Not Sure How to Blog? Follow These 4 Steps

Not Sure How to Blog? Follow These 4 Steps
Blogging. It’s wise for all authors to do it. Are you wondering how to blog? Keep reading.


Authors, who write a lot either as a passion or for a living, often seem stymied when it comes to writing blog posts.

I commonly hear the following comments:

“I said everything in my book.”

“My life isn’t that interesting.”

“I don’t have time.”

Well, as someone once told me, it’s not that we don’t have time; it’s that we let other tasks take priority.

Blogging can be as painful and as rewarding as gardening. Yes, gardening is hard work. You have to dig with your fingers into the recalcitrant dirt, get dirty, take risks with those rose thorns, and suffer the pain of bee sting.

But you can also enjoy fresh tomatoes for your salads, flowers for your vases, and the deep sense of appreciation that you created this marvelous symphony of colors and edibles.

Now you might have heard that fiction authors don’t need to blog. I don’t adhere to that philosophy. I know that blogging signals to Google that you have a dynamic website and offers another opportunity to connect with your readers.

As a fiction author, there are so many options you can pursue. You can review other books regularly or whenever you have the inclination. You can share your marketing tips. You can tell your readers about characters who never made the final edit of your book or share back stories on your main characters.

You can talk about how you got the idea for your latest novel. You can even talk about the death of a pet, your plans to move, explain where you write, and discuss why you write.

And you can do a mix of all of those topics.

Fiction authors have a wide open field of topics to select from. With those many options, why wouldn’t you want to regularly blog?

4-Point How to Blog Blueprint for Authors

Here are my best tips for creating blog posts that will light up your website and generate new traffic.

how to blog

Step One:  Write Your Content

If you’re looking for ideas for your blog, be sure to read this post: 34 Blogging Topics Just for Writers. Here are some additional ideas:

  • When you’re really stuck, use HubSpot’s blog topic generator. Type in a few words and Hubspot will give you several ideas.
  • Read other blog posts. I’m not suggesting that you steal other blogger’s topics, however, I do suggest that you check out who’s writing what and how those posts fair in terms of social shares. Maybe you can take a contrary view or expand on that topic.
  • Use BuzzSumo to see what’s popular.
  • Have you read a post that you don’t agree with? Explain why. I did once and it was so popular that CreateSpace included my post in its newsletter for authors.
  • Check out the types of comments other writers leave in blog posts you read. What questions do they ask? Then write a blog post that answers those questions.
  • What questions or comments do your readers leave on your Facebook page? Answer those in a blog post.
  • What questions do your readers ask in your blog comments?
  • Subscribe to a lot of blogs and read them. Yes, this will help you to generate topics.
  • Conduct a survey. I’ve done this and then used the survey responses as my editorial calendar.
  • When all else fails, go for a walk. That tactic always helps me.

how to blog

Step Two: Create Your Visuals

Once you write and upload your new post to your website, your next job is to create your visuals.

Here’s what I do. Using Canva, I take a shortcut by sizing the image of the top of my post using Twitter’s dimensions because those dimensions also work for Facebook.

Then I create a larger visual for Pinterest.

There are many types of visuals you can insert into your blog posts:

  1. Photos
  2. Infographics
  3. Graphic illustrations
  4. Videos
  5. Screenshots

Visuals improve your SEO (search engine optimization) because they become another way to add your keyword to your post. It’s also a fact that color images improve the reading of your post and multiple images keep people reading.

Also, when you share your post on social media, your visual will automatically be picked up and shared along with your headline and link. Updates are social media attract more readers and shares increase when you include an image.

Face it: creating your visuals are as important as writing your blog post.

Step Three: Determine Your Best Headline

Headlines are critical. They have to deliver a punch, attract a reader’s attention, and pique curiosity in your social media followers.

You want a headline that rocks. But don’t start your new post by writing a headline. The best time to write a headline is after you’ve finished the entire post and figured out your keywords.

Write a blog headline that rocks via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

It’s also important to test your headline using an analyzer. There are various free tools on the internet to use but the one I like best also measures the emotional impact of your headline. Here’s the link for Advanced Marketing Institute’s headline analyzer.

how to blog

Step Four: Promote Your New Posts with Social Media

I use a cool social share plugin called Social Warfare. On the text side of my blog, Social Warfare enables me to upload the images I want to use on social media, including Pinterest.

Here’s an example of what Social Warfare looks like when it’s in use on my website.

Social Warfare plugin example by Frances Caballo

As you can see above, I also have the options to write my Pinterest description, social media description and exact tweet. So whenever someone shares my post using my social share icons, the images and messages I’ve prepared appeared automatically.

