Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blogging - Outside the Circle

Many authors are already doing many of the right things when it comes to blogging. Many of us don't for various reasons. Don't think it helps sales; don't think it's pertinent to writing; afraid to step out into a world unknown; don't have time. In some cases these are legitimate reasons. For someone like me who has mega time on her hands, there is no excuse. Although, I could come up with dozens of reasons. lol

Whatever your reason, my reasons, we need to get over it. Oh, I post on a few blogs, I comment on a couple of blogs here and there. I follow a lot of blogs officially and unofficially.

Blog marketing is a valuable tool if you have a following; are posting on the right blogs; realize marketing as we think it is, is not what the readers want. The consumer doesn't want blatant sales in the face posts. They don't care what they can do for you. They care what you can do for them. They want something from you when you post. In most cases, it's valuable information they can relate to and/or use. In other cases, they want to win something, like an e-reader, or free books. If you're doing nothing but promoting books at various blogs, you're probably getting few comments unless you have friends following you around which is cool, but you want new followers.

I've watched blogs I frequent, checked out others. I started paying attention at the blogs I follow. I have seen tons of comments for some, none or few for others. There are so many factors involved in this. One, lack of advertising of the blog poster; wrong topic for the blog; people simply aren't interested in yet another stale interview or promo.

One of the blogs I've been following for a couple of years has changed. I loved it because it was personable; the posts were relatable topics to both the writing community and to me as a person. In the last six months I noticed a change in posts and number of people posting on the blog had gone up. I found I was skipping posts, and many weren't worth commenting on. What were these posts I was skipping, blatant promotion or some personal story that doesn't belong on an author blog as it didn't pertain to any aspect of writing and too personal for me as a stranger to know about. I'm not crazy about the simple things I can get in my group digests daily. I want a blog post to be interesting, fun and if a promotional bit is included, that's cool. I love the behind-the-scene-look into the authors making of the story. That's a hook to bring me into the post, but depending on the content, I may or may not comment.

Also, many who follow your blog aren't going directly to your blog to see what's going on. They are reading the headlines of all the blogs they follow. So, headlines can be a draw or not. But keep the headlines relatable to the blog post. I've come across some there were simply to get you there. Enough of this from the same blog site or blogger and you'll lose followers.

I don't like to comment on posts I don't feel really interested me. I only like to post when I have something to say. Commenting on a blog should be real communication, not simply to say you like the post or don't like the post. Each time you post a comment, you are saying something about you and leaving a link back to your blog - it's called in inbound link. One would hope those who read the comments would like what you had to say and go check out your blog, leaving an outbound link for you to go check them out. It sounds like a game of tag, but who knows what you'll find doing this. And another thing you want is to have interesting content on your blog to keep them returning. That's a whole other issue.

The real reason I'm posting this post on blogging is because I heard this great idea in an older class I listened to last week and it's something I'd already been doing.

Limiting your time to author/reader blogs can get old, stagnant and downright boring. For me, at times, I feel closed in and need to get away. It's kind of a like having a job where your boss expects you to put the place of business first in your life. That is so wrong. You have to have a three-dimensional life or your life is going to eat you alive. I know I get agitated, I get fed up and I get witchy. It means my life has become one-dimensional and I need to back off and widen my path to include other things I enjoy. Either that or I've not been listening to music. lol

We need to get out of the cocoon and step into a new arena.

What are your hobbies, interests? Do you like to crochet, knit, scrapbook, garden, do pottery, anything that doesn't include writing and reading? If you do, Google blogs on those topics. Look at the top five that come up. Check them out to see if one or two of them would be a great place to hang out. Read a few back posts that seem interesting then start commenting on their posts. After a while, if they take guest posts, offer yourself to do one here and there on the topic.

What are your books about? Do they have a general topic; do they pertain to community or world issues? Whatever they may be about, Google blogs on those topics and check out the first five. Hang out, comment and post if they'll let you.

In these new guest posts, if you've written a book about the topic, or included the hobby in a story, it's ok to mention the book once, but don't do any blatant promotion. You're not there as an author, you're there as a person with the same interest. Become a part of their community. Let the post interest them enough to want to follow your link back to learn more about you. I think if we do this with a genuine interest of simply sharing with like-minded people, we'll find sales will eventually follow.

My first two books are set around the food service industry, and since this is my profession, I find the blogs especially gratifying. I like getting in there and talking with people who go through the same ups and downs I do. I couldn't say if anyone has followed me back or bought my books, it'd be nice, but that's not really important right now. Building a trust, a relationship is what is important. The one thing I don't want them to think is that I'm there for research for another book, because geese, I don't need more research on this topic, I have enough stored information to fall back on.

