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.
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.
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:
- Graphic illustrations
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.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Write a blog headline that rocks via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Write a blog headline that rocks via @CaballoFrances”]
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.
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.
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.
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
Author of this blog: Frances 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.
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