This post was inspired by another piece I came across this morning on BookClubReading.com. The article coined a new term, “scatterblog,” defined as taking a scatter gun approach to your blog—writing about every topic under the sun in an attempt to sell readers on your clever wit and creative writing abilities. As a result, these blogs have no direction and fail to target any specific audience.
The article goes on to say:
A blog that contains posts on topics as diverse as mating rituals, obscure Polish dishes, and awful job interviews will draw very different types of search engine traffic … visitors who likely had no intention of buying a book in the first place. This would be akin to going book-in-hand to a sports bar, a Polish restaurant, and a college career center to pitch your romance novel. Trying to convert this type of visitor into becoming a paying reader only makes your job more difficult. Successful bloggers focus on a particular niche.
I couldn’t agree more. And, with that in mind, I present … five ways to blog with purpose (i.e. not to scatterblog).
1. Identify your readership. Did you write a biography on a historical character? A novel about alien invasions? A self-help book? Obviously, these three books have very, very different types of readers. Think long and hard about who’s going to be buying your book and customize your blog to speak directly to them.
2. Think about keywords. When you are building your website, you should be thinking about specific search terms that people looking for your book might be typing into Google. Those keywords should drive your blog posts. So, in other words, if you have determined that “how to write a great resume” is a search term that you are optimizing your site for, make sure your blog posts are also optimized for that same term. You could even write one or more blog posts specifically with the keyword as the title.
3. Think outside the box. Deciding what to blog about can be challenging for fiction authors. After all, it’s a lot easier to blog about how to write a great resume than it is to blog about … say … heartwrenching romance stories. So fiction authors need to get a little more creative when coming up with a blogging theme. One idea that I like to bring up is that of blogging as your main character. It would take some work, but it’s an interesting concept. Other fiction authors prefer to blog about the challenges of writing, getting published, etc… Either way, figure out what your niche is and start blogging.
4. Follow the news. So many authors have trouble figuring out what to blog about on a daily or weekly basis. After a few blog posts, they feel like they’ve run out of ideas. Well, that’s where the news comes in. Browse a news site and see if anything comes up that’s related to your subject matter. Then write a blog post with your (or your main character’s) “expert” opinion on it. For example, let’s say your main character was a detective. Maybe he would post an entry about a murder mystery case that’s in the news. Or, if you’re a nonfiction author who has written a book on, say, investing, you might want to post a blog entry about something significant that’s happening on Wall Street.
5. Stick to your guns. As casual as a blog may feel, it’s serious business. If you decide that you’re going to blog on a particular topic, stick to it. Don’t let yourself be inspired to sit down one day and write a post completely unrelated to your brand. That just reeks of unprofessionalism. Make your blog a go-to resource for your readers — both current readers and prospective readers — and you will reap the rewards for your efforts.