There are lots of ways to write an author blog, and lots of bloggers who do it their own way.
You can find great articles on other blogs, pick out the juicy parts, perhaps make comments on them, and link back to the originals. This is a lot of what Passive Guy does on his popular The Passive Voice blog.
Or you can post personal stories from your past, or from your reading, stories that are held together by your own ability as a storyteller, like Derek Sivers does on his avidly-followed Sivers.org blog.
Or you can run video interviews interspersed with long, thoughtful essay-type posts like Dan Blank does on his WeGrowMedia.com blog.
Really, there’s no limit and no set model to what you do, it’s totally up to you.
When you’re first getting started it makes sense to find a style you like and try it, keeping in mind that you can change, continue to modify, and refine what you’re doing as you go along.
Here are 8 different blogging styles to look through. I bet you’ll find something here you’ve never tried before. But something that sounds like it would fit in on your blog. Try that one first.
1. Personal reflection
Probably the first blogging style, since blogs started as online journals. This is still powerfully attractive to writers who love having an outlet for material that might not fit projects they are working on for publication. The downside of this style is the difficulty of finding subject matter that other people actually want to read.
The how-to blog may be the easiest to get going. You’ll have quick recognition from search engines, since millions of people are looking for how-to instruction all the time. You might use illustrations or photos, and your posts are pretty easy to put together since you follow the process you’re explaining. The downside is that it may be difficult to insert much of your personality into your posts. And remember that the technology explained in many how-to blogs changes pretty quickly. But for many new bloggers, this is a brilliant way to get started.
3. Character development
You don’t see this much, but you could use a blog like this to support the launch of a book or series. There are two variations on this style: you can blog from the point of view of one of your characters, interacting with other characters who might even appear on the blog as guests or commenters. The other way is to use the blog to develop backstory for your characters, although you are writing as yourself. This probably would work better for authors who already have a lot of readers who already know your characters.
4. Genial authority
If you really are an expert in your field and have a lot to teach newbies, this is a great style that will please lots of readers. Without being preachy or dictatorial, you write about your field of expertise, concentrating on basics, answers to frequently-asked questions, discussions of recent developments in your field, and provide content for readers of various experience levels.
Although this style is associated with periodicals, writers who specialize in exposing corruption, uncovering environmental hazards or similar topics can gather an audience by blogging, too. While your books provide deep look at a topic, your blog articles can be more news-oriented, or you can use the blog as your development platform for your next book, releasing parts of it as blog posts.
This is a classic style that’s suited to some people’s temperaments. Poking larger actors in your field, finding errors, drawing attention to the failings of others in your niche all draw traffic. Posting rants about people has a powerful effect, too. Although it divides your audience into “I’m with/against you” groups, the people who are with you become avid readers and supporters in your “crusade.”
The newbie writes from the perspective of someone who knows just a little bit more than you do. This allows the blogger to try new things, to fail without penalty, and to write blog posts about all those experiences, passing along what they learn to readers. One of the reasons this works is that you are much closer to your readers’ experiences than you would be as an authority. And you still become a “go-to” person for answers in your field.
8. Content Curator
You search the web to find content your readers will love. Blog posts might be an extract from an informative, newsworthy or instructional post somewhere else. You can also extend or comment on the post to add your own content, but the prime reason people visit your blog is your editorial taste. They know they’ll find great work from lots of sources. Curating content becomes more and more valuable as the total amount of content online continues to multiply.
Mix and Match Blogging Styles for Variety
Over time as your blog matures you’ll find yourself using many of these styles at different times. You can mix how-to articles with curated content from other how-to blogs, for instance, to give your readers some variety.
Looking over this list, I think I’ve used 5 out of the 8 styles here, and continue to do so regularly. Both bloggers and readers like variety, and using these blogging styles will give you lots of variety on your blog.
Photo by Nieve44Luz