The core principle behind blogging a book lies in having the forethought to plan out your idea in post-sized bits that you write and publish on your blog. Instead of blogging aimlessly and then going back and booking your blog, prior to beginning to write your book you develop a content plan that determines the content you put on your blog. This methodology also provides you with continuous fodder for blog posts so you don’t ever have to wonder what you’ll blog about.
Planning out a Book
Using a nonfiction book as an example, let me explain the process. Don’t approach blogging a book any differently than you would write a book—at least not at first. Pick a subject for your book, and later a title to match that subject (and that has good SEO). For example, the subject or your book might be fear; based on the angle you choose to take on this subject, you might title you book, “The Coward’s Way to Face Fear.”
Once you have your subject you need to flesh that out into sub-topics, or chapters. All the chapters relate to the main subject. For a book about fear, you might have chapters on:
- Things to fear
- Is fear real?
- How to face your fear
- Why are you afraid?
- Techniques for moving through fear
I studied magazine journalism in college. My professor once told me I could write a nonfiction book because it consisted of a string of articles all on one topic. If you are writing nonfiction, think of your content plan in this way. (If you are writing fiction or memoir, you will need to map out your story and plan your chapters based upon the story arc.)
Planning a Blogged Book
When you write a book the “normal” way, you might simply begin writing at this point. Better planning involves creating a summary or outline for each chapter so you know exactly what content you will include in each chapter—before you start writing. At this point in the book blogging process you begin breaking each chapter’s content down into post-sized bits. For each chapter topic you now come up with as many as 5-20 (or more) sub-topics all of which relate to the chapter topic.
Brainstorm all the possible topics you might want to cover in your chapter. I find thinking of these as possible subheadings in a long chapter sometimes makes it easier to conceptualize the whole chapter and the actual book blogging process.
Each one of these sub-topics or subheadings represents a blog post. You can actually go through and rewrite the subheadings as blog post titles. Subheadings in a book may not need the same type of care and attention to keywords and keyword phrases that blog post titles need. Nor do they need to be quite as catchy and enticing as blog post titles. A blog post title must be easily discoverable when someone searches for the topic using a search engine, like Google, Bing or Yahoo, and it must be interesting enough to make someone want to click through and read it when it shows up in their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Plus feed or in an email. This is how you will gain blog readers (and the more readers you gain, the higher likelihood you have of being found by an agent or selling more books).
Notice in the mind map to the right that some of the subheads or sub-topics don’t have blog post title indicated next to them. This reason for this is simple: When blogging a book you want to create a content plan that leaves 20 percent or more unpublished (off the blog) to entice readers and publishers to purchase the finished book. As you are brainstorming and planning your content, therefore, make decisions about which topics makes sense to publish on the blog and which ones don’t. You’ll want to keep the blogged book’s flow in mind.
Blogging Once Your Book Is Complete
Once you finish blogging your book, you can use the same basic principle to continue planning blog posts on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. If you use your blogged book as the central subject of your blog, you can branch out from there. Pick a topic that relates in some way to your book to explore each month, quarter, or year, and then begin brainstorming related topics. You can always go into more depth on any aspect of your blogged book. Almost every post you write probably can be expanded into another. Start thinking this way, and you’ll find yourself with a continuous flow of blog post ideas.
By the way, this methodology helps memoirists and novelists who want to blog to promote their books. By mapping out the themes, topics and issues in their books, they can expand upon them in blog posts for many years, if not forever.