Social Media Marketing for Self-Publishers    Chapter 9 of 12

Chapter 9

Blogging for Authors

Another way to build your following and sell more books through social media is by blogging. Blogs are extremely popular, partially because you don’t have to be a traditional author to get published and have people read and appreciate your thoughts. All you have to do is set up a blog with a service such as WordPress, and start writing. Additionally, because many blog services are free, this is one area in which you don’t have to invest money in order to promote your book and your brand. And while you may think that you don’t have time, when you understand the benefits a blog can bring, you might consider making the time.

Benefits of Blogging

1. Generate Website Traffic
Statistics show that the more often you blog the more traffic your author website will receive. It’s not enough just to have a blog; you need to add to it consistently and frequently. Adding a blog to your author website keeps your readers interested in you and your work and tells search engines your site is active by providing fresh content. Ideally, you should update your blog at least twice a week, and the more you post, the more traffic you can expect to receive, especially if you’re optimizing your blog posts for search. Add keyword phrases to the blog description for each post to boost search engine optimization. Incorporate keyword phrases into the title and body of the post also.

2. Attract New Book Buyers
Dazzle them with your content. Your blog posts are essentially a taste of your writing, and readers will be more inclined to buy your book(s) if they like what they read.

3. Lend to Your Social Media Content Strategy
Blogs can be the heart of your social media content strategy. Each new post you write should be shared across your networks. You can grab snippets from your blog post to share on Twitter and Facebook to hook readers and then link to the post as a whole to drive readers to your author website.

Blogging Tips

Following are proven ways to accelerate your blog, increase traffic, engage readers, and inspire book sales.

1. Write Captivating Titles
The most important element of any blog post that you write is a great title. You want to hook potential readers so they will click through to keep reading. Study blog titles on popular blogs to see how they make them more enticing and be sure to include keywords and phrases to help your blog post appear in online searches.

2. Ask for the Sale
At the bottom of each blog post, mention your book in your bio and include a link to purchase.

3. Encourage Guest Contributions
Invite others to contribute content to your blog, including industry experts, proficient readers, and peers. By inviting others to contribute to your blog, you can build a powerful network of support. Once their post is featured, ask them to share with their networks. You can also reach out to bloggers who write on topics similar to yours and organize an exchange of content or plan a guest-blogging tour. Guest blogging on blogs that have your ideal audience will create impressions for your book in places you might not otherwise reach.

4. Include Social Sharing Buttons
Make it easy for your readers to promote your blog posts by including social media sharing buttons. The major blog platforms each offer free plug-ins for these.

5. Include Photos and Graphics
Images make blog posts more visually appealing to readers, and will make your posts look more professional when shared on social media sites because the photo will appear with the post preview. Make sure to use royalty-free images.

6. Feature Related Posts
At the end of each new blog post, it can be beneficial to link to previous blog posts. You can summarize these yourself or WordPress users can install a plug-in which will automatically serve up links to related content based on keyword tags.

What to Post

Your blog should entertain or inform your target audience. Find out what motivates them and create content they care about. Your blog should be composed of topics about which you are passionate and about which you write or try to raise awareness.

For example, if you are a children’s author who wants to write about the environment, your platform could include green energy, recycling, and how kids can help improve the planet. Every time you write something related to your author platform, you are engaging in free author promotion without directly saying, “Buy my book, because I’m a good writer.” Instead you’re saying, “Buy my book because I write about something you care about,” and, “Buy my book because I’m a person you feel you know, like, and trust.”

By discussing things that are important to you, you know you’ll reach the right audience, because people who follow you wouldn’t be following you if they didn’t care about the things you were talking about. Discussing things that are important to you help them get to know you, and one of the top reasons people buy books is because they feel like they know the author.

If you have presentations, guides, podcasts, videos, a newsletter—any kind of content—then think about how you can reuse that content in a separate blog post. You can also turn blog posts into any of those other forms of media as well or include in your email marketing with the title, first paragraph, and a link to keep reading on your author website.

Do more of what works. Pay attention to the activity generated by each of your blog posts, noting which posts get the most traffic, comments, retweets, etc., and which ones fall flat.

Brain dumps can also be very helpful for coming up with blog content. Spend 10 or 20 minutes writing as many article ideas as you can think of onto a piece of paper. Some may be bad; write them down anyway! The key isn’t quality, but quantity. Don’t pause to think about if it’s good or bad. Just write it! After a day has passed, go back and see what works and what doesn’t.

Like all social media marketing, blog traffic doesn’t happen instantly, but with consistent effort, your author blog can build momentum in time to help grow your following and generate book sales.

This chapter was compiled from the following posts on the IngramSpark blog:

Blogging for Authors: Increase Reader Engagement and Sell More Books by Stephanie Chandler, Founder and CEO of the Nonfiction Authors Association

How to Develop a Content Strategy for Authors by Scott La Counte, CEO of BuzzTrace

Connecting with Readers via Social Media by IngramSpark

How to Create Impressions for Your Book by IngramSpark

What to Include in Your Book Marketing Strategy by IngramSpark