5 Easy Steps to a Successful and Effective Blog
Blogging is one of those tasks for an author that gets a bad rap. It's chalked up to something you have to do but don't really see the point.
Kind of like when you were a kid and your mom would tell you to do something and you'd say, "But whyyyyy?" And she'd respond with a "Because I said so!"
When it comes to blogging, the best reason comes in the answer to "why".
There are five important reasons for putting time and effort into a blog:
- It drives traffic to your website. A blog is one of the only sources of consistent fresh content that your website sees. You don’t want your relationship with readers to begin and end on social media. You need to drive them from social media to your website. And driving them to your blog is a fantastic way to do that on a regular basis.
- Your blog is shareable. It gives your readers something to share with their friends and family, which is a free way to help you grow your audience.
- It helps you stand out online. There is no shortage of options out there for readers. On Amazon alone, there are over 5.4 million ebooks on the Kindle Store at the time of this post. When you write blog posts that speak to your ideal reader regarding topics they are interested in, search engines will index the recurring words you use that will be of interest to your online audience. When you have consistent content available for your ideal reader, your blog posts should pop up in their search results.
- It creates a deeper connection and conversation with your readers - even more so than on social media. You can go into more detail and give incredible value to your readers through your blog content.
- You own your blog. You don’t own your social media accounts. If we’ve learned anything from MySpace we know that we have no control over what happens with social media. Vine is likely to be next and Soundcloud is in trouble. Any of your favorite social media platforms could some day go away and then you’d be up a creek. You DO have control over two things: your blog and your newsletter. I'll have more on your newsletter in another post.
As you can see, it's important. And when you do it correctly, you will quickly see the value that it brings.
So let's jump into the five simple steps that will help get you on the path to long-lasting results on your blog:
1) Nail Down Your Ideal Reader
Here I go again with that Ideal Reader! I know, I know - but it's that important! Everything revolves around your readers. Creating content that resonates with your ideal reader is essential to your blog's success. When you have a clear understanding of who you want to reach it will make creating content so much easier. And when you create posts that people are interested in and will respond to, you'll see much more success with your blog.
If you are having a hard time figuring out who your ideal reader is, we will have a free video tutorial coming out soon that will help. Sign up here to be notified when that releases.
2) Determine Your Availability
An important factor in the success of your blog is in your consistency. If you only blog every few months at random intervals, you won't see the results you are looking for.
But the key is to focus on quality rather than quantity.
So take a look at your schedule and determine how much time you have to write a 500-word blog post. If that's every week or every other week, that's great. As long as you are consistent and share quality content. When you know what your time budget is, you'll know how much time to set aside to work on your blog.
3) Schedule Your Blog Writing Time
Something that I've put into practice over the last year has been this: If it's not in your schedule, it's not real. We can promise ourselves that we will "get to that" until we are blue in the face but it will continue to be put off until we commit to getting it done. Schedule your time every week to commit to getting your blog written. For example, I write our blogs and newsletters every Friday morning, I give myself a "due date" of Monday to get the final draft to Marcus so he can get images and formatting completed so it can be issued to our newsletter subscribers or posted on our blog on Tuesday.
If you find yourself really crunched for time, read our post on how authors can blog - even when they have no free time.
4) Brainstorm Topics
Once you know who you are writing for it is that much easier to come up with a list of topics to blog about. Think outside the box - it doesn't necessarily have to be about your book topic. If your ideal reader is a mom, a traveler, interested in history, animation, movies, etc., you'll have additional topics to discuss. But brainstorm a list of 20-25 topics you can write about to get started.
5) Create A Blogging Schedule
Now that you have your topics and have a list of blog ideas to write about, it's time to create a blog schedule. This will outline the topic that you will write about and the day it will post. This will also give you a great outline to look at to see how you can incorporate holidays, special events, release dates, and other important dates into your blog topics. When you have your blog schedule outlined and ready to go, input it into your master schedule to make sure you get it done!
The key to blogging is to have a plan in place, a commitment to being consistent, and to actually do the work. A little bit of planning will go a long way!