This is a guest post by Ronita Mohan. Ronita is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic and design platform. She is an avid reader with an interest in mystery fiction, history, graphic novels, marketing, and diversity. Twitter: @Venngage
10 Ideas to Keep Your Author Blog Fresh
Authors are idea-machines—or at least, they want to be. If they aren’t thinking of ideas for new books, they’re brainstorming ideas for their author blog.
A key aspect of modern life for authors is how much self-promotion they need to do. It is no longer enough to post the odd tweet when you publish a book—authors are now expected to be online all the time, actively participating in the community and giving their fans new content.
But while fans on social media thrive on personal updates on your book-writing journey, authors need to capitalize on content marketing methods by running an author blog that is in-depth and creative.
However, thinking of new blog ideas that are both engaging and easy to execute is hard. Knowing that, here are 10 ideas that will help keep your author blog fresh.
Readers love learning more about the writing process. And when their favorite author is in the process of writing a book, fans want to follow the journey every step of the way.
A blog about your daily writing routine will get readers excited—they will essentially get to walk in your shoes for a little while.
You can also use behind-the-scenes blog posts as a way of injecting humor into the writing process.
Write a short blog post about your current word count, or how many times you cuddled the cat instead of writing, or that brilliant line that popped into your head but which can’t be used in this book.
Not only will humor increase engagement rates on your blog, but it will make you appear more personable to fans.
2. Book Lists
People on the internet love lists—like the article you are reading now! Lists are easy to read and quick to digest, which makes them suitable content for your blog.
Plus, lists don’t require you to write too much text. Lists, by their very nature, need to be compact. You could essentially create a list with one line attributed to each point.
And when it comes to creating lists for your blog, look no further than the authorial profession.
Create lists of books that belong in a particular genre, or books that have a certain type of protagonist. There is no dearth of content to be turned into a quick and easy list your readers will love.
3. Book Recommendations
What’s better than a friend recommending a book? Your favorite author recommending one.
Your readers will likely be reading other books in the same genre you are writing in but what are you reading for inspiration?
In a similar vein to behind-the-scenes blogs, books tell people a lot about you and will help your fans feel more connected to you.
Recommend books that you love reading and include a short review, if you can.
Not only will this give your readers more incentive to engage with you online—you can ask them to share their own recommendations or reviews in the comments—but it will also show how connected you are to the writing community at large.
Everyone loves winning things, especially if there isn’t too much involved in entering for a prize.
Hosting contests on your blog will definitely drive up engagement. But a contest post is also easy to put together—a few sentences to explain the process, a short form, and a follow-up post or comment announcing the winner should suffice.
Prizes needn’t be elaborate—you can give away copies of your books, or ask an author friend to give one of their books as a prize.
The prize could be something as simple as nominating someone ‘Fan of the Month’—the winner would be featured on your blog with a picture and short bio.
Wishpond has a great list of their best prize ideas that you can take inspiration from.
Contests are fun, quick to create, and easy to promote, with a great return on investment.
Your author blog doesn’t need to solely promote your own content. That will come across as sales-forward to fans, and a bit self-centered.
Why not conduct interviews with fellow authors that you can feature on your blog? The interviews don’t have to be too long—4-5 questions should be enough.
To decrease the burden of work already on your shoulders, you can opt to use the same set of questions in a series of interviews with authors.
Fans will be excited to see the different reactions to your questions and that will encourage them to read widely within the genre.
6. Guest Posts
Give your blog a diverse look and feel by including guest posts written by people in the industry, and even your readers.
Guest posts can be about a number of topics—ask your agent to share what they do as an author’s agent. Your publishers can give insight into the book publishing process. Ask your author friends to write about their writing experiences.
Guest blogging not only keeps your blog fresh and updated, but saves you the trouble of having to create content on a regular basis.
I’ve already mentioned conducting interviews with fellow authors for your blog. But you could also flip that concept and ask your readers for questions that you can answer.
Your fans are always looking for a way to engage with you online and what better way than to have their questions answered.
Collect five questions from the comments or social media and feature them in a blog post along with your answers. You can do this on an on-going basis so fans know when they need to get a new question ready to ask you.
Most people, including authors, listen to music while creating content. And people are also always looking for new music to listen to.
Now with Spotify available around the world, why not share your favorite playlists with your fans?
Write a quick blog post about what you were writing on a given day and which playlist kept you motivated and inspired.
Include a link to the playlist in the blog and open up the comments for fans to comment with their favorite songs and recommendations for playlists you can listen to later.
9. Reader Reviews
Similar to guest posts, asking your readers to contribute reviews to your blog will spare you the trouble of creating new content.
You could even turn it into a contest—’enter for a chance to be featured on my blog’.
Readers can write reviews of your books or other books that they have read. You will have to vet the entries you receive as you don’t want to post anything that will be detrimental to the quality of your blog.
Asking for reader reviews will give your fans a chance to engage with you while also providing content to your blog that you don’t have to create.
10. Writing Tips
You will have noticed how many of your readers are also aspiring writers. They are always looking for tips and tricks to become a published author themselves, and who better to turn to than you, their favorite author?
A regular series of writing tips will provide excellent material for your blog. It doesn’t have to be very long—you can include your tip alongside a brief explanation as to why you are sharing this tip and how it has worked for you.
Giving writing tips are par for the course for authors. Including them on your blog as regular posts will make your blog more engaging and relevant to your fans.
Authors are now required to have a blog where they share insights into their work and life, as well as their thoughts on the industry and their favorite books.
Creating content regularly can be challenging, especially as you are already writing for a living.
These ten ideas will help you keep your blog fresh and interesting for readers, without taking up too much of your time.
You don’t need to implement all of them, but a combination of two or more will make the blogging process far more enjoyable for all involved.