How to Create a Blog Plan for Any Type of Book

by Joel Friedlander on August 20, 2014 · 26 comments

Post image for How to Create a Blog Plan for Any Type of Book

By Nina Amir

A blog provides a solid foundation for any author’s promotion plan. It serves as an author website as well as a content-marketing machine to help you and your book become discoverable. The more book-related content you produce, the higher the likelihood readers find you and your published work.

However, I see too many aspiring and published authors blogging in a scattered manner. They write about whatever topic comes to mind or moves them on a particular day. They assume an author blog provides an opportunity to spout off about whatever is on their minds and that their adoring fans care to read these thoughts. And they might…assuming these writers already have adoring fans.

Other writers blog about an enormous variety of topics. One day they publish a post about politics, the next about a fishing trip, and the next about their book release, a reading, their new hobby or their wedding anniversary dinner.

Both these strategies, if you can call them strategies at all, can prove a large waste a time if you want your blog to serve a promotional purpose. The key to using an author blog—or any blog for that matter—to attract potential new readers to your book (and to your blog) is found in two words: focus and planning.

Focus

First, and foremost, blog in a focused manner if you want your site to become a promotional tool for your book(s). Choose a few primary topics about which to write. Stick to them. Blog about them often and consistently. Make these the main categories on your site.

If you write nonfiction, you’ll find this strategy fairly easy to apply. The topic of your book gives your blog focus. If you’ve written more than one book, you might have a few topics about which to write; hopefully they correspond in some manner.

For instance, maybe you wrote a series of spin-off books that all relate to the subject of gardening. You have:

  • a book on gardening in small spaces,
  • a book on container gardening,
  • and a book on indoor gardening.

You can focus your blog on these three areas. You even can branch off into some additional gardening subjects if you plan to write a new spin-off book. But everything about your blog should shout “gardening in specific types of spaces.” That’s what you blog about day in and day out.

If you write fiction, staying focused, or even finding a topic upon which to focus, can seem more difficult. However, your novel has a theme, such as overcoming all odds or developing a relationship with yourself. It might include an important issue, such as depression, the Arab/Israeli conflict or child abuse.

Maybe you’ve written sequels or several novels, and all of your books share similar themes or topics. If you can find a thread that runs through them, like redemption, politics, self-esteem, 17th Century England, fishing, or even dogs, you’ve got something upon which to focus your blog. You then write about this topic, or related topics consistently in a focused manner.

Planning

That brings us to planning. Utilizing a blog plan provides you with the most effective, and possibly the easiest, way to blog with focus and to do so on a schedule, which means consistently and regularly.

A blog plan consists of a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly list of posts you intend to write. To create such a plan, you take the time to determine post topics in advance as well as the dates when you will publish them.

Blogging with a plan helps you avoid writing about topics that don’t support you and your book becoming discoverable. Instead, you choose topics focused on your book’s topics and themes; these posts, therefore, are filled with targeted keywords.

When Google catalogs these posts, it helps your blog rise up in the search-engine-results pages for those search terms. This means anyone searching for something related to those keywords is more likely to find you and your book—and you will have accomplished your goal of book promoting via your blog. (Of course, there are other ways to promote your blog posts as well, such as sharing the URL, title and some information from each post in a status update on social networks.)

Additionally, a blog plan prevents you from staring at your computer screen and wondering what to write about. Your plan dictates your content on any given day because you’ve previously thought it out. You only need to wonder what to write about when it’s time to plan more posts once again.

How to Create a Blog Plan

Creating a blog plan is pretty simple once you’ve chosen a few topics to write about on your author blog. These should be the primary topics, themes or subjects of your book, and you will want to make them into blog categories. Then brainstorm additional related topics for your actual blog posts—lots of posts.

Think of your author blog as a long-term endeavor. As long as you plan to write and publish books, you will probably need your author website and your blog. That means you need to develop blog post ideas or topics for many years to come—not just months to come. You can create a month-by-month, quarterly or even yearly blog plan to help you sustain this activity.

If you like to plan far ahead, start with a yearly blog plan. Such a template might look like this:

Yearly Blog Planx500

Or start smaller with a quarterly plan:

quarterly blog planx500

If a three-month plan feels a bit too large as you start the process, begin with a one-month plan:

one-month planx500

Four Benefits of Author Blog Planning

I usually do a yearly or six-month detailed plan like the first one above. I stick to it pretty closely, although I may deviate if inspiration hits, some newsworthy development requires me to write a post or I find readers are not enjoying my current blog plan. (Check your analytics often to track this.) I find this results in four major benefits.

