Blogging Can Be A Lot Like Riding a Bike

Sometimes blogging is just like walking your dog

New to blogging? Read this post, which includes tips on how to write for your audience.


I live in the U.S. and on Labor Day my husband and I went for a bike ride.

Now, I hadn’t ridden my bike in a year so I wondered whether I would topple over as I took off.

I didn’t!

When we ride our bikes, we take the same 17-mile path every time. While the path may be the same, the environment changes, so it’s never boring.

Sometimes we see egrets and during the winter the creek can crest and spill over. Then there’s the pesky squirrel that loves to take a sprint in front of us.

So every time we ride, we notice something new.

Don’t you find blogging to be similar?

You can take a break from it and when you return, the steps are familiar. However, each time you write a new post you cover new territory, have new insights, and share new facts.

And each time you approach a new blog post, you need to explore topics that your audience wants to or needs to learn about.

Are you answering your audience’s questions or helping your audience learn something new or interesting? Or, are you simply writing an article that meets your needs, which can be as simple as “getting something out there” because someone said blogging is good for SEO.

You wouldn’t do that, would you?

In you are still new to blogging I recommend you read this post by HubSpot, which provides an useful formula to follow. Even if you’re not new to blogging, you may find their suggestions helpful.

Now let’s talk about your audience.

Frances Caballo - Blogging Just for WritersHow to Write Blog Posts Your Audience Craves

Unlike HubSpot’s template, there isn’t a formula for knowing how to reach your audience with your blog. It takes work, patience, experimentation, and perseverance. However, I can suggest these tips:

  1. One way to find your audience is to read blogs written by authorities in your niche. But don’t just read them; leave comments as well. As you build a relationship with these experts, pitch a guest post to them. The more often you write guest posts, the quicker your blog email list will grow and the faster you’ll expand your audience.
  2. Use Survey Monkey to ask your readers what they most want to learn from you through your blog.
  3. Then there’s the issue of length. Some say blog posts should be brief; others say they should be at least 1,200 – 1,800 words. Seth Godin, a master blogger and marketer, doesn’t abide by any of these rules. What I’ve learned is that there isn’t a correct answer. Write posts that most appeal to your readers in topic and length. You’ll know that you’re reaching your audience by the comments your readers leave,  the social media shares you receive, and the blog subscriptions that grow.
  4. Use visuals. Our brains can process visuals much faster than text and images provide a break in the blocks of text, which is a welcome relief for our eyes.
  5. Think about expanding into podcasts and videos. People love to listen to podcasts while they travel to work. Then publish the text of your podcast as a blog post. For video interviews, you can embed the html code from YouTube to your blog and provide a summary of the interview’s content.
  6. Each time you write a post ask yourself, “Will this post serve or help my audience?” Think of just one member of your audience and write a post for that person. Imagine what that person tells you that he or she needs to learn and write a post as your response.

Consistent blogging isn’t easy. You need to commit to the task, stick to your posting schedule, and stretch the boundaries of your skills. Read posts on the blogosphere, continually further your education, and strive to learn as much as you can about your audience so you can better meet its needs.

Blogging Topics for Authors

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Blogs and Podcasts I Read and Listen to Every Week

We all have our secret list of favorite blogs and podcasts we prefer. I base my preferences on whether or not I learn anything new and, especially in the case of podcasts, whether there’s an entertainment value.

Don’t get me wrong; solid information is what keeps me coming back week after week. But when it comes to podcasts, the audio has to be clear, the guests interesting, and the topics need to resonate with my struggles or interest. I listen to podcasts while I’m on the treadmill so if an episode doesn’t hold my interest sufficiently, the exercise can become unbearable.

I thought you might want to find out which bloggers and podcasters I pay close attention to. Well, here they are.

Bloggers I Read

Anne R. Allen

I adore Anne’s blog. Aside from being one smart lady, her mix of sass and education is priceless.

Buffer Blog

The folks at Buffer write in-depth posts that always teach me a new skill. I rely on this blog to keep my social media skills sharp.

BookWorks

I’m proud to be a blogger at BookWorks, but that’s not why the blog is on this list. I enjoy the other bloggers, including Penny Sansevieri, Carla King, Helen Sedwick, and Joel Friedlander, who write sharp posts. I always learn something when I read a new post, which is why I read blogs in the first place.

TheBookDesigner.com by Joel Friedlander

Blogger, author, and entrepreneur, Joel Friedlander is a masterful blogger and businessman who blogs on Mondays and has guest bloggers appear on Wednesdays. I always look forward to seeing what’s new on his site. Be sure to read his monthly reviews of book covers. You’ll learn a lot.

Jane Friedman

Jane is an author, former publisher of Writer’s Digest, and astute marketing maven. I always enjoy seeing what she has to say or one of her guest bloggers.

Digital Pubbing

Sabrina is a writer, ebook developer, and blogger at DigitalPubbing.com. I enjoy her interviews, posts, and compilation of top posts on specific topics. I wouldn’t miss an issue.

Podcasts I Follow

Serial

The reporters from This American Life are the hosts of this show. They dissect a story to its core, using their investigative reporter skills. If you can learn something from this podcast, it’s how to tell a story in an engaging, entertaining manner. But these stories are real so while they are entertaining, they can also be quite sad. I love this series. I’ve listened to the first two seasons and am eagerly awaiting season three.

Self-Publishing Formula Podcast

Mark Dawson and James Blatch co-host this podcast. Mark Dawson is a thriller author who hosts trainings on online advertising for indie authors. James Blatch is a former BBC News journalist who is currently writing his first novel. Together they form a formidable team.

Smarty Pants Book Marketing

Chris and Becca Syme, a mother-daughter team. Chris is a marketer and Becca is a hybrid author. Together they interview guests and share marketing strategies.

The Author Biz by Stephen Campbell

Stephen Campbell loves to analyze figures, so his guests often arrive at the show with spreadsheets noting how much they’ve spent, how much they’ve earned, and how many books they’ve sold. It’s always fun to hear about another indie author’s success.

The Creative Penn

This is my favorite podcast. I adore Joanna Penn’s personal ramblings at the beginning of the show, and she can make even the seemingly most boring topic fascinating. She’s bubbly, positive, and informative – a winning combination.

Frances CaballoThe author of this blog: Frances 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 WritersThe Author’s Guide to Goodreads, and Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day. 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.

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