Yesterday I published a blog post on my other blog, Write Nonfiction NOW!, based on a very interesting interview I conducted with Jonathan Fields. In that post, Jonathan and I discussed what it takes to create a bestselling book: author’s platform, a business model, hard work, great release strategies, and a great book. (You can read the post here.) Today on this blog, I’ve published the remainder of our conversation, which covered tips for bringing in blog traffic, getting blog readers to subscribe to your blog and creating a better blog.
Jonathan is the author of Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love, which was named a Top 10 Small Biz Book by Small Business Trends, and Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, his latest book, which has generated extraordinary praise for its provocative, science-meets-art approach to embracing uncertainty as a catalyst for innovation and action. It’s a must read for authors—yes, even authors of blogged books! I wrote a short review yesterday, but it bears repeating for those of you blogging with the hope that your book will be discovered in the process. All writers feel uncertainty, and that can stop us in our tracks. When you have no readers—or few readers—to your blog, when you aren’t sure if what you are writing makes sense, has meaning, is touching anyone—or ever will be purchased by a publisher or readers, it’s hard to keep moving forward. That’s why you want to read Jonathan’s book, Uncertainty. There you will find advice on how to make the uncertainty we all feel at times less unpleasant and to use it as a way to fuel your creative process.
Jonathan, a dad, husband, author, speaker and serial-entrepreneur, blogs at JonathanFields.com. Check out his blog if you want a taste of a successful blog. He’s been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, FastCompany, Inc., Entrepreneur, Forbes, USA Today, People, CNBC, FoxBusiness, Vogue, Elle, Self, Fitness, Outside, O Magazine and thousands of other places. He also runs a book marketing educational venture TribalAuthor.com, where he shares what he has learned about marketing his books and becoming a successful author. (He shared a ton of great info on this topic in yesterday’s post.)
What follows is our conversation on blogging. Enjoy and learn!
For those authors who are beginning to blog, blogging a book or wanting to improve their blogs, can you offer a few tips for bringing in more traffic?
Bringing in more traffic…that’s an interesting question, because a lot of traffic is moving away from blogs these days and towards social media. There’s so much attention getting split. I would say leverage Twitter to build relationships. Where you can, share links to your blog. Make sure that when you share links, it’s both a much smaller part of everything else that you do, so you should be 90 percent other-serving, and 10 percent or less self-serving. Same thing with Facebook, but when you do it in Facebook, you can have more of a conversation. So share a link to a post, but then you can also put in content. Share a paragraph or two from the post, and then ask a question that will inspire a conversation in the comments on Facebook. Sometimes this defeats the comments in your blog, but…
Other ways to drive traffic are to create what we call “flagship content.” Create a major thought piece that’s provocative and establishes a position and a strong voice and builds leadership that people will want to share. It can be a series. It can be a long blog post. It can be a manifesto. We actually used a manifesto to launch Career Renegade.
It was called The Firefly Manifesto and was a PDF.
And once the readers show up, how do we get them to actually subscribe to the blog?
One, offer them something in exchange for their e-mail. That may be a mini-course or an eBook or a teaser chapter from a book. Feature the call to action to subscribe boldly, either at the top of your blog, the top right, or underneath your blog posts.
Second, ask them at the end of your blog post to subscribe. Throw in a sentence that says, “If you’ve enjoyed this…” or some variation of “if you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the weekly updates,” or whatever works for your format.
Any other tips you might want to add on blogging well?
I can go way down the rabbit hole with this. Just because you know how to use the technology doesn’t mean you have something to say. Blog because you have something to say, not because you have a place to say it.
One of the questions I get all the time is, “I’ve been blogging for six months, and nobody’s listening.” And I’ll look at the blog, and I’ll realize It’s because the person’s not saying anything. It’s like white-washed content, or there’s no voice, no position, no story, no value. If you’re going to put in the effort, have something to say, offer real value, tell great stories, be provocative (if that’s in your nature), have a voice. Give people something to say “yes” or “no” to. If you don’t, nobody will care.
Take Jonathan’s last comment to heart. It is especially true for book bloggers. Why would anyone want to read your blogged book if you have no voice, nothing to say, aren’t adding any value to anyone’s life, have no story to tell that touches people in some important or deep way? Write a book, blog a book, that matters–that’s worth reading.
Comments or questions about this post? Leave them below! I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Don’t forget about my upcoming “Blog Your Way to a Book Deal” 4-part Teleclass starting next week! Preorder a copy of How to Blog a Book and SAVE $30 on registration fee! Get all the details here: http://bit.ly/BlogaBookTeleclassOffer