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Posts Tagged ‘blogging success tips’

Flag maps show Marcie’s connection to the rest of the world!

We are atypical bloggers, in that we post more than most. We also probably read more blogs than most. That said, it’s not lost on me that writing a blog is something of a solo activity. I sit at my desk or on the couch in my TV room (TV off, unless husband is home) and draft my posts in Word, find/create images for them, and then upload them to the WordPress site. Yet as I sit and write, I’ve no real idea who is reading them.

(Click twice slowly – not a double click – to see larger image.)

Sure, we can see our subscriber list and we’ve got a bit better a view into some of the more active folks via the comments … but the readership is far bigger than those who comment. Sometimes I’ll say a prayer or a blessing that whoever’s reading our posts is getting something useful out of them, but usually I just write and post, hoping it makes sense and that some number of those unseen people will benefit from it.

This can be a daunting aspect of blogging: WHO is reading my stuff? WHAT are they thinking about it? Is it making sense? Am I basically shouting into the wind? How do I even have the chutzpa to do this in the first place?

Then you get your first comment. You hear back from a reader who really liked (or disliked) what you had to say. We’re fortunate to have many more agreeable comments than disagreeable ones, but we’re also not saying anything that’s too controversial.

One thing about WordPress that was different from Blogger was the metrics. Blogger has this nifty map feature that shows you where your readers are, globally. I had been missing this for a while – MY WordPress.com blog did not have this feature automatically enabled, and I could find no hidden widgets to install it – so I finally decided to find a third-party map function I could use on my WP blog. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was the day before the famous International Women’s Day post that garnered us nearly 1,000 hits in 2 days.

I found a site called FlagCounter.com that does exactly what I was looking for. You install it as a widget on your blog that tracks this data; on our blog, it appears at the bottom of the right-hand column. Through it, we were finally able to see where our visitors were coming from.

Then, a strange thing happened. Out of nowhere – I SWEAR –

Metrics from FlagCounter.com

WordPress started showing similar geographic locations for our visitors. Now, I’m good at the writing and promotional side of blogging – but the back end programming is not my strong suit. It’s likely someone out there somewhere knows a lot more about this than I do. All I can tell you is that once I installed the third-party program, WordPress began giving me similar information.

A WordPress map suddenly appeared...

Why does this even matter? Well, without it, we wouldn’t know that we’ve got readers in 104 countries (or 106, by FlagCounter.com’s stats). Of course, the vast majority are from English speaking countries: my native US, Canada, and the UK at the top. India comes in fourth, with Australia, Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, Netherlands, and Belgium rounding out the top 10. And who could have known that two souls all way over in Maldives had visited?

And the icing on the cake (today’s theme for the UBC) is the very cool flag map provided by FlagCounter.com (at the top of this post). It’s just thrilling to see this visual representation of all the people to whom we are now connected, if only in this small way.

Does this change anything about the way we post? Not really. But it could. For one thing, we could use more international examples in our posts. Secondly, we might use the survey function on WP to find out exactly where these readers are, who they are, and what they’re interested in reading. Knowing your readers can only improve your blogging by enabling you to better tailor and personalize your posts to their needs. Not to mention that it’s just plain fun to see your entire world map become populated with flags!

Happy cartographing…

MARCIE

__________________

Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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Why is targeted traffic to your author blog/site so important?

An interesting thing happened to the Marcie Brock blog on March 7 and 8 this year. As you may remember, March 8 was International Women’s Day, and we did a post about the global event on March 7.

Yes, we realize we’ve been going on about blogging for some time now, and we’re doing so for one reason: we know it works! How do we know? Well, we’re showing up on page 1 of search results for virtually all of the keywords we’re using with our posts.