In addition to using Social Warfare, I use the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. This plugin allows me to set up Twitter cards. A Twitter card is the image that accompanies the tweet.

So there you have it, my four steps to perfect author blogging.

Blogging Just For Writers by Frances Caballo

A terrific and practical book for writers who want and/or need to blog. Ms Caballo knows her stuff. Her suggestions are sensible, doable and down to earth. Loved it. ~~ Vicki Stiefel 

 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s has written for  TheBookDesigner.com, Jane Friedman, Joanna Penn, BookWorks, and other blogs. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Indie Author Weekly Update – July 13, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to the newest edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Let me point out David Gaughran’s post; he always writes awesome blog posts but this one in particular is revealing. With Instagram’s meteoric rise in popularity, be sure to check out the post with 22 Instagram hacks by Later.

We are definitely into the hot days of summer. I can feel the perspiration traveling down my neck as I write this. Do what you can to stay cool!

A Simple Method to Market Your Book by Penny Sansevieri: “Have you ever wanted to engage with popular blogs and people in the book biz? Following publishing experts and influencers on social media is not enough—you need to be proactive by standing out. Book promotion and marketing utilizes many tools, but there is one simple and efficient thing you can do that will help you connect.”

22 Instagram Hacks You Wish You Knew Sooner by Later: “If you’ve ever needed some Instagram hacks but didn’t know where to look, well, you’ve come to the right place! Maybe you’re wondering how to add line breaks to your Instagram bio? Or how to zoom in and out while recording an Instagram story? Or even how to respond to Instagram comments faster? Whatever your need, in the following post, we reveal 22 Instagram hacks and tips to help you get more from your Instagram marketing.”

The Amazon Algorithm Myth by David Gaughran: “A problematic feature of the world in 2018 is that the social networks we have built seem to spread misinformation faster and wider than its more accurate counterpart, and this can lead authors to make decisions counter to their interests. One of the enduring myths surrounds ‘The Amazon Algorithm.'”

3 Amazon Secrets Every Author Needs to Know from Writers Digest: “Amazon has always been a secretive organization. For example, Jeff Bezos never divulges how many Kindle devices the company actually sells. Instead, he makes cryptic remarks such as, “It’s the bestselling product in our store.” Also, Amazon doesn’t reveal how much money they make selling books. Those financial numbers are rolled into their “Media” division that includes movies and other products. In addition, Amazon keeps a lot of book marketing secrets hidden from the world. If you write and sell books on Amazon, here are 3 secrets every author needs to know.”

How to Get Holiday Book Sales: Steps 1-3 from BookBaby: “Whatever your flavor of celebration, the holiday season is a great time to sell your published eBook or printed book. After all, it’s a $3 billion business for booksellers at the end of the year, and according to Dominique Raccah, CEO of Sourcebooks, 25 percent of trade books are bought as gifts. How do you get your share of these holiday sales? In the spirit of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” I have a dozen tried-and-true selling ideas for the holiday season.”

10 Tips for Authors on Using Social Media from a Literary Agent by Eric Smith: “As a literary agent, I’m lucky enough to go to a lot of writing workshops, where I usually dish advice about one of two things: query letters or social media. When it comes to social media and publishing, digital platforms have a special place in my heart.”

Quote of the Week

Whether you’re setting up your social media for the first time or wanting to take it to the next level, get the newest edition of Social Media Just for Writers.

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update – June 22, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Learn about the new Instagram algorithm in this week’s Indie Author Update as well as how to launch a book. Don’t miss Dave Chesson’s post on SEO for the indie author either.

How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2018: Everything You Need to Know  from Buffer: “How exactly does the Instagram feed work? That question has puzzled marketers ever since Instagram first introduced its algorithm in July 2016. The Instagram algorithm was introduced to help surface the best, most relevant content to each user every-time they check their feed. Until now, though, the inner-workings of the feed have been kept under wraps, but recently Instagram shared the six key ranking factors publicly for the first time.”

How to Take Your Readers From Strangers to Superfans from Chris Syme and David Gaughran: “In this episode, Chris interviews author David Gaughran about his new book, Strangers To Superfans. In the show Chris calls this “possibly the best book marketing book ever,” a must-read for authors at every level.”

Want Reviews, Guest Posts, Spotlights, Interviews? Treat Bloggers With Respect! by Anne R. Allen: “The contempt some business people have for bloggers never ceases to amaze me. Every day I get emails demanding I do free work for companies that are obviously solvent enough to hire employees—so why do they imagine it’s okay to demand that bloggers work for them…for nothing?”

