The Why and How of Developing a Blog Strategy by @nblackburn01

By Naomi Blackburn | Author Marketing

Sep 21

Blog

In my continuing series where I answer questions asked by YOU (in this case, this question comes from writer Camela Cami Thompson), staff writer Naomi Blackburn takes on ‘What is a blog strategy and is it important for authors to have one?’ Thanks Camela for a fab question! Here you go….

 

I am always shocked when authors ask me if they have to blog. My resounding YES always leads to, “But I don’t know what to write about!”

Why Blog?

Blogs are wonderful because they give authors an opportunity to take an active role in marketing their works to their readers while also providing a way to network with other authors. Let’s face it. Before an author has name recognition by the public, a chunk of the effort is focused on relationship building with a readership base. What better way than a blog to help to facilitate this?

Develop a Blog Strategy and Calendar

As with everything in the business world, the key to success is always in the planning. Developing a blog calendar and strategy allows for seamless posts and provides alternatives to marketing and social media opportunities besides shouting “BUY MY BOOK!”

First, decide what you want to blog about. Ask yourself:

  • Is it close to the subject matter of my works?
  • What do I want my “brand” to be?
  • Who do I want my target audience to be?

Maybe you want to be recognized as a dynamic professional, such as Molly Greene, who is an author of romantic mystery fiction, but writes a blog specifically focused on blogging for authors. Or do you want to focus on your readers and write on topics close to the genre of your books? For example, maybe you write romantic fiction and want to use your blogs to discuss suggestions for romantic interludes with that special someone.

The next step in your blogging strategy is to plan out a list of topics on a calendar. For example, I have a desktop calendar that has my topics listed for the next three months. Having a calendar with mapped out blog post topics allows me to write ahead. My calendar is based on the topics for my forthcoming book, The Author CEO: The Book. Preplanning also allows for emergency posts and/or guest posts, as needed. Have a new book in the works? Having a blog calendar allows for scheduling pre-release blog posts announcing the new release.

(On this note, I am of the opinion that everyone must have a professional blog, no matter who the target audience is. Since your blog is essentially your corporate image, I always recommend hiring a professional to develop the site that hosts the blog.)

Still Not Sure What to Write About?

One of my favorite posts by Molly Greene that I frequently recommend to clients is 101 Blog Topic Ideas. The post is divided into several categories and Molly, in her own pithy way, addresses numerous topics—from supporting other authors to showcasing one’s own work.

Networking with authors is critical in blogging. It can get very difficult to come up with fresh ideas. Always having that “spot on” blog post can become stressful. Furthermore, the lack of networking and only writing for your own blog can lead to isolation, which not only costs you in terms of visibility, but also in potential lost opportunities for cross-promotional blog posts. So, come up with ways to have guests on your blog, and offer posts to others who may also be looking for fresh or new content.

I know that I am not an “expert” in everything. Being able to host subject matter experts—such as an author attorney writing on Copyright, Fair Use, and Book Reviewers—on my blog allowed me to present my readers with information I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to provide them.

Editing Matters

Regardless of what topics you choose, I can’t stress enough the importance of using an editor or, at the very least, having someone else review your posts. It drives me crazy when I see mistakes in author’s blog posts. This is your business. This is your craft.

Think about your favorite company. What would you think if you were looking at their marketing material and it was laden with mistakes? Would you think less of them? I recently had the chance to review an author’s blog. She had done a wonderful job of coming up with topics. One of the headings was a recipe section that contained some fantastic-looking recipes. As I went through them, I saw that they were loaded with typos, and some even had a couple of ingredients missing from the directions area. What was I to think?

In The End

So, what are you waiting for? Blogging is a must-do marketing opportunity for authors, and is also another outlet for creativity, interaction, and fun. Because I consider blogging to be such an important aspect of every author’s business development plan, I think it is worthwhile to bring in a blogging coach to learn the ins and outs of successful blogging. After all, it’s your business at stake, why not invest in it?

 

Thanks Naomi! We’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on blogging? And remember, Rachel created #MondayBlogs to help ALL bloggers — share a post (any post), retweet others, on Mondays. NO book promo. And be sure to enter her monthly contest — be the featured blogger on MondayBlogs and Indie Book Promos for a full month at no cost to you! 

