Sunday, August 30, 2009

Marketing yourself and your work-blogs

In the movie Julie and Julia, Julie has a friend who sold her blog to HBO as a series. Julie then creates her own blog The Julie/Julia Project as a way of showcasing her writing talents and as we all know, that became a book and now a movie. I understand that Diablo Cody-who wrote the movie Juno-was discovered when writing her stripper blog. It would seem that blogging is the way to fame and fortune... or is it?
There are millions of blogs out there now. The chances of being "discovered" blogging are the same as an actress being discovered working in a mall in middle America. So, why blog?
Blogging is a good way to meet readers, other writers, to create buzz, to showcase your work, and to build a community.
But all I want to do is write books, you say. Do I have to blog? Answer in a nutshell-blogging is smart marketing for you and your books, but only if it's done well. If you can't devote time and thought to your blog...updating it at least once a week. Don't blog. You're wasting your time and readers will lose interest.
If you want to blog, here are a few tips for good blogging:
1) Post at least once a week on the same day. Example: I update this blog every Sunday. Be consistent. Some people blog on M,W,F. Others blog T,Th. Set a schedule and keep it. This way you will become a part of your readers routine.
2) Create a theme for your blog and reflect it in your blog title. Example: In Julie and Julia she titled her blog- The Julie/Julia Project and created a blog with an over all goal in mind- cooking her way through Julia Child's cook book in one year. If you are a regular reader of this blog, hopefully you've noticed my theme is writing-craft, marketing, and reviews that I try to center around writing and story telling.
3)Think of your blog as a newsletter/magazine. Create a calendar, a schedule, have a plan for what you want to say up to a year in advance. That way you're never caught wondering what to talk about when your day comes around.
4)Most importantly-ensure that what you say has what marketers call "value added" content. It offers your readers something they can use. For Julie it was hints, tips and the ugly truth of a "servant-less housewife" attempting to prepare French cuisine.
Lastly, 5) Get involved in the blogging community. Take the time to visit other blogs and leave comments. A blog by itself- no matter how good- will be lost in the Internet unless you let people know its there. Here's how you do that: link your blog to other blogs, create a blog roll, follow other blogs. Leave comments with a link to your blog or website under your name. Create links inside your blog.

For example: this last week, the wonderful and talented Jane Kennedy Sutton of Jane's Ride blog awarded this blog a Superior Scribbler Award. Blog awards are a great way to link to other bloggers and bring in new readers. By giving me this award, Jane brought a number of new readers to my blog. (I have Google Analytics attached to this blog and check my reports once a week to see which of my blogs created the most interest for my readers and what sites send readers my way.)
It sounds like a lot of work. It is. A good blog offers no promise of a television, book or movie deals. But a good blog can offer in reward- new readers, interesting and fresh craft and market information and above all good friends.
Below are just a few of the great blogs I follow check them out for examples of what a blog does:

Spunk on a Stick's Tips
Jessica Nelson's Booking It
Ann Victor author
Marilyn Brant's Brant Flakes
Boxing the Octopus
Linda Kage Blog Page
Sia Mckye's Thoughts Over Coffee
Cindy Proctor-King's Muse Interrupted
Morgan Mandel's Double M


Linda Kage said...

Thank you so much for mentioning me on your blog. I'm honored. I was starting to grow worried as I read your list of good blogging procedure, wondering, "Oh, no. Do I do that on my blog? Do I do that?" Then I saw my blog listed at the end... I feel relieved now. Thanks!!

Nancy J. Parra said...

LOL, yes Linda you do! Cheers~

Jessica said...

Thank you Nancy!

I didn't know she'd been discovered blogging. Wow. Great tips here, the only thing is, how do we link to a blog? Or do you mean mentioning them in our post? :-)
I love visiting other blogs. Leaving comments is, I think, one of the best ways to let people know you're around. It's also good manners. LOL
Thanks for the post, and congrats to you!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Jessica, I am always amazed at the number of comments on your blog! You have built a great community there!

You link to other blogs by internal links I did in this post- but also by using the google follow button,(the followers are shown and by using a blog roll listing- something I haven't done yet...and need to do. Two out of three isn't bad? :) Cheers!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Sorry for the rotten under the weather today. So I'm blaming the drugs. :)

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I "awarded" your blog because you always offer such good advice and I learn something on each visit. Today is no exception. If I get a week ahead on blog ideas, I feel pretty good - but a year, gulp, I have some real work to do!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Jane, thank you for the wonderful compliment. Having a yearly calendar is a great marketing tool that allows you to keep a consistent message across all forms of marketing. (I do mine in 6 month groupings. And change it if I see a need that should be filled.) Like writing nothing's set in stone. cheers!

Marilyn Brant said...

Oh, Nancy! Thank you for mentioning my blog here :). See, I think this is one of the reasons visitors keep returning to your site--because you're truly thoughtful, and you offer such excellent tips for writers. I *love* reading your updates!

Ashley Ladd said...

I've been blogging pretty consistently for about a year. I enjoy the new friends I've made. I honestly wonder if and how it affects my book sales.

I just clicked on your link to Google Analytics and it went to a dead page. I'll google for it but I thought you might like to know.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Thanks Ashley- Google and gmail were down for a while today. Hopefully that's what happened when you clicked on the link. Cheers!

Corve DaCosta said...

Great tips on starting a blog.

You have to be excited about it too, and keep being creative on better content.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Corve, thanks for stopping by- and you are right. You have to stay excited and keep your content relevant and interesting.