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Creating Blog Content

22 Jun

Sometimes the hardest thing about keeping a blog is finding topics on which to write, especially if you’re looking for fresh content multiple times a week.

The most important thing for writers to remember when blogging is that you’re doing it to serve the reader first. This means you don’t want to make the same mistakes I made at first (and the same mistakes so many authors make).

Don’t blog about your book.

Don’t blog about your characters, and certainly not from your character’s POV.

Don’t blog about writing or the writing process.

Your blog should be finding your audience. Unless your audience is other writers, you don’t want to blog about writing. For example, I blog here about writing, publishing, and marketing, because that’s my current audience with my nonfiction Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author. So, actually, my audience currently is other writers.

But if you’re trying to promote a YA book, romance novel, mystery, crime, whatever else, don’t blog about writing. And please don’t blog about your characters or from their POV. Why?

This is going to sound harsh, but it’s the truth.

No one cares about your characters or plot. Not yet. They’re not interested in your characters until they’re interested in your characters (i.e. after they’ve read your book). Your blog (and your social networks like Twitter & Facebook) aren’t for selling your book. They are for marketing and branding YOU. The author.

So, for example, if you write Mysteries or Crime, blog about things your readers are interested in. If they’re mystery fans, then they’re probably interested in true crime stories or forensic medicine. If you write romance, then blog about relationship and love and sex. That’s what I do over at my alter-ego’s site. And my readership has grown exponentially. Before I started blogging about relationship issues, I would be lucky to have 20 views a day, now in just a few short months, I normally hit around 200 hits every day and sometimes spike up to 300. And it’s still growing.

And you don’t have to write only about one topic. Pick days on which to do certain topics. Like on Tuesdays over at Caught in the Cogs, I write about Steampunk. On Wednesdays, relationships and sex. Fridays are rather a free day where I post convention reports, poetry, updates about me or my book, and, more recently, podcasts.

Start by getting a blank piece of paper and defining your demographic. If you write YA, remember than teens don’t generally read blogs. If you write MG, they certainly don’t read blogs. So your target audience are their parents. Write about parenting or teen issues. Write about cooking or knitting or soccer games or dogs. Whatever it is that your main demographic is interested in, as long as it’s also something you’re passionate about. You must feel passionate about it to be able to write about it so often.

Then brainstorm on blog topics for at least 15 minutes, or until you have 50 ideas. Start there. Blog posts don’t have to be long. They can only be 300 words. They can point to another blog source, too.

The point here is that your growing audience will get to know you and your writing style. As importantly, you’ll further develop your writing style and you’ll get in the habit of writing often. It’s an excellent exercise.

My book goes into this and managing social networks in further detail. Another great book is Kristen Lamb’s Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer for blogging advice, and for overall social networking, We Are Not Alone.

—-{—-{@

While we’re on the topic, always feel comfortable asking me to write about something specific if you’d like. Whatever questions you have, I’m more than happy to explore, answer, and blog about them.

What would you like to see more of on this blog?

 

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10 responses to “Creating Blog Content

  1. Stephany Simmons

    June 22, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I am a terrible offender when it comes to blogging about the wrong things. I’ve read books and other blogs that give the same advise, but when it comes down to it, as an Urban Fantasy writer, I have no idea what I should be blogging about.

     
    • christinerose

      June 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      First define your target demographic. Then brainstorm what they are interested in. Brainstorm what you are interested in. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with your book. They’re getting to know you. So, Urban Fantasy, probably mostly women (?), ages 16-55 or so? Would you agree? What are women those ages interested in? What are you passionate about? Dogs? Cooking? Knitting? Relationships? Travel?

      Additionally, brainstorm what it is about Urban Fantasy that draws you and what draws your readers. Vampires? Warewolves? You could blog about TV shows like Supernatural. Review other Urban Fantasy books (which I recommend) and showcase other authors.

      Your blog must serve your reader. What are they interested in that coincides with what you’re interested in? Blog about that.

