I'm pondering the world of blogging this week. I want to continue writing my blog, but I want to find ways to keep it manageable, effortwise and timewise. I want to connect with people and promote myself while still finding time to write. How do I do that? Maybe I can save some time on my blog posts by figuring out well in advance what to write about.
1. Plan ahead. Penny C. Sansevieri, at Author Marketing Experts says that one of the things that bloggers find intimidating is coming up with ideas to blog about. She says that if you spend some time planning ahead it makes creating posts easier and faster. For instance, look through the calendar and find upcoming holidays and observances. Do any of them spark an idea for a blog? What’s your favorite St. Valentine’s Day memory? Have you ever had anything funny happen to you on Ground Hog Day? Ms. Sansevieri uses a list of monthly, weekly and daily observances each month to spark a blog idea. For example did you know that November 15 is “I love to write day”? You could build a blog around the reasons you got into this crazy business. Click here for Ms. Sansevieri’s list of observance for March.
2. Keep a file of your own blogging ideas. Do a little brainstorming and come up with some topics in advance. Keep them in a file in your computer or in a notebook. Facing a deadline isn’t quite so intimidating if you’ve got a clue as to what you’re writing about.
3. Blog about the Biz. Educate yourself on trends in the writing marketplace. What are agents looking for? What is selling in the romance genre? I’ve written blogs on e-publishing and e-book readers, as well as news in the bookseller world.
4. Size matters. Don’t think that you have to write a long post. Monica Bhide (http://www.monicabhide.com/) says: “Blog readers are drawn not to 3,000 word essays, but to posts of bite-sized info.” If you’ve got a topic that needs more room, break it into two or more parts.
5. Develop a series of How-To posts. This could be on any subject you’re passionate about from gardening to cooking. Ms. Sansevieri says that How-To posts have a lot of appeal, even how-to write posts: “…83% of Americans want to write a book so it's likely someone reading your books (or a potential reader) is interested in this topic, too.”
6. Talk about the work of others. Have you read a book recently that really inspired you? Maybe you’d like to review it on your blog.
7. What inspires your writing and creativity? Is there a special place where you love to write? Does certain music spark your creativity? Share it your inspiration.
8. Share your mistakes. I’ve certainly made a few in my writing career. By telling others where I’ve gone wrong maybe I can help them avoid some of the pitfalls.
9. Ask questions. Ms. Sansevieri says: “ask your readers questions, grab some of the top-of-mind issues that are relevant to your market and address them on your blog.”
10. Have theme days. My friend Janet at Janet's Journal has designated themes such as Fiction Fridays and Inspiration Wednesdays. She says that having a theme helps her to focus on a certain subject to blog about.
Once you've got several blog topics nailed down, the actual writing shouldn't take too long. Ms. Sansevieri suggests that with good planning, 15 minutes a day should be enough to get the job done. To be honest, it normally takes me longer than that to write a blog post, (actually it took me longer than that to format this post) but I know that half the battle is figuring out what to write about.
Do you plan your blogs ahead of time? Do you find coming up with ideas intimidating? How much time does it take you to write a blog post?