Make Blogging Count: Three Tips to Your Success

Twitter for Authors by Beth BaranyRecently, I wrote a post on blogging for authors for Friesen Press, a self-publishing company that educates authors to get the best book they can out into the world. (They don’t pay me to say that!)

We met on Twitter (love Twitter!)…

Tak and I recently met at a talk I gave on risk and book marketing. Not your ordinary kind of talk but a “talk” I gave on Twitter at #bookmarketingchat recently one Thursday afternoon.

Tak asked me to write about blogging. He said, “You have a great community built around your blog, and I think authors would be really interested in the back story/lessons learned/tips that you could share.”

Thanks Tak! I’m thrilled to share a bit about my blogging story and several key tips to my blogging success.

Today I have over 200 blog subscribers, over 800 newsletter subscribers, over 1,100 hits on my blog per month. [Editor’s note, updated 2017: Now it’s over 2,500 hits per month; 425 blog subscribers; 2400 newsletter subscribers.]

I love blogging, and I think it’s a great way to get sell books and get my mission known so that I can help even more people.

While my numbers may be modest to some people, to me this is pretty outstanding because a few years ago I didn’t really want to be blogging. I just didn’t know what to blog about. I didn’t see the point, and it seemed like a lot of work. I did plug away at it sporadically, but with no commitment, direction or focus.

Sound familiar?

And then something happened. I partnered with a friend, marketing expert, Cheryl Liquori, and we created the Breakfast Blogging Club, where we brought together local professionals for a morning of breakfast, gabbing — of course — and a workshop on the marketing end of blogging. And then, the writing part, which I led.

Over the course of a year and half of our collaboration, Cheryl’s marketing know-how seeped into me, and my writing mojo jumped over to her. Pretty cool! And I learned a lot about the importance of blogging.

You can get our free report on Your Quick Start Guide to Writing Your Blog.

The biggest thing I learned is that people appreciate what you may take for granted: your knowledge, expertise and passion.

For example, for many years it has been easy for me to sit down and
write for 15-20 minutes. I discovered through teaching our workshops
that this ability for many people wasn’t as natural as it was to me. But it can be learned! You can write easily 500-600 words in that length of time. In fact, I wrote a post about that: 15 Minutes Can Change Your Life.

I also learned the importance of keywords and catchy headlines.

Use both to attract your target audience. Use words they would use.

Among other things, numbers work great in headlines. So do questions, strong action verbs, adjectives like “success,” and controversial statements.

Lastly, the action I’ve taken that has done the most for my confidence as a blogger has been to post to my blog every day. Yep! I said every day. The content isn’t always my own, but I curate it and it is
aligned with my mission to help authors.

Blogging daily has served several purposes.

1) It’s helped me generate great content because I’m constantly exercising my curiosity and my reach for new material.

2) My site visitors have quadrupled! Okay, that’s a bit of an ego thing… but it’s still cool! And has lead to the third and most important point.

3) My community has grown; I’m reaching more people, helping more people, connecting with more people. How cool is that!

Here’s a big disclaimer

I blog with my professional “I help writers get their books done and into the hands of their readers” hat on. And then I released a novel earlier this year, and I am now putting all my tools to the test as a fiction author blogging. The experiment is unfolding at the newborn author site here: author.bethbarany.com. [Editor’s Note: As of 2017, my author blog has grown considerably. I have on average about 500 site visitors per month, though that swings much higher when I go giveaways.]

Bonus tip: Traction really starts to build after 20 posts. For my author blog, I’ll be there with by the beginning of September. [Editor’s Note: As of 2017, I’ve posted 266 posts, not all by me.]

As I have with the Writer’s Fun Zone, I trust that I will build a large audience on my author blog, too. And I will do it by blogging often, mostly daily, using the keywords and headlines of the words of my readers, and playing with it.

Another bonus tip I’ll leave with you is: Experiment! Play!

We often don’t know what works until we try it. Be okay with things “not working.” Be okay with getting feedback from the universe.

Be okay with being seen, and being known, and shining your light for us all to see, to appreciate and to benefit from.

If there’s one thing I’ve realized in all this blogging, novel writing, and sharing my expertise with others is that Each of Us Counts.

So stand up and be heard!

The blog is the hub of your social media marketing. It is a powerful
tool. Use it!


Want to get started on your marketing and branding as a novelist? Then check out my BRANDING AND MARKETING COURSE for novelists here?


ABOUT BETH BARANY


Award-winning novelist, Master NLP Practitioner and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany’s courses and books are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away.

She takes great interest in how humans learn, create, and grow and includes all her students’ life experiences, including the ancestors, into the moment.

Discerning, individualized support in a group environment for the benefit of each person and of the whole is Beth’s goal in each of her live workshops and courses.