This is not just good news for us – it’s good news for YOU, because you, my SBM* friends, can do it too! We just plodded away, one post at a time, using the same techniques we’re teaching you here. Say it with me now:

  • Quality content
  • Regular posting
  • Images with every post
  • Effective commenting

Well, it was no different for International Women’s Day. For the better part of Wednesday, March 7, our post was ranked #4 in results from searches for “International Women’s Day” and “International Women’s Day 2012.” On Thursday, March 8, we fell off the first page for “International Women’s Day” but held steady at #4 for “International Women’s Day 2012.”

NOTE: Click twice (slowly – NOT a double-click) to get a closeup of the graphics. Use the back arrow to return to the post.

Then, a strange thing happened. It seems that traffic to the International Women’s Day site itself – which had the #1, #2, and #3 results – overwhelmed the site to the point that people were unable to load the pages they were seeking. Our post contained just basic information about IWD, with links to a few events around the world and a link to the main IWD event calendar. But it must have been enough of what people wanted, because we captured the residual benefits from that #4 ranking with NEARLY 1,000 HITS over those two days! Our previous high had been 192 hits in a single day.

Now I won’t lie to you and tell you it wasn’t a pretty exciting time in the history of the Marcie Brock blog. But when reality set in, we realized a couple of important things:

  • We didn’t receive a SINGLE comment from any of those 600+ individual visitors.
  • We didn’t garner one new subscriber from them, either.

Was it pointless? No, of course not. It’s never pointless to get yourself in front of 600 new readers. The main takeaway, however, is that there’s a significant difference between general traffic and DIRECTED traffic. You want directed traffic – readers who come to your blog, if not directly or on purpose, at least because they want to read what you’re writing and are interested in reading more. Knowing that, we’ll take our average 63 hits a day (and growing) from people who find value in our blog any day.

One more small note – take a look at the x’s at the bottom of the above graph. Those indicate the days on which we posted. It’s not a coincidence that the dip you see in hits between Feb. 17 and Feb. 20 correlates to days we didn’t post.

So to summarize:

  1. The more traction your blog gets, the higher you’ll rank in the search engines.
  2. Remember to capitalize on big days, celebrations, and current events.
  3. Targeted traffic is MUCH preferred to general drive-by traffic that isn’t interested, long term.
  4. The more often you post, the more people will read you.

Now, go write some posts and generate some of your own traffic. Tell us about your blog and we’ll mention it and link to it here!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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Which came first, the book or the blog?

So far, my posts about blogging have looked at blogging from the perspective of an author who already has a book (or manuscript in process) and is looking for a solid, high-ROI way to get the word out there quickly. As you may have noticed, I’m quite fond of the blogging and think there’s no more direct way to make your mark online – provided you follow all the rules we’ve laid out again and again:

  • Quality content
  • Regular posting
  • Use of images with every post
  • Effective commenting

In Mason Stoller’s post, “Blogs aren’t books” for StayOnSearch.com, he advises bloggers not to write their posts as if they were drafting chapters of their books. Though his commentary is a bit snarky, there’s some good stuff in there, too – including the following tips for writing your blog:

  • Use easy to read features like bullet points, lists, quotes, etc
  • Make key phrases & ideas bold, italicized, underlined
  • Blend in images and video as your post runs on, this helps break the information and keep your readers interested
  • Don’t write longer than 5 or 6 sentences without a break, spacing helps the reader move through the words and concepts
  • Change font size to emphasize and point out specifics

Today, I want to flip the telescope around and look at the idea of a blog becoming a book. The good news is that quite a few blogs/websites have found book deals and been published as books, though from the reviews, that’s not always a good thing. Read a few of the reviews in AVClub’s November 2008 post, “Why buy the cow?” and FreelanceWritingGig’s February 2010 post, “13 Blogs that Became Books.” Please note, 9 of the better-known books are mentioned in both of these posts.

