Blogger: Rachel Kent
A Books & Such client asked a great question on Facebook recently. She wanted to know what some experienced bloggers wished they had known before starting their blogs. The majority answered that they wished they had a focus, or direction, for their blogs before they started writing. Many of the bloggers started out blogging about whatever came to mind and weren’t focused on anything specific. When they finally found the right topic, the blogging became easier.
Focusing your blog should also help to build blog traffic. The same people will want to come back to read your other posts and they will know what to expect. I read a few “mommy blogs” and I know that when I go check in, I will be reading a clever, relatable, mommy post. Here on the Books & Such blog you know you will see a publishing or writing-related post. We hardly ever (never?) post about what we had for dinner. And I try to refrain from writing about my silly kids–unless I can find a sneaky way to mention them while still talking about the publishing world.
A blog is a tool and it is most useful if you use it correctly and consistently.
Finding the right focus for your blog can be tricky–especially if you are just starting to build a platform. If you write nonfiction, your blog will likely match the topic you are writing about. Fiction blogging is harder to focus and you really have to profile who your readers are and write to their interests.
What are some tips you might have for those who are just starting out?
What is one thing you wish you had known before you started blogging?
Damon J. Gray
Good morning, Rachel.
Tips? Blog consistently!
I’ve been advised to blog as often as three times each week, but for me, that’s overkill, and simply not realistic from a time-investment perspective. So I set my schedule at once per week, and I am adamant that it must happen. Every Wednesday, I will publish a blog posting, even if I have to scramble to make it happen. With that consistency, readers build an expectation, an anticipation.
A second tip – Use series blog postings to build anticipation. I don’t always do this, but sometimes I’ll blog a series of related topics, or parts of a single topic. Part one this week, and tune in again next Wednesday for part two.
If you look clearly, deep within,
and to yourself are true,
writing grace can thus begin
for your focus will find you.
Take pen and notebook in your hand
and in diligence journal
the shapes that walk your mental land,
for they carry wisdom’s kernel.
You’ll see a pattern in your words
that form arrow to the future,
that leads in quiet certainty towards
what God would have you nurture.
Research with clear sight your own heart,
and you’ll be prepared to do your part.
Morgan Tarpley Smith
Great topic and info, Rachel! Thanks!
Consistency is definitely a top issue with blogging. It’s the reason I stopped my blog years ago. I was overwhelmed with the posting pace I’d started amid other responsibilities, and I have yet to start anything again. I had to stop too to actually focus on writing my novel. (lol)
However, I’ve been working on ideas since then for when I blog again. I’m planning to have a professional website designed soon which will feature a blog. I’d like a detailed plan in place before I start so I know what I’m blogging about and why people would want to read it as you have mentioned above. I’m trying to gauge the most effective approach for blogging/social media to have quality content with less effort since I am a full-time working wife and mom and I do have to keep writing novels, right?! (hehe)
Anyway, what it boils down to for me is what is my brand and how does that translate into a blog. I recently developed a weekly themed posting schedule for my new author/writer Facebook page and I think I’ll extend that in a way to my blog too (I guess kind of like an extended version of a movie but blog post style – haha). My brand encompasses fiction, travel and history, and that’s what I’m going for with the posts to my author page and blog. I want to create a fun and informative space where people can find out about my (and others) split time novels as well as talk about history and travel. Because that’s what I love too! That’s important too – have fun with whatever you’re doing and it won’t feel like work! ☺
Great topic, Rachel. Yes to consistency in topic and in posting. If you can post consistently once a week then do that. if you can only do once every other Tuesday, then do that, as long as you are consistent.
As a fiction-writing blogger, finding my topic was harder. My recommendation is to figure out what is the passion of your heart and blog on that. Or think about what your fiction brand is and blog on that. For example, if your books all revolve around forgiveness, you can blog on forgiveness and related topic. Or second chances, then, maybe that could be the focus of the blog. A new blogger may need to broaden a little bit, but this may spark some ideas for getting started.
Kristen Joy Wilks
Strangely enough, my blog helped me realize that I was trying to get published in the wrong genre. My first manuscript was an angsty teen Biblical adventure … but I’d been blogging about the everyday humor I found in life and the crazy stuff our kids do, as well as camp stories. Well, after 13 years of blogging, and a suggestion from a writer friend, it occurred to me that perhaps I should be writing about the crazy things that kids do and camping adventures and what not, since that is what I was blogging on. Ah ha! On a side note … a poisonous amphibian just got loose in our house. I think there is a book in there somewhere!
Janet Ann Collins
I blog about words, books, and kids. I’ve been pretty consistent about sticking to those topics, but sometimes I share things I see on Facebook.