20 Comments

The Obvious Thing You Haven’t Done For Your Blog

Blogging for Authors - Reaching Your Readers

In my post, “You Want Followers, But You NEED Fans” we had some GREAT discussion on the importance of taking a breath and realizing it’s going to take some time to cultivate a meaningful following of rabid fans (as opposed to dozens of un-engaged faceless numbers.)  As writers it’s really important that we understand that quality is greater than quantity during the process of building your fanbase.

However, in discussing this with many of you here and on Twitter, we kept coming back to the topic of developing your target market or persona.  More and more I realize, in talking with fellow authors, that one constant seems to be true among us:  it’s easier to write blogs that attract our fellow authors… but are THEY really our target market?  And, if not, how the heck do we get our would-be-readers here?!?

Follow me down the rabbit hole kids – we’re gonna dig into the concept of knowing your fanbase!

In short, I’ll say that it’s GREAT having authors following me.  I love writers because writers are my tribe.  They are my people they get me and YES, writers are readers too.  It’s perfectly fine and encouraged to have other authors following you on your blog/social networks.  ***BUT*** at the end of the day, an author wants to be reaching out to potential readers and so this is where you need to sit down and do the one thing for your blog you might not have done yet:  Define who you’re writing for.

Let me put it another way so I’m sure you’re with me:  A romance author knows that traditionally their readers expect, boy meets girl, something comes between them and threatens their life together, book resolves in happily ever after.  If you don’t have these elements (in one form or another) chances are good that your career in romance writing may be short lived (with a few notable an remarkable exceptions – please accept this is a broad generalization for the purposes of my example.)

Likewise, your blog needs to contain the things which your would-be-readers are going to be interested in reading about.  If you’re going to be putting out romance novels… a blog about the trials and tribulations of an author might not catch your reader base’s attention.  You can have that in there too (readers love to see behind the curtain into an author’s life) but you need to include some things which your would-be-readers are actually typing into google RIGHT NOW.

So – take a moment and imagine your would-be-reader.
Let’s go with our romance writer idea (since I’m working on a romance now…) I know my readers are typically going to be 18-50 years of age.  Wide age range, but romance fans are really in all age groups.  They are typically women.  Many of them are mothers and housewives.  That right there starts to paint a picture of the woman who I hope to attract to my blog and who ideally will read my books.  I want to put content on my blog that she’s going to actually be using Google to find.

You might talk about romance in marriage topics, romance with kids in the picture, and it might sound cheesy or over done by every women’s magazine on the planet (and there’s a reason why… HINT:it sells magazines) but even love advice, quizes, polls etc!  Now, if I was writing romantic thrillers – I might consider putting blog content that relates to TV Shows, Movies, and YES even other books that are going to be like mine. WHY?  Why under heaven would I review or talk about books written by other authors who my would-be-readers might go off and buy instead of me… well, the idea is they come here for the content they know and love… but, they stay because they like you, they like your writing style and they might (we hope) read your books too!

So go look at your blog right now.  Take a look at what content gets the most likes, shares, and comments.  Is it directly related to the product (books) you’re selling?  Could you better define or add to your “profile” of your would-be-reader?  Chances are good you have some work to do.  Your market could be evolving all the time, developing new interests and things they search the internet for and share with other would-be-readers.  You should revise your profile often to make sure you’re getting the very most out of every blog you write.

Pro-Tip:  Make a list of things that your would-be-reader thinks about every single day.  Make a list of their biggest likes and dislikes.  What makes them really happy and what seriously pisses them off.  These things are all hot beds of future blog ideas for you!  

20 comments on “The Obvious Thing You Haven’t Done For Your Blog

  1. Good advice, something quite a few of us probably haven’t been doing very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Three different authors come to mind in writing this post. All three are talented, amazing writers who I think the world of and am very VERY proud to call “friends” (we’ve only met online thus far, but that counts in my book) and all three expressed to me their utter desperation and exasperation with Social Networking and blogging. They aren’t seeing the numbers they hoped for… not in followers/fans and not in sales. While they write amazing stories, they just haven’t gotten those books into the hands of their rabid would-be-fanbase yet. AND… sadly… I don’t know if their blogging and networking habits are helping.

      It’s not as though there is a manual out there and just about the time someone says they’ve codified what works… something changes. The only constant (sorta) is our profile of our fans. Refining and focusing on that as you work any kind of promotion seems like the most sound piece of advice I’ve found out there (and I do quite a bit of reading on the topic each week.) Anyway – thanks for taking a moment to comment. Hopefully the advice provided here will lead at least one or two people to a good idea that catches fire for them.

      Pssst. If it does… let me know! I truly want to hear about it. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m very new to blogging and I don’t really know whether what I’m doing is doing any good to me and my followship, but this advice kind of came naturally to me. I mean, one of the first things you learn as a writer is, know your audience, know who you’re writing for. So I naturally thought to do the same for my blog posts.

    At the moment, I’m trying to share with my fellow writers and to write about fan of my niche might like (I write dieselpunk, which isn’s as broad as other genres may be, like, say, romance ;-)).

