Welcome to day 15 of the Basics of Author Online Presence Challenge. For previous tasks, go here.
Today’s post is about blogging, so make sure you did Task 1: Set up your Author Blog.
Write a Blog Post and Include a Call to Action
A call to action can be a lot of things. Though, the pop-up is a favourite among some.
A lot of people will tell you to add a huge pop-up on your blog to attract subscribers. I’ve been on blogs where the pop-up covers all the text with no way to close it except filling in your details (sometimes with no incentive like a free gift). I immediately close the blog, being choosy about sharing my email address. I’m not saying you can’t add a pop-up to build your email list, I’m not saying you cannot offer a free gift (it’s a great way to build your list), I am saying that making the pop-up impossible to close will drive away readers.
There are other ways to include a call to action in your blog posts. Some people will add a “buy my book” at the end of a post. That’s fine – as long as it is relevant to the content of the post.
Don’t be the aggressive blogger who is all about sales techniques, gaming the system or manipulating readers. Provide your readers with good content and they will return.
Sometimes it’s difficult to decide what to blog about. Luckily you know what your brand is (task 2) and you’ve created to-do lists to keep you on track (day 12). If you like, you can write all your blog posts for the month and schedule them for the days they have to go live. It’s an excellent way to make sure you post regularly, especially when other things demand your time.
You don’t have to appeal to everyone. You’re an author: find your target readership (the people you want to read your work) and write for them. Though, even then they might drift off.
There are different ways to keep readers engaged. I covered that in “Blogging for Writers: Keep Readers Engaged”.
Your author blog should be readable, friendly and entertaining. Use what your learned with task 2 and 3 to decide what kind of content you want to share. Your author blog provides a platform for your writing and a way to communicate with readers and fellow writers.
Blog hops are perfect opportunities to meet like-minded individuals. The Insecure Writers Support Group is a once-a-month blog hop for writers of every level to share their journey and support each other. The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is another once-a-month blog hop where writers share tips and tools to make writing and social media easier. The A to Z Challenge happens every April and is a great way to meet other bloggers. Blog hops lend themselves to include a call to action in each post – mostly by linking back to previous posts for the hop.
No matter how you decide to add a call to action, you still have to write a blog post. And you still have to be able to share it across social media and allow others to easily share it too.
Write a Blog Post
For today’s task, write a blog post. Use some of the SEO strategies you learned on day 14 and the image stuff from day 10. Blog about something relevant to your brand (what you learned on day 2) and be awesome. Share your post’s URL in the comments.
Remember: building your online presence is all about consistency.
Include a Call to Action
The big change for today’s blog post: include a call to action. There are different kinds (as shown above), but here are the usual suspects:
- At the end of your post, ask people their thoughts (invite them to comment). Check out how I’ve been calling you to action throughout the challenge by asking you to share your experience of every task in the comments.
- Link to articles outside your site. Remember when I sent you to check out posts on Ronel the Mythmaker and different Author Toolbox Blog Hop posts? Exactly. Make it relevant. Usually