Building Flawless Author Foundations
We continue our series on building flawless author foundations by looking at the sometimes loved, but more often dreaded practice of blogging.
When I mention this topic during coaching, I can sometimes see the look of fear and dread come over the faces of my students. I will tell you what I always tell my students: You wrote a book. You can certainly write a weekly blog. Just like any writing practice, it’s a habit anyone can cultivate.
Blogging for Visibility.
Before we begin the how of creating a weekly blog habit, let’s look at why you should. The most important reason for any author to blog is for visibility. Yes, it will help you exercise your writing muscles, improve your writing skills, help you stretch our imagination, and connect with your readers. But if no one can find you, none of that matters. Blogging helps improve your website’s overall SEO (search engine optimization). Consistent, new content on your website’s blog helps to improve your Google search rankings.
What to Write.
Waiting for the perfect blog topics to magically flow to you is slowing you down. Done is better than perfect. Blogging is a much more informal method of writing. This is not your book. That doesn’t mean that it should be sloppy, by any means. But you don’t need to wait for divine inspiration and an editor and proofreader to produce a blog- just write. Did you read “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella (or maybe watch the Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams”)? If you write it, they will come.
Write about what you know; what flows naturally for you. Write about your writing. Write about your book(s). Write about your inspiration, where you got stuck, what you loved, what you hated, which character is your favorite, which is your least favorite, why did you choose black hair and green eyes, etc. You get the idea. But just in case you didn’t, I have some idea to help you get started. Read to the end to learn more.
How often to blog
There is no fixed rule about how often you should blog, regardless of what the Internet tells you. What matters most is that you’re consistent and that it works with your schedule. If you’re inconsistent, your readers will forget who you are. If you create a plan that’s too optimistic for your current lifestyle, you’ll fail and think blogging doesn’t work when in truth, you set yourself up to fail with unrealistic expectations.
Too much is not a good thing either. If you’re blogging daily, you’ll lose readership and possibly book sales. Why buy a book when a fan can read it for free on your blog, right? Don’t forget, people have lives outside of being your fan or follower. They don’t necessarily want to hear from you every day.
Creating a habit.
The secret behind creating a habit for anything is not really a secret. First, it takes the desire to get it done and then it’s about doing it consistently. Batch creation is an effective method to create most marketing content. Schedule time in your week to write blogs. If you batch create, you might find you only have to set this time aside every two weeks. If you’re stuck for an idea, do a free association writing exercise. Grab a piece of paper or a new document on your computer and just write ideas. One idea will naturally flow into another. If you see a theme, run with it. Create a monthly blog series on that theme. Then write the blogs. Don’t edit yourself at first, just write. Then go back and edit.
I like to organize unpublished blog posts in folders. If you’re blogging in WordPress, you can schedule your blog posts to publish ahead of time. Use a single, royalty free image you downloaded off a photo website like UnSplash or Pexels – NOT Google. Better yet, use one of your own photos. This image will be the image shared with the link to your blog. You can also search for a blog image header size on Canva if you’re feeling creative and make your own blog image.
Don’t stop now.
If you look at the writing habits of professional authors, you’ll find that they can’t help themselves. They have to write every day because they’ve created a habit. Most don’t think there’s such a thing as writer’s block because it doesn’t happen for them. The daily habit of writing is like a workout. Your brain is a muscle and if you work it out consistently, it will reward you with a healthy dose of creativity and words.
The same is true with blogging. One blog topic will naturally lead you into another. This is something I’ve found to be true for myself. Once you begin the habit, not only will you not want to stop, but you’ll see that your concerns about content no longer exist. You just have to write that blog post.
A word about word count.
I don’t think it matters. Sure, if you Google “ideal blog length” you’re going to find lots and lots of people with different opinions. And those opinions change from year-to-year. What matters more than anything when you’re starting out, is that you just write and publish the blog. If you begin with an unrealistic expectation from Google, you’ll fail to keep up and then you’ll blame blogging when it was a failed expectation. My purpose here is to just inspire you to begin.
My gift to you.
To help encourage you in your new, weekly blogging habit, I’ve created two free downloads – 25 Blog Topics for Fiction Authors and 25 Blog Topics for Non-Fiction Authors. Some topics work for both, but fiction and non-fiction aren’t always marketed the same. Before you leave, download the one that’s appropriate for your genre today.
As always, if you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment box below. If you’re feeling stuck and need a little help, click here to schedule a time to get “unstuck” in a free 30-minute consultation with me. I’ll do my best to help you get unstuck and provide as much value as I can to help you in your author marketing journey.
(Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System from Pexels)