A lot of the authors I talk to who want to use blogging as a tool in their overall book marketing strategy get stalled with content creation.
Since they are authors, they already know how to write, that’s not the problem. But there are specific questions that come up over and over again that stymie writers trying to visualize how blogging will work for them.
Some bloggers have trouble settling on a subject or a particular slant on a subject that will set them apart. It’s good to think long about this, it’s a decision that really ought to be made as part of an overall strategy.
You could express this:
CONTENT = STRATEGY
Having a strategy is a good idea. It tells you what your short term goal is and allows you to explore ways to reach the goal.
Blogging—regularly creating content and publishing it for the readers in your field—is a great way to implement your strategy. There are lots of other ways, but as writers blogging utilizes our strengths, right?
Maybe you’re trying to grow your readership in anticipation of more books you’ll be publishing in the next couple of years. Maybe you want to spread your expertise and acquire more clients for your consulting, coaching, design, or other business.
Maybe you’ve got products to sell or services to offer. That will determine the kind of content you create for your blog.
And that’s why you can consider the content you write a direct expression of the strategy behind your blog. If you write for newbies in your field, your language and approach to subjects will reflect that if you hope to be a success.
Try to focus your posts around your understanding of the people who read your blog:
- What problems can you solve for them?
- Can your content move readers to action?
- What is the segment of your market with the most potential for you and your books or other product offerings or services?
And in general, bloggers try to hit the “Holy Trifecta” of blogging by becoming known in their field for their:
- Trust, and
A content focus aimed at your goals, combined with an authentic and likable persona is a winning combination!
Back to those specific questions:
3 Persistent Blogging Questions
Three questions in particular outweigh all others, and we can address them directly.
What Should I Blog About?
This isn’t a problem for most people with a lot of experience in one field. If you’re an expert, part of your blogging will involve leveraging your expertise to establish an authoritative relationship with your audience.
You don’t have to be an “expert” but you do need to pick a subject:
- Start with your niche, even better if you are part of your own market.
- Choose something you’re passionate about or you’ll never be able to last.
- Your content implements your strategy, so even if it changes, try to be clear about your goals.
- “What’s the purpose of this blog post?” is the question you should be able to answer before you push the “Publish” button.
How Often Should I Post?
This is the second of the most-asked questions about blogging. And the answer goes back to your strategy. For instance:
- Are you trying to grow your blog? Then consider posting at least twice per week.
- Are you curating content or news articles? You can post multiple times per day.
- Or are you blogging as a hobby? In that case, post whenever you want.
But no matter which you choose, keep in mind that no matter what kind of content you produce, it’s likely that you’ll find:
More Posts = More Traffic
Remember that there are many aids for bloggers to help schedule and automate parts of the blogging process, and you may not know about them yet. But if the prospect of posting articles several times a week seems daunting, there are many ways to achieve this goal without over-stressing yourself.
Establishing an editorial calendar, scheduling specific subjects on the same days each week, or scheduling special articles on a regular basis, can be very helpful. It also builds trust with your audience when you deliver what you’ve promised, on time.
How Long Should My Posts Be?
Here we have the third of the persistent blogging questions. And again, the answer is, “it depends.” I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules about blog article length. It’s far more important to create really good content, no matter what form it eventually finds.
Over the years I’ve noticed that when I get to the end of what I have to say in an article, the word counter is usually between 1,000 and 1,200 words. I don’t aim for that, but that’s where I seem to end up.
If you’d like a more structured answer to this question, here are some guidelines I’ve observed over the years. There are successful blogs everywhere that don’t follow guidelines like this, but they can be helpful when you’re starting out:
- News Items & Curated Content: 100-250 words
- Product Reviews: 200-750 words
- Personal Journals: 200-1000 words
- Opinion: 500 words
- How To: 750-2000 words
- Technical Blueprint: 1000-4000 words
Now that you know how to find the answers to these three persistent questions, you should be ready to move ahead and create a blog that will help you fulfill your publishing goals.
Next time we’ll look at over a dozen different forms of shareable content you can create for your blog.