Use blogs to prime the pump

bloggersThe common wisdom is that blogging is one of the top priorities for anyone attempting to build his author brand.

It is an interesting and frustrating concept because the sort of writing one does on a blog as a general rule is much different from the writing one does in a  novel.

So the question becomes: What are the best types of blogs for authors to write?

Opinions differ on this considerably.

Some gurus say that if an author hopes to build a following he should write reader-centric blogs.

Okay.  What is a reader-centric blog?  On the face of it, one would assume that a reader-centric blog is one that readers who like the author’s genre would enjoy reading.  The problem is that there is no way to know which readers really like what subject matter.  A person may like to read thrillers, but prefer blogs about gardening or travel.  Other readers may enjoy blogs that talk about the inner workings of a writer’s mind, a bizarre subject for sure.

Another approach to reach readers is to blog about trending topics.  In other words, if a TV show is number one, a blogger should write a piece about it in hopes that fans of the show may drop by to read it.  The problem is that the fans of the TV show may not be fans of the types of books the author writes, and even though they may enjoy the blog, they probably will not be interested in buying one of the writer’s books.  Still, if they read his blog and like it at least they have learned his name and filed it away in the back of their memory banks.

I have gone back and forth on blog strategy.  I agree entirely that writing regular blogs is essential to brand building.  By regular I mean daily or several times per week at least. In my view any number of blogs less than that is too few to retain a following of readers.  If the blogger takes a hiatus from blogging the people who read his work will fill his slot with someone else’s blog.

But even if the writer commits himself to regular blogs, he still has to decide about a general subject matter as a theme for his work.

At least that is what I used to think, several hundred blogs ago.

I don’t believe that anymore.  Rather, I think the best blog strategy is for the writer to write about  what  interests him.  For authors this will often be things about the writing craft, digital publishing, books in general, etc.  But it also includes all sorts of special features, things that happen in the wide world and invite commentary.

I also think that writers are well-served to blog short stories.  They should just let their hair down and concoct a story for the heck of it.  Everyone who reads loves stories.

Finally, an attractive middle ground is for the author-blogger to write a serial novel.  This serves a dual purpose.  First, it provides fresh content from the author for his  readers.  Second, it allows the author to kill two birds with one stone because by blogging serial chapters she also adds a new book to her repertoire.  It’s a win-win.

I know many of you who read our blogs on Caleb and Linda Pirtle are bloggers, too.  I would love to hear your thoughts about the types of blogs an author should write.

(Stephen Woodfin is an attorney, author and blogger.)

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