If you are writer who seeks publication you probably know you need to blog. You’ve heard it’s necessary to build an audience platform. So you know WHY to blog. But HOW do you blog so you get found online?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a subject duller than watching paint dry for most authors. It doesn’t have to be. And it can’t be if you want to be successful and efficient in your strategy to successfully publish your book. Content is king on the internet; and authors can rule.
Coming up with a short list of a dozen keywords or phrases that encapsulate what your book is about is the place to start. Those people who would use those words to search the internet are your likely target audience. There’s a science behind keyword strategies. It’s called library science. And librarians are an author’s best friend.
Your unique set of terms shouldn’t be broad categorical terms (for example, non-fiction) but specific (quantum mechanics). Nineteenth century architecture is a powerful category for pulling readers whereas history is not. Zenas King is a specific name of a particular inventor and bridge builder in the late 1800s and using the search phrase “Zenas King” brings your reader to the bull’s eye target of your site, if you’re like Karen Van Etten working on the definitive history of the Zenas King Bowstring Bridge in Newfield, NY.
Come up with that list and paste it on your screen so you use the words and phrases in your blog posts.
If you want to get found online by your audience, you need to give the search engines the proper terms. Put them in the header, alt tags on your images, and wherever else your platform allows you to add search engine tags. These words should also appear in your tweets and status updates on Facebook and LinkedIn. Most importantly, a writer needs to include these terms in the content of their blog.
But what’s an author to blog about?
Not themselves or their book. That can get old really fast and you end up looking like someone peddling pulp. Write about people, places and events in your current sphere of literary activity.
Unless your book is about your toddler and parenting, this probably isn’t the kind of subject matter to blog about; although the challenges of being an author and a parent simultaneous IS good fodder for blogging. Mommy blogging is big.
Write about your volunteer activities or personal hobbies reflected in your writing. Food, gardening, photography, music, whatever your social interests you write about with passion.
A blog is conversational and its true purpose is to engage your readers with you in conversation and dialogue. Good blogs often share the writings of other bloggers with links to lessons gained from others. Creating a larger conversational community by making reference to the works of other writers, reviewers, editors, agents, publishers, and readers is to create a connectivity that will make your book a success. Leave a question at the end of your blog for readers to answer. Encourage your readers to leave comments. Respond to the comments.
Write reviews of books that you think the audience for your book will read and buy and want to talk about with you. One of the best ways to find authors to review your book when it comes out, is to call in those favors you have done with reviews of your favorite authors’ books.
Write about your research and the discovery process of piecing together the facts of your story. Readers love this kind of back story. Write about writing as often as you write about your book. Too often authors generate a platform oriented toward authors and not readers.
Write blogs while rewriting your manuscript. If you have those “babies” you must “kill” from your manuscript, take some of the deleted material and rework it into a blog post as a writing sample of your forthcoming book.
Interview your subjects, experts in your field, new book authors, and write up the interview as a blog post.
News events can be hooks for your blogs.
Blog, blog, blog.
But keep in mind this general rule of thumb: spend 90% of your time writing your book manuscript and proposal materials and only 10% of your time writing for your blog. For most authors, a good starting routine is once a week to construct a solid foundation of followers, friends, connections and tweeps.