I’ve posted many times before about why an author needs a blog and how it can really help in terms of site traffic, book sales, etc…
But many authors aren’t sure what to do with a blog. “What should the theme of my blog be?” … “How do I get people to comment?” … “How would I continue to come up with ideas on what to blog about?”
There’s an article I came across about different ways that someone running a small business can use a blog. I’ve decided to take some of those ideas and translate them into how they can benefit authors.
1. Tell Engaging Stories
In the article, Carma Spence-Pothitt says: “Blogs are most effective when they attract a loyal readership. And the best way to do this is to entertain, inform and engage your audience. Write about things that are worth their time to read … be it on an emotional level or a professional level. Depending on your personality and your business goals, you might consider including events from your life and then move on to your marketing message.” Carma is right. This is true for authors, business owners, just about anyone!
2. Write ‘Product’ Reviews
Okay, here’s where we go off on a tangent from Carma’s ideas. An author can use their blog to review/recommend books in a similar genre to theirs. For instance, if you’ve written a book about being environmentally aware, you can use your blog to highlight other books on going green as they’re each released and offer your opinion on what they offer, if the books are worth reading, as well as your thoughts on the green products the book might recommend. People who loved your book and see you as an expert on the subject will want to hear what you have to say.
3. Hold Contests
I frequently recommend this for authors. If you’re a literary writer, the contest could involve people sending in their own short stories and you rewarding the one that you think is the most compelling. If your book is about, say, war veterans, allowing people to submit their own personal stories about their wartime experiences. Or just asking readers to submit their own testimonials about your book and rewarding the one that you think is most moving. The “prize” could be anything (I often recommend an autographed copy of the book), but it’s a great way to make your blog a two-way tool.
4. Gather Valuable Feedback
This is another one that’s pretty much the same for authors and small business owners. Carma says: “Post surveys and polls on your blog. Encourage readers to post feedback in the comment box. The blogging platform truly gives you the power to gather instant and valuable feedback from your audience, and respond in a fairly quick manner.”
5. Provide Excellent ‘Customer Service‘
Okay, so “customer service” is not a term that’s often used by authors. But we can translate that into something that’s more appropriate in this situation — I’ll call it “genuine interaction.” After all, nothing is as exciting to a reader as being able to really communicate with their favorite author. And as Carma says, “One of the unique properties of blogs is the ability to have comment boxes on posts and pages. This is where readers can leave their feedback regarding your posts. You can use this feature to gather questions, complaints or suggestions from your readership. Even better, you can post your answers as part of the comment thread!”
See? Blogging doesn’t have to be as difficult as it may seem. Post questions and let readers respond … have the readers provide ideas to you on what they would like you to write about … hold contests, polls, surveys, etc… All these ideas simultaneously give you blogging ideas AND make your blog as interactive as possible. It’s a win-win.