Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Lovette’

Blogging: Should you start & how to do it

By: Jennifer Lovett

Did you happen to attend a writer’s conference recently where you heard every author must have a blog? Or maybe you heard an agent won’t pick you up if you don’t have a blog. Or maybe you’d just like to join the community because believe it or not, blogging isn’t dead. New blogs still pop up all the time and become successful.

So, do you need a blog?

  • If you want to sell more books, no.
  • If you want to drive traffic to your website, not necessarily but it helps.
  • If you want to establish a daily or weekly writing habit that will also drive traffic, then yes.

But if you plan to start a blog, I want you to think about a few things.

  • It is a fantastic way to start and maintain a writing habit
  • It is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website
  • It is time-consuming and requires some creative brainstorming for topics after a time
  • There are 31.7 million bloggers in the U.S. by 2020

Yes, there are a lot of blogs out there. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it work for you. Your fiction content is unique and more than likely, there won’t be too many other fiction writers out there clamoring away to write about your content. So that opens up a lot of post possibilities.

The best way to keep track of what you’re writing is to create a content calendar. It’s a device to help you plan out your blog strategy, which posts to write and when to post them. You’ll never be lost on what to blog again. Here’s mine, feel free to steal it.

To get you started, here is a list of topics you can blog about:

  1. Behind-the-scenes. Talk about how you get your ideas (because you know you’ll be asked), where you write, where you do your research
  2. Excerpts of your work. Do you have a really favorite scene? Share it.
  3. Character Interviews. These are always fun and can help you flesh out a character as well.
  4. Book chronicle. Journal your book. How you create your characters; how they respond to you on a given day; where you’re having writers block and why; how you resolved the issue
  5. Book covers. Talk about why you like one over the other.
  6. Research trips. Write about what you ate, where you stayed, what you discovered, where you discovered it.
  7. Location Scout. Write about your setting and its history
  8. Writers life. How you became a writer, stay motivated and started your career
  9. Supporters. Interviews with people who’ve helped you on your journey: librarians, researchers, biggest supporter, funny little guy you met on the train who was super excited to find out you’re a writer!
  10. Reviews. Connect something in your work to popular culture and become an expert on it. For example, Young Adult novelists could review episodes of Riverdale or Stranger Things. Mystery writers could review CSI or NCIS.

As you start blogging or want to punch up the blog you have, here are some best practices to help you:

  1. LONG form!
    1. Not 250 words. Not anymore. 1000 words. Why? Because Google likes search words and the more words you have, the more likely you’ll pop in a Google search. This maxes out between 1500-2000 words though.
    1. Will readers take the time to read all that? Yes. Statistics show people are reading just as much as ever, even with short attention spans, they are reading. They’re just doing it on their phones. (Source)
  2. Bullets, headers, lists.
    1. I know I just said readers will read up to 1500 words, but really that’s only true if you break up the text with these elements. It makes it an easier read for users who have the attention span of a gnat.
    1. Attention span has been reported at 8 seconds in the online word. But more than 30% of blog readers admit to liking lists and headers, and more than 40% admit to skimming. Breaking up the text will help your reader stay involved with the post. (Source)
  3. Video is still king.
    1. So what does that have to do with blogging? One of the best ways to up your search engine optimization is to create a quick 1-3 minute video that basically just tells the reader what’s in your blog. Pop that on the end of your blog and you should start to see an increase in traffic.
    1. In addition, 80% of blog readers report they remember more of what they read if it’s accompanied by a video. Win win! (Source)
  4. Images.
    1. Articles or blogs with images receive 94% more views. Even if you just use one, put it toward the top so you pull readers in right in the beginning.
    1. Find photos on Flickr, Google Images, Shutterstock and Pixabay. Most of these sites will have free or inexpensive photos you can use copyright-free. (Source)
  5. Launch with 20.
    1. Because content is how Google finds you, it’s better to have at least 20 posts before you officially launch your blog.
    1. Think about that … 20000 words. That will certainly help your search engine optimization.
  6. Be consistent.
    1. This one has been preached forever. Right now the going rate is at least every other week, but weekly is best.
    1. Never go for once a month. It simply isn’t enough content to drive traffic. (Source)

If you’re read to start, you’ll need a platform like Wix, Weebly, or Blogger – all of which have a pretty easy learning curve and free templates. I use WordPress because it has better integration with the Google search engine and an amazing SEO tool in the Yoast plugin which makes SEO super easy. You’ll also want to own your own domain (URL), so head over to GoDaddy, SquareSpace or HostGator and purchase the URL.

For slightly more information, check out this link.

Jennifer Lovett

Jennifer Lovett is the founder of Writer Nation, a podcast and Facebook group dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 17 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity.
She currently lives in South Korea and travels around Asia for fun.
You can find her on her WebsiteFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest: @jennylovett

Facebook Algorithms and Author Pages

How does Facebook’s algorithm change affect my author page?

Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement on his Facebook page in January about changes in the Facebook algorithm.

“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” he wrote. “I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down.”

What it really amounts to is that Today’s Facebook wants to be the Original Facebook.

If you don't want to pay for ads, you must be deliberate in how you create posts.I’ve been looking at this for the past couple of months, and it appears that this will affect every author who runs a Facebook Page. The organic reach from those Pages will not go as far as it used to, and it has already been trending down for the past two years. If you depend on Facebook to advertise your books and your brand, you absolutely, 100% must have an ad budget. While you may have gotten away with one prior to now, the new algorithm all but guarantees your content will not be seen without some kind of boosting.

The new algorithm will change your feed to include way more friends and family. You can now actually go in and pick your top 30 friends. It will also limit content from Pages you’ve liked unless they have a high organic rate of engagement – comments and shares.

If you don’t want to pay for ads, you must be deliberate in how you create posts. They must garner comments and shares, and to a lesser degree likes. Live Facebook Video is still money for organic reach – six times more reach than simply posting a video. “Engagement Bait,” which used to be all the rage, Zuck says is now a big fat no-go. So posts with “tag a friend” or “comment below” will automatically go lower on the feed. You can also post a notice on your Page asking folks to click the ‘See First’ button on the page, so they are still getting your content.

Is it worth it to continue to advertise with Facebook? The answer is yes – IF you enjoy being on Facebook. It is still a social media site with well over a billion users, most in the United States and Canada. But I would encourage you to look at new ways to use it. Try establishing a Group – Facebook assumes you want to be part of the group discussion and isn’t limiting those posts as of now. And definitely tinker with live video.

If you don’t enjoy Facebook, it will show in your posts and your engagement. If you are doing it because you think you have to as an author, I would tell you to remember this: you do not sell books on Facebook. You sell your brand. You build a following. How much time do you want to spend building a community of Facebook? If it’s at the expense of writing your next book, I would tell you not to bother.

Online advertising in always in flux. Five years ago I would have told you to have a presence on every site. Two years ago I would have told you to pick two and become very good at it. Now? I advise you to pick one you like and run with it, Facebook or not.
If you ever have any questions about marketing books, please feel free to visit my website and join me on my Facebook Group, Writer Nation.

Jennifer LovetteJennifer Lovett Herbranson is the founder of Writer Nation, a podcast and Facebook group dedicated to helping writers market their work.
With 17 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity.
She currently lives in South Korea and travels around Asia for fun.

You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, Twitter, and Pinterest: @jennylovett