[Marketing] The Blog's the thing!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 Laura Fitzgerald

The Internet enables writers to connect with their audience, promote their books or brand, and network with industry professionals in so many different ways now. So. Many. Different ways. And still, almost everyday some Marketing guru out there is touting the next new exciting digital thing that'll supposedly revolutionize EVERYTHING!  How often have you thought: It's too much!?

Honestly, it is too much especially considering that most writers have a career and/or manage a family, must find time to write between the first two things, and have to invest time and energy in their own marketing and promotion.  So no, you probably won't be able to do it all.  You need to tailor your digital strategy to your life and commitments to truly be efficient and worthwile, but that's a discussion for another day.

However, if you do just one thing, then you must have blog or a website.  I feel a blog is less of a hassle to throw together if you have no experience in web design and allows for a more open and transparent channel of communication between yourself and your audience so my recommendation is to keep a blog over a website if you do only that one thing.  There are so many professional looking free templates out there that it won't be too much trouble finding one that suits your work and personality. Even after all these years, the blog still the most important thing you can do to market yourself. And yet, it amazes me how often writers don't have or keep up with their blogs.  Think of your blog as the foundation stones of your online platform that you will build up from.

Your blog should help aggregate all the information about you, your books, and all the publicity information surrounding them.  Your reader should be able to get a sense of who you are - your personality, humor, and maybe your interests, and feel a connection.  They should be able to read a blurb about your book or excerpt (of edited work with your editor's or agent's approval) or character profiles. Something that will wet their appetite for your product.  And your blog should always link to a wide range of places where the reader can go to get more information or connect with you and other readers in other ways. This might be the publisher's page, Twitter, a Facebook fanpage, Goodreads. It should go without saying that you should promote the events and blog tours that your publicist arranges for, from your blog. And it's courteous to re-promote what others are doing for you elsewhere in the blogosphere to foster goodwill and help support one another within your interest communities.

But a word of warning: you mustn't let the blog be all about selling your books.  You won't build a committed audience if all you do is pitch your book at them. You have to let your personality shine through.  Now if you're uncomfortable with that level of online sharing there are other alternatives.  Build your blog into a resource pertaining to something that will interest your intended audience.  It can make blogging a bit more fun too if you're delving into your own passions and interests.


Anonymous said...

You make valid points.

I dislike visiting an author's blog or website when it has missing information. All pertinent information should be right there so that interested readers don't have to dig around for what they're looking for.

And it is aggravating when every blog post or tweet is self-promoting.

Plot Junkie said...

@Medeia: Agreed! Recently some author followed me on twitter. Thinking "Hey, he just sent me a pdf of his book, may as well support him and follow him too!" I ended up unfollowing him after two days because he would post at least ten times a day with every review he had received, ever, choking up my feed. I still haven't read his book, either. :\

Laura Fitzgerald said...

@Medeia @PlotJunkie Yup, content and promotion have to be in balance otherwise it gets annoying to readers.

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