Starting a blog is an incredibly powerful way to market yourself as a writer. These are my tips for those of you who aren’t sure where to start.
If you’re new to the marketing world as a writer, strap in because there’s a lot of information to cover. I’ve already talked a little bit about marketing for writers but right now I want to dig a little deeper in the blog avenue of marketing.
As you can see, since you’re reading this, I blog. This website has a number of different posts revolving around writing and my process as a writer. But it wasn’t super easy to get started.
I had no idea where to start or what I needed to do to get the ball rolling but thankfully, I figured it out.
And since I’ve been getting questions about how to start a blog as a writer and seeing many people ask this question on Twitter and Tumblr, I thought I’d put together a little guide that worked for me.
Here are the steps you can take to build a blog as a writer and start marketing yourself for future books.
1. Build a website
There are blogging platforms like Tumblr that you can use for a blog but the reason I like having a website better is because you seem more legit. People take you more seriously. While Tumblr is great, it’s also a form of social media and some people don’t even see it as a “blogging” platform.
And yes, building a website means you might have to spend some money to buy your domain and purchase hosting. If you’re not sure what hosting is, it’s basically what allows you to have the purchased domain on its own without “.wordpress.com” or whatever platform you’re using behind it.
My website reads “bellarosepope.com” because I paid about $60 a year to host my blog through WordPress and only about $16 for the domain (bellarosepope) itself. You can still have a blog on a free platform, but it definitely makes readers take you less seriously. Sorry, but it’s the truth.
You also want to make sure the name of your website reflects the name you’ll use to publish. This will help future fans/readers find your website easier.
However, that name might not be available – especially if you have a fairly common name. Here are some alternative options if that’s the case:
You get the idea.
2. Do some research
Yes. Before you do anything else, pull up good ‘ol Google and get to researching. Look up your favorite authors or other writers who aren’t yet published. Research writing blogs and figure out how those people are blogging about writing.
What do their websites have? What content are they writing about the most?
This isn’t for you to copy. This is so you can get an idea or gain inspiration that can help you design your own blog and figure out what type of content to put up. Many different writers blog about different things. They have different web designs and layouts that can give you ideas about how you want your website to look.
You should also research blogging information, in general. Google the ideal length of a blog post that’ll get the most traffic. Do you know about SEO? Probably not, unless you’ve been in the blogging or online writing/content creation world previously.
There is a lot of information available at your fingertips. Literally. Just type your question into Google and there will be tons of content for you to look through about building successful blogs.
3. Determine your content
I know what you’re thinking: “I’ll have writing content, duh!” I mean, yeah, okay. That’s fine. But what type of writing content? There are tons of different things you can write about as a writer but you also want to choose something that’s unique to you, something that’ll help you stand out a little bit.
Ask yourself this: what will people get from your content that they can’t get elsewhere?
This is the main thing that’s going to set you apart from other writing bloggers – which you need because there’s a shit ton of them out there. You have to be offering something unique or else why would they bother?
And this isn’t hard to do if you just put some of your own personality into things and provide value. Figure out what things you’re good at. Can you find issues with books and explain why they’re problems really well? Then reviewing might be your thing!
If you used to barely make progress on your WIP and now you’re writing 5k-10k words a week, you can talk about motivation and productivity.
Do you see a pattern here? Throw some of your personal experience into the content you write and you’ll have an original spin on content that may be done a lot already.
But don’t pretend to be the expert, either.
It’s awesome if you want to give writing tips. Lots of writers and authors blog about how to make your writing better. What you don’t want to do is act like you’re an expert in all things writerly.
Firstly, because you’re not. I don’t think any writer can claim to know everything about writing but I do think writers with experience and published and praised work are better suited to give strict advice.
This isn’t to say you can’t talk about how to write well-rounded characters or snappy dialogue. It means that if you do, make sure you can back up your words through your work. Otherwise, people won’t think you’re qualified and…well…they won’t read or listen to your advice.
On the other hand, you can give writing advice that isn’t concrete. If you’ve been told your characters are very realistic, give some advice about how you develop your characters. Make sure to point out that this is the process you go through personally. That way, people can’t really complain that you’re not qualified.
Because they will complain if you don’t make this disclaimer.
Here are a few different ideas for the type of content you can provide as a writer if you’re not sure where to start:
- Writing tips for prose
- Writing tips for storytelling
- Productivity tips
- Inspiration for writing
- Methods to get motivated to write
- Book reviews
- Updates on your WIP
- Writing goals
- Tidbits and tags about your WIP
- How you got started as a writer
- Good habits for writers
- Bad habits for writers
I think you get the idea. There are tons of different topics to discuss when it comes to writing. You just have to decide which content you’re the best at writing and what suits your purpose as a writing blogger.
I know it’s a short list but it’s a lot of information. These are a few of my tips for building a writing blog that have worked for me personally. Obviously, you may find different things work for you better. It’s all about finding a system you’re comfortable with that also works to grow your platform.
Next week I’ll dig a little deeper into how to write those posts to increase engagement, how to get them seen the most, and where you can post them for maximum effectiveness!
Until then, get started on the above steps! Go. Do it! DOOOO IIIIIIT!
The first part of setting up any blog is to get professional, invest a little in your platform, and make sure you do your research when determining what type of content you want to blog about.