       
  2. Quintessence ebooks (@loveleov)

    October 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Other authors like John Locke encourage authors to blog to familiarise their readers with their characters and their names and characteristics.
    He’s got the sales to back his allegation, do you get your opinion from data or is it an opinion you are trying out yourself?

     
  3. lifeonpurposecoach

    October 22, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Interesting and timely post, Christine. Now the question I was left with is — what if you write in several different genres? For example, I have From Spark to Flame: Fanning Your Passion and Ideas into Moneymaking Magazine Articles that Make a Difference. Clearly it’s for writers and aspiring writers so I’ve been blogging about it and even giving away copies of it to attract writers to my blog.

    But I also have Dominion Over All — A YA fantasy – the first in the Zak Bates Eco Adventure series. And I have been stumped as to how to write to attract YA readers (which I do know is a broad spectrum of ages beyond just teens). But I can now see that since it’s about animals and their plight with the man-made environmental changes that are happening, I could focus at least some of my posts on those topics.

    But then I have a very adult SF techno thriller due for release later this month. Seeds of a New Birth has as a main part of its story line a lot of explicit sex. So much so, that I’ve decided to publish it under the pen name of Orrin Jason Bradford to help my readers and future readers know that it’s not YA. Okay, so I could write about genetic engineering, here. Humm, I’m starting to get it.

    I may just have a wide range of topics to write about, and it might be possible to delegate certain days for the different readerships. Your thoughts on this approach?

     
    • christinerose

      October 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      Yes! I think that’s the best option. Write one topic on Monday, another on Wednesday, and the third on Fridays, for example. For the YA readers, very few teens read blogs. You will want to write for the buyer; i. e., their parents. Still, if the book is about animals and their plight, definitely write on animal advocacy and environmental issues! YES!

      I did the same thing when I started writing under O. M. Grey for the adult work. Now I keep two separate blogs, Twitters, Facebooks…everything. And I don’t recommend that, as it doubles your work load. However, I wouldn’t give up O. M. Grey for anything, as she is far more popular than I am. :)

      Sure you can write about genetic engineering, but don’t limit yourself too much. Think Science Fiction, Technology, Sex…and you can have lots of topics. GE, robots, the morality around robot sex workers, as in is it just a form of sexual slavery, etc.
      :)

       
  4. Ruth Ellen Parlour

    December 11, 2011 at 2:51 am

    This has never occurred to me before, thanks for pointing it out I’ll have to give it a go!

    I’m a fantasy writer, not yet published, and I’ve been promoting my work, writing reviews on other YA titles, publishing writing tips and I’m doing a series called ‘My life in writing’ where I post an old short story, some of them from my childhood and school years. They seem pretty popular amongst my viewers but I don’t have that many viewers at the moment.

    My most popular post is about my graduated from university where I started talking about self education vs academic education and posted a picture of me in my cap and gown!

    I’ll definitely give this a try, I’m already brainstorming!

     
    • christinerose

      December 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      Excellent! Let me know how it goes.

       
  5. Lani Wendt Young

    January 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Excellent points. I started blogging two years ago, way before I even knew what kind of books I would be writing. My blog was for me…to vent, rage and whinge about life as a Demented Domestic Goddess with 5 children. I blog about children, relationships, marriage, sibling rivalry, my cooking misadventures, hot Pacific men and their tattoos, rugby players every now and then…anything and everything really. Along the way, Sleepless in Samoa managed to build a following and now it gets between 700 to 1000 visits a day. Yes I have published two books in the meantime, but those books were never the focus for the blog. My blog readers were the first to embrace my books and help promote them which I’m very grateful for – esp since one is narrative nonfiction about a natural disaster and the other is a YA fantasy romance…NOTHING like what I’d been blogging about!

     
    • christinerose

      January 25, 2012 at 8:10 am

      WOW!! Those are impressive numbers! It’s all about making that personal connection with the reader, and you seem to be doing that quite well. Congrats!

       

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