SEO for Authors – Part 2 from TheBookDesigner.com and by Dave Chesson: “Writing a book is no easy task. This is particularly true for independent authors. In addition to the writing workload, self-publishers are saddled with the stress of marketing and promotion. One of the best ways to help ensure your efforts are rewarded is to ensure you’re not overlooking any SEO ideas that can be applied to your books.”

The Introvert’s Guide to Launching a Book from JaneFriedman & by  L.L. Barkat: “If you write a book, it’s natural to want to promote it, right? As an introverted writer—who for many years misdiagnosed herself as an extrovert because she was outgoing—I can say, without a doubt: no, it’s not natural. While it might be natural for the extroverted writer, it is anything but natural for the introverted writer when promotion means constant extension of that writer’s self into the world.”

This is The Reason Book Marketing is Exhausting You and How to Fix That by Rachel Thompson: “Many writers are exhausted by book marketing — even those who haven’t released their book yet. Sometimes, simply the thought of where to begin can be enough to stop a writer from ever starting at all. What to do? There are really three situations we find ourselves stuck in.”

IGTV: The Ultimate Guide to Instagram’s New Video Platform from Later: “IGTV, Instagram’s brand new video platform, is here! IGTV is a place for vertical, long form videos on Instagram, and it’s available in both the native Instagram app and the new standalone IGTV app. Here are 3 things you need to know about IGTV, plus we answer a ton of questions about how IGTV works, how to upload videos to IGTV, and what this brand new platform means for you.”

Quote of the Week

The simpler you say it, the more eloquent it is.

 

 

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Whether you’re setting up your social media for the first time or wanting to take it to the next level, get the newest edition of Social Media Just for Writers.


I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it’s a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Janet Kinsella

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Indie Author Weekly Update – June 16, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to the Indie Author Weekly Update. This week’s update covers it all from book marketing to pen names to Instagram and more. They are all great posts!

This is how to market books under a pen name by Belinda Griffin: “Think it’s not possible to market your books if you’re writing under a pen name? Think again. I received an email this week from a reader who is feeling confused about how to start marketing her books as she writes under a pen name and hasn’t shared her writing endeavours with her friends or family. And I spoke to another author recently who is terrified of marketing her books (written under a pen name) in case anyone discovers her true identity and reveals her author career to her abusive ex. Each of these writers are using pen names for different reasons but both feel their writing will be doomed to obscurity as a result. I say absolutely not!”

14 Amazingly Free Stock Photo Websites [Infographic] by Mark Walker Ford: “Images play a key role in content marketing, and can help your posts stand out in busy social feeds. But it can be time-consuming to take your own photos, and you may not have the skills to compose compelling images. That’s where stock photo sites come in. Using stock photos, you can ensure your posts always have great visual elements. But they can also be expensive. Unless you know where to look.  In the infographic below, we share 14 free stock image websites which you can search and use in your content.”

4 Ways Your Brand Should Be Using Instagram Collections from Hootsuite: “800 million people discover, share, and engage with content on Instagram. So, it makes sense that the platform would release a feature that allows users to save and organize the content they want to return to—Instagram collections. With this feature, users can privately bookmark Instagram posts and group them into as many collections as they want. Find out how to use Instagram collections below, plus four ways brands can use this “save it for later” tool as part of their Instagram strategy.”

Dark Inklings: Twitter for Dark Fiction Writers by Shadow Leitner: “I shied away from Twitter for the longest time. It was noisy and I always found myself stuck in a time continuum there. I’d wake up groggy and wondering if I hadn’t been abducted by aliens. While there is still a lot of static and it can suck my time like a vacuum set on turbo, I’ve recently begun to embrace this platform.”

10 SEO Tips to Increase Google Rankings & Traffic [Infographic] by Mark Walker Ford: “Are you looking for ways to increase the number of visitors to your business website? Want to know how to improve your rankings on Google? Express Writers share their SEO tips for success in this infographic.”

6 book marketing lessons from the big guys by Sandra Beckwith: “Sometimes, you can find book marketing lessons in unexpected places.  The Goodreads blog recently published a detailed case study about how Celeste Ng’s second book became a best-seller. “Case Study: How Penguin Press Made ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ a Roaring Success” outlines the publisher’s marketing support, which includes Goodreads activity. It would be easy to dismiss this article as irrelevant to you and me and most other authors. The vast majority of novelists – regardless of the publishing model used – simply aren’t enjoying Ng’s success.”

Quote of the Week

“Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but, until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Whether you’re setting up your social media for the first time or wanting to take it to the next level, get the newest edition of Social Media Just for Writers.


I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it’s a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Janet Kinsella

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Indie Author Weekly Update – June 8, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. Wow! There was a plethora of book marketing blog posts on the internet this past week. I’d like to point out David Gaughran’s post on how to sell books. As usual, he offers some real gems.