Then there’s Mashable.com’s December 2009 post, “Blog to Book,” that delves a bit deeper than the review posts mentioned above. Limiting its coverage to just 6 books (This Is Why You’re Fat being the only title here also to appear on the other two lists), this post takes more of an interview format, asking the authors questions about the blog-to-book process. Though the questions vary a bit with each author, each interview touches on topics such as:

  • Blogger name
  • Blog title/URL
  • Book title
  • Public reaction to the book and blog
  • Traffic-driving methods
  • Highest traffic point
  • How the book deal came about
  • Why the book
  • Which earns more revenue – the blog or the book?
  • Any future ventures?

The subscription site mediabistro.com has a multi-part video interview with authors and literary agents who have had books converted from blogs. In one segment of the video, several authors and agents are interviewed, among them, Julie Powell, author of Julie and Julia. Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, author of Apartment Therapy, shared his experience, “The biggest challenge for me was finding time to go away from the online world. … There’s instant gratification with the online world. It’s a luxury – you don’t have that with a book.”

However, literary agent Kate Lee, who represents ICM, offered this piece of inspiration, “If you have a blog and you’re profiled in The New York Times, you’re going to get a nice book deal. … It’s not necessarily because you have a blog, but because you were profiled in The New York Times.”

So let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Will your blog become a bestseller? Wellllll – it’s unlikely that you’ll land a six-figure book deal from a major publishing house, but I have a philosophy of never saying never. If you’ve got an outstanding topic, fantastic writing, great traffic, and loads of subscribers and commenters, you might just want to put together a proposal and hit up the traditional publishers who work in your genre.

Let’s alter the question, though: Can your blog become a book? It’s definitely possible, particularly in this age of self-publishing! My goal is to help any socially conscious writer with a dream to see their book published – and then sell as many of those books as possible. Blog-to-book is a great way to begin because you’ve already done a lot of the writing!

Of course, a few things need to happen first – you can’t just slap all your posts into a PDF and call it done. You’ve got to go through the same process any author does when drafting their book. First – put the thing in some order. A couple hundred random blog posts does not a book make. Give some shape to it by making sure your posts have a reason to their order.

People often express concern that if it’s already out there in a blog, no one will want to buy it in book form. That’s a non-argument, in my opinion. Reading through one post at a time is not in any way the same as reading the information in one contained place: a book. Additionally, chances are pretty good you’ll need to do some further writing to get those posts manuscript ready. Are there gaps? People you need to interview or research you need to do? Are your facts and figures still current? Does every post need to be included? Have you learned something that’s given you a new perspective about a topic from your blog?

Next, you’ll need to have it edited. Of course I always advocate for spending the most money you can afford on the editing – but however you get it done, have someone else (preferably a professional) take a look at it for you.

Then you’ll need a cover and layout/formatting. The next step are the printing and distribution considerations, and all the other things that come with managing the self-publishing process. Of course, after all that, the real work begins: MARKETING your book, which is why you’re here in the first place, isn’t it?

If you haven’t started your book yet but you have a good blog going, it couldn’t hurt to think about turning it into a book.

MARCIE

__________________

Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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27 ideas for posts for your author blog

We’ve been talking at length about blogging for a while now and have covered some general ideas for the kinds of posts you might write for your author blog. Here’s a list of 27 specific ideas for posts that might interest the readers of your author blog, broken down into three categories: fiction, nonfiction, and general. If you have other ideas, please feel free to share them in the comment section below!

FICTION

  1. Give readers an inside look. Describe how you went about plotting your novel.
  2. Have one of your readers interview one of your characters, with you responding as the character.
  3. Fill in the back stories for some of your minor characters.
  4. Write a blog post in the voice of one of your main characters.
  5. Write an expert in your field into your story.
  6. Hand draw a map of your story’s setting, whether it’s a real place or completely fabricated. Don’t worry about how well or poorly you draw or whether it’s to scale. The goal is to spur reader interest. Give the readers a tour with your post.
  7. Describe the personalities of your characters and who you might have patterned them after.

