I just finished reading a great post by a woman named Sonia Marsh. It was titled A Successful Way to Build Your Author Platform. I’m going to take a few ideas from that article and give them a slightly different angle: how to build an author blog that can get your name and profile out there.
1. Remember what your readers are looking for. Nobody will follow your blog if you’re writing about your trip to the supermarket or what you ate for dinner. People want to get something of value out of your blog. If you’re a nonfiction writer, blog about the subject matter of your books. When possible, take stories in the news and give them your own spin. After all, you’re somewhat of an expert in the topic. If you’re a fiction writer, think about what readers and other writers would find most interesting. Would they enjoy following your characters’ lives after the book? Would they want to hear about what went into writing the book? Where you might have hit writers block? Find your niche and stick with it.
2. Be patient. I can’t tell you how many authors I’ve worked with who start to blog and then stop because they feel like no one is reading their blog. I have two things to say about that: one is that you always need to remember that the number of comments on your blog is not a reflection of how many people are reading it. One comment may be showing up on a particular post, but 100 people might have read it. The other thing I always remind authors is that a blog can take a long time to build a following. Give it 3-6 months before you make a decision about whether or not it’s worth the time.
3. Pose questions … and answer them. A blog is an interactive tool. That’s one of the wonderful things about the internet: you can use your blog to pose questions, encourage comments, etc… Make sure to end each blog post with a question for people to respond to. And then respond to the responses. By interacting with your readers, you’ll build a loyal blog following.
4. Don’t be afraid to give things away for free. You can never get something for nothing. A blog is very much an exchange: you provide your readers with helpful information and they, in return, follow your blog, recommend you to friends, and help get you the exposure you’re looking for. Give away your ideas, your advice and your words of wisdom. Readers will return the favor.
Sonia ends her blog post with the following paragraph:
The more you connect and help others, the more people will subscribe to your blog or website, and you will gradually build an authentic platform with loyal followers. It won’t happen overnight, but once people realize that you care about them, and are willing to share helpful information, all the pieces suddenly fit together. That’s when the magic happens, and you know you’ve accomplished something more than simply being an author who wants to sell her book.
I couldn’t agree more!