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

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

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

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Indie Author Weekly Update – May 18, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. Be sure to read Sandra Beckwith’s post on Goodreads and how to create pre-launch buzz for your book by Rachel Thompson. And as always, enjoy your Friday and the weekend!

How to interact with readers on Goodreads by Sandra Beckwith: ““I can’t figure out Goodreads!” It’s a common author lament. While Goodreads is a social network of sorts, the site for book lovers doesn’t look, feel, or operate like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms you might use. It’s so different, in fact, that many authors simply ignore it because doing that is easier than spending the time required to understand the site and how to use it.”

Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing: Eldonna Edwards Weighs the Pros and Cons by Anne R. Allen: “I’d been writing a novel off-and-on for over a decade when life threw me one of those cosmic curveballs that sent me careening in a totally different direction. Actually, it was more like me running onto the field and catching a curveball between the eyes, or in this case, in the kidney.

25 Creative Ways Authors Use Images for Social Media Marketing from BookBub: “Some social platforms revolve around sharing visual content, including Instagram, where photos still generate 36% more engagement than videos. And on platforms where images are optional, including them dramatically increases engagement. For example, Facebook posts with images see 2.3x more engagement than those without images.”

Helping Senior Citizens Self-Publish by Joel Friedlander: “Although the indie publishing world sometimes seems to be populated by young entrepreneurial authors, in fact a lot of writers publishing books today are at the other end of the spectrum—senior citizens. It may be hard to pin down what exactly we mean by “older authors,” but I generally take it to mean people 50 years of age and over who haven’t published their own books before.”

How To Build 1,000 Superfans When You’re Starting From Zero from by Joanna Penn: “Former Wired editor Kevin Kelly famously argued that 1,000 superfans is all you need for success as a creator (authors, musicians, artists… anyone who sells things they create). A superfan is someone who will buy anything you produce and sing your praises to anyone who will listen, winning you potential new fans for your books. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful for selling books, and that’s why authors strive to get superfans.”

How to Create Pre-Launch Buzz for Your Book Right Now Rachel Thompson: “Build relationships with readers on social media. This means interact, ask questions, strategically follow readers (not only other writers). Time: Realistically, plan to spend 30-60 minutes daily.”

Quote of the Week

The most important things to remember about back #story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.STEPHEN KING

 

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

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Need Visuals For Your Social Media? Try These Apps

 

Need Visuals For Your Social Media? Try These Apps

I have never described myself as a visual person. I can open the refrigerator door, frustrated when I see there’s “nothing to eat,” and fail to notice a big, fresh salad that my husband made for me in the morning.

Or I can walk into a friend’s home and miss the freshly painted walls or wallpaper newly added to the entry.

If I happened to witness an accident, I would be hard-pressed to give the police any details. I wouldn’t recall the color of the car or details about the suspect.

Despite this quirk of mine, I am always drawn to social media images. In fact, I more often gloss over (or not read at all) wordy posts on Facebook and instead jump ahead to the beautiful pictures, funny memes, and short, meaningful quote graphics.

Visual Content Rules

I’m not the only one who prefers visual posts over text. Look at these statistics from Wishpond.com:

  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
  • Videos on landing pages increase average page conversion rates by 86%.
  • Visual content is social-media-ready and social-media-friendly. It’s easily shareable and easily palatable.
  • Posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits and engagement than those without.
  • 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to carry more weight than product information or customer ratings

Keep reading this post I wrote for BookWorks

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. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of 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, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

Get Your Visuals Seen!

Get your visuals on Pinterest. But first learn how to use Pinterest. Pick up a copy of my book, Pinterest Just for Writers!

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave