"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Why Should Writers Blog Today? Points to Consider





Guest Post by Cynthia Clampitt
 
Much of the discussion about blogs these days is about monetizing them. Pity—because monetizing a blog is not only difficult, it’s also (somewhat) unlikely. When people run into this reality, many give up on the idea of blogging. But money is not the only, or even the main reason to blog. Even without creating an income stream, blogs have virtue and value.

First and foremost for many is that key element of writing success: building a platform. If you have a good blog, people will become interested in your writing and may start “following” you. Of course, this means you need to put some serious thought into your blog. It should reflect the quality of the writing you want to promote. Plus you need to decide what your blog will include: all your random thoughts, information on the writers life, your travels and research, your personal insights or struggles. The goal and focus of the blog should be defined on the About page, to let people know what they can expect from you.

Word to the wise: don’t make it so narrow you can’t keep the blog going long term, but make it clear and diverse enough that it helps your readers.

ADDITIONAL POINTERS…
Make the most of the promotional opportunities of the blog. The About page, of course, can include a link to a website, an Amazon listing, your LinkedIn profile, or other places that make it clear you are a working writer. (I see so many “About” pages where the sample text “this is an example of an About page” is left in place. You definitely shouldn’t do that.)

Be aware that you can add other pages to inform and engage readers. For example, a page for awards and/or reviews of your writing.

DISCIPLINE IS CRUCIAL…
Possibly more important than promotion, though rarely mentioned, is discipline. If you are going to succeed as a writer, you have to write pretty consistently. Sure, you’ll have days off, but if there are months and years off, you’re not going to succeed. A blog gives you a place to “stay in shape” as a writer. You have a reason to write even when you don’t have an assignment. (Another bonus I’ve found is that, when you have to cut a passage from something you’ve written, and you simply love that passage, you can put it on the blog. You can keep your word count to what has been assigned but still have an outlet for those extra details or delightful vignettes.)

THE BENEFIT OF HAVING YOUR OWN BLOG…
A blog gives people a place to connect with you. There are, of course, the “like” buttons and comment sections. While a lot of comments tend toward “nice post,” sometimes important information is included. (I’ve heard from ad agencies and schools in Australia that wanted to use my photos, colleges asking if students reading my book could contact me, and even the National Library of Australia, requesting permission to archive my Waltzing Australia blog.)
 
PLANNING FOR SUCCESS…
“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

A bit of planning is involved. Whenever possible, have a few posts planned out in advance, so if you get busy, you still have something to put out there. But don’t panic about it. You don’t have to post every day, unless you have a topic that requires daily updates. Once you get followers, they will be notified when you post something. And most host sites work hard at promoting every post of their users. (I use WordPress, and they are very good about making blog posts visible.)

Also, link whatever you can to your blog. Goodreads, Amazon, and LinkedIn all offer the option of having your posts appear on your profiles, but even sites that won’t show your posts still generally allow you to post the URL for your blog.

TO WRAP THINGS UP HERE…
Visit blogs that are related to what you write, and leave comments. That leads people back to your blog. Because building platform only happens if you work at it one layer at a time.



Bio:  Cynthia Clampitt is a writer, speaker, traveler, and food historian. She is the author of Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland and Waltzing Australia. Midwest Maize and Waltzing Australia also happen to be the names of two of her three blogs (the third is The World’s Fare, which covers culture, food, history, and travel to places other than Australia and the Midwest). She has been blogging for more than ten years.




Why do you blog? What aspect do you consider to be a benefit to your writing career?


Image credit: Pixabay.com








4 comments:

  1. Cynthia, these are timely tips, and I think the one that struck a chord is Discipline is Crucial. I get very discouraged when I see little or no activity on a blog I follow. It does take time and effort to keep a blog going, but it is my belief that I owe it to my readers to make the commitment to write consistently. Great article. Thanks, Jen for posting this.

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  2. Jennifer brown banksSeptember 21, 2017 at 5:47 AM

    Thanks Lin,
    Commitment is indeed important.
    Thanks so much for your time and comment.

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  3. Life events can interfere with being perfectly consistent, but yes -- people do rely on hearing regularly, once they sign up to follow a blog. Plus -- and this is important -- it keeps you writing. Like anything else, you are faster and better when you do it regularly.

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  4. P.S. And thanks for the opportunity to share, Jennifer.

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