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Sunday School, Part 2: Blogging

Happy Sunday, y'all! I've got a half hour to kill before the latest episode of Game of Thrones, so I figure that's just enough time to share this week's Sunday School tip for author marketing. While I love sharing my fiction and news about upcoming projects with site visitors, I'm also passionate about helping other authors grow their brand online. Having started from scratch myself for the release of my first book in 2012, I hope that sharing some of the things I learned along the way will help those of you looking to start building your platform or grow your existing following.

If you're just tuning in, I kicked off my educational series last week with a post about author websites. Now that you hopefully have a site established, I'd like to discuss the importance of blogging (yes, this is, in fact, a blog about blogging. So meta, right?).

The first thing many readers will do when they learn the name of an author they've never heard of is plug it into their preferred search engine to see what comes up. If someone Googles you and locates your website, they may drop by and read your biography and browse a list of your books once or twice--but in order to keep them coming back, you need a steady stream of fresh content. That's where blogging comes in.

Not only does a regular schedule of fresh content improve your chances of return traffic, but it also improves your search rankings on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, etc. In order to establish a feasible new content flow, aim to post at least once or twice a week--or, at the very least, once a month. A blog post doesn't have to be super long, and, in fact, the more variety you incorporate into your content (in length, format, and topic), the better. This will help to hold your readers' interest and increase their changes of returning to engage with future posts--and, hopefully, buy your next book!

I'm sure many of you are wondering exactly what you should be blogging about. The good news is that there is no wrong answer, here--since it's your site, you could write about anything you want--but I'd recommend applying a bit of strategy when determining your topics. For example, if you're an author of fiction specializing in urban fantasy or romance, blogging about politics or sports might not necessarily resonate with your audience. Consider topics that are relevant to your genre while also giving readers a glimpse into who you are as a person. People are more likely to invest their time and money in you and your books if they can feel a connection with you.

Some potential types of content you could share on your blog are:

  • Sneak peek scenes or sample chapters from your upcoming books

  • Deleted scenes from your published/upcoming works

  • A preview of your brand new book trailer

  • A cover or title reveal

  • Character interviews

  • Interviews with similar authors

  • Guest posts from similar authors

  • Book news or dates for upcoming appearances

  • Progress posts about your current projects

  • Personal posts about recent travel or other non-writing related topics that showcase your personality

  • Short essays about what inspires you to write

  • Behind-the-scenes details about your books, such as what inspired different characters or story plots

There are a myriad of other topics that you can write about that will engage your readers and draw them to your site, but the topics above will get you off to a great start! Of course, if you're unsure where to begin, try asking your readers what they would like to learn about in your blog. Feedback is the best way to ensure you're giving them what they want and a good way to boost traffic to your new website.

That's all for this week. If you have questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below or reach out via my contact form. Stay tuned next week for another lesson in Sunday School. Happy blogging!

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