Today, our ongoing series on author marketing takes a look at how to find great topics for your author blog. The techniques we’re discussing work for other blogs, as well – so if you’re blogging, or want to start, here are some ways to find content to fill those electronic pages:
1. Re-Use (and Recycle) Your Research. 95% of an author’s research doesn’t make it into the book, or shows up in the book in an altered form. Turning your research into blog entries gets more mileage from the time you’ve already spent, and helps readers learn about your areas of expertise. For example: if you write novels set in medieval Japan … blog about interesting historical, cultural, and artistic facts.
2. Blog About Your Hobbies and Interests, Even if They Don’t Relate to Your Writing. Not only do readers like learning about their favorite authors, but new readers will find you through common interests. In addition to blogging about the law, I write about mysteries, Japanese history and seahorses. Don’t worry that your hobbies might seem “weird” or “too simple” – people will respond to things you write about from the heart.
3. Avoid Conflict-Ridden Topics, Unless Your Books Require Them. People have strong opinions on divisive topics, and authors are no exception. Remember that your readers may not hold the same political or religious views that you do. Show tolerance when you blog. You don’t have to avoid sensitive topics — but you’ll draw more readers if you express yourself in a tolerant way.
4. Develop a “Blogging Schedule” With Specific Topics on Specific Days. Readers will learn which days you’re talking about the topics that interest them, and return to your blog to see what you have to say. Also, it’s easier to come up with content when you have a “daily topic” already selected.
5. People Love Photographs (But Respect Photo Copyrights). Try to include at least one photo with every blog you write. However – BEWARE of copyright infringement. Even “little blogs” can end up sued. Whenever possible, take your own photos (smartphones all have cameras, yo!) – readers would rather see your pictures anyway.
6. Keep Your Entries Short and From the Heart. Most authors think they have to write long blog entries, but in reality, content is more important than length. 500-700 words is plenty to keep your readers engaged, without being long enough to bore.
7. Be Yourself. Many authors mistakenly adopt an overly “authoritative” or “professional” tone when blogging. This makes your posts sound sterile. The voice you choose will impact your choice of content, too. Being yourself lets you share the things you actually enjoy.
If blogging feels overwhelming, start by picking one or two of these options and try them out. Blog from your research one day a week, and blog about a hobby a different day.
The primary takeaway: Don’t be afraid to use a more informal voice and to write from the heart about topics you really care about. People will find them–and you–more interesting than you may believe.