Author The Writer’s Adventure Guide, Overcome Writer’s Block, and Twitter for Authors, Beth runs the Writer’s Fun Zone blog, a blog for and by creative writers.​

Get her free Plan Your Novel mini-course at her online school, Barany School of Fiction for novelists.​

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3 Responses

  1. Emma Calin says:

    Hi Beth,

    I was fascinated to hear about your experiences with blogging in the above article. I would really welcome your input on my current dilemma with blogging for fiction authors.

    In the last 6 months I have self published a short story, a romance that I wrote a couple of years ago (and couldn’t get an agent or publisher – same old story!) and have a couple of other novels in the pipeline. I was totally new to the digital world and have been devouring any useful tidbits from every possible source.

    My favourite guru to date is Kristen Lamb who has several books and self help blogs for newbies like me. She recommends getting your ‘author platform’ foundations well underway before publishing any books and advocates having a blog as part of this process. So, armed with all this info, I now have a website, I publish a daily blog (on blogger) , I have a twitter presence – I tweet daily and try to be sociable and useful as well as mentioning my books and blog posts. I also have a facebook page.

    My biggest disappointment is the lack of page views and followers or comments on my blog – I have now done 127 posts (one a day) and so far have just 5 people as signed up followers and about 6 comments – 4 of which are on the same post. I have 350 followers on twitter and my blog link gets posted there everyday with a title, but no-one ever seems to go there. I get about 15 page views per day – but the sources for these are completely random eg I wrote a blog bemoaning my central heating – it was called ‘old boilers like it hot’. I still get 2 or three page views of this each week from people googling ‘old boiler’ and have even been asked by someone in India where they can buy an old boiler (that was comment number 5 of the 6 mentioned above). There does not seem to be a tag facility on Blogger to identify what the blog post is about for search engines etc – however as Blogger is part of Google they do seem to be good at sending folks over if they type in word combinations that match a posting eg old boiler.

    It is not entirely clear to me how an unknown fiction writer can attract people to a blog – for non-fiction it seems infinitely more staightforward – if you are providing useful content then it will be a magnet for folks searching for your help in that field. As a fiction writer there is far fewer opportunities to attract potential book buyers to your blog – I am not providing useful information – just my ‘take’ on the world, but then what information would a romantic fiction reader want from a blog? Especially as neither I nor my novel are well known at this stage and so they will not have fallen in love with my wit and and poetic prose?!

    I try to make my blog interesting and amusing – I am British and live in France so have plenty of daily events and contrasts to be made between our two cultures and ways of life. I have quite strong feelings about politics and have definitely left-of-centre opinions from where I do often comment about world events and humanity in general. My blog is listed with a variety of blog directories which deliver the odd visitor.

    Have you brought out a separate blog for your forthcoming fiction publication? Have you got many fiction followers? Do you know of any self-published newbie fiction writers who have successful blogs that I could visit to see how they attract and keep their audience?

    Perhaps I am just not thinking laterally enough… or maybe the material is just not interesting enough?

    Any clues or examples of how fiction writers have built up their blog following gratefully received. Sorry if this has been a bit of a rant!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.

    Best wishes

    Emma
    Blog: http://www.emmacalin.blogspot.com

  2. Beth Barany says:

    Hi Emma, Thank you for your rant! I’m sure many authors are facing the same issues you are so it’s great that you shared your concerns here so people can also learn and grow. You’re actually providing a useful service!

    In terms of examples, there’s my site for my fiction, already up: http://author.bethbarany.com/. Also my friend as-yet-unpublished (but now has an agent!) Vanessa Kier: http://vanessakier.com/. And my clients who are indie published http://revitalsh.wordpress.com/ and http://erinjamison.wordpress.com/ And another one of my clients who is both indie and trad published: http://elizabeth-aston.com/EA/

    Each author does it differently. I built a platform helping authors, then have let them know about my fiction. I use Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic. I also use tools like BlogGlue: http://www.blogglue.com/. I’ve also affiliated myself with authors in my same genre to talk shop, trade tips and basically copy off of them and see if it will work for me.

    Kristen Lamb is great, and has lots of useful information. I’ve interviewed her and bought her books. I think what she offers is so helpful.

    You’re doing all the right things. What may be lacking is that you have no clear brand.

    What is your definition of success? Sales? Site visitors? And what is your brand?

    I say (and Kristen may agree) that at the end of the day it’s who you are and what you stand for that people are ultimately buying.

    You’re getting great reviews. Are you reaching your audience?

    I’d be happy to chat with you more about this and even help you increase your blog visitors. In fact, that’s what I do for a living. If you’re curious about talking more about it, we can set up a time to talk. Here’s the contact form and scheduling tool for that: http://my.timedriver.com/67RH1. Or write me privately via here: http://www.bethbarany.com/contact.html

    And guess what? I’ll be in Paris, France from Oct. 2-11. Perhaps we can talk then while we’re in the same time zone via Skype.

    Best wishes

    Beth

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