Should you blog as an author and what do you write about?
You’ve probably done a lot of work (or are doing it now) writing a spectacular book and getting it ready for publishing. Now, you need to market your book and get people interested in what you have to say. You should get active on social media, build your media list, and have a post card or flyer that you can send via email or hand out. But you should also start blogging. For authors, a blog acts like a bite-sized writing snack that can engage the audience and get them interested in a book before it’s even published.
Maybe the last thing on your mind is writing more! But in reality, posting regular blog posts is a great way to drive traffic to your author website and get interest in you as an author.
One of the main challenges when it comes to blogging for authors is figuring out what to blog about. You need to figure this out before you start your blog. Just like any marketing tactic, your blog requires a bit of strategy development where you will figure out who your audience is, what they want to hear, how often you will blog, the overarching topical themes you will write about, and where your blog will be housed (hint hint: you should have a website!). Once you decide these things, you are in a great place to get started.
When you are deciding the overarching topical themes, try to categorize them so you can stay on track when it comes to the strategy you have developed. An easy way to divide your themes is as follows:
Theme 1: Inspiration
For an author blog, just like any other blog for business, it can’t always be a shameless sales pitch about your latest book and how great you are. Writing about people and things that inspire you is a great way to connect with influencers and other authors who, in turn, may also promote you as an author. It’s kind of an unspoken “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of thing. It also gives you the opportunity to tag influencers with a large following in your social media promotion. They may engage with your content if they know you are writing great things about them. Some types of posts you could write are:
- Book reviews & recommendations
- Q&As/Interviews with interesting people
Theme 2: About my book
Whether you are in the process of writing your next great book or you are done and figuring out how to promote it, writing about your book is a great way to engage your audience. You can boost book sales – sometimes before you even publish! It can also help you uncover interesting things about your book that you never noticed before because it forces you to look deeper behind the scenes – whether fiction or non-fiction. Some types of posts you could write are:
- A discussion of your research
- The people involved in developing your book (ie. Experts quoted, character inspirations, etc.)
- Topical inspiration (ie. current events, a dream, an experience, etc.)
- In-depth character analysis/background stories – for both main and secondary characters.
Theme 3: “A day in the life…”
This is all about you, which can sometimes be the most daunting as many people find it hard to talk about themselves. It’s right up there with self-promotion. If you are willing to put yourself out there, blogs in this theme category will let people get to know you on a personal level so they can feel connected to you. Chances are, if they feel personally connected to you, they will be more likely to buy your next book. Keep in mind this type of blog post shouldn’t just focus on your everyday, mundane tasks. We don’t need to know what you had for breakfast or that you slept in – unless it pertains to your creative process. Some great blog posts in this category could be:
- Describing your creative process (daily, when starting a project, etc.)
- What I’m reading (books, articles, published studies, etc.)
- How I marketed my first self-published book
- Character development (use your own characters as a case study)
- Personal stories – dreams, experiences, etc.
Include a call-to-action
Once you decide what you want to write about, make sure you include a call-to-action (CTA) in each blog (even a couple throughout!). A CTA is when you ask your readers to take action after reading your blog post. For example, your CTA could be “Buy the book to hear the whole story!” and it would link to where they could purchase. You might also ask people to join your mailing list to find out more about the book and when it will launch.
What are you waiting for?
You should blog at least once per week and keep your schedule consistent. If you post on the same day each week at the same time, your audience will come to expect it. Consistency is key – and if you are stuck, be sure to call an expert for advice!
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Candace Huntly is the founder and Principal of SongBird Marketing Communications, a Toronto-based boutique firm that works with clients to take their strategy and brand to the next level. She is an expert at telling brand stories and getting them shared through the right channels. She is conducting one of the workshops at Author Summit 2015, PR for Authors.