Ask the Publisher: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Blogging
In my last post, I included a blog as something that is nice to have on your author website. If you do plan to blog, there are some things you should know. So let's dig into the topic a bit more.
Blogging, as part of your entire body of content, is good for some things and bad for others, so it is best to have the right expectations before putting fingers to keyboard.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.
Blogging alone is pretty lousy for:
Outreach: Back in the good ol’ days of the early Noughties, all you had to do was start a blog on one of the original blogging sites like LiveJournal.com or Blogger.com, post regularly and followers would flock to you. Now the competition is so stiff, it’s easy to feel like a snowflake in a blizzard. This is no longer a ‘build it and they will come’ situation and simply starting a blog will not increase your fan base.
Automatically engaging existing fans: Sadly, posting a new blog post, and going no further, won’t even get the attention of your current fans. In the fierce rush of life these days, it’s unlikely that they have the time or inclination to check your website daily for new content. (Hint: There is a way to neutralize this negative! Keep reading ☺)
And now for the positives.
Blogging is good for:
Producing easy content on a regular basis: Blogs are short and easy to put up online.
Sharing easily: As long as you have your social media and email icons linked on your blog, people can easily share a blog post on their social media or email to a friend.
Improving search engines results: The big search engines like Google and Bing rank search results by frequency of new content on the site (unless it’s a direct request for a specific site, of course). This means that over time, the search engine indexing will help to bring in new traffic—but this is a long game.
How do you blog effectively?
Considering the above pluses and minuses, here’s the most effective way to use your blog:
Regularly post a new article on your blog.
Send a short message to everyone who has opted-in to your email list telling them a new post is available with a link to the post. (This gets rid of the second negative above, letting current fans know there is new content to read)
Make sure the post has your social media and email icons on it and encourage your readers to share. A few of their connections and followers may come in via the share, read the post, potentially subscribe to your email list, and share the post themselves.
Repeat from #1.
Remember though, while the blog is a great way to encourage readers to share content, and a long-term repository for content—search engines can still find it years from now—it is a long game. Please, don’t rely on a blog to overnight increase your fan base. It is one segment of your content. It is the outreach leg of your author platform that increases your acquisition of subscribers via your email opt-in and gives you permission to stay in touch.
In my next post, we will consider whether or not blogging is right for you (and your platform) and, if so, where to start.
I’d love to know your thoughts on blogging—the good, the bad and the ugly. Leave your comments below. I’ll do my best to answer them all.