 

All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
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About the Author

Naomi Blackburn, owner of The Author CEO, a consultation firm dedicated to helping independent authors navigate the development of strategic business plans and the marketing world, holds an MBA and has worked in the field of business development, sales and consulting for 12 years. A former social worker, she has helped hundreds of clients meet their life goals. A top 1% Goodreads reviewer, she comes to the world of books from a reader/reviewer’s perspective. She strives to help authors achieve their goals by teaching them to think of themselves as CEO/entrepreneur of a small business and helping them negotiate the business side of selling books.

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(12) comments

Beth Caplin September 21, 2014

I’ve found some of my favorite authors by reading their blogs first. This gives me a feel for what their writing style is before opting to buy their work.

I have a mixed audience, since my books contain religious and feminist themes, so I blog about topics related to both.

Reply
    Naomi Blackburn September 21, 2014

    Exactly, Beth! Developing a readership through a blog allows authors to also develop a fan base that they wouldn’t have through just a website or other social media outlets, such as Twitter or Pinterest.

    An author friend of mine, Patricia Sands, writes a series based in Provence, France. Her blog/website (http://bit.ly/1mopbdP) is so unique. Although she does have some writing information on it, the majority of her blog is mainly focused on traveling. She has established many different pipelines for developing a readership.

    Reply
Ashlee McNicol September 21, 2014

This is probably my favorite blog I have ever read regarding marketing tools as an author. This is some very valuable information. I really like how you broke down the process on how writers can come up with blogging ideas. I completely agree when you said, “Because I consider blogging to be such an important aspect of every author’s business development plan, I think it is worthwhile to bring in a blogging coach to learn the ins and outs of successful blogging.” I know that I am loving this information. Keep it coming! 🙂

Reply
    Rachel Thompson September 22, 2014

    Thanks, Ashlee! Naomi is awesome. I often look to her advice (and asked her to be a staff writer) because she has such an extensive business background and she sees the good, the bad, and the ugly that authors do. I always learn from her, too!

    Reply
      Naomi Blackburn September 23, 2014

      Awww…shucks! Thanks, Rachel. I am always in awe of indie authors and their forge ahead mentality instead of waiting for a traditional publishing house to come to them.

      Reply
Naomi Blackburn September 22, 2014

Thanks, Ashlee. Remember Molly Greene’s list too. Like Rachel, she is a wonderful expert to follow. I find her advice so worthwhile that her posts, like Rachel’s, frequently hit my Author CEO Facebook page.

Reply
d scott meek September 23, 2014

With a full-time job plus writing my novels – I have several in the works – I have all but given up blogging because I simply don’t have the energy. I keep reading posts like this, and I realize I need to get back to it in some way, but I just have to find the time. I appreciate the encouragement. It’s been months, so maybe it’s about time my blog gets a new post.

Also, hate to say it, but speaking of editing, there’s a typo in your first paragraph. Doesn’t bother me a bit, but we all want our stuff to look its best, so I thought I’d pass it on: “Blogs are wonderful because they give authors an opportunity to be an opportunity to take an active role in marketing their works to their reads while also providing a way to network with other authors. ”

Happy writing!

Reply
    Rachel Thompson September 23, 2014

    Thanks, Scott! I know Naomi sends each article to an editor, so I’ll let her know (she’s a staff writer). I will fix. I appreciate the heads up.

    I agree, it’s time-consuming. Part of why I have guest bloggers and staff writers now! My own business, writing, and family make my days longer than there are hours — so I feel you. Personally, I think having focus helps immensely — pick 5 key subjects, and stick to them. I also find inspiration in delving into topics, as well as the comments and replies. So for that reason alone, it’s totally worth it.

    good luck, Scott and thanks again.

    Reply
    Naomi Blackburn September 24, 2014

    Thanks for the catch, Scott! The team was trying to get this post up quickly, and it simply didn’t want to cooperate with us. It had gone through many a rewrite and some other “hammerings” in the posting process.

    I agree. It is very time consuming. Partner that with daily life and all the other aspects of being an author, it can get overwhelming. That is why I talk about developing a calender. For example, I have a calender that is set and the posts are written well in advance. This allows you to write them when some “down time” occurs without sweating profusely at a deadline. Also, if an “emergency” post or the ability to have a guest post comes up, it is easier to set aside the time and space to slide it in.

    Reply

[…] marketing. To that end, Molly Greene shows how to vet book blogging sites, Naomi Blackburn lays out how to create a blog strategy, Anne R. Allen urges us to find success partnering with other authors, and S.R. Johannes lists 8 […]

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[…] keywording, HTML, CSS for faster loading, etc…all to increase your SEO). Look it up. — an active blog (once weekly minimum). — a book trailer (share on your own site, social media, and YouTube) […]

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