Writers have a natural talent for communication, but when their blog posts are failing to bring in traffic, the problem is that they’re usually not communicating their ideas as well as they could. There are a few simple fixes every writer-turned-blogger can use to boost general interest in their writing, get their posts shared, and up the number of new visitors to their site.
Here are three simple, yet powerful, ways to spread your own unique brand of writing love:
This is the number one blunder I see writers make with their blog posts. They choose titles that don’t tell the reader what the blog post is about at all, or at best, they give just a vague hint. Headlines like “A New Beginning” or “One Drop of Sorrow” do appeal to the writer’s poetic, elegant side, but they are not engineered to draw in readers who are scanning quickly through their Twitter stream or a page of Google results. Clever and funny are nice, but only if they go hand-in-hand with making it very clear to the reader within one second what that article is specifically about.
So, instead of using “A New Beginning” something like, “What I Learned from Leaving My Publisher and Going Indie” is going to work much, much better. Yes, it’s longer. No, it’s not as poetic. But it instantly tells us what that article is about and why we should read it.
The best rule for headlines: It’s not a decorative frame for your article, it needs to work just as hard as every paragraph of the post itself.
Connect New Content to Something Familiar
This works especially well if you’re promoting a book. The people who have been following you for a while will know who you are and what you write, but almost every new reader will not. Identify yourself and your writing with well-known authors who have influenced you, or who write in the same genre, so that potential new readers can get excited about buying your latest novel or reading more of your online content.
For instance, if Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games inspired you to start writing YA fiction, write a post about that big ah-ha! moment in your writing life when you knew you wanted to create a badass character just as compelling as Katniss. Or, if you grew up on R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, write a nostalgia post about your favorite titles and then use that as a lead-in to the horror novel you just released that’s now available on Amazon.
When you write posts featuring information or reflections on well-known authors, it has much more potential to catch a new reader’s eye. They don’t know who you are or what you write—yet—but they do know that they like Neil Gaiman, or Ursula LeGuin, or whoever it is you’re writing about. Once you connect the dots between that famous writer and yourself, they’ll be much more likely to feel that they could become interested in you and your books, too. One of my writer friends, K.M. Alexander, is in love with H.P. Lovecraft and he includes really amazing Lovecraftian trivia, art, and other recommendations on his blog I Make Stories. Check him out to see how he does it so well.
The best rule for promoting your work: Be loud and proud about your influences so that readers will know that if they enjoyed those authors’ work, they’ll probably like yours a whole lot too.
Straight Up Ask People to Share Your Post
Many, many writers get uncomfortable with this one. They don’t want to seem pushy or overly promotional. But you would be really surprised by how many readers are happy to help you out and love to share posts they find inspirational, thought-provoking, or just plain fun. The thing is, the internet is a distracting place. And it’s easy for people to read your stuff, click away onto something else for a second, and forget to share the really cool post they just read that you wrote and that they love. We are all guilty of this, which is why the reminders at the end of a post work so well.
When you wrap up your blog post, in the last two lines or so, ask your readers to share it. Be specific. Ask them to give you a Like on Facebook, Tweet it to all their peeps, or email it to a writer friend they love. Ask them to leave comments. Ask them to follow your Author Page on Amazon. Ask for whatever it is that you really want them to do. You will be astonished at how many people step up to help you out and actually do it.
The best rule for wrap-up: Be direct and ask your reader to do the thing you want them to do. And of course, tell them how much you appreciate it.
And now, to follow one of my own rules, can I ask you to please share this article with another author who might find it helpful today? Thanks so much. I really DO appreciate it.