But authors, who write a lot either as a passion or for a living, often seem stymied when it comes to writing blog posts.
I commonly hear the following comments:
“I said everything in my book.”
“My life isn’t that interesting.”
“I don’t have time.”
Well, as someone once told me, it’s not that we don’t have time; it’s that we have other priorities.
Blogging can be as painful and as rewarding as gardening. Yes, gardening is hard work. You have to dig with your fingers into the recalcitrant dirt, get dirty, take risks with those rose thorns or suffer the pain of being stung by a bee.
When the pain disappears, you can enjoy fresh tomatoes for your salads, flowers for your vases, and the deep sense of appreciation that you created this marvelous symphony of colors and edibles.
4-Point Blogging Blueprint for Authors
Here are my best tips for creating blog posts that will light up your website and generate new traffic.
Step One: Headlines
Headlines are critical. They have to deliver a punch, attract a reader’s attention, and pique curiosity in your social media followers.
You want a headline that rocks. But don’t start your new post by writing a headline. The best time to write a headline is after you’ve finished the entire post and figured out your keywords.Write a blog headline that rocks via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet
It’s also important to test your headline using an analyzer. There are various free tools on the Internet to use but the one I like best also measures the emotional impact of your headline. Here’s the link for Advanced Marketing Institute’s headline analyzer.
Step Two: Content
Last summer I wrote a popular post that outlined numerous topics writers can use to generate content ideas. (Here’s the post: 34 Blogging Topics Just for Writers) Here are some additional ideas:
- When you’re really stuck, use HubSpot’s blog topic generator. Type in a few words and Hubspot will give you several ideas.
- Read other blog posts. I’m not suggesting that you steal other blogger’s topics, however, I do suggest that you check out who’s writing what and how those posts fair in terms of social shares.
- Use BuzzSumo to see what’s popular.
- Have you read a post that you don’t agree with? Explain why. I did this several months ago and it was so popular that CreateSpace included it in its newsletter for authors.
- Check out the types of comments other writers leave in blog posts you read. What questions do they ask?
- What questions or comments do your readers leave on your Facebook page?
- What questions do your readers ask in your blog comments?
- Subscribe to a lot of blogs and read them. Yes, this will help you to generate topics.
- When all else fails, go for a walk. That always helps me.
Step Three: Create Your Visuals
Once you write and upload your new post to your website, your next job is to create your visuals.
Here’s what I do. Using Canva, I take a shortcut by sizing the image of the top of my post using Twitter’s dimensions because those dimensions also work for Facebook.
Then I create a larger visual for Pinterest.
I know I’ve talked about this briefly on my Podcast but let me explain this more fully. To do that I need to move on to a conversation about social media.
Step Four: Promote Your New Posts with Social Media
I use a cool social share plugin called Social Warfare. On the text side of my blog, Social Warfare enables me to upload the images I want to use on social media, including Pinterest.
Here’s an example of what Social Warfare looks like when it’s in use on my website.
As you can see above, I have also have the options to write my Pinterest description, social media description and exact tweet. So whenever someone shares my post using my social share icons, image images and message I’ve prepared come up automatically.
In addition to using Social Warfare, I use the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. This plugin allows me to set up Twitter cards. A Twitter card is the image that accompanies the tweet.
I post information about my blog posts once each on Facebook on Google+. I know that most people will write several updates over the course of a year but I don’t.
Twitter, however, is different. A tweet has a lifetime of about two hours. So you need to get your posts in front of your tweeps on different days and at different times.
On the first day, I’ll tweet a new post three times. On the second day I’ll tweet it once. Then I’ll tweet it the following week and then again in about six weeks. Finally, I’ll set up a recurring tweet. The tweet about a new post might reappear in two months or six months, depending on the content.
So there you have it, my four steps to perfect author blogging. What strategies would you like to share with me?
About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Be sure to check out my Social Media for Authors Podcast.
Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photos