NONFICTION

  1. Write about a case study related to your topic.
  2. Interview an expert in your field.
  3. Describe how you got started in your industry. Fill in the interesting part of your back story.
  4. Give readers an inside look. Describe how you went about outlining and structuring your book.
  5. Interview a reader or client about the subject of your book.
  6. Post a graph or create one from statistics in your book. Explain the stats in your post.
  7. Think back to debate club and write a post taking the opposite stance. If your book is about global warming, argue against it. If your book encourages women to take more risks, write a post defending the status quo of women. Note: make your satiric position clear by the end of the post.

GENERAL

  1. Do a Q&A with some of your readers via Facebook and post excerpts.
  2. Write about trends in your genre or subject area.
  3. Write about your favorite authors (especially those who write in your genre or field). Include their photos and a sampling of their books.
  4. Describe the origin of your book. How did it come about? What ideas, events, people, etc. inspired you to write the book?
  5. Describe your research methods for writing your book. Books? Journals? Google? Websites? Travel?
  6. Take folks on a tour of your Table of Contents, offering a sentence or two about each chapter.
  7. Review other novels/books in your field, especially from other lesser-known authors.
  8. Create a controversy by commenting on a news story, blog post, current event, historical event, website, or tweet. Say something outrageous and let the feedback rip.
  9. Share a joke from your topic or genre. Well-told jokes have a tendency to go viral.
  10. Create a glossary for your genre or topic. For example, define some of the key terms related to cryogenics, pottery, quilting, beekeeping, astrophysics, or whatever theme features prominently in your book.
  11. Share an interesting fact or statistic. Give your readers a few tidbits they likely don’t know about your topic, and include graphics that represent your facts. This can be a short blog, with questions like:

Did you know that a 2008 market study in Yoga Journal revealed that some 16 million Americans practice yoga and spend $5.7 billion a year on gear?

Did you know research is showing that yoga can improve your sex life and may even prevent and treat sex problems by increasing the overall health of your cardiovascular system?

  1. Offer advice about the things that have worked to help you overcome writers’ block.
  2. Describe your use of social media in researching, writing, and promoting your book.

As you may know by now, my main suggestion is just that you get started, even if you’re unsure of what to write or a little hesitant about how your blog will be received. Chances are it will be slow going, at first, but as you keep posting, more people will find and follow you. You may have a dearth of topics as you begin, but you will likely find unlimited topics to write about as you continue to post. Suddenly, everything that happens in life is seen through the lens of “that would be a good blog post!” As those ideas come, remember to write them down so you can keep your idea feeder well stocked!

Happy blogging!

MARCIE

__________________

Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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Commenting is an essential component of a successful author blog

When I speak with my clients or give presentations about blogging, I usually point to four key components I recommend for blogging success:

(1)     Quality content

(2)     A frequent, regular posting schedule

(3)     Images with every post

(4)     Interactivity

Today, we’re going to focus on #4: Interactivity. Another word for this is COMMENTS, both yours on other people’s blogs and responding to those who comment on your blog.

If you remember that blogging was one of the earliest forms of social media, and that we always want to emphasize the social component of social media, you begin to appreciate how essential a role commenting plays in a successful blog. I had the opportunity for a one-on-one conversation with Robin Harris, author of the Storage Mojo blog, and he reaffirmed what I already knew to be true about the value of commenting. At the time I met him, Robin had been writing his blog since September 2004 and had somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 active subscribers. Keep in mind, even Robin will attest that this topic, data storage and management, is a relatively bland one. Nevertheless, he has a giant subscriber base comprised of industry leaders and other experts in the field.

Of course, my first question was, “How did you do it?”

Well, go back to the top of this post and revisit the four key components I recommend for blogging success:

(1)     Quality content

(2)     A frequent, regular posting schedule

(3)     Images with every post

(4)     Interactivity

Seriously – that’s the answer he gave me. Now, he did explain that as he started the blog, he was posting an average of five or six times a week. That’s an enormous commitment, but very important if you expect to develop good search engine rankings and create a following. He tells me he’s pulled back to about three times a week now. The other key for Robin’s success was regularly commenting on other industry blogs, so much so that he was as much a presence there as he was on his own blog.

