I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s something no one outside of my friends and family know.
I hate blogging.
I know, I know. It sounds contradictory to have a blog when you hate blogging, doesn’t it? But unfortunately, that’s the nature of marketing in the twenty first century, especially if you’re a writer. All companies are being encourages to have blogs these days, be it solicitors, garden furniture manufactures, even computer programmers. Topics cover everything from how to pick out the perfect shed for your garden, to the basics of different coding languages. Whatever industry you’re in, there’s a blog post out there for you.
So then why should you have a blog?
Because it shows you know your stuff.
If you do SEO well (or your blogging software does it for you), you’ll rank higher on search engines for particular topics, and become an authority on that particular topic. For example, my piece on Harry Potter and the Dementors: A Metaphor for Depression, is the most popular piece on this blog. Another one that does well is How to Write a Psychopath. Not sure what the popularity of that post says about people, but I’m not going to say no to the hits to the site.
When you hate blogging, though, it’s a chore. Why write a blog when you could be writing a poem, or working on your novel? I hear you there. Unfortunately, it all helps with getting the word out there about your fiction and poetry, and reaching more readers.
How to Blog When You Hate Blogging
Don’t see it as blogging.
Let me just repeat that: don’t see it as blogging.
It’s that simple.
See it as writing non-fiction.
For example, I’m working on a non-fiction book called Productivity for Writers, and some courses to go along with it. I enjoy writing Productivity, and I also enjoy writing the course materials to go alongside it. I don’t have to rev myself up or mentally prepare myself to do either. Writing them comes as easily to me as writing fiction.
And since I changed my approach to blogging, that does, too.
See it as Another Piece of Non-Fiction
Most writers write in more than one area. Poets often write poetry reviews. Authors can also write essays. Screenwriters can do film reviews. All these count as non-fiction. Your blog could cover one of these. Or, if you want to write an advice-style blog like this, or delve into copywriting, you need to…
Tell a Story
If you want to connect with your readers, you need to tell them a story.
It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, be it fiction, poetry, or even non-fiction; in order to connect with your readers, they want to hear (or in this case, read) a story.
If it’s a personal story that you can use, great. If it’s one you’ve made up, well…how many people are really going to know that? (I won’t tell!)
Write in an Area You Love
One thing I really struggled with when I first set up this blog was direction. I knew I wanted to blog about writing, but what aspects? How could I help other writers? It wasn’t until What Happens in New York was published that I realised where my strengths lie: writing, productivity, and self-publishing.
When I’ve gotten into discussions with people both online and in person, these are the areas that people are most interested in, and want to find out more about. How can I write 14,000 words in a day when I have a full-time job? Where do I get my ideas from? What’s self-publishing really like?
The blog has gone in this direction as it’s grown, but it wasn’t intentional at first. I mostly set it up as a publicity tool for me as an author. It didn’t take off back then, because it didn’t have a direction. I was writing about writing, but what angle was I taking on it? Writing about writing is a far too broad an area to target. The smaller the niche, the more people you’ll reach.
Think about what you love doing that ties in to your writing. The more specific, the better.
- Poets reviewing poetry collections
- Short story writers reviewing anthologies
- Novelists reviewing novels in and around their genre
- Non-fiction writers blogging about things that tie in with their book, for example I’m going to be doing some pieces/a course on writer’s block to tie in with Productivity for Writers
- Fantasy writers writing about their approach to world building/creating magical creatures
If you’re still struggling for ideas, do a mind map. Start in the centre with what you predominantly write, then use each branch to display what skills you need to do so.
To publish What Happens in New York, I didn’t just need to be able to write. I needed to know about people and relationships. I needed to create the world in which my characters live. I needed to edit. And proofread. And design a cover on a budget. And market my book. And the list goes on. These are all areas I can blog about (and in some cases I have). These are all areas I’ve been asked about when talking about the book.
If you don’t have any ideas at this point, take a break and come back to it. Write some sample posts. Guest post in a few places. Get a feel for what your blogging is like, and which areas you’re comfortable in before you settle.
But, most importantly, remember that the more you blog, the easier it will become.
Maintaining the Routine
Routines are important.
The longer you stick to them, the easier they get.Routines are important. The longer you stick to them, the easier they get. Click To Tweet
But when you want to be focusing on your fiction/poetry and not your blog, they can be a pain in the ass.
The general rule is that blog posts should be about 1,000 words, because this shows search engines that you’re writing in-depth about your topic.
However, quality is more important than quantity.
Write something good. Write something that resonates with people.
And they do well.
Because they have the quality.
If you’re still intimidated…
If the idea of writing a blog a day is intimidating, stockpile. Write a handful of blogs in one go, then schedule them in. Ideally you want to blog at least once a week, but the more you blog the better it’ll be for your profile and SEO. (I only blog once a week for aforementioned reasons, but I am looking to increase this.)
Most blogging software allows you to schedule in your post to be published at a later date. This means you could write a piece years in advance if you really wanted to.
I tend to spend one weekend a month working on blog posts. Sometimes that will be the writing, editing, and formatting of them, other times I just revise unfinished ideas. I then schedule them in for the rest of the month, and add them to my Buffer (I have the Awesome plan) so that they’re posted to my social media as soon as they go live.
Blogging needn’t be a strange, mythical creature of the night that’s going to come and haunt you. If you find a way to nurture it, and to work with it, it can quickly become a valuable marketing tool for you as a writer of any medium.