So, what do you think? Are you doing this already? Do you think it'd be something you'd be willing to try? Any other ideas?


Blogger tip: We all have busy schedules and sometimes find ourselves in a pinch to write a blog for the day we're scheduled. Blogspot has two features to help ease that burden. Write and save it in draft mode or schedule it for the day you're supposed to post.


KA said...

Excellent article Bekki. But what I want to know is - Where do you find the time to do it all? Between the full time job, the kids, the dog, mom stuff, 2 yahoo groups, myspace, facebook and squeezing in the writing - how do you throw in more blog writing and still have time to promo? And sound and look like you have it all together, you're not a total bore -- the cape is crisp and you don't fly into high buildings? lol.

K.A. M'Lady

Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, I find other blogs mainly when I'm researching a topic. And, I'll usually leave a comment where I have something to say.

It's a wide wonderful world of blogging out there. And I wish I had more time to check it out. Because I simply like learning about others and their experiences. However, like KA said, between life and writing, I can only devote so much effort and time.

I attempt to make my bloggies entertaining within the sphere of writing because that's what I have to offer mainly.

And, no, I don't like the same ole promo blogs over and over. And I do my best only to repeat a blog where I think there's a different group of folks.

Bekki Lynn said...

Hi K A,

I say, make time, take the time. You don't have to do it all at once. If you have time to check your email, you have time to send out a promo or two. Sounds rather harsh put that way. I don't mean it that way.

The key I've found to promotion is organizing your groups according to which day you can promote at each one.

Today, I went into my favorites and opened up groups, scrolled down to groups-wednesday and it gave me the groups where I'm allowed to post promos today. Monday's, of course, have the most groups, still you can have it done within ten minutes. I have my excerpts all set to go in word docs, all I have to do is copy and paste.

Blogs are not easy to write, unless it's a promo piece. The key to blog posts, I've found for me, is to write them early. You can send them to the blog host and they can put it up and schedule it to appear on the appropriate day.

And while you're writing one, why not do two? You can save it for when you need one. Same thing when an idea peaks your interest - write it up and save it. So, when you come across a place it might fit, you have something to offer.

I get emails from bloggerlinkup - often they have blogs which need posts on various topics. This is a good way to promote yourself while simply giving them what they want.

I hope this helps.

Bekki Lynn said...

I always enjoy your posts, Savanna. You have a style that brings light and life to the page.

I, too, find blogs while doing research. I bookmark them to go back to. The world is so open. I wish I could share my free time. lol

Celia Yeary said...

BEKKI--I've never thought of your suggestions. I read through it twice and made some notes. The first thing I'll do check out some of my followers--most are complete strangers--never heard of them--have no idead why they're following my blog. I have 106 and "know maybe 30 of them." Now I'm excited about something different.
Recently, I've read comments more often about tiring of promo blogs. I think that's because all of us are authors, and we support each other, and after a while you are tired of seeing the same things.
Thanks for this instructive blog. Celia

Bekki Lynn said...

That's a wonderful idea, Celia.

I never thought of the followers. That can be a great source.

Linda Banche said...

Like all the rest of you, I mainly read blogs for something of interest. I don't read promo blogs, either.

Trouble is, those fancy posts I write take a LOT of time. Even though I promo them, and some people come, I don't see them translating into sales.

I see nothing wrong with reposting a post, especially if it hasn't seen the light of day for a few months. I don't remember if a certain blog has rerun a post, and I doubt anyone else remembers, either. So, reuse your fancy posts. They'll be new to lots of people.

Bekki Lynn said...


It's definitely a plus to repost informative posts, but I'd never do it the same day.

It wouldn't come off well to have two or three blogs showing up on Twitter, Facebook or Myspace all carrying the same thing within minutes of one another.

I'm not sure blog watchers would care to go from this blog to that blog and see the same thing posted -- if there's a lot of that going on, blogs could lose viewers.

I usually repost these promotional tip posts weeks apart and on my author blog.

All posts from HEA and Lynnsplanet go to the three venues mentioned above. This is something I'm not seeing a lot of yet among those in my friends list.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Brilliant piece, Bekki and everyone! It's got me thinking... - thank you!

Savanna Kougar said...

Since I don't use Twitter I didn't realize the implications of possible overkill... that could act as one downside of Twitter... because different folks read different blogs, but it they see the same title... they may not bother with a blog they haven't actually read... okay, that doesn't exactly make sense... however, I use different titles for my blogs...