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Authors: Blog Your Way to Friends, Followers, and Readers

April 1, 2010

Social media marketing without a blog is like a fish without water, or a dog without a bone. Without it, things just aren’t right. Authors who want to use social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, to market their books should use a blog as the centerpiece. Not only are blogs easier to find online because search engines love them, they are more casual and engaging than a regular web site and they naturally lend themselves to conversations, which is what social media is all about.


The casual, conversational feel of a blog helps build relationships with people in a way that a regular web site can’t. Plus, readers perceive blogs differently than web sites. While web sites are less personal and often sales- oriented, blogs are casual and more focused on cementing those relationships with helpful, interesting content. They allow you to be more than just a guy or gal with a book to sell. This means you can talk about your book without people seeing it as pushy or overly self- promotional.

To get your blog up and running, use the following tips.


Where and When to Start

Because it takes time to build up content and a community of readers, most experts suggest starting to blog at least six months before your book is released. Starting sooner rather than later means you can start growing your following and establishing important contacts before your book is done. If your book has already been published and your blog hasn’t, what are you waiting for? Get going as soon as you can.

Most blogging platforms offer free and paid options. The free ones are hosted by the blogging company, like WordPress or Blogger. The paid ones require outside hosting, which is often less than $5 a month. I recommend paying for outside hosting, which will give you more flexibility and freedom to promote your book. Either way, you’ll get step-by-step instructions for getting everything set up. This process will involve choosing a domain name. If possible, choose your name or your book title.


Writing Your Blog

Once you get your site up, you need to start blogging. So what should you write? Just like writing a book, a good blog post is engaging, informative, unique, and entertaining. You can break news, share your thoughts and opinions, or teach your readers something they want to know.

Don’t be afraid to be personal and more casual than you may have been in your book. You don’t have to share all the details of your personal life–what you ate for breakfast, whether or not you went to the gym (unless that relates to your book topic, of course)–but you should share your thoughts on the topics you post about.


Get Traffic with Social Media

As I mentioned before, because a blog works so well as a relationship builder, it’s the perfect centerpiece of your social media marketing efforts. And you can set your blog up to automatically update your Twitter and Facebook accounts every time you update it.

So, for example, every time you publish a new blog post, you can post the link on Twitter, which will bring new readers and keep them coming back. As you’re building this audience of readers, you can make your blog the hub of all your book marketing activities, including social media, book signings, speaking engagements, publicity, and anything else you do.


What’s the Downside?

Well, a blog does take some work. Setting it up is pretty easy, even if you aren’t technology savvy, but the work comes in posts and maintenance. You need to update your blog regularly to get traffic and keep your readers interested. The posts don’t need to be long, and there are ways to simplify the process, but it still takes time.

However if you think about how powerful a blog can be for your book, writing a 250-word post a few times a week is definitely worth it. And as I mentioned before, it can be the hub of everything you do to promote your book–a place where you can promote everything you do. Plus the blog itself can lead to publicity, speaking engagements, and other really exciting opportunities for selling more books. So if you’ve got a book to market, you can’t go wrong with a blog.


Your Book Blog

Social media sites are too big for any author to ignore, and without a blog, you might as well be a fish on a bicycle. So even if your book isn’t quite finished (or if it’s been in print for months), get your blog going and start attracting readers and followers. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this one piece of your marketing strategy will become the most critical part of your author platform.

— ?? Copyright 2009 – Melinda Copp helps aspiring self-help, business, and nonfiction authors write and publish books that establish expertise, attract clients and opportunities, and share their message in a compelling way. Visit http://www.writerssherpaprograms.com/writeabook.html for a free copy of her Write Your Book Quick-Start Mini E- course.

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