As always, the very warmest of welcomes to the incredible Molly Greene. Molly is the author of Mark of the Loon and has also just released Rapunzel (Gen Delacourt Mysteries). A dedicated and brilliant blogger, Molly released the superb Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand to a flurry of well-deserved five star reviews.
A 5-Step Strategy for Building a Successful Blog
by Molly Greene
Blogging requires a time commitment. People who blog know that, and it’s actually what keeps a lot of on-the-fence bloggers from jumping in. Time – or the lack of it – also keeps bloggers who’ve started from continuing. I can’t help you create more time to post regularly, but I know the time you spend writing and publishing posts pays off, and I can share my strategy about why that’s true. It might just help you look at your blog in a new way.
I published my first post in March, 2011, and I’ve posted consistently nearly every Monday since. Does it get old? You bet. Did I get discouraged early on? Oh, yeah. Did I do it anyway? Absolutely. People have asked me what I do to handle the unavoidable blogging blues. Here’s the process I initiated to overcome it; I consider it my “blogger’s mission statement.”
1. I internalized the reason I blog
Why do you blog? An answer like “because everyone told me I should,” increases the odds that you’ll stumble. There are multiple reasons to build a successful blog. If you’re an author, blogging is an important tool in your book promotion tool box. Blogging sells “you,” meaning your unique voice. It teaches you about social media and the online world, it helps you meet and forge alliances with other authors and bloggers, and it brings traffic to your website, which lets people know about your books and enhances your name recognition with readers.
2. I committed to posting once a week
This was key for me, and I’ve talked about it many times before. I actually committed to posting once a week early on in my blogging career, and it’s paid off for me. Later, I incorporated the strategy of hosting guest posters once a month, which means I’m responsible for only 3 monthly posts. (Yaaay!)
3. I established several general blog post categories
When I first started I had huge anxiety around what the heck to write about. Chances are good you wondered, too. It took me about eight months of blogging to sort it out before I focused on 3-4 general subject categories. Each category houses a wide range of topics. You can make yours very general, such as personal essays (yeah, that covers everything), posts about your books and writing processes, and one or two non-fiction topics you use as themes in your novels and that you’re passionate about. Examples: homelessness, deaf culture, personal growth, or environmentalism. Establishing categories will focus your efforts, draw readers who relate, and help you organize your blogging time. If you struggle for ideas, check out my popular post, 101 Fabulous Blog Topic Ideas.
4. Based on those categories, I outlined several non-fiction books to publish in the future
Once I had my general subject categories, I identified three future titles and outlined the content of each one, chapter by chapter. Now, nearly every post I write covers one of those chapters and acts as a first draft for the book. That way, each blog post helps move another project forward. (Yaaay!) I’m flexible, of course, about these outlines. Topics can be added at will. This means my blogging time = future income via potential book sales, or an important freebie I can use as a subscriber incentive. This element also became another important reason why I blog. You can do the same. Give it some thought!
5. I consider nearly everything I think about, do, research, read, and/or learn a potential blog post
If I learn a new process, I write down the steps as I go and turn it into an article. If I attend a webinar, I take notes, put my own spin on it, give the presenter credit for the content, then turn it into a blog post. If I trip while I’m going down the stairs – yeah, you got it. Of course, you’ll be viewing your activities through the lens of your own subject categories, but you get my drift.
Whenever I question the time I spend writing articles for my blog or run out of steam about my intentions, I revisit this commitment strategy. It helps remind me why my blog is an important tool in my author/writer’s toolbox.
Readers, what’s your blogging strategy? Is your blogatude “full steam ahead” or “abandon ship?” What tricks do you use to make the process easier? Leave a comment and share!