Over the past year, I’ve watched many writers close their writer’s blog. Several were my students, so when I realized that this was a trend, I had to ask… um, WHY?
Responses were varied, but two themes emerged:
- A lack of time to blog (Hey, I’ve got a Facebook page, and I get more comments there, so why do I need a blog?)
- A lack of marketing savvy (I never know what to post…)
The first theme, a lack of time, resonates powerfully with me. There’s no time to do everything I want to do. Even if my day magically expanded to 48 hours, it still wouldn’t be enough.
You pick your poison, so if you’re happy on Facebook, who am I to argue? Especially since I recently started a Facebook page for this blog. 🙂
The second “what do I post?” theme is a lot easier to tackle.
Create unlimited content for your writer’s blog — and KNOW that you’ll get what you want
All you need to do to create UNLIMITED content for your writer’s blog, and to get what you want from that investment of time, money and energy, is to ask yourself three easy questions.
I’ve given each one its own heading, below.
1. What do you want?
You’re a writer. What you want probably changes with the seasons. This month you want people to buy your ebooks. A few months from now, you want to get hired to write ads, or create Web content, or whatever.
Your blog can deliver what you want, as long as you know what that is.
For example, NaNoWriMo kicked off on November 1. Starting in at least 2006, I’ve been saying to writers: start a project, start a blog. The writers who listen, develop a successful project. The ones who say that they’ll market once they’ve done A, B, C, D… are doomed.
Strong words? No, I’m being realistic.
So the NaNoWriMo writers, who start with their end in mind — a novel which sells, start a blog on November 1.
Grab a piece of paper, or open a text file, and write down what you want. It might be more clients, or to sell copies of ebooks you’ve already published, or to to get a magazine column. It doesn’t matter what you want, or how outlandish that desire may be. You just need to know what you want — and write it down. (The “writing it down” part is vital.)
2. Who can give you what you want?
(Vital — ignore “traffic”. Traffic is useless if you’re attracting the incorrect audience for what you want…)
This question is about your blog posts’ readers. If you want more blogging clients, then the people who can give you what you want are those who hire bloggers. On the other hand, if you want to sell more copies of ebooks you’ve published, then your blog’s readers will be people who are likely to buy and read your books.
A little digression. I’m often asked about topics on blogs. Commonly it’s either a writer who’s targeting several niches as an affiliate marketer, or it’s a self-publishing author who writes in several nonfiction categories, or fictional genres. These writers want to know how many blogs they should create.
The answer: ONE. Make it your “name” blog — your own name in the domain, if possible. Over the years I’ve whittled down my writing blogs to three. If I were just starting out today, I’d have just one blog. The reason is promotion — it’s hard to establish new blogs so that you get consistent traffic. With more than one blog, you risk taking on more than you can handle.
You can cover as many topics and categories as you like on a blog. You can even get a blog’s page to look like a standalone website, so there’s no reason to have more than one.
On the same piece of paper, or in the same text file, write down WHO can give you what you want. As a rule of thumb, avoid making the group either too large, or too small. An audience of about 10,000 people who are online and read blogs is about right in many cases.
In other cases, an audience of 100 is fine. It all depends on what you want, and who can give it to you. 🙂
3. What content will attract your best audience for what you want?
You’ve established what you want, and who can give it to you.
To reiterate, it’s what you want right now.
Your blog is a tool. You can use that tool in any way you choose.
Let’s say you’re writing a mystery novel for NaNoWriMo. Your audience is people who read cozy mysteries. You hope to self-publish your novel on March 1, 2017. Over the next four months, create content which appeals to people who read cozy mysteries. Blog about your book, books you’ve read, post recipes — post whatever you like.
You won’t have challenges creating content — the possibilities are limitless. Hang out on cozy mystery readers’ forums.
On the other hand, let’s say that you’re writing Web content, and you want to get better clients — clients who’ll pay more. To get those clients, you’ll need to alter your specialty, or develop a specialty.
“Everyone who needs content” is an impossibly large audience. “Local companies which advertise online or in my daily paper” is a much more manageable audience.
On your piece of paper, or text file, write a few hundred words on what kind of content might appeal to your audience.
Regarding writing things down: please do it. You’ll find that the simple act of writing stuff down is powerful. Not only will it help your memory, you’ll also start getting ideas. And you’ll be inspired. You’re a writer — WRITE STUFF DOWN… 🙂
Just three questions, for unlimited blog content, and unlimited opportunities for you
You now know how write blog posts which get you what you want, and you know what to blog about too.
A final word, in case you’re a writer who’s decided he doesn’t “have time to blog…”
DO NOT CLOSE YOUR BLOG.
And yes, I’m shouting.
A blog, no matter how much or how little traffic it gets, is a valuable online property. The longer the blog’s been online, the more valuable it is. Google and the other search engines trust it, and that trust is hard-won.
Judging by the amount of lamentations and curses I hear from people starting new blogs, the first three months after their blog’s launch is a nightmare. The competition for attention is huge.
So don’t close your blog. Let it lie fallow — why not? Six months or a year from now, you may need it. So please don’t destroy your hard work. It may pay off big, down the track, and at the very least, you won’t need to start again from zero.
Happy blogging — use your blog to get what you want. 🙂
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