I hear this a lot from writers and small publishers: “I don’t know if I should bother with blogging. I just don’t have the time.”
What I tell them is that if they can’t commit the time to blogging (and we’re talking at least 2-3 hours per week), then no, they shouldn’t bother. The same holds true for social media: it takes time and effort. And it requires something many of us book types don’t have–a touch of extroversion.
I had a great conversation with Jessica Brant of BlogNostics last week about writers who cringe at the thought of engaging others online. For some it, it terrifies them, and I can understand the hesitancy to exposing yourself to Big Brother (otherwise known as Google). There’s something a bit eerie about seeing yourself show up in search results.
But if you’re like me and realize that social media and blogs are driving buying decisions now—and you want to sell your writing to that vast potential market—you should understand that blogging can have tremendous perks for writers and publishers:
- Blogging can generate great traffic to your main website.
- Blogging provides you with a forum to share ideas and talk with others about topics that interest you.
- Blogging gives us the power to publish (and showcase!) your writing without the approval of gatekeepers.
- A blog is something you own that isn’t susceptible to third-party rule changes. (Remember what happened with Facebook Pages earlier this year?)
- And, other than what you might pay for a domain and hosting account, blogging is free (and potentially lucrative).
Blogging, though, isn’t as easy as putting together a well-written piece and then pressing the publish button. You can write the blog, but that doesn’t mean anyone will read it. This is where is see the most resistance from us bookish types: A successful blog at the very least requires that you pay attention to what I’ll call the 3 S’s:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
Over the next several posts, I’ll give a simple overview of these points. Tomorrow, I’ll cover a number of ways to improve the SEO of your blog, including keywords, titles, <h2> and <alt> tags, inbound links, and meta data. I’ll also make some recommendations for SEO tools and WordPress plugins that make my life easier with every post.
Then it’s on to structure. There’s a science behind writing a successful blog post that includes considerations such as post length, formatting, text density, and calls to action.
Finally, I’ll talk a bit about getting the word out through referral sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit. Sharing through social media can eat away a good bit of your precious time, so I’ll show you some of the shortcuts I use for reaching as large of an audience as possible without wasting an entire day.
So stay tuned and I’ll see you back here tomorrow! (Get updates on our next blogging articles via our RSS feed: http://www.pubmission.com/blog/feed/)