How to Take Charge of Your Author Blog

Take Charge of Your Author Blog by Frances CaballoYou’re reading the text version of the Social Media for Authors Podcast, Episode 19, written and copyrighted by Frances Caballo.

 

It’s been a while since I talked about blogging so I decided to share today some incredible posts I’ve recently discovered.

As usual, this week’s episode includes summaries of four blog posts with awesome suggestions and, of course, I have your tip of the week.

Let’s start with your weekly tip.

Jody ReinJody Rein is a literary agent and developer of software for authors. She created a website called Writers’ Blog Finder just for authors like you.

You can use this tool to find the top blogs in a number of given categories.

You won’t be able to enter just any keyword. You will need to select a blog category using her designated keywords for your category and a sub-category. She explains that the goal of her tool is different than Google or Safari. She wants to provide writers with a useful filter that produces search results of blogs that she and her colleagues have personally visited.

This is how the Blog Finder works. As an example, under the genre category, I selected Fiction: Genre. Under the Blog Sub-Category tab, I selected Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Dystopian. Then I clicked on Find Your Blogs and 13 blogs suggestions appeared.

How can you use this information? To engage with blogging communities within your niche/genre and to look for sites where you can submit ideas for guest posts. You might want to read her FAQ for additional ideas.

Jody Rein book cover

Now for the second segment of the show … Awesome Tips for Your Author Blog

First up is 4 Lessons From Psychology That Will Help You Grow Your Blog by the blogging application CoSchedule.

If you haven’t heard of CoSchedule, I recommend that you subscribe to the blog. Wow, talk about content marketing. They do a superb job of helping their readers excel at blogging.

All of their posts are in-depth and, well, phenomenal. Let me share a few of the tips from their most recent blog post.

First, CoSchedule summarizes the four lessons from psychology that can help any blogger grow a following. Quickly, they are:

  1. Pay attention to the halo effect. Simply, start with a great impression.
  2. Next, make sure the ending on your author blog is a happy one by using the peak-end rule. This is an interesting concept. Apparently, your readers will remember their experience not due to the entirety of the blog but rather by a strongly positive or negative impression at the end. Personally, I prefer the positive ending.
  3. Build trust with your readers. I think this applies to our stories as much as it does to our blogs.
  4. Help your readers build a habit of returning to your author blog. One way to do this is by offering a reward such as free chapters of your book, templates, background information on the characters in your books, etc. By the way, CoSchedule includes a free checklist on how to grow your blog with the psychology of marketing in this particular blog post.
Build trust with your readersClick To Tweet

Throughout the rest of this blog post, the author further elaborates on these points. Be sure to check it out.

Next up is a link to a free PDF titled Headline Hacks by Jon Morrow.

By the way, the subtitle for this PDF is A Cheat Sheet for Writing Blog Posts that Go Viral.

This white paper starts with a seemingly radical idea that’s I’ve heard before. Morrow recounts when an English professor told him, “The best writers are the best thieves. Shakespeare stole his plots from Greek and Roman plays. Thomas Jefferson practically plagiarized the Declaration of Independence from John Locke.”

As an author, this thought may rattle you but stay with this line of thinking. Morrow says that the best way to torture yourself is to think that everything you do is original. News flash: It isn’t!

And this especially applies to headlines. He then goes on to suggest 53 headline templates that you can apply to almost any topic. Here are some examples:

  • The Top 10 [you fill in the blank]
  • 7 Surprising Reasons [you fill in the blank]
  • 7 Things Your [Target Audience] Needs to Here You Say
  • 11 [Blank] Mistakes You Don’t your Making
  • Don’t Do These 12 Things When [you fill in the blank]
  • The Zen of [you fill in the blank]

Granted, some of these headline suggestions may apply more to nonfiction writers than fiction writers. But I still think they are great examples of how to write captivating headlines for your next post.

Next is a blog post titled 5 Ways to Get More of the Online Attention You Crave from the folks Copyblogger.

Well, Copyblogger sets the standard for blogging, doesn’t it? In this post, Sonia Simone, outlines the five ingredients you need to pay attention to in order to attract more attention to your blog.

Here are her suggestions:

  1. Improve your headlines. Sonja states that headlines matter more now than ever and that headlines can help your audience break through all the distractions we find on the Internet.
  2. I like her next suggestion. Some experts feel that number-focused posts are a way of “cheating.” While she admits that there is content that is less than stellar that incorporates numbers in the headline, that’s no reason for you to stay away from numbers in your headline and to create list posts. I’ve always read that numbers in your headline will boost traffic to your blog and I think her point is you want to make sure that if you include a number in your headline that the blog is truly worthy of reading.
  3. Her next suggestion is similar to what CoSchedule recommended. In other words, create a great first impression. A lousy first impression can lose your blog readers within a millisecond.
  4. Don’t try to be clever. Be clear and never worry about making your content simple to understand. She says don’t value cleverness and wordplay over clarity.
  5. Finally, she recommends what you do what you can to expand your network. She says to make friends with as many people as possible and not to be the kind of social media user who only follows the “big bloggers.”
Captivating headlines matter more now than ever Click To Tweet

As a bonus, she includes a link to a free PDF titled Effective Content Promotion.

I forgot to mention that in order to see this post you will need to subscribe to Copyblogger’s blog. But that fact shouldn’t deter you because this is a blog you will want to read on a regular basis.

I want to mention quickly another post titled 7 Essential Ingredients For Branding A Blog by Dre Beltrami. I don’t have time to get into the details; I just want to suggest that you take a look at it.

Meet Literary Agent Jody Rein

The final post I want to discuss is my interview with Jody Rein, who developed the Writers’ Blog Finder, which I mentioned above.

After working many years in the corporate publishing world, Jody struck out on her own. These days, Jody keeps busy developing interactive software for writers.

According to Jody, despite the emergence of social media, marketing hasn’t changed that much for authors. As she says, book marketing has always been niche-based and social. She told me:

Even before “social media,” the smart writers were the ones who found their communities—the people most likely to read their work—and marketed to those people. We used to call it grassroots marketing—now MBAs call it finding verticals, but it’s the same thing

And she made a refreshing comment. Publishers don’t just look at the numbers of an author’s followers and fans. Instead, they look at all the factors involved including platform, content, competition, quality, skills, etc.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you will enjoy this post, especially her suggestions for your next query letter.

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Blogging Just For Writers 0318 SM (3)If you’d like to learn more about blogging, check out my eBook, Blogging Just for Writers. You can pick up the eBook for $2.99 on Amazon. And you can learn more about the book right here.

 

 

 

Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckYou’re reading the text version of the Social Media for Authors Podcast, written and copyrighted by Frances Caballo.Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. Loved this episode? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

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