  1. This type of planning allows me to create blog post series I can turn into books, effectively blogging a variety of short books (or long books) during the course of a year. It’s easy to plan out three or four blogged books per year in this manner, which means I become a more productive author as well as a blogger.
  2. Planning out the posts for my blogs increased my site traffic. The more carefully I have planned focused content for my blogs and then stuck to that plan, the more my readership has increased. (If I also pay attention to my analytics and use this for future planning, I can increase readership further.) This proves that when you stay focused and on target, by which I mean blogging about subjects related to your books, your readers respond in a positive manner—and you gain new readers as well. These blog readers represent potential book buyers.
    This is harder to accomplish when you don’t plan. I’ve tried it promoting my books in a focused and targeted manner without a plan and not achieved the same increase in readership as I have with the use of a plan.
  3. Blog planning also helped me obtain more blog subscribers. The planned posts generated more interest in the blog, and, therefore, more readers who wanted to ensure they didn’t miss any posts. This meant that I had a larger foundation of potential book readers/buyers as well.
  4. Of course, the more focused material I published on my blog in a consistent manner and on a regular (frequent) schedule, the higher my website rose in the search engine results pages. That made it more discoverable, which made me and my books more easily found by potential book buyers as well.

I suppose eventually I might have achieved these results without a blog plan, but I achieved them much more quickly with the plan.

Have you tried creating a blog plan? What results did you achieve?

Nina AmirNina Amir, is a Contributing Writer for TheBookDesigner.com. She is also the author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, transforms writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs.

You can learn more about Nina here.

Photo: bigstockphoto.com. Amazon links contain my affiliate code.

Be Sociable, Share!

    { 25 comments… read them below or add one }

    Nina Amir August 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Serena,

    Yes…but…you could be diluting what you are doing on your successful blog. Better to start over. But don’t just abandon the old one!

    Reply

    Serena August 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Hello Nina. Thank you for this post. It is sooo informative. I had already read that a blog should be focused, the webhost that I have publishes a guide and they recommended this too.

    I have a website that I started about 3 years ago. It is doing incredibly well within its niche. The problem is that I am like Michael Marcus, I would be very very very bored if I had to stick to just one topic or niche.

    I recently wrote an ebook which is not selling very well on my website due to the fact that it is not really related to the niche my website is in. I am also very tired of the website because I change interests quite drastically every 2 years or so. I am crazy passionate about a subject for 2 or 3 years, then I burn out and I can’t stand that subject anymore and I have to do something completely different. That is just the way I am, I have always been this way.

    I have been trying for the past few months to “change” the subject of my website to the new niche that I am interested in now. The result is that about half the articles on my site are about the original niche topic (the articles I wrote during the first 2 years, when I was still crazy passionate about that subject) and the other half of the articles are in the new niche that I am currently crazy passionate about.

    However most people who come to my website still come because of the original niche topic, and most don’t read the new articles.

    I was wondering whether you would advise me to continue trying to “change” the niche of my current website, or whether I should simply start up a completely new website or blog?

    The reason I would like to keep the current website is because of the traffic and subscribers that I have. I have a lot of traffic and subscribers, which took me the past 3 years to build up, and I’m not too keen on the idea of having to start again from scratch with a completely new website or blog, and having to build it up from 0 readers and subscribers.

    I have already written 2 ebooks in the new niche topic, and I would like to sell them NOW. Not wait another 3 years until I can build up traffic and subscribers on a new website or blog.

    What would you recommend? Thank you.

    Reply

    Nina Amir August 21, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Serena,

    If you are finding that the readers are showing up to read the old posts on the old topic, that tells you something. You need a different blog. Why do you think I have four blogs? Different topics require different blogs if you want them to truly promote your books–books on different topics, that is. If there is cross over in those topics, one blog can work. I could have written about blogging books on my blog about nonfiction writing, but it’s more effective as a standalone blog. I wouldn’t dream of writing about boys who dance, another one of my blogs, on one of my writing or blogging blogs. No one would care….and it would drive readers away.

