The ABCs and 123s of Self-Promotion For Independent and Self-Published Authors Part 5 Successful Blogging
So you have a published book and someone told you that you needed a blog...and so you went to blogger and set one up and have been posting more or less religiously every week or so. Yes, I know, and you know, you are supposed to do it every day; but it's time-consuming and it's hard to think of something to blog about so often...and beside you're an author now and need to spend your time writing your next book. Uh huh. I hear you; but what if I could tell you how to take some of the pressure off and still have all the promotional advantages of having a blog?
To begin with, are you utilizing your blog to your best advantage and actually using it as a networking tool? Like it or not, promoting your book is a matter of Internet Marketing and if you don't know the basic rules already, you need to learn them.
Here are some basic points you need to know for purposes of ranking your blog and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO--if you don't already know--is what allows you to increase your blog or websites ranking for your chosen keyword, i.e. so you appear on the first page of results if someone Googles your genre.
Stop and think for one minute, if you write paranormal romances--for example--someone who has never heard of you is not going to magically type your name into Google, find your blog and buy your book. Your potential audience will more likely find websites and blogs of interest to them by typing in "paranormal romances", or "werewolf or vampire romances", or "books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" or "contemporary mythical creature romances." Therefore, your blog does not need to be optimized for your name--although that is important too--it needs to be optimized for your specific genre and any other keywords/terms that someone might use when looking for topics, books or authors that interest them.
So here are a few things you need to know.
#1 Do you know what keywords you want to promote and include them "naturally" in your permanent text such as your bio, header, title, book blurb and excerpt and image alt tags?
#2 Are you blogging on topics that would interest not only the readers you already have, but others who might read books in your chosen genre?
#3 Do your blog posts--no matter what the topic--always include keywords that reflect your book's genre?
#3 Do you make a point of posting at least one really good and topically relevant comment per day on someone else's blog who is writing in the same genre? NOTE: This is incredibly important because of several reasons. Their audience is already established as people who are interested in your topic--so posting there helps make their audience your audience--which is a good thing for both of you. There is strength in numbers--especially when it comes to building traffic online. Posting on someone else's blog will usually give you a backlink to your own blog which will help increase your blog's ranking as an inbound link--major SEO magic! Also, if you include topically relevant keywords in your post, your comment will be picked up by the search engines which will also help the search engine ranking for your name in connection with your chosen keywords.
#4 If someone leaves a good, keyword rich, topically relevant comment on your blog...do you return the courtesy and leave one of their blog? This one is a matter of common sense and professional courtesy that is unfortunately overlooked by many bloggers. This is also extremely important for all the reasons listed above, plus others. Blogs and their content must be kept fresh to achieve, maintain and increase ranking. It is a lot easier to do that if you have lots of traffic, and keyword rich topically relevant comments on your blog. However, I can almost certainly guarantee that anyone who is familiar with these concepts will not return to your blog a second time, if you do not reciprocate when they have gone to the time and trouble to leave a good comment on your blog. Keep in mind, I'm not talking about something simplistic like "Awesome post, man." Comments like that are every bit as worthless as those awful auto-spamming things that everyone and their brother tries to sell you. Any writer worth their salt can take a moment to read or scan the blogger's post, grab a few relevant keywords and work them into their comment. It should take less than two minutes to do...and if you can't spare a few minutes a day for promotion, you might as well throw in the towel right now! Personally, if it is a book review or something similar that I am commenting on, I always work in the author's name and the book title and genre into my comment along with the relevant keywords. This helps not only the other blogger when my keyword rich comment is picked up by Google but helps me as well. NOTE: Comments from bloggers outside your genre are also good, since they help build the perception of you as an authority whose blog people from all walks of life are choosing to read.
#5 Do you take time to reply to their comment on your own blog? There is no better way to keep the conversation going and built a Search Engine Attractive comment stream than by replying with intelligent comments that include even more topically relevant, keyword rich sentences.
#6 Do you take a moment to reciprocate by Following those bloggers who follow you on Google Connect and Networked Blogs? How about showing support in other venues such as liking a post on Facebook, or tagging their book on Amazon, or Twittering it, or offering to do, or exchange author interviews with them. Reciprocal social network promoting usually takes but a moment and it helps both of you.
#7 Do you have one or more keyword alerts set up in Google that will send you a daily email of the newest blog posts that include your name and your chosen keywords. For example every morning with my coffee I read several Google Alerts. One for my name, one for my novel's name, and one for the genre term Regency Romance. Then, while I drink my coffee I scan these alerts and make a point of visiting approximately five other blogs in my genre and leaving a keyword rich, topically relevant comment. From start to finish it takes ten to twenty minutes, and has the added advantage of allowing me to stretch my promotional boundaries beyond what is already known and familiar--just blogging back and forth with people you know is the online equivalent of inbreeding...and we all know where that leads. NOTE: I am less likely to post on a blog that will not allow a link back to my own website when someone clicks on my name at the top of my comment. The most comment friendly blogs are the ones that let you fill in Name, email address (will not be shown) and website when you comment--then if the reader likes your comment and clicks on your name they are taken to your blog. Keep in mind though, that even if no one ever clicks on that link, you still get "link juice" from an inbound link in a topically relevant genre to your blog, so it's all good either way.
#8 Do you rest on your laurels? Big mistake. Stop posting on your own site and your ranking in the search engines will drop like a rock. Start posting on other blogs and your ranking will climb--stop doing so and it will plummet, it's just simple. Check your ranking for search terms and your own name at least weekly, just to keep you on your toes.
Smiles and Good Fortune,
Teresa Thomas Bohannon
PS If you haven't read the first four articles in this series you will want to go back and them here on Evan Carmichael:
The ABCs and 123s of Self-Promotion For Independent and Self-Published Authors Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4
And if you want to become a self and or independently published author and don't know how to begin, you will want to read my article:
How to Independently or Self-Publish Your Way To Fame And Fortune In Six Easy Steps
A Step-By-Step Guide, Explaining Exactly How to Self and/or Independently Publish Your Book Online
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
– W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915
Have a question for Teresa or want to leave a comment?