As you blog your book, provide readers with a way to subscribe to your blog’s feed. Encourage them to become “subscribers” so they can get the most recent posts using a variety of really simple syndication, or RSS, applications or readers or in their email box. But don’t forget to also encourage readers to sign up for an email list. This is just as important, if not more important, as providing RSS feed. Let me explain why.
When your readers subscribe to your blog feed, which they typically can do through WordPress or through a free service like Feedburner (if you signed up for it), they’ve only asked you to send them blog posts as you publish them. They aren’t asking for you to email them or to contact them in any other way. If you want to communicate with them, proper etiquette requires that you do so via your blog. That means, when you complete your blogged book and want to tell your subscribers it’s available on Amazon (or elsewhere) you have to write a blog post. They then get that blog post by RSS feed–if they subscribed to your blog feed.
It’s true that you can access the emails of your RSS feed subscribers. I’m suggestion that this is not appropriate because they have not asked to be contacted by email.
A more appropriate and effective–as well as direct–way to contact your blog readers is with a mailing list. This list allows you to send emails to them about other things unrelated to blog posts or your blogged book. In fact, you can attract all sorts of people to your email list by sending out a periodic newsletter on your topic and enticing sign-ups with a free gift or product of some sort. By casting a wider net–including more people on your list than just blogged book readers–and being able to contact those subscribers for reasons outside of your blog, you increase your chances to monetize your blog and sell more books.
With a mailing list you can contact your subscribers to:
- tell them about the release of your book
- ask them to pre-order your book
- ask them to purchase a service or product
- inform them about your upcoming speaking engagements, workshops or classes
- tell them about your book’s “free” days on Amazon
- notify them about anything and everything related to your business, book or blog
- increase trust by providing articles, tips and tools
Lots of bloggers do, indeed, contact their subscribers by emailing them. However, they risk those blog readers unsubscribing because they did not give permission to be contacted in that manner. Those people who sign up for an email list through services like Constant Contact, Aweber or MailChimp, are asked to confirm that they want to be on that list; that means they give permission to have you email them. It’s illegal to add people to a mailing list without permission; that means you can’t just add the names of those who hand you a business card at a conference or meeting, friends on Facebook, etc. Assume the same of your blog readers; just because they signed up for RSS feed does not mean they asked to be on your mailing list. They have asked for one thing only–to be sent blog posts.
So, set up an account with an email service and begin building a mailing list. Check out the functionality of each program; look for one with a good autoresponder system. (I prefer Aweber and use the sign-up forms on my websites and after each blog post–see below.) Then use that mailing list to create loyal subscribers. Send them more great information–just like you do on your blog. You can even share the links to your recent blog posts (in case those people don’t subscribe to your blog). Then, later, ask them to purchase your book when you finish blogging it.
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