I’m back! So let’s add a new topic to the Learn More About… page. Blogging is challenging for many writers. Marketing experts praise it and tell writers to use their blog to promote themselves but how?
Here are a few rules about blogging as a writer (beware: sarcasm may drip).
- Talk about your work but don’t really talk about your work
- Post a minimum of three times a week but don’t spend too much time on your blog because you need to use your creativity to write your next book
- Make your posts a conversation starter and respond to all comments
- Your readers want to know you but they don’t want to know about your day-to-day life unless you’re Jackie Collins
- Don’t post samples of what you’re working on but get your readers to critique your work before you publish
Do you see the problem with these rules? For each one, there’s a “but” that almost, but not quite, negates the rule. How do you get around it? Read about blogging and personal experience. By the way, this list is by no means exhaustive. I’m no blogging expert. I’m just a blogging writer.
Here’s what I’ve found works:
- Do post consistently. I post twice a week because it’s what I can manage but three times really is ideal to keep readers coming back. I haven’t posted in two weeks since I decided to have a real vacation. I’m sure that I’ll have to start building my readership up again.
- Have theme days. I’m going to start doing this. Since spring, I’ve tried to keep a theme going for a few weeks at a time but not on any specific day simply because I’m not sure which day I will be able to write the post. Having a specific day keeps readers who are interested in a theme coming back to a blog on that particular day of the week and that keeps readership up.
- Which themes? Perhaps how-to self-publish posts. Or something on writing like how to craft a story, finding inspiration, grammar, etc. Or the challenges or successes of writers and social media. How about a personal interest or experience theme? My friend Patricia Sands posts about France every Friday. Just pick a theme and be consistent. Themes do work. My most popular posts are Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Self-published, Learn More About…page, and 90 Days to My Novel (which is going to take a lot longer than ninety days. I will update when there is something to say!).
What to blog about is the hardest part. Theme days solve this problem because you know that say on Wednesdays, you have to write a post about your personal mission to test each toilet bowl cleaner on the market. Why not? Maybe you’re a closet scientist. Come out! Using articles, a book you’re reading, a writing event or other writing blogs as inspiration works.
With rules like “talk about your work without talking about your work” and “talk about yourself without getting personal,” blogging becomes a balancing act. Readers want to get to know a writer in a limited kind of way. Maybe a personal issue with toilet bowls might not be the way to go. In my limited experience, informative posts with a personal spin work well.
What do you blog about? What are some of your favorite blogs? Are there any topics writers should be posting about but aren’t. What are they? Leave a comment. I love hearing from you.