    Reply

    Serena August 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Hi, Nina! Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, I’ve been feeling like starting up a new blog or website. But the thought of how long it could take to build up traffic and readers to a new website or blog is what holds me back.

    Reply

    Jennifer Mattern August 22, 2014 at 2:22 am

    The longer you hold off, the longer it’s going to take. But remember, once you have one reasonably successful blog, launching another becomes infinitely easier. Use the first in cross-promotions whenever possible and that can help drive interested readers from one blog to another, and it also helps the new site rank in search engine results more quickly (driving even more traffic).

    What doesn’t seem fair is to pull readers / subscribers in under one niche and then change things completely, expecting them to stick around. You risk losing them all that way. Why stay subscribed if you never give them new content in the topic area they’re interested in? Focus on readers first and foremost and you’ll have a much easier time building interest, building trust, and therefore making book sales. :)

    Reply

    Anthony Hendriks August 21, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Thanks Nina. A good reminder. While blogging isn’t my main thrust, I need to remember that consistency is important — and can help with the search engine ‘robots’ also. And you are certainly right about focus. Too much peripheral writing is bound to turn off regular readers.

    Reply

    Carla King August 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I’m all over the map with mind-mapping software. Fickle! Which one do you use and why, Nina? Thanks!

    Reply

    Nina Amir August 20, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Hi, Carla! I use Freemind by soundforge.net. I love it…have to-do lists, book plans, blogging plans, client plans…everything! Almost every coaching session I do ends up with a mind map.

    Reply

    Beth Browne August 26, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Hi Nina,

    This is such a great article. I wanted to let you know that you have a minor typo in the above comment. Freemind is by SOURCEforge, not soundforge. I found it anyway and am looking forward to checking it out.

    Thanks!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander August 21, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Hi Carla,

    In addition to Nina’s suggestions, here are mine from 3 years of pretty intensive mind mapping: I use iThoughts on my iPad, it’s a great interface for mind mapping. For heavy-duty work, I use Mind Manager from MindJet. Not cheap, but I’m really happy I invested in it years ago. The mind maps, links, and documents I can embed in these have allowed me to use them for teaching entire courses. Have fun!

    Reply

    Carla King August 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks Joel,

    I used to have Mind Manager at Sony and I remember liking it. May look at that again.

    Speaking of org tools, I started using Evernote a couple of years ago and love it. But last year I started relying heavily on Scrivener, which ended up completely replacing Evernote in a lot of cases, such as when organizing research notes and interviews in an article, or creating a set of blog posts.

    I’m waiting for those two companies to get a “sync” app going. Maybe they can hook up with mindmap software, too. Then we won’t have to lift a finger. Ha ha.

    Carla

    Reply

    Nina Amir August 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Carla and Joel,

    Mind Manager/MindJet is supposed to be fab. It’s too expensive for me. I can drop in links and docs and things to Freemind, too, so I’m pretty happy.

    I make PDFs of the mind maps and drop them into research in Scrivener, Carla. And there is a way to use Evernote with Scrivener. Coach Joe shows how in Learn Scrivener Fast (http://31c8f0vrjetvctf8io2grq7s5f.hop.clickbank.net/) — yes, that is my affiliate link for the course, which I absolute love! Also, I know you aren’t a big fan of FastPencil, but they have just created a synch up with Evernote to take your notes and docs from there and help you make them into books. Some people use Evernote as a back up for their manuscripts, so they could import into FastPencil, should they want to go that route.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander August 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    As someone who has blogged as much as 6 times a week, I have to admit I’m amazed at your organizational abilities, Nina. Just the idea of a yearly plan gives me the shivers, but I quite like the idea of your monthly plan, and it’s a great use of mind mapping software too!

    Reply

    Nina Amir August 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    LOL. Well, my yearly plan tends to just have topics. I flesh that out with a quarterly plan or monthly plan, depending on the particular blog.

    I use mind mapping software daily!

    Reply

    Jennifer Mattern August 20, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I love the visual representation Nina!

    In addition to writing e-books, I’ve been a professional blogger for several years now. I’ve been blogging for clients and dozens of my own sites for around a decade, and of everything I’ve tested and done to increase traffic, interactions, and revenue, nothing beats a solid post plan. I have blogs where 5-7 posts per week do the best, and others where a post every week or two is more than adequate. But staying on top of it all can be overwhelming.

