Blogging is what my lovely I.T. Sherpa has insisted I do. Have I done it yet? Not really. I’ve given it a half-hearted effort, and I’ve identified this as my biggest weakness, which is why I joined the A-to-Z Challenge.
Why is blogging so essential to creating your brand as an indie author? How do we indies take advantage of this platform? My I.T. Sherpa regularly tells me to stop asking these kinds of questions – and just do it!!
But I’m someone who likes the ‘why,’ so I harassed him until he gave me some good input, then added my own lessons.
Part I: The benefits of having your own blog:
1. Free marketing! Use your blog to build your brand: people are there for you and your writing so show it off.
2. Establish your credibility in the field. Write good articles on writing tradecraft or opinion pieces on publishing industry trends to attract others like you and start to build your networks.
3. No one will survive the Technology Era without a legitimate online presence. A lot of blogs sites offer your own personal space for free. It’s the quickest way to get started.
4. Make a lasting initial impression on your readers through your blog’s layout, colors, graphics, so people recognize you anywhere you go. There are quite a few ‘Lizzy Fords’ on Facebook, but when I say, the Lizzy-Ford-with pink-camouflage, people recognize it on sight. When you go to Goodreads or FB or Twitter, you know it’s me when you see the same logo. The logo itself was carefully chosen to convey meaning to other indie writers: the fact we don’t need the House to be successful anymore! (And we paid $20 for the logo by hiring someone off eBay. It’s cheap and effective – why not try it?!)
Dafeena’s blog is another good example, and she uses her logo everywhere, too, which is how I tracked her down. 🙂
5. Show people you’re here to stay by blogging frequently, which also helps your search engine ranking (more below.) This is my biggest weakness …
Part II: The benefits of posting on others’ blogs:
1. Again, free marketing. It’s easier and cheaper than putting out ads in a newspaper. You’ll expand your network of contacts and find others whose work might be of interest to you.
2. You can engage in constructive conversations and learn from others’ journeys as writers. I love this part, even though I’m good about reading others’ blogs but bad about responding to their posts!
3. Include your name and a link to your website in every response to you make. Sounds like common sense, right? Here’s the complex part, explained to me with pictures and crayons by I.T. Sherpa.
Find blogs in your field that are highly rated by Google, meaning they’re very active and have been around for awhile (among more complex stuff I didn’t understand!) By including a link to your site on these blogs, anytime some clicks on it, you get a sort of credit with Google that will help increase the ranking of your blog/website.
Why is this important? The higher your blog appears on the search engines results, the more people will visit your blog. Which means, more exposure for your books, you as an author, etc.
As an example, this site is rated in the top 550,000 sites on the internet. It doesn’t seem cool until you realize there are multi-millions of websites on the internet. We currently have a baseline of at least 200 unique visitors a day. We went from 7 millionth place to 550,000ish in the course of three months, by generating traffic through referrals, ie, links on other people’s sites.
4. You’re putting your name and brand out there in as many places as possible, so you’re easier to find.
5. By providing thoughtful responses to others, you’ll help establish yourself as someone who’s worth knowing.