Savannah asked, “Do you have any tips for people who are new to blogging or would like to start?”
I began my blog, Christ is Write, over six years ago when I was 16-years-old. My intention going into it wasn’t to build a readership. I simply wanted to have an outlet where I could share my faith-related reflections and the insights I was learning on the writing craft.
Within the first few months, I reached 100 followers and regular blog visitors.
Creating my blog was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far in my writing journey. Not only has it advanced my career by helping me to establish a readership (which generated book sales), build a brand, and network with other writers, but it’s also granted me the satisfaction of instant publication for my writing.
I’ve grown as a writer through the weekly discipline of maintaining my blog and writing on specific topics. Simply put, there are far greater to blogging other than building a readership.
But as I mentioned in a previous post, agents and editors are becoming more and more strict about platforms. It’s reaching the point where they won’t even consider signing with a fiction author unless he/she has developed a healthy online following.
And one of the best ways to do this is through creating—and maintaining—a blog.
So if you’re an aspiring author hoping to create a blog for the purpose of building a readership, ask yourself . . .
1. What is my brand?
What is the specific impression you’d like to leave on your readers? An author’s brand is the image and/or type of book your future readers will think of when they hear your name. It combines the author’s genre, personality, and unique characteristics in a way that sets them apart from other authors.
What image (theme, mood, layout, colors, fonts, picture, etc.) would best portray this brand and represent your work/personality?
2. Who is my target audience?
Be specific about this one as well, because each post you write will be catered toward this group of people. What is the target age group? Gender? What interests/hobbies do they share? If you’d like to see a flock of readers who consistently return to your blog, as opposed to random spurts of readers, then it’s important to narrow your audience focus by creating a well-defined target audience.
3. What kind of posts can I write that will reach this audience?
For instance, if you want to start a lifestyle blog for teen girls, then you could write posts that are popular amongst that age group. (Specific topics that come to mind are prom, makeup tutorials, college advice, developing a healthy-self image, etc.) The key here is to figure out how you can reach this audience through only blogging about topics you’re passionate about.
4. What is the overall theme of my blog?
Choose 1 – 3 topics that are frequently covered on your blog. (For instance, I like to blog about faith and fiction.) This will create the umbrella that all of your sub-topics will be placed beneath. It helps to create a narrow focus for your blog—which, in return, will contribute in establishing your consistent readership.
Eventually, you may feel as though blogging is cutting into your writing time. But as long as you invest more time writing rather than blogging, you’ll be fine. In fact, blogging enhances your writing. Anything that requires the discipline to write will improve your writing. (Yes, even essays!) You’re also practicing writing on a deadline and brainstorming new ideas.
And the best benefit, of course, is attaining a readership for your future books.
In the next post, we’ll delve a little deeper into how to maintain a blog once it’s created.
If you have a blog, what has been the greatest benefit to come from it? If you don’t have a blog, do you think creating one would help to establish a following?