Many of you have already undertaken one of the hardest parts of your journey. You have started. Your book is either written, being written, or is a bubbling idea just waiting to spill onto paper. Now, you’re working to build a brand and extend the reach of the content you have created. Blogging is a great way to do that.
There is no scientific formula for having a blog that goes viral, but there are some key steps you can take to build trust with your readers, create killer content, and foster a network that will invest in your book and in your purpose.
Post Frequently and Reliably
So much of your success depends on your ability to build trust, and trust is built on proving reliability. You have to produce quality content at a consistent rate. For perspective, we all have that friend we can call and, no matter what, they will be there. We also have that friend who is extremely flaky. When you’re in need of advice, or your readers are looking for answers, you/they will seek reliability. Don't be a flaky friend, and definitely don't be a flaky blogger.
A great mantra to follow as you decide how often you can post is “under-promise and over-deliver.” You, like most modern Americans, are a busy person. You write books, you speak at events, you might even have a day job, and all this means you have to be realistic with how often you can make a quality blog post. Time is precious, and you need to think through how much you can actually give up while still seeing your family and taking the occasional shower. If you commit to two blogs a week and are juggling a full-time job, your writing, and a family, you might be overextending yourself. Promise your readers something you know can happen. If you have time to shoot out an extra post on occasion, great! You have over-delivered!
Ask Yourself: What can I reasonably and reliably supply to my readers?
Plan Your Blog
This might sound like the rantings of a type A personality, but it is simply the truth. When you make a plan, you stand a better chance of meeting your goals and staying on message. If you’re sitting at your computer wondering what to write about the day you’re supposed to go live with a blog, you’re setting yourself up to create unfocused content.
Create an idea of where you want your readers to be over a series of blog entries. Do you want to talk about marriage? Make a 10-week series. Is your writing about the bane of millennials on various market sectors? Have three to five entries planned ahead of time, and let your readers know where they are going.
Ask Yourself: Where am I taking my reader?
Clarify Your Topic
Your blog should help you build a cohesive, connected brand. Think of the messages of your book or books and then ride that wave. Your goal is to be seen as a reliable source on your topic.
When it comes to writing, don't be a jack-of-all-trades. You want your readers to connect you with a certain area of expertise. For proof, look at some of the highest grossing YouTubers. PSToyReviews has over one million subscribers on YouTube, and they have one goal: review various children’s toys. They found an area of expertise, and they became a trusted source of information. To a similar degree, this is what you want your blog to become. Provide a place where your readers can reliably receive the information that they want.
Ask yourself: What is my area of expertise?
Create a Community
Creating a community within your blog is one of the most important factors in creating a blog that has staying power. Readers who are engaged with the author, the content, and each other are readers who will come back each week. Returning readers is one of the strongest indicators of health for a blog, and also one of the hardest things for an author to facilitate.
Some practical ways to engage your readers are to:
- Host a Q&A session.
- Provide a fun and relevant poll for readers to answer.
- Bring in a guest author.
- Dedicate time to thanking readers and telling their stories.
- Be open about yourself!
These are just a few ways you can invite your readers into a more-than-passive relationship with your content. Build identity by providing a chance to connect and communicate.
Ask yourself: How can I connect my readers to each other and the content?
Give a Call to Action
A great way to help your readers feel like they have gained something from your blog is by giving them an application price. You do not want this to be something nebulous. It needs to be something that they can do at least soon.
A call to action can have many faces and accomplish many goals. You can ask readers to post questions that you will answer during your next Q&A. Be selfish! Ask readers to subscribe to your blog post so they will stay connected. Do you blog about marriage? Give your reader a relationship tip to work on that week. These things allow your reader to engage with your content after they have read the last line. If you are inviting your reader to use what they have read or engaged with you, you are giving your blog staying power in their mind.
Ask yourself: What do I want my reader to do after they have finished reading?
Being a first-time blog writer can be scary. Any writing involves a great deal of vulnerability, and writing for the internet exacerbates that feeling. Keeping in mind your end goal can give you the push you need to publish and push out high-quality content consistently.
Find ways to use the strategies listed above, and you will put yourself on the path to blogging success. Learn more about successful book marketing and receive a free Book Marketing Checklist by clicking here!