I recently read a post by Chad Allen that changed my perspective of blogging. He’s an editorial director at Baker Publishing Group and a two time presenter at Jot. He said the first thing he does when he gets a manuscript is he Googles the author’s name.
You are building your blog for your books, right? What if an editor pulls up your website and sees nothing updated in a month and a picture from six years ago? Or worse, finds nothing?
Creating content so you look engaged does sound a bit sleazy but as pointed out in the article (which I recommend you read straight away) a book is about the art but it’s also a business partnership and it’s the editors job to ensure a sound investment.
Your blog is an extension of you and your writing. It tells them if you have an engaged audience and that you are committed to the craft.
So when you blog, keep your virtual lawn clean. Post the strongest content you can as regularly as you can and know that if you send in a manuscript, someone important may be popping by, even if it’s only for thirty seconds. Leave the best impression possible.
Blogging can be exciting in the beginning. Then, out of nowhere, we hit a plateau. It’s at this point we can make a decision to either give up or dig in.
Below I list ten ways to get your blog back on track. If you are struggling, try a few of these methods. They also work if you are just starting out.
Know who you are. If you are a fantasy writer, don’t write about pollution. If you are not a professional don’t write posts about how to make it. You are constructing your own platform and if you are not true to who you are or what you write it’ll be hard to find someone that will listen.
Know your audience. Speak to your audience’s condition. If you are speaking to the sci-fi fantasy crowd or talking about the joys and perils of retirement, know what is relevant and helpful to that demographic.
Follow the leader. There’s bound to be a blogger who is further along than you. They may even have blazed the trail to exactly where you want to go. Watch them closely. Learn what they do best.
Be consistent – post time, topic, etc. If you are writing a literary blog, don’t talk about Fifty Shades of Grey. If you are writing about gardening, don’t weigh in on the latest about Kim Kardashian. Unless she is gardening and maybe not even then. Consistency is key. If you post consistently your audience will begin to anticipate when fresh content is available and they will be waiting.
Be mindful of details. Recently most fonts were opened on the theme I use. Don’t think that’s such a big deal? I recently read that some fonts are considered prudish and untrustworthy. Yes. Fonts. So, do your research and understand that even the mundane tweak can mean a lot.
Write ahead. If you have a busy life where time can be sucked into a black hole in a moment’s notice, this is key. Look for spots to fit writing in and if you are writing ahead you will be prepared for whatever life event may suddenly arise.
Commit to the relaunch mental battle. Commitment can require us to cast off what is natural. Sleep, time with friend, work, etc. If you are doing a re-launch be sure your mind is ready for the fight. Know that trials will happen and nothing worth doing is easy.
Set personal goals you can reach but are a bit of a stretch. This will vary from person to person depending on the season of life. You may post once a week, every day, or twice a month.
Set launch a date. Set a hard deadline for the relaunch of your blog. Build it to look professional, write ahead, and then bam, go live. You can tweek the minor things later.
Connect social media widgets and let your friends know! This is key. Find people who can support you. No writer can keep going in a vacuum. We need people. Your friends and family are most likely going to champion your work.
Blogger, get a clear vision, look for ways to improve and then jump. Even if it feels uncomfortable.
I don’t like acronyms. If you tell me you went to DRT to learn YUR, you might see my eyes glaze over and be given a polite excuse that my phone is ringing or my house is on fire.
Okay, I’m not that much of a jerk, but I don’t like acronyms for their exclusivity and lack of description.
So why am I talking about ROE? If you’ve read any books by James Scott Bell recently, you are probably clear on why, as a writer, keeping ROE in mind is important. If not, let me induct you into the group. Here’s the Kool Aid.
If you are in the business world you might be aware of its cousin – ROI – Return On Investment. How much you expect to get back for your efforts/investment. ROE – Return On Energy is just as important to the time-strapped novelist.
Time is our enemy. We scramble to cobble together three minutes to whittle a sentence or two and hope it doesn’t have a lot of adverbs. We must be intentional with all of our time and projects to ensure our efforts are productive and we get the proper ROE.
So how do you ensure you are getting the proper ROE? Good question.
I firmly believe in writing when you have the time, not meandering around Facebook/Pintrest or throwing together a writing playlist. You sit down and write on your novel/article/blog post. All of this screen time and usage of time is making sure you are getting the proper return on the energy spent. This means keeping your end goal in mind and working towards it.
Sometimes you must leave a bit of editing and move forward with your work or plotting your book for the eighth time, so you don’t veer off course like an errant firework. Maybe it’s simply taking time away from marketing and blogging and actually work on your next project.
Whatever this might mean for you writer, keep writing and keep aiming. Keep searching for the best Return On Energy.