ten years and blogging is still alive and well. Yet people rush to announce its death so often, it drives me insane. A while back I saw the obituary in a post that mostly dealt with how writers have no major benefits from blogging. They write about writing, and that’s not always directed at the people they want to engage – readers. Also the field is pretty competitive and it’s hard to find a niche. I am usually very good at saving such links, but I failed this time. Apologies, but you get the gist nonetheless.
If you are a writer and don’t want to feel as if you’re wasting your time blogging, read on for a few reasons to keep publishing content on your blog and a few tips on what to focus on and why.
Who’s in your audience?
If you think there’s one audience you’re addressing, then you’re wrong. Why? Because at any given time there are multiple of them that you engage or should at least try to:
- – readers
- – publishers
- – agents
- – reviewers
- – writers
- – those providing services to writers (from promoters and editors to models and designers)
- – friends who have nothing to do with your writing persona
So you pretty much write for your readers and fans (those who pay for your books), agents and publishers (those interested in selling your books), reviewers (also readers, but with a clear intent of assessing your work and in most cases they won’t pay for their copies), those who can help you make your book better, and a group of people with no initial interest in your books. While those who just happen to see your content ‘cause you went to school together’ are not your main focus, they might later be converted to one of the other types of audience.
What is your niche?
Your niche is not just writing, or life as a writer, it’s also books. Most writers are voracious readers. I know for a fact that most of my writer friends buy a lot of books and so do I. They are also reviewers. Or publishers. See where I am getting? Once you analyze your niche, you realize your audiences are often times overlapping.
Then we get deeper. Are you blogging about all books and all writers? Or are you genre specific? Or country specific? Or partial to a certain story length? Yes, there are several ways of approaching this.
What are your blogging goals?
You do not blog because it’s trendy, you blog because you need to meet certain goals. Some of these, not all, are to interact with your readers and with fellow writers, to get your name out there and promote your books, to build your author brand, to offer tips and advice, from writing to what books to buy, to provide an accurate account of a writer’s life.
All of these goals translate into comments and shares, traffic, sales, requests of all kind. This is why we blog, to achieve our goals, to provide a place where people can find us, where they can always find us.
Sure, there is social media, and if blogging is dead, you have that to interact. But let’s face it, Google + still has popularity issues, Facebook makes it harder and more expensive for people to see what you post, Twitter is hit and miss quite often, and actually, there are so many channels you need to be on and these all work better with the content you publish on your blog.
The dirty little secret is that the phrase “blogging is dead” is a marketing ploy. Print press had been dead for a long time, buried a few times, TV doesn’t work, radio was killed by video, blogs have also died ages ago, and social media doesn’t work. The reality is that no marketing and PR tool or channel ever goes extinct. They are just added to a different mix, they are morphed into effective ways to communicate.
How we communicate has changed. Ultimately, we talk to the end user, the buyer, the reader. But we do so directly and indirectly. Yes, the best way is direct communication. This is why newsletters will never go out of fashion, actually. Yet in order to get to that direct communication with your readers, they have to find out about you. How they get to know you? Your page on online shops that sell books, your site and blog, your social media profile(s), other blogs that review your work, newspapers writing about you, TV interviews, a book singing event, etc.
If you’re lucky, readers get directly to you, no intermediaries. But those intermediaries are really the ones who bring in the crowds. So book bloggers, other writers, your publisher, and long-time fans, the people you blog for, those are your marketers and they do a swell job.
What should you write about?
You should write about everything that’s important to your audiences. That means your books, published or those you are working on, other books, writing, challenges, your life as an author, how you interact with fans, publishers, etc. What it’s like to be part of the writing community.
Basically, announcements, reviews of what you read, interviews, snippets of what your readers think, bits and pieces of your stories, the more personal type of entries. Anything that inspires you, really. In time you will test it all out and see what works for you and your main audiences.
When should you write it?
When you publish on your blog is just as important. You have to have a blogging schedule, and try to keep to it. I’d say at least weekly, but honestly, I believe 2-3 posts per week (more in some cases) are the better approach. Whatever you do, try to be consistent. Don’t go for months at a time without posting anything, then publish 5 things in 3 days.
I have been known to screw up and go for a week or two without posting on my author blog, but I am working hard on not doing that anymore. It’s easier with Eyes on Books, because I have reviews to post, a lot of announcements pertaining to the writers we work with, events we’re organizing and so on.
Over to you!
What are your experiences with blogging? How long have you been blogging and what are your biggest challenges? Let me know in the comments and let’s have a proper chat on the topic. Thanks for reading and see you on my next post!
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