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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Platform Building & Media Relations for Indie Authors

Chris Well recently joined me on a Conversations with Frances broadcast. Hear what he had to say about media relations and platform building for indie authors.


Chris started young in the media; by college he was writing for national magazines. Later, he worked in radio and worked as an editor with a magazine. Over the years, he has accumulated 25 years in the media working with a number of brands. This is what he had to say:

The right email to the right reporter will get you coverage. That said, any author can find media coverage.

[Read more…]

15 Best Blogs for Indie Authors to Follow

Blogs Just for Indie Authors

Blogging can be so important to an indie author’s brand.

Should you blog? That depends. Many fiction authors do well even though they don’t blog. Instead of blogging, though, they have an active presence on Facebook and perhaps two other sites where they engage with their readers.

But if you write nonfiction, well, you just can’t get around the need to blog regularly. How else would you expose your writing, thoughts, education, and expertise to potential clients as well as readers?

I read a lot of blogs, and from the ones I read regularly, I’ve selected my list of the top 15 blogs for indie authors. If any are new to you, expand your world and check them out.

Here’s the list:

TheBookDesigner.com

TheBookDesigner is Joel Friedlander’s blog. He started this blog out of thin air several years ago and has grown it into a mainstay in the independent publishing arena. If you’re self-published, you have to read this blog.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Roundup September 30, 2016

Indie Author News This WeekAs an indie author, what steps are you taking to sell more books? How to sell more books is the continual question for authors and so I hope this week’s indie author weekly roundup will provide some answers for you.

And …

Don’t forget to sign up for next Tuesday’s Conversations with Frances when I’ll be interviewing blogging and self-publishing expert Joel Friedlander. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask him anything you’d like as well. So join us October 4 at 11 am.


Indie Author Updates

10 Things Authors Need to Stop Doing on Social Media Immediately from Digital Book World: “Almost every author has been told at some point, “You gotta get online and promote.” But only a small percentage of authors have actually been coached on social media best practices, resulting in hundreds of authors using social media completely wrong and turning readers off rather than attracting them. If you are guilty of any of the following social media practices, for the sake of your readership, please stop immediately.”

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Roundup September 16, 2016

Indie Author Weekly Roundup by Frances Caballo

This week’s Indie Author Weekly Roundup is rich with social media advice. I hope you enjoy this edition.

Conversations with Frances Webinar SeriesIf you haven’t signed up for my webinar with Joanna Penn, do so now. I will debut my new webinar series, Conversations with Frances with Joanna as my first guest. It promises to be a lively discussion as we talk about marketing and her new program, How to Write a Novel. Join us!


Not Sure How to Approach Social Media? CARE about Your Readers via Jane Friedman: “Among all the rules you’ll find online—the 80/20 rule (only 20 percent of your posts should be about your books or blog posts), the admonitions against using social media as a bullhorn, the warnings about over-automating—there’s also an unspoken tenet. This tenet isn’t a rule that comes up on the blogosphere. Instead, it’s more of a system of approach; to describe it, I use an acronym that I created while preparing for the San Francisco Writers Conference last February.”

Fact: 78 percent of Americans have a social media profile Click To Tweet

Indie Author Updates

Pinning Away Pinterest Social Media by Ronel Janse Van Vuuren: “I had this nagging suspicion that my social media skills are a bit lacking. So I signed up for an email course through social media strategist Frances Caballo’s blog while I was there reading yet another great article. I knew that I was wasting valuable writing-time managing my social media platform. Yet I didn’t know how to fix it on my own. (Yeah, misspelling the title of this blogpost could’ve worked well here…)”

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Roundup – August 19, 2016

Untitled design-2

I spent last week in Monterey and normally I have a lovely time in this coastal community where I was born but the smoke-filled air was a constant reminder of the dangers of the Soberanes Fire in Big Sur and Carmel Valley. There are numerous fires in California right now and we’re constantly reminded of the danger as dry, brown hills cover the state and surround my community. I can only hope that the fire crews remain safe, no more lives are lost, and that the winter brings plenty of rain. I hope you’re having a safe summer. Oh yeah; I hope you enjoy this week’s Indie Author Weekly Roundup too!


Working With Cover and Interior Designers from Joel Friedlander and by Jennie Nash: “Almost every publishing professional advising self-publishers says the same thing: focus on editing and cover design. Those are the two most important elements of your book, the ones that will make the biggest difference in how your book is re-ceived and how it will sell. We’ve already discussed how working with a good editor can help make or break your book, so now let’s take a look at the importance of good design, both inside and out.”

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update

Indie Author Weekly Updates by Frances Caballo

Here’s another edition of the indie author roundup. This week’s post focuses on marketing, including the importance of keywords and metadata.

The weekend is a few hours away and isn’t that wonderful? I’ll spend time volunteering at a dog and horse rescue today and then spend my weekend hiking and cycling. I love spending time outdoors on weekends. Do you? Let me know what you like to do on weekends, other than reading and writing, of course.