    Now I’m trying to blog more about myself and my writing process because I’ve noticed these kind of posts gets more comments. But… yes, I’m still experimenting and I don’t really know what’s working and what’s not. Still trying to figure it out. Bit frustrating at the moment, actually, but hey… everybody tells me I should wait to have blogged for at least one year before I see results. I’m halfway through, then 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I also hear that it can take time to build a solid readership in blogging so I’m not surprised to hear that your niche seems to take a little bit in building up. Experimentation probably doesn’t hurt, especially if you’re watching the stats to see what’s getting responses.

      However, I have to be careful with that too because I write about something that gets a lot of comments as well, but it has little to do with my actual topic of writing. Lots of folks comment on my social networking posts, but how many of them are going to be interested in picking up a contemporary romance anthology? Some maybe – romance is a widely liked genre… and maybe some would buy it because I wrote for it… but that’s not playing to my real target audience.

      Still, I’m not ready to call myself an “expert” on the topic of blogging and social networking… like you, I’m a reader and writer and I just happen to be doing a lot of research on this topic so I like to share what I learn.

      Here’s hoping we both get it down to a science and build a good relationship with our would-be-readers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great topic. It’s not easy to shy away from the writing community and focus more on the ideal reader, because let’s face it there is no better group of people than writers. And writers do read, at least they should. So I think if we can strike a balance between the two than our blogs could work two-fold, supporting other authors AND selling books. Not an easy feat.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s very difficult to know how many readers will actually be reading blogs. Most of the advice I’ve read is that blogging is a very long term strategy and not necessarily a big one to get readers. Readers might follow blogs that post reviews, might join book clubs, or might go to places like Goodreads, where they don’t always take kindly to authors. Of course if you write in a variety of genres it might be difficult to target one single thing. The idea with regards to other authors is reciprocity and the fact that if you join with writers in your genre their readers might also be interested in you books. Interesting points, for sure, but this is something I think many of us has been struggling with for a long time….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that there is no “one-trick-to-success” when it comes to marketing. If there were we’d have one “expert” on the topic and a go-to manual with easy to understand instructions. 😀 Hence why I don’t feel bad on sharing what I stumble across that seems to make some sense or seems successful here on my own blog.

      I will say that I think that networking with fellow authors and working closely (perhaps especially so) with others in your genre or niche is a really powerful way to help grow your readership and so far as I can see can’t hurt you at all in the way of getting people introduced to your talents.

      Thanks for coming by and adding your thoughts to the topic!

      Like

  5. Great advice you have inspired my next blog I think 🙂

    Like

  6. I think we, as writers, tend to write what attracts other writers. I don’t consider my blog as a marketing tool. It keeps my ideas flowing and affords me the pleasure of interacting with fellow authors. I find comfort knowing that we are stumbling through this journey together. As a children’s book writer, I find it very difficult to market my books online. For now, my focus in on face-to-face sales at book signings and events.
    I wish you the best with your book. Thank you for this thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for coming by and adding your thoughts to the discussion. Of course there is nothing wrong with writing for pleasure and keeping a blog to maintain contact with peers. It’s an enjoyable break from the “creative process” and let’s face it, if it keeps your mind fresh then it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

      My rambling point here is this – perhaps I should have included the caveat: “If you want your blog to be a marketing tool” or something similar. Certainly there are other reasons for keeping a blog!

      Best wishes to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think how you worded it is great…opens up more discussions of a hot topic. We all want to get our books in the hands of readers. I have not begun to crack the “code for success” for online sales. But, believe me, I am always searching for it!

        Thanks for a great post!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. well I had already started thinking along those lines.. my first 6 blog posts were about my writing adventure. The last one I decided to write about what I love which was Christmas. It has nothing to do with my writing or goals but I did it anyway. I was wondering what else I could write about and then I saw this blog.. hmm of course, romance, housewifey type things and all the things I know lots about. Thanks for making my brain ramblings sort out into a clear thought haha

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This has been a topic that I always want to read. Like you mentioned, the majority of my blog followers are authors..in fact probably about 98% of them! Of course, it is much harder to have a readership when you don’t have much published yet. I’m working on my debut novel now. I have had one publication on a short story in a holiday anthology that was published last year. It isn’t widely known or read outside of the other authors in the anthology since all of the authors were from the #ASMSG writer’s group. But it broke the publication ice for me at least. That was published last year. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/383338. Since I write a blog that for the most part is a review blog for newbies, I guess that stands to reason. I am trying to change that and get a readership. I appreciate your thoughts on this and I am going to try to write more content blogs also. They get the most hits anyway. I am going to possibly change my blog a bit in the near future. I would like to still keep for reviews for the debut authors with 3 or less published books though. That is my niche. Not too many other reviewers review only newbies. Thanks for the ideas on future blog posts! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rebecca, I strongly suggest not throwing out your old stuff utterly. Like the old girl scout song goes “Make new friends but keep the old – one is silver and the other gold!” You can easily begin adding new content to your blog while keeping the things your current readers have come to know and enjoy. This way you might reach more folks while also not losing your current readership.

    On another note – CONGRATS on getting published. Color me jealous! I’m excited for my first time (coming this year) which will also be an anthology. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, I’ll hop over and check out your book. Thanks for sharing and for your comments!

    Like

  10. Very nice and informative write up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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