Why You Should Be Blogging

Writers are forever being told to blog. You have to get your name out there. You have to build a platform. You have to demonstrate your expertise.

All of this is true. The problem, especially for fiction writers, is doing all that in a way that doesn’t rob you of time better spent on your main writing project.

And novelists aren’t the only ones with this problem. Businesspeople, too, are told to blog. Several years ago, when I was contributing to the blog of a local nonprofit, I asked the organization president what the purpose of the blog was. He said, “I don’t know; we were just told we have to have a blog.”

Illustration © Alexandr Mitiuc • Fotolia

Whatever kind of writer you are, whether you’re a novelist or a nonfiction writer or a nonwriter who has to write to publicize your business, you must have a clear view of your blog’s purpose. Without purpose, our lives are aimless, and without purpose, our blogs will be aimless. An aimless blog won’t attract readers.

I’m an editor, so I blog about writing and editing. The purpose of my business is to serve readers by helping writers deliver professional-quality content, and the purpose of my blog is to serve writers by teaching them how to produce professional-quality content.

Whom do you wish to serve?
How can you serve them?
What can you share that will benefit your readers?

Answer those questions first. Serve your readers first. The platform will follow.

This principle is called “content marketing,” and has been well documented by the folks over at Copyblogger.

Paid advertising no longer succeeds with most consumers, because they have learned to tune it out. But when you rely on press releases or other publicity outlets for your marketing, you are beholden to the gatekeepers. Most news organizations are only interested in the hidden. They are not there to help you publicize.

“News is what people want to keep hidden and everything else is publicity.”—Bill Moyers, addressing the National Conference for Media Reform

Content marketing allows you to control the flow of information without being beholden to gatekeepers. It accomplishes three goals:

  • Serving your target clients
  • Establishing authority
  • Spreading your message by word of mouth

You have something unique: your experience, your voice, your perspective. Share it in a compelling way and your readers will share too. This is why social media is a component of your content marketing strategy.

You write a blog post and share it to whatever social media outlets you participate in. If the post contains valuable content, it will be shared by your followers. That constitutes word-of-mouth exposure for you, increasing the number of people you reach.

Doing this consistently will grow your audience—your platform.

This post contains content from my seminar “Why to Blog and How,” which I recently presented at a Master’s Mind Impact Group meeting. If you’d like me to teach at your group meeting or conference, contact me.

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  1. Knowing I /should/ blog, but also having nothing valuable to blog about that would /serve/ readers of fiction, is a recipe for guilt and frustration. Or I should say it WAS. I don’t have to buy into it. Who says a fiction writer /should/ blog? Yes, there are stories where it helped a novelist here and there. These get all the press. But no one mentions the 95% who blogged because they were “supposed to” and reaped no benefits at all when it came to selling books. They were probably all like me, who had nothing /valuable/ to offer readers except fiction. Too bad that isn’t good enough anymore.

    1. Caprice, you can’t force yourself to do something that’s not authentic to you. Because that will just turn people off. A future post will discuss what novelists can do to blog. But don’t feel guilty about not doing it. Not blogging at all is better than blogging half-heartedly.

  2. […] Straight to the point: Online, more so than in print periodicals, you can simply make your premise statement and then get on with it, as I did in the first post in this series. […]

  3. […] opinions about whether blogging is any good for novelists. As Caprice Hokstad noted on my post “Why You Should Be Blogging,” this kind of writing is nonfiction and doesn’t come easily to fiction writers. I myself struggled […]

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