Your blog is an investment in your writing future. Way back in the late 1990s, I dithered for months about starting an “online journal”, as blogs were called then. My intuition kept nudging me: “Start a blog!” My response: “No thanks, too busy…”
Thank heavens I finally paid attention to my intuition… my blogs have done more for my writing than anything else. Any writer who’s been blogging for a while will agree, I’m sure. The most common comment I hear from writers who’ve started blogging is: “I wish I’d started years ago.”
That said, your blog can always work harder. Let’s look at five tips to make that happen.
1. Use Your Blog to Promote Your Writing – Your Blog’s a Writing Sample.
If you’ve recently started a blog, you’re wondering: “what do I blog about.” The short answer is anything you please. It’s your blog. You’re the master of your domain. (Pun intended. :-))
The slightly longer answer: you blog about whatever will help you to achieve your goals for your writing. For example:
- If you want to get writing jobs, blog about the topics you want to get jobs writing about. That may be health, business, politics, celebrity gossip – whatever. Make sure that you include a statement in your sidebar like: “I write about (your topics) and many others. Please get in touch if you need a professional writer for your projects.”
- If you want to sell your books, blog about them, and the subjects you cover. If you’re writing romance, write about your characters, or the location in which your romance is set. Loretta Chase and Isabella Bradford write the Two Nerdy History Girls blog because they write (wonderful) historical romances.
Tip: lighten up! Have fun with your blog. You should always enjoy whatever you’re blogging about, so follow your passions. I love thinking about writing, and teaching writing, so that’s what I blog about.
Over the years I’ve created blogs about Mac software, photography, dogs, green tea, yoga, health… There was a time when I’d get an idea, and immediately create a blog. These days, I’m more likely to write an ebook.
Important: GRAB Your Name!
The most important website/ blog you own will be that under your own name. Your name stays the same, no matter what you write. So make sure you grab your name – I grabbed AngelaBooth.com quite late in my online career. If you don’t already own your name, get it now.
2. Write About What’s Important to YOU Now. (Your Blog Is Your Focus Group.)
Your blog helps you to work out what to write, AND it gives you feedback about what’s likely to be successful.
For example, let’s say you want to write a mystery novel. Review a couple of mysteries on your blog. Do those reviews get traffic? Of course you need to do more research to see whether you should be writing in a genre, but your blog’s readers will tell you what works for them. They’re your own personal focus group.
3. Want Something? Talk About It on Your Blog.
Blogging is instant publishing. The minute you hit the Publish button, millions of people all around the world can view your post. (Think no one’s reading your blog? Make an idiot statement or two, and you’ll soon learn that you do indeed have readers. :-))
So, it makes sense that if you want something TALK ABOUT IT.
If you want to write for a magazine, write about the magazine’s latest issue. Mention at the end of the post that you’ve sent them five query letters (assuming that you have) in the past six months, and that you’d love to write for them.
If you want to work with a company, blog about their products. Then let the company know (send them a tweet, or an email message) that you’ve blogged about them.
I know that in blogging, everyone talks about “traffic.” The truth is, that no one needs untargeted traffic. If you get a tsunami of the wrong kind of traffic – the wrong audience for your blog – it can cost you money when your hosting fees go up. Think about what you want, and use your blog to help you to get it.
4. Become Known as an Expert. Get Paid.
Experts get paid more. Want to become an “expert”? Blog about the topic in which you want to become recognized. Once you’ve written ten posts about a topic, you’re expert enough for writing purposes. You can always research, and ask questions to learn what you need to know to write with authority about the topic.
(“Expert writers” are writers first. You don’t need an advanced degree in a topic to become expert in writing about it. Real experts are usually woeful writers.)
Let’s say you want to travel. Start a travel blog. Here’s an excellent article in which travel bloggers talk about what they do. Could you make money as a travel blogger?
Why not? Start blogging. Whatever others are doing on their blogs, you can too. If you become known as an expert on Paris, some company or other may pay you to go to Paris and write about it.
5. The More You Put Into Your Blog, the More You Get Out of It.
As I said in Make Money Blogging in 2014: 20 HOT Tips:
Mae West said: “Keep a diary, and someday it’ll keep you.” Similarly, keep a blog, and someday your blog will keep you.
Your blog can always work harder for you. As we’ve said: it’s an investment in your writing future. You can make six figures when you get hired to blog by large companies; you can promote your books, or you can turn your blog into a business. A blog is a powerful tool, AND it’s huge fun. Enjoy your blog. 🙂
You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.
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