There’s a bit of a leap you have to make when, as a writer, you decide to start an author’s blog.
But what you hear if you ask writers why they decided to start blogging, are things like these:
- My agent/publisher told me to do it
- I heard you were supposed to
- Joe Konrath has a blog
- My book just came out and I want to let people know about it
Some of these writers will abandon their blogs pretty quickly, others will try to soldier on. Without much traffic and not sure what to write about, they might end up with reports about their latest work in progress mixed with personal journalling. Most of their readers will be other writers and bloggers.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I vividly remember getting started in blogging and how confusing it was. Even the simplest things escaped me.
I tried for a couple of weeks to figure out what the heck a “trackback” was and what to put in that field in WordPress. I even talked to other bloggers about it, but the explanations went right over my head.
I was a true newbie.
Then, like now, it didn’t take much to set up a blog. What I was concerned with at the time were header images, how widgets worked and how many pixels my sidebars should be. I thought there might be some formula that would guarantee that people would read what I was writing.
Looking back, I see it differently, and I bet you’ve had that experience too. Now I would say to get started blogging you need:
- Some software to blog with
- An idea of what you want to blog about
- A willingness to connect with readers, and
- The blogging mindset
The most important is the last—having the right mindset to succeed at blogging.
The Blogging Mindset
One of the things that surprised me when I started blogging was the realization, which really dawned on me very slowly over the first year of my blog, that I had created a little itty bitty tiny media outlet. I had become a broadcaster.
There are two sides to broadcasting—or to blogging or publishing for that matter. On one side is an audience. Now this audience may be 4 people, it may be 4 million, that’s not the point.
On the other side is the broadcaster—you. When you start to publish your own content, you will naturally attract people who are interested in reading what you’ve written.
I’m assuming that you are a competent writer and if you sit down to write an article or a list of tips that it will be readable and you know how to make it compelling, too.
The next thing that happens is pretty interesting. In effect, the audience says, “Hey that was pretty cool. What else do you have?”
This is the origin of the blogging mindset.
As a blogger, your view of the world changes. Before you started blogging you had your family, maybe colleagues from work, friends and social acquaintances. Now you also have an audience, and because blogs are very interactive, an audience that you may come to know well.
Maybe you see your role as teacher, confidant, guide, guru, authority, friend, or any other persona that suits your purpose. But now you have your audience to think about.
And that leads to the blogger mindset.
- A blogger knows how to find information, stories or entertainment their audience will enjoy. You might not be right all the time, but who is? Audiences are forgiving.
- A blogger knows how to turn events, successes and failures into lessons other people can learn from, and takes the time and trouble to communicate those.
- A blogger has opinions and a willingness to express them and stays informed about their field because that’s what they’re passionate about.
- Successful bloggers reach out to other bloggers and influence leaders in their field, growing their blogs through network effects, joint venture partnerships and social engagement with their peers.
- A blogger has the discipline and commitment to their audience to take action on a regular basis. Writers need a fair amount of focus to create content that will be useful and interesting to readers on a schedule, whatever that schedule is.
- Successful bloggers are willing to learn new things, look for new opportunities, and are dedicated to creating quality content.
- Bloggers understand the importance of distributing their content to as many interested readers as they can, and are willing to use the tools available to market what they are publishing.
The realization that you have become a publisher, and that people will give you their time and pay attention to what you have to offer is at the core of the blogging mindset.
And that’s why I think it’s the number one key to blogging success. Don’t get me wrong. You might have a few false starts, some fallow periods and a bit of self-questioning before you find that mindset.
Or you might dive into blogging with a plan and determination and simply embody the blogger mindset by your very actions.
However it works, here’s something you can do every time you publish. I know I do it. Before I hit that “Publish” button, I think about my readers, and if I’ve really fulfilled the reason they come here.
More in the Author Blogging 101 Series
Author Blogging 101: 11 Reasons Your Blog Isn’t Working
Author Blogging 101: Presenting Your Content
Author Blogging 101: Up With Comments!