Today, non-fiction authors are expected to produce “a steady stream of content,” as literary agent Michael Larsen explains in this video.
Publishers want to know that your book is not the beginning or end of what you have to offer readers. Rather, the goal is to create a community of people who care about your topic and engage with you on a regular basis.
That usually means writing a blog.
Even though blogging is a way to promote your book, writing a blog differs significantly from writing a book.
Following are three articles that I’ve bookmarked and refer to often. They’re especially useful for beginning bloggers (like me).
This is from Quora, an online community where people with similar interests can ask and answer questions. In this article, notice the nuggets of wisdom from Tod Hirsch:
• List 20 burning questions that your readers have and then write a post to answer each question.
• Create a call to action at the bottom of each blog post.
• Make your posts easy to share on Twitter and other social networks.
Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, is a fount of publishing wisdom and wildly popular blogger. He suggests that you:
• Post often enough…
• …but not too often.
• Stick to 500 words per post, max.
• Invite engagement from your readers by writing posts that are edgy and open-ended—and that reveal your personal voice.
• Respond when people leave comments on your posts.
• Write posts that can be easily scanned—short words, short paragraphs, and lists.
• Write headlines that draw readers into your posts.
• Lead posts with a paragraph that offers a “promise, a story, or a startling fact.”
• Develop an editorial focus and keep your posts on-topic.
• Focus on your readers and give them a useful “take-away” or bottom line in each post.
Most bloggers would rather have more readers than fewer. In another useful post, Michael suggests that you:
• Write shareable content.
• Post on a regular schedule.
• Get a domain name that’s easy to remember and share.
• Add your blog address to your email signature, business cards, and stationery.
• Invite readers to subscribe to your blog via email and RSS (Really Simple Syndication).
• Write posts that search engines like. (Note: The topic of Search Engine Optimization is controversial, but people seem to agree that useful content trumps every other consideration.)
• Allow people to easily comment on your posts.
• Comment on other blogs.
• Write guests posts for other blogs.
Most importantly, be patient. Learning to blog and build an audience takes time.
If you blog, what ideas have helped you?