    I switched from yearly plans to more detailed monthly editorial calendars this year, and that’s helped a lot because it affords me more flexibility. Like you said, sometimes inspiration hits or something happens in the news and plans need to adapt. While a one-month plan is perfect for me because I have so many blogs to create schedules for, I can see a 3-6 month plan taking a lot of stress off of authors who are still new to blogging. One big brainstorming session can be much more productive than trying to come up with new ideas on the fly.

    Great post. :)

    Reply

    Nina Amir August 20, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Thanks, Jennifer! Planning does take away a lot of stress, and when blogging for clients you can even get them to approve the posts before hand and give their input. They might have ideas!

    Reply

    Tina August 20, 2014 at 5:44 am

    I loved the template! Wonderful article :)

    Reply

    Michael N. Marcus August 20, 2014 at 3:19 am

    >However, I see too many aspiring and published authors blogging in a scattered manner. They write about whatever topic comes to mind or moves them on a particular day. They assume an author blog provides an opportunity to spout off about whatever is on their minds and that their adoring fans care to read these thoughts.<<

    If this is unproductive, it’s unproductive only if an author writes in just one genre or only about one subject.

    I’ve written many books about publishing, several books about telecommunications, others about food and crime, and upcoming books will be about theology and clams (not the same book). My newest bestseller provides advice on many topics. Some of my books are serious, some are funny.

    While some of my BookMakingBlog.com readers may have read books I’ve written or found me on Facebook, most find the blog though Google searches for topics I’ve discussed. Most of my posts are about publishing, but I’ve also posted about eyeglasses, taxation, technology, health, history, food, animals, business, romance, grammar, politics, design and more. Sometimes I review books.

    The top of my blog states that I discuss “writing, editing, design, publishing, language, culture, politics and other things.”

    I’d get bored if I blogged about only one thing (or wrote books about only one thing) and I think readers can easily detect boredom.

    My blog attracts about 2,500 page views per day and there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between topic and daily views.

    Maybe someone who finds the blog while searching for information about hanging punctuation or cataract surgery will buy a book about clams. That’s fine with me.

    Also, I have no grand plan for posting. Most days I sit down at this PC at around 3:30 a.m. with no plan for that day. Sometimes I finish a post I previously started or publish something written the day before if I was particularly motivated — but most posts are spontaneous.

    When I was in high school a nutty English teacher sometimes commanded us to write “500 words about tobogganing” or “why Capri pants are the downfall of America.” When I was a journalism major in college a professor required us to write a daily column about anything at all.

    Both of these exercises turned out be excellent preparation for blogging.

    Reply

    Nina Amir August 20, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Michael,

    This approach does work for some…over time and with posting consistently and regularly. I hasten to bet that the majority of your posts are on one writing, editing, design, publishing and language…and from what I can tell, that’s where you blog gets most of it’s traffic.

    Reply

    Deirdre Saoirse Moen August 23, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Michael, I’m with you.

    Honestly, if I followed the above advice, I’d have not published the posts that got me 3/4 of my views so far this year. Those posts have led to more conversations in the last week than anything else I’ve done.

    It’s quite interesting to go to a panel at a convention and hear what you’ve posted discussed when you’re not on the panel and the people on the dais don’t necessarily know you’re in the room.

    If I were going into a narrower niche, the advice would work, but I am, and have always been, a generalist.

    Instead of a plan per se, what I have are a bunch of scheduled posts. If something higher priority comes along, I’ll write that and reschedule the queued posts. Most of the time, I post no more than once per day.

    Reply

    Michael N. Marcus August 23, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Dierdre — if you’re with me, I’m with you. I think our approach is to build a following for us as writers and people, not for one book, subject or genre.

    Reply

    Colin Dunbar August 20, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Hi Nina

    Awesome article, and advice. I used a plain spreadsheet, but the idea of a plan is ultra-important to get it done, I think.

    Reply

    Sharla Rae August 20, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Wow Nina, you did a lot of work here! I can see how this would gradually build up your readership for your blogs and your books. Did you drive people to those blogs with other media?

    Reply

    Nina Amir August 20, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Sharla,
    I always drive readers to my blogs via social media. I use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest….some more than others.

    Reply

    Nina Amir August 20, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Thanks, Colin. A spreadsheet would work just fine.

    Reply

    Leave a Comment


    nine + 8 =

    { 1 trackback }