Blogging Basics for Aspiring Authors: Lesson 7
Print and broadcast media feature successful people so frequently because doing so increases readers and viewers. Most of us love to read about people who have reached the pinnacle of their careers or who have become celebrities because they are good at what they do. We hunger to know how they think, what drives them, and what helped them succeed. We want to know their secrets and methods so we can possibly put them to use in our own lives.
Your blog and blogged book also can benefit from featuring successful or interesting people in your topic area. Here are three reasons to consider writing posts about celebrities:
- Profiling experts increases your own blog readership. When you profile experts about their expertise, people interested in what they have to say will read your posts. If you write about this topic with any degree of authority, they may decide to read your blog or blogged book as well. Additionally, profiling successful bloggers who are also experts on your topic is a superb strategy. Their loyal readers will then visit your blog to read about their favorite blogger. They may check out other posts and decide to come back to read more or even subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed if they like what they’ve read.
- Profiling others provides additional promotion for your blog or blogged book. If you are lucky, the bloggers or featured personalities will promote the posts you’ve written about them to their fans and followers.This introduces you and your blog to totally new—and probably larger—audiences. These audiences represent prospective readers for your blog.
- You create relationships with the people you interview. Each time you ask for an interview you create new opportunities for professional relationships and friendships. This is especially true if you go to the trouble of interviewing someone in person, by phone or with Skype.
There are two ways to feature someone on your blog:
- a personality profile
- a Q & A post
I prefer to do a Q & A because it is the easier and quicker way to get the job done. A personality profile takes more work and finesse; however, it does produce a much more interesting journalistic piece. I have written many profiles for newspapers and magazines, and they can be interesting to write if you have time. Yet, I never write profiles for my blogs because they take too long to research and produce.
Why Write a Q & A Post
Here are three reasons to consider writing a Q & A post:
- They are easy to write. After a brief introduction about the person you interviewed, which explains why someone would want to read about this person, the post just includes interview questions followed by answers (the actual Q & A). The answers can easily be gathered with a recorded interview and the post produced with an edited transcription. You can also produce the post with edited responses to questions sent and received by email.
- They’re easy to read. It is simple to find the featured person’s quotes within the text of a blog post because they stand apart from the questions. They typically are not embedded in the copy but are placed in block quotes, separated with spaces from the questions, indicated with names or initials, or showcased in a different type style.
- They heighten the expert status of your blog. If you are writing a blogged book or a blog that is prescriptive in nature, you can profile experts and questions that elicit expert information. I always ask questions like: “What are three tips you can offer my readers?” or “What do you think are the top issues currently faced by our industry and what are your suggestions for solving them?” This helps make your blog the go-to place for such information and helps you become a thought leader in your subject area as well.
During 2012, I wrote a Q & A for each post I published in January and then on the last day of every month after that. Here are a few samples:
- Darren Rowse: On Creating Profitable and Successful Blogs
- Chris Garrett on How to Turn Blog Readers Into Book Buyers
- Liz Strauss on How to Get Readers to Comment on Your Posts
- Jonathan Fields on Blog Traffic, Subscribers and Content
- Julien Smith on Differentiating Your Blog and Your Writing
- Traditionally Published Author Self-Publishes a Booked Blog
- This 20-Year-Old’s Experiences Make Good Blog & Book Fodder
- Blogger Writes and Self-Publishes Book Based on Blog
Why Write a Personality Profile
A personality profile takes all your research on the person you plan to interview, plus the answers you received, and weaves them into a piece that gives readers a complete picture of the person. It utilizes anecdotes and background to create a picture of the person’s life and personality. To accomplish this, you must do more extensive research, possibly even interviewing additional people, going on site to see where the person lives and works, and meeting the person so you can observe him or her face to face. You then use these details to enhance your article or post.
Here are three reasons you might want to put in the extra effort to write a personality profile post:
- An in-depth post, or a series of posts, about a well-known person can drive a lot of traffic to your blog. If many people are interested in the person you interviewed, they will come read your posts.
- Personality profile posts can go viral. A superb personality profile can get shared widely if it contains new or little-known details about a celebrity, public figure or even an interesting person.
- Personality profiles are evergreen. This type of post will serve as core content, bringing in traffic long after you’ve written it, especially if what the person says is timeless. (So be sure to ask questions that are both timely and timeless.)
When creating questions for a Q & A or a personality profile post, research well the person you plan to interview. Then compose questions pertinent to that person’s experience, current situation and anything that might be new or newsworthy related to your blog topic. Also keep your reader’s interests in mind: what do they most want to know from this person? Avoid yes or no questions. Ask open-ended questions that invite creative and thoughtful responses. You might also want to allow the person you are profiling to promote himself or herself to some extent, to make this a win-win experience.
Book marketing expert John Kremer suggest hosting a blog tour palooza, much like what I did in January 2012 or what I do each year on my blog Write Nonfiction in NOVEMBER, where I feature 30 days of expert guest posts. If you profile a lot of people in a short amount of time, you will drive even more traffic to your blog. Indeed, I find that my unique visitor count increases tremendously each November on Write Nonfiction in NOVEMBER , and on its sister blog, Write Nonfiction NOW, which hosts snippets of those same guest posts. My traffic also rose considerably in January 2012 when I published a month’s worth of interviews.
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