As always, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Marketing Uncovered: How To Sell Books by David Gaughran: “Marketing is more complicated than ever, but the tools we have for reaching readers are fantastic these days, and the rewards for reaching the summit of Mount Discovery are simply immense. Even worth this long-ass intro I’m about to drop! Sometimes we forget. I hear people complaining that things are down across the board and Amazon is squeezing the margin out of everyone, or that the Golden Era is over.”

Hate Book Marketing? 4 Tips To Help You Change Your Mindset and Sell More Books  from Joanna Penn and Belinda Griffin: “It’s ridiculous, you’ve written an entire series of novels, you have a great flair for writing, but this tweet, this tiny message to the world… it’s impossible! You’re not alone. I’ve suffered from this myself and spoken to plenty of other writers who feel the same. You’re not crazy, or stupid, or anything else you may have called yourself. There is, in fact, a very reasonable explanation for your struggle.”

SEO for Authors – Part 1 from TheBookDesigner.com and by Dave Chesson: “Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is the art and science of convincing a search engine, like Google, to send people to your website, content, or product. As an author, why should you care?”

How to Network Better by Saying Less by Jane Friedman: “When I was growing up, my mother often repeated the adage “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” It’s rare that you hear that advice today (we live in very different times), but, for better or worse, I took it to heart and soon uncovered the strange power of silence. Far from preventing people from passing judgment on me, it did the opposite. By remaining quiet in a room full of people talking, and then offering a sharp observation, it increased my presence and influence. Sometimes people listen more carefully when you do finally speak, or they attribute meaning that isn’t there to acts of silence.”

Publishing on Medium…Can It Work for You? – BookWorks from BookWorks: “We wrote about publishing on Medium here in April 2016, when it was still finding its legs. Check out that post if you’re not familiar with Medium to understand its genesis. Since then it has grown and evolved, now offering monetization that was only in the works back then. In the interest of keeping tabs on developments, we set up a free account and receive a daily list of curated content based on the categories we selected. We watched Medium become a robust network of smart writers and experts on every imaginable subject.”

How To Strategically Build A Brand Experience By Guest by Charli Mills and from Rachel Thompson: “Before I rode off into the sunset to pursue literary art in 2012, I used to ride for an outfit, herding their brand. As the person in charge of the marketing communications department for a growing natural food enterprise, I multi-tasked in key areas. My team’s most important responsibility was to manage the organization’s brand experience. Like authors with multiple books, we owned multiple brands. We depended upon a customer base to interact with those brands to give them full expression.”

Quote of the Week

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Whether you’re setting up your social media for the first time or wanting to take it to the next level, get the newest edition of Social Media Just for Writers.


I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it’s a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Janet Kinsella

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update October 6, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update contains every topic from Pinterest hashtags to selling books when you don’t have an audience. How? Keep reading to find out!

Go Local: Marketing Books to Targeted Communities by Jane Friedman: “When I hear professional publicists and PR people offer advice to authors, one theme that comes up again and again is: start where you are. Use the power of your community—and the people you know—to gain momentum.”

[Read more…]

12 Ways to Uncover Google Analytics Data

Google Analytics

Some people hold the mistaken belief that I’m a techie because I understand and know how to use social media. It’s not true.

I’m just persistent.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – January 27, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to today’s Indie Author Weekly Update. You’ll see new bloggers on a range of topics from ebook sales to Snapchat spectacles to hashtags.

On a personal note, we received a break from the storms. Yes, finally. The sun has even shined a few hours every day. Thank you for your patience as I return to my regular blogging schedule.


Indie Author Weekly Updates

A Powerful Shortcut for Discovering Keywords to Increase Ebook Sales from Digital Book World: “Indie authors and ebook publishers have a powerful tool for increasing book sales that costs nothing and already exists in their online book selling setup: keywords. The keywords associated with an ebook in an online store can help drive readers to your sales page. When you attract more people to your book’s sales page, the more opportunities you have to make sales.”

[Read more…]

How Writers Can Improve their SEO without Pricey Experts

How Writers Can Improve Their SEO without Pricey ExpertsGoogle and Facebook are similar in one way; they frequently tweak their algorithms. It’s only Google that changes its algorithm for SEO.

And while Facebook announces its algorithm revisions without assigning names to the changed algorithms, Google does assign monikers to its changes.

In August 2012, Google introduced its mighty Pirate update, followed by one of the most famous updates in September 2014, Panda. You could practically hear SEO experts wail across the internet as they anguished over what the changes would mean for them and their clients’ websites.

[Read more…]