Fellow SBMs, you can do this, too!

Here’s an overview of some excellent advice from Missy at Netchunks.com about five easy ways to show your readers (i.e., commenters) you care. Again, please go read her entire post – it’s worth the time!

1. Reward Comments with a placement in your Top Commenters list.

2. Acknowledge Their Contribution. This is unbelievably important: respond to people who talk to you through the comments section on your blog! If someone asks a question, take the time to answer to your best ability. Just tell them you notice them and appreciate their feedback.

3. Link to Them. More than a general link to their blog, Missy’s advice here is to find a specific post that is worthy of recognition and mention in your blog.

4. Tweet About Them. Follow your contributors on Twitter and share the love.

5. Show Some Facebook Love. I love Missy’s caveat, “regardless of how you feel about Facebook.” She’s right, though. Your readers are probably there – so why not say hello?

BONUS: Accept guest posts. We touched on this last time, so I’ll leave it at that.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge Stopping the Wind, a gal who commented on our blog. She wrote a brief comment on my post about not letting your background image overpower your blog or website: “I agree and find it very frustrating trying to read content with an image behind it…great tips.”

Because we usually follow our own advice and always respond to comments, I noticed her e-mail address, “readytochangenow.” What a great name! It really caught my attention, so I paid a little visit to her blog and was so glad I did. Her tagline is “Daily actions to become who I was intended to be.” That’s amazingly inspirational all by itself, but then I read about the motivation behind her blog:

The Beginning

Something has to change. I whittle away what I want one choice at a time. The wind of my immediate desires blows my dreams; I dream to be fit, but trade it for Cheetos; I dream to travel, but trade it for a latte; I dream to be financially fit, but trade it for a new app on I-Tunes.

I am a workaholic in a job I love, but feel like my world has shrunk to work, sleep, cleaning, and surfing the Web. One day while web surfing my world got small. I watched a video of sites around the world and it hit me – my mortality. I felt like my life was like a vacation to the most amazing location in the world but that I had spent it all locked in the bathroom cleaning the tiles. One day I will die and will have missed it. I felt trapped by my debt, income, and body.

I work as a planner and one day, right after seeing this video, I was helping an organization do a envisioning exercise. One of the participants kept balking at identifying what they really wanted to do by saying “But how will we pay for it”. I said the same line I have said for years, “Determine the need, build the program to meet that need, and then find the funding”.

It hit me like a lightning bolt; I have said that 100 times. Why am I not applying that to my life? Do I really believe it? Lofty words – it was time to put my money where my mouth was. I thought of the video and my dream of travel – to see the world and experience new things.

I fell in love with her blog. The only tiny flaw I see is that she never gives us is her name. 🙂 But I wrote her immediately to tell her how inspired I was and that I planned to mention her in a future post. That’s how it’s done, my fellow SBMs.* You build one relationship at a time.

Have I mentioned that you can do this, too? You can. So go away now. If you don’t have a blog, set one up. If you do have one, sit down and write a new post. And if you’ve already posted today, send me a link to your book blog so I can share it with my readers.

Happy commenting!

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

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Guest blogging is a great way to increase exposure to your author blog

So how’s the blogging going? If we haven’t convinced you of the value yet, don’t worry. We’ve got a few more pieces to the puzzle for you. Like a winning author website, one of the most important aspects of a successful author blog is TRAFFIC. Your goal is to get in front of as many new eyeballs as possible. Your blog’s stats pages and/or Google Analytics will give you some idea of how many people are reading your blog, but (a) they aren’t definitive and (b) there are other ways to let people know about your blog (and, subsequently, your book).

One excellent way to increase your traffic and spread the word about your blog is to guest blog, which simply means writing for another (preferably well-established) blog with the goal of increasing your quality backlinks, traffic, and exposure, as well as building relationships. Matthew Meyer wrote an excellent post for SiteProNews.com about the 5 main benefits of guest blogging. I’ll give you an overview of his points here, but please go read the whole thing, as it is excellent information.

