Tip: Blogging Can Help You Reach Readers & Lead to a Book Deal!
I’ve seen first hand what blogging can do for authors:
- My clients have been approached by publishers and signed a book deal, because of their blog.
- Several clients grew their following quickly—from almost no followers to a significant “platform” worthy of a book deal.
- My website and many client sites now come up on page one of a Google search because of the relevant content in our blogs.
In my experience, blogging is often the easiest way to grow your author platform and develop the kind of following agents and publishers now require for a book deal.
Of course, it’s easy to waste one’s time writing a blog no one reads. This post will help you write a blog that takes off among your target readership.
Here are a few of the tips I give my clients, many of whom have leveraged their blogs for successful book deals
Blogging Tip #1: Pick a Niche Audience. For your blog to support book sales, target your blog posts to the people who will buy and read your book. In addition to considering what your readers are looking for, think about specific age range, gender, interests, values and/or professions of your readers. Your tone, how technical or deep you go, and your examples should be appropriate to that target audience. Others will read your blog, too, but if you try to write for everyone, you’ll end up writing for no one!
Some bloggers have success combining more than one interest—food and writing, business and spirituality, yoga and cats. Such a dual approach can work to attract a niche readership, but it can also narrow your reach too much. You can lose many readers if they’re interested in your yoga posts but not your cat posts. If you have many interests, try to tie back in to the central interests of your readers.
Blogging Tip #2. Start Small and Experiment: You may have a longer term goal of blogging for a national news site or network. Starting with a blog on your own website allows you to experiment to see what readers respond to, what questions they have and what types of posts do well in terms of sharing and engagement. Starting with your own blog will also:
a) Develop content for your site, which helps your site be found in Google searches.
b) Make your site more valuable and useful to visitors who may likely stick around longer and get to know you.
c) Establish your writing ability and reliability for potential blogging sites . For reliability, post regularly, at least once every other week.
Blogging Tip #3: Think Big. After experimenting with your own blog, set a goal for one or two larger forums to approach:
- A broad-based site, like the Huffington Post,
- A more targeted site like WebMD (health information), Psychology Today (mental health information), or MindBodyGreen (wellness, alternative health and spirituality)
- A niche site, specific to your target audience, such as Parenting (for parents), Autism Speaks (for parents and caregivers of children with autism) or The Yoga Blog (yoga).
Blogging Tip #4. Connect with Other Bloggers and Pay it Forward. If you want to eventually write for the Huffington Post, WebMD, Forbes or Psychology Today, read posts from bloggers in your field. Subscribe to their column to know when they post something new. Comment thoughtfully.
Spread the word about posts related to your expertise through social media. This way, you’ll:
a) Get a sense of the type of posts that blog picks up.
b) Become part of a blogger’s community and begin to develop a relationship.
c) Be recognized as a trusted voice in your area of expertise.
If you’re quick to comment on a blog post that goes viral, your comment (and accompanying link you share) may go viral as well. This happened to Dr. Victoria Dunckley when she commented on a Huffington Post article I sent her.
Blogging Tip #5: Invite Blog Readers to Engage. Old fashioned news is static. Blog posts allow interactivity and can generate valuable discussion. Take advantage of the full power of blogging by inviting readers to engage in the discussion.
Invite your blog readers to share their experiences, posts their questions or offer their own opinions. In this way you develop a tribe—an engaged community—and your author platform.
Blogging Tip #7: Go Easy on the Eyes. Use images, white space, headers and short paragraphs to make it easy to read. Make sure your blog uses a responsive design—easy to read on any device.
Blogging Tip #8: Give Something Away. Offer a free report at the end of a post. This can help you stay in touch with readers. It will grow your mailing list (another author platform builder), as long as you require an email address and name to opt-in. For example, Download My Free Report: 5 Must Knows Before You Get Started on Your Book.
- Bloggers: Please share the blogging tips and strategies that work for you. Detailed examples are welcome.
- New Bloggers: What are your burning questions and biggest challenges?
- Would-Be Bloggers: Not blogging? What’s holding you back? What do you need to move forward?