by Kate Rafferty / selfpublishingUS.com
The most frequently asked questions we get about blogging are “Why should I blog?” and “What should I write about?”
The first thing you need to understand is that blogging is simply online writing specifically for the blog that you do for free. But this content can also be repurposed and shared on your social media and email newsletters.
TIP: A blog post should be a minimum of 300 words and include 1-2 subheadings. And each blog should have at least one image.
Why Should an Author Blog?
We recommend blogging to authors to help promote their website, to provide interesting content to their readers/followers, and to create content for their social media and e-newsletter marketing strategy.
Marketing or SEO – Keep your website fresh and relevant. A frequently updated website will get more attention from Google and other search engines. Fresh means to update consistently. Relevant means to choose topics related to your book(s) so that searchers might stumble upon it. NOTE: not everyone will come to your website via your home page.
Writing to your target audience – If people like your writing style, they might be interested in what you have to say and read your book.
Repurposing your blog – the blog will help you develop a content strategy that can be reused for marketing purposes on social media and email newsletters. TIP: Do NOT copy and paste your blog post to social media or your newsletter. Create a short, engaging excerpt and link to the blog post. This will help drive traffic to your website and assist in marketing and SEO.
There are many reasons not to blog. The primary reason is that an author is unable to commit to at least one blog post a month. You can always ramp up to more blog posts a month, but I would never suggest creating a blog and then abandoning it. If you are not going to blog regularly don’t bother starting; it will just make your website look abandoned and incomplete.
What Should an Author Blog About?
Before thinking about a topic you should be clear about two things: who your target audience is and what their interests are. Jot down some notes about who you think your idea target audience is. Describe them as you would a character in a story – give them a name, identify their age and location, etc. By picturing an avatar of your readers, you will be better able to write for them.
Fiction writers will gravitate towards different topics than will nonfiction writers. The latter might consider FAQs or “did you know?” whereas a fiction writer might share other fictional short stories, further describe a fictional landscape, or expand upon minor characters.
Here are some ideas of topics for blog posts:
Announcements about the book coming soon, the title reveal, the cover reveal, a launch party, and a press release.
Share articles, columns, or interviews that you have written or participated in for other websites/businesses.
Share press releases, guest appearances, podcasts, book signings, appearances at conventions/fairs, etc.
Consider revealing the chapter heading and some element, topic, or concept from the chapter. Perhaps include a short excerpt.
Consider writing about your genre(s) and subgenre(s).
Share book reviews and testimonials. This is more useful if people have posted on a third-party site like Google Review or Facebook Reviews, and you share some details.
Nonfiction writers can review other authors’ books or articles on a similar topic. Fiction writers can review other authors’ books or articles in a similar genre or subgenre. Perhaps include very short excerpt from the book/article and be sure to include a link/credit to the author’s website or the article.
Something trending in the news that is relevant to your book or genre.
Grouping Blog Topics into Categories
Can you think about some recurring columns, topics, or categories referred to in a blog? A category is just a grouping of similar topics. It is possible to create multiple blog categories to organize your content. If you think you can write multiple topics, consider categories to group blog posts. Based on the topics above, an author could have a blog with the following types of categories/groupings:
- My Books
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Committing to an Author Blog
Can you create twelve 300 word posts a year?
Can you write more than once a month? Twice a month? Once a week?
If you have four blog categories, can you provide content for at least one post in each category per month?
Can you perhaps commit to a weekly column (category) like Throwback Thursday, FAQ Friday, or Monday Mysteries?