There’s no better marketing, platform-building, authority-establishing, trust-inducing tool for nonfiction authors than an author blog. And for some fiction authors, too.
[Also see: 6 Compelling Reasons Why Authors Need to Blog]
Although getting started in blogging couldn’t be easier, making it work is another thing altogether. And if you hope to really build something that is both lasting and capable of sustaining you, that takes as much commitment as you’re willing to put into it.
Lots of authors have set up blogs, started writing furiously, only to abandon the blog a few months later, and that’s too bad.
And sometimes authors who clearly see the benefits of blogging pull back at the idea they’ll have to commit serious resources, thought, and energy to making it work.
Like most things, blogging can be learned. After all, blogs themselves are a fairly recent invention.
But think about it: blogs are at the heart of the social web, and it’s an author’s ability to make use of the social web that makes all this marketing magic possible.
I was thinking about all this on the drive back from San Francisco this afternoon, after a working lunch with Mike Larsen, who in addition to being a literary agent, also founded and runs the yearly San Francisco Writers Conference.
Part of our work was cooking up a fantastic opportunity for authors who want to get started blogging, or for those who already have a blog but need some help making it work. This whole-day training will be in association with the Writers Conference, and I’ll have more information about it towards the end of the year.
But for now, here are what seem to me to be the 5 steps that will take you from the start to blogging success.
5 Steps to Author Blogging Success
- Find your readers
For some bloggers, it’s surprisingly difficult to find the readers that you’re writing for. But there are established and effective ways to get traffic to your blog.
[Also see: Author Blogging 101: Where Are the Readers?]
- Create compelling content
There are specific formats that work for blog posts, and knowing which ones your readers will like will help you create content that just can’t be found anywhere else.
[Also see: 7 Formats for Winning Blog Posts]
- Foster engagement
As writers, we want to be read. As bloggers, engaging your audience with “sticky” content that will keep people reading and coming back for more relies on engagement. There are lots of ways to engage your readers, finding the ones that work for you might take some time but will pay off handsomely.
[Also see: Writers’ Blogs: 5 Essentials for Engaging Your Readers]
- Network with other bloggers
Growing a blog is something that’s much easier with the help of others. Whether you’re networking with other authors who are starting out, or landing a guest gig on a massive blog in your niche, we all need a network for success. This is the very foundation of getting serious traffic to your blog.
[Also see: Author Blogging 101: 11 Sources of Organic Traffic]
- Profit from your blog
Some bloggers want to make money, some want to sell books. Others blog to “save the world” or advance a policy position. No matter how you define success, this is the step where you begin to reach your goals.
[Also see: Direct Marketing, Scottsdale Arizona, and Why a $10 Ebook Can Change Your Life
Well, that’s it in a nutshell. The links will help fill in some of these steps, and you can expect more blogging articles here soon.
I hate to see those abandoned blogs, and I know you can do better than that. If you’ve got any questions, please leave them in the comments.
A Request For You
As part of my job I spend a lot of time looking at author blogs. Some are good, some are not, and some are clearly way above average. They foster community, reader engagement, and build a readership or community that are sustaining.
But I’m only seeing a little slice of the pie.
*So here’s my request: do you know a great author blog? I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a link to the blog in the comments, and say a few words about what makes it so great.