BENEFIT #1. Guest blogging instantly puts your message in front of an audience it took the blog owner years to develop. You’ve heard of riding another’s coat tails? This is a legal, ethical way of doing that because you can’t guest blog unless the blog owner wants you to be there.

BENEFIT #2. Guest blogging traffic is better than traffic you buy. You can always use a pay-per-click campaign to increase your traffic, but guest blogging puts your posts in front of the people who really want to read them, so the readers are better qualified than they are if they just happen to click on a paid link to find your blog.

BENEFIT #3. Guest blogging can generate long-term, high-quality backlinks. As with links to your website that come from other high-profile sites that target a similar audience, the same is true of backlinks that come through a guest blog. Rather than buying them and crossing your fingers, the links to your blog from a guest post on a well-respected blog are going to generate more highly targeted traffic back to you.

BENEFIT #4. Guest blogging is one of the best ways to become famous in your niche and to increase your brand awareness. Find a blog that is related to your niche and use all your expert knowledge to stand out in the crowd.

BENEFIT #5. Guest blogging can help you build your e-mail list and social media followers. Again, this is about traffic. When new folks visit your blog and comment or, better yet, subscribe, you’ve captured their e-mail addresses. Ditto with the social media.

If you like the idea of guest blogging but don’t know where to begin, Quertime has published a list of 55 popular websites and blogs that accept guest posts. This should simply be a jumping off point, though. Do a search of your own for blog directories on your topic and you will undoubtedly locate other (perhaps more topical) blogs that accept guest posts.

In addition to the specifics about guest blogging, Kiesha Easley has written a great post for WeBlogBetter.com about three additional ways to snag more blog opportunities. This rather straight-forward advice is a great reminder:

(1)     Plan time to do research.

(2)     Be flexible enough to follow an important thread NOW – rather than thinking “I’ll get back to that later.”

(3)     Subscribe to the right blogs.

Like marketing, blogging’s not rocket science. If you are organized and put together a thoughtful plan, you can succeed with your blog and ultimately generate followers who will become readers and rabid fans.

Happy blogging!

MARCIE

__________________

Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

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Friday, March 9 – 18 benefits of an author blog

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You might be a GREAT author blogger if…

Why settle for being just a blogger when you can be a great blogger? As we’ve discussed over the past few posts, it’s not all that difficult to start blogging, but doing it well takes some skill and commitment. There are a few other things that go into becoming a successful blogger. If you’ve got all the qualities listed below, you just might have the makings of a GREAT author blogger.

1. SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISE. OK, you’ve written a book, so chances are good that you’ve already got a decent handle on this one. However, make sure you don’t get complacent with your current level of knowledge. If you plan to be in the blogging game for a while, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to share what you already know, but an even greater opportunity to stay current and provide cutting-edge information on your topic. Writing a blog is a great motivator for keeping your subject matter expertise always up to date.

2. PASSION. Again, you’ve written a book, so you probably have more than a passing interest in your subject. Here’s the thing, though: how well do you communicate your passion on a daily basis? Are you able to find fresh, new ways to present your material? The only way to grow your blog is by attracting regular readers – people who subscribe or come back for more every day. You especially want the ones who are willing to tell others how excited they are about finding your blog. So make sure you give them something to be excited about!

3. COMMITMENT. OK, you may have noticed that we keep hammering this one, but that’s because it takes a boatload of commitment to be a successful blogger. According to Virgin Blogger Notes, up to 80 percent of new blogs are abandoned within the first month. Then on the other end of the spectrum, 20 percent of bloggers update their blogs every day. You cannot go into it half-heartedly. Plan 40 to 50 posts for your blog launch, and then schedule time to write and post once, twice, or three times a week thereafter.

