To blog or not to blog—that is often the question.
I mean…isn’t blogging dead? We have Instastories, for heaven’s sake!
I really do get it. Blogging has changed a lot in the past twenty or so years when it emerged from the womb of Livejournal and similar sites.
But I think the question we should be asking instead is: WHY should I blog?
Perhaps you’ll find that you have no good why and shouldn’t blog. Or perhaps clarifying some of the benefits of writing a blog in 2018 might give you some purpose, and a newfound zeal for blogging.
Let’s dig into three of the reasons you may want to blog.
Blogging for Blogging's Sake
When I first started blogging in 2005, it wasn’t because I wanted something else. My long-term goals were definitely to write and publish books. I also wanted to get my MFA (which I did). But my blog seemed wholly disconnected from those goals. I saw the blog as a goal in and of itself.
As time went on and I grew a readership, I began making money from sponsored posts and ads on my site. Again, I did not plan to use the blog as a springboard for my writing career. I blogged because I loved the medium. Why not get paid for something I loved and was doing anyway?
If you love blogging, you don’t really need to be reading a post on why you should blog. Bloggers gonna blog.
If you are in this camp, I would urge you to think about some of the other purposes that your blog can serve. I don’t regret my years of blogging because I loved to blog. But when the realization hit me that my blogging goals and my book-publishing goals could align, it was an incredible realization—one I wish I’d had years earlier.
So you might be blogging because you love the medium but think about these next reasons to see if you can make your blog more powerful.
If you aren’t in love with blogging…keep reading. See if these benefits help you fall in love.
Blogging for Discoverability
Speaking of blogging being dead, I’ve heard a lot in 2018 already about Facebook being dead. (You know, the whole data thing paired with a few big algorithm shifts.) Email also is dying, again. (Yay, GDPR!) And Twitter banned the common practice of automated tweets repeated over time, which has a massive impact on those using tools like Meet Edgar or Recurpost.
Essentially people all over the internet are freaking out about All The Things.
Given all those updates in the first few months of 2018, we can all agree that the online space is pretty fragile. But if you are blogging and utilizing SEO (and Pinterest!), you may still be seeing traffic continue to show up on your blog, no matter what Facebook is doing.
Despite the fact that I haven’t actively blogged on one of my sites in two months, I had 22,000 pageviews last month. Without blogging even once. The only active link-sharing I did was repinning content on Pinterest (which is really more search engine than social). The vast majority (something like 90%) of that traffic came from search engines like Google and Pinterest.
Blogging is an incredible discoverability tool! No, it’s still not a Field of Dreams thing, where if you blog it, they will come. But if you can harness the power of using keywords and writing content that people are already searching for, you can create long-lasting traffic to your blog.
My biggest post of the year is one where I spent ten extra minutes doing keyword research. I looked for what people were searching for on a topic I was blogging about anyway. Now it’s my top post, sending people to my blog even if I don’t share the link on social media.
I wrote it; people come. Hopefully, my content draws them in and they join my mailing list so I can have a more permanent way to connect with them, but at the least, blogging can be a great tool for discoverability.
Blogging for Promotion
I can’t tell you how tired I am of seeing authors trying to promote their books by dropping links in various Facebook groups for other authors. Or filling their Twitter stream with links to their book on Amazon. People are so inundated with marketing messages that these practices are almost totally ineffective.
Blogging can be a great way to bridge the gap between your audience and your books! Rather than simply dropping a link that says, “Buy my book,” you can craft blog posts around similar content that get people itching to buy.
For non-fiction authors, your blog can be a great way to promote your books in a more robust way that builds trust with a reader. Consider: would you be more likely to buy a book after seeing a link and image on Twitter or Facebook OR after reading a robust blog post showing what the author knows about the topic?
I wrote a book on email, Email Lists Made Easy for Writers and Bloggers. I also have at least twenty posts on my blog about email lists, but still have not given away all the content from inside my book. I build trust and show off my expertise on the topic through the blog posts, making people much more likely to buy. Craft great blog posts around your book and include links to buy in the post and on your blog.
Fiction authors often struggle here. It’s not as straightforward or streamlined to create content related to fiction.
But at our core, aren’t writers creative people?
Think outside the box! Consider what you’d love to read about or know from your favorite author. Craft posts that relate to your fiction book and then optimize those posts with links to your books on Amazon or wherever you sell books.
#NaNoProMo Day 15: Important Reasons Authors Need to Think About #Blogging by guest @kikimojo
So... Do You Have to Blog?
But why wouldn’t you??
While not every writer has to blog, blogging has so many benefits! Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing the mindset around blogging or promotion.
- Instead of seeing blogging as another thing you have to do, consider how you can apply to your blog the same creativity and writing skills you use to write your books.
- Stop thinking of blogging as something that gets in the way of your REAL work. Instead, think of blogging as the real work of writing in a medium that might help promote your book or other writing.
- Don’t write off blogging in 2018! You may not need to blog frequently or consider yourself a blogger, but crafting content on a blog can help you find and connect with a new audience and sell more books.
Find the ways that blogging can connect with your overarching goals and then give it all you’ve got.
You might be surprised to fall in love.
Day 15 Giveaway
Comment below to enter to wind a copy of Kirsten's book, Email Lists Made Easy for Writers and Bloggers!
…is a writer, blogger, podcaster, and person with an MFA in Fiction. She has written seven books and hosts the Create If Writing podcast, where she helps writers, bloggers, and creatives learn to build an online platform without being smarmy. In 2016 and 2017 she was named one of Houston’s Top 25 Social Media Power Influencers and speaks at events like Podcast Movement, Social Media Day, Blogher Food, Blog Elevated, and Houston Social Media Breakfast.
When not creating a digital empire, she wrangles five kids and a Great Dane with a penchant for shoes. (Eating, not wearing.) She loves coffee, hates sleeping, and will die upon the hill of the Oxford Comma.