Blogging as a marketing strategy

On Wednesday, I weighed in to state that blogging is not dead. Personally, I love it and I know a lot of other authors do as well. But blogging is more than a place to share our opinions and talk about the books we love. If done well, blogging can be a viable marketing strategy.

However, blogging is not a place to set up a virtual advertisement for your book and then shove it 24/7 at your readers. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want your blog to be a productive part of your book marketing. Here are five important tips.

1. Marketing on your blog is not an overnight venture.
There are some exceptions to the rule, but in general, it takes years to build up an audience that is big (and loyal) enough to make a difference to your book marketing. You can't throw up a blog, post your intro blog and then immediately start pimping your book. I started blogging (poorly) in December 2011 and didn't launch my first book until three years later.

2. You must build an audience.
Your blog can't market for you if no one is reading, so you have to figure out a way to get readers. This can feel swarmy if you do it the wrong way. The wrong way to build an audience is post a bunch of click bait, spam everyone you know with constant links to your blog, run big ticket item giveaways that will never earn you back money. The right way is to get your content in front of the people who will want to see it. Guest blog for bloggers with a similar audience, promote your blog appropriately to your social media audience, and participate in contests that provide value to your audience and don't cost you an arm and a leg.

3. Create a connection.
Because if your blog is going to be a marketing strategy, you need to form a relationship with your readers.Creating a connection with the good folks who tune in here is something I love about blogging. My goal is create a happy place where we can all learn and have fun together. Even though my posts are meant to be super informative, I try to be conversational, and I attempt to be humorous. Which is pretty much exactly how I am in real life. In fact, if you've ever spoken to me in person or on the phone, this is pretty much exactly what I sound like. 

4. You have to give, give and give some more.
Too many blogs make the mistake of constantly asking their readers for something. Buy my book, review my book, like my FB page, check me out on GR, follow me on Twitter, and on and on and on. But you can't see your blog as a chance to get from your readers. It will be most successful when your blog is constantly striving to give to your readers. You do that with solid content, personal insight and valuable references. When you focus 95% of your effort to giving your readers what they need, they won't mind at all when #5 finally rolls around.

5. Then you have to ask.
If you've done the four things above, you'll be fine when you take time to ask your readers for something. By building a lasting audience, who you've developed a connection with by becoming a valuable resource, you've earned their trust to sometimes ask when you need to.  So long as you do it politely and occasionally, you'll be fine and your readers won't mind taking the time to give back to you after all the value you've given them.

So, creating a blog two months before your book launch and then spamming any poor soul who happens to stumble by with all things MY BOOK. Is not a marketing strategy. But done right, your blog can be a big player in your next book launch. So go get started.