4. STRONG WRITING SKILLS. As a professional editor, I am both a fan of great writing and empathetic with those for whom writing is difficult. If you’ve got a good editor behind you, you don’t have to be a great writer to publish a book. A blog may be a different story, unless you’re going to pay someone to read every post. And blogging is so much more public than authoring a book. Sure, your goal is to sell those books, but your whole book isn’t up online for all the world to see. People have to find your book, decide they’re willing to pay money for it, and buy it before they can read it. Your blog, on the other hand, is right there for the viewing. If you don’t have the greatest writing skills, you might think about brushing up before you make the commitment to begin your blog.

5. EXCEPTIONAL RESEARCH & ORGANIZATION SKILLS. Going back to #1, remaining current and providing cutting-edge information is going to require regular research. Perhaps that’s simply a matter of subscribing to the right journals, reading the right blogs and websites, or following the right folks on Twitter. Or maybe it means digging deeper to ferret out the most recent facts, stats, and figures about your specialty topic. Either way, you will need to organize and present the information in an interesting way that is useful to your readers.

6. SEO SKILLS. Search engine optimization is a constantly changing enterprise, and it can be difficult to stay ahead of the curve. However, if you want people to find your blog, you’ll have to immerse yourself in SEO to a certain degree. Realize that not only do your posts need good keywords, but your headlines and images also need to be optimized if they’re going to help you win the rankings battles. The more you know about SEO, the better your blog is likely to do.

7. WILLINGNESS TO SHARE. While you needn’t give away every passage in your book for free, you will on occasion want to reward your regular readers with juicy, behind-the-scenes info about your book, your characters, and/or your writing process. I occasionally hear authors express fear that their work will be stolen, or that if they “give away too much,” no one will want to buy their books. That couldn’t be further from reality. How will people know they want to buy your book, book you to speak, or hire you as a consultant if they haven’t first had the opportunity to see your work in action? Dump the lack mentality and embrace giving! If you really want your blog to shine and grow, you’ve got to be willing to share openly.

8. AESTHETIC SENSIBILITY. This is really one of the aspects that sets apart good bloggers from great bloggers. Maybe you can’t define it, but you know it when you see it … a blog that feels good to look at, that welcomes you with enough information without being cluttered or disorganized. Unfortunately, USA Today and cable news shows have begun to inculcate us with the idea that the more stuff on a single page the better. I read the other day, however, that the tide is turning and beautiful packaging is starting to matter more than it ever has in the past. A great blogger knows how to use white space, images, bullets, and color to their best advantage. If graphic design is not your strong suit, you might want to brush up a bit in order to maximize your blogging power.

9. WILLINGNESS TO BUCK THE TREND. If you had a dad like mine, you’re probably familiar with that whole, “If everyone was going to jump off a cliff, would you do it, too?” argument. Your blog is a perfect place for you to be a trendsetter, rather than a trend follower. Of course you want to see what others are doing, but the best way to stand out in a crowd is by standing out in a crowd. You can’t do that if you’re simply mimicking what everyone else is writing, whether that’s with your blog or with your book. Be true to yourself, find out what your readers want, and give it to them.

BONUS:

STRONG WORK ETHIC. This final characteristic of a great blogger is borrowed from Mark Thompson at StayOnSearch.com, who actually inspired this entire post:

Having a strong work ethic turns good bloggers into great bloggers. Someone that is able to stick to a schedule, exceed personal goals and expectations, and push themselves will stand out from the crowd. Usually bloggers are self-motivators, because many of them do not see any type of direct financial impact. Many bloggers are writing for their own blog, so it is not exactly a situation where they are getting paid for each post they write. So it takes a person with a strong work ethic to see the long term benefits and keep pushing themselves to consistently produce great content.

The last thing I want to do is talk you out of blogging. However, you’re most likely to succeed and write a great blog if you can master all of the above skills and talents. If you ever need advice, help, or support, please come find us – we’re here for you!

Happy blogging!

MARCIE

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