News for the Indie Author

Anatomy of the Bonus: Checklists, Cheatsheets, Worksheets, and More by Joel Friedlander of TheBookDesigner.com: “One of the constants in the internet marketing world is the awarding of ‘bonuses’ with almost any kind of product, including books. In its most basic form, a bonus could be considered anything extra that has value. By ‘extra’ we mean that a bonus is something added to something else, perhaps a thing you weren’t expecting. And an extra has to please us, or add real value, to be considered a ‘bonus.'”

Note: Joel is absolutely right. Never hesitate to give your readers a surprise bonus, especially when you sell something to them.

Surprise your readers and buyers with bonusesClick To Tweet [Read more…]

Indie Authors’ Weekly Updates

Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day by Frances CaballoI have exciting news! My newest book, Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day, is now available for presale.

In eleven chapters, I help you:

  • understand the new formula for saving time
  • learn how to become a more effective and efficient marketer
  • maintain quick cheat sheets to vocabulary and hashtags
  • learn about the apps that will best help writers save time while using social media.

So grab my newest book now.

 


Updates for Indie Authors

Weekly Updates for Indie Authors by Frances Caballo

Every Saturday I pull on my hiking boots and head to the woods. But tomorrow we’ll be driving to California’s North Coast instead, where we’ll hike for three hours. It should be fun. Let me know what you’re doing this weekend in the comments below. In the interim, I hope you enjoy this week’s updates for indie authors.


Pronoun & Macmillan: a Shift to More Author-Friendly Publishing? by BookWorks: “Macmillan purchased Pronoun, an eBook creation, distribution, and marketing service for independent authors. Along with Pronoun, Macmillan purchased an innovative entourage that includes Booklr, a data analysis service for eBook sales, and Byliner, which publishes ‘urgent, necessary journalism for the present day’ along with short fiction and serials. But I think that what Macmillan really bought was innovation, which in the generally stodgy world of traditional publishing is rare and admirable. And that innovation is data-centric.”

[Read more…]

Social Media Hacks for Indie Authors

Social Media Hacks for Indie AuthorsOn February 1, I fell and fractured my left wrist. It was a bad fracture.

Each time the radiology techs took an x-ray, they would say, “Oh, my God!” or “That’s a really bad break.”

There’s a reason I’m telling you this painful tale.

After the fall, I suddenly found myself with just one useable arm and hand. For eight long weeks, my left arm and a good part of my hand were in a cast. (The experience gave me a new appreciation for amputees.)

Even after the cast came off, for several weeks my hand would go into a spasm whenever I tried to type.

What’s a writer to do? This is how I handled the setback.

Social Media Hacks for a One-handed Writer

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Friday Roundup: Resources for Indie Authors

10-24-14 Resources for Indie Authors

Every Friday I compile a list of online resources for Indie authors to help newly published writers market their books on the social web. I hope you enjoy this week’s selection.


Better Shares, More Engagement: The 4:1 Sharing System for ‪Social Media Content, Buffer Blog: When I went rock climbing for the first time, I had no idea what I was doing. My friends and I were complete newbies about ropes and rappelling and every other bit of jargon and technique that goes with climbing. We saw others doing it spectacularly well. We were thrilled at the thought of reaching the top of the climbing wall; we had no idea how to get there. I’d imagine that a social media marketing plan could feel the same way.

The Only Way to Build a Brand on Social Media is Through Trust by Ted Rubin: Whether you’re building your personal brand, your business brand or both, one thing remains true: You need content to help you build trust and followers.

Finding Your Purpose and Voice on Pinterest by Kim Vij:Why are you on Pinterest?  Can your readers and/or customers easily identify the purpose of your pinterest boards? Your Pinterest Boards should feel like a store front window for your brand. Does yours?  With over 1.5 Million on Pinterest followers at The Educators’ Spin On It we’re continually trying to ensure that we’re bringing to our amazing followers the content that encouraged them to click FOLLOW.  Here are a few steps to get you started.

3 Fatal Social-Media Traps (And How To Avoid Them) from Forbes: Social media is a sink hole. Sound familiar? A company can pour all its available manpower and time, yet still barely make a dent in its brand recognition, brand value and sales. There is a natural tendency here to make three critical mistakes. Almost every business makes them at one time or another. By examining them, we’ll also see what you can do better and how to avoid the traps…

The Complete A to Z Guide To Personal Branding [Infographic] from Lifehack: If you’re creating a personal brand it can be an exciting process with many benefits if you know what you’re doing. But as with most things, if done incorrectly, you may not only see no result at all, but also negative consequences. Lack of attention or traction to your personal brand can be fixed, but be careful not to gain a bad reputation. Remember, word-of-mouth travels fast, especially online.

 

Frances Candid Shot 12-5-13About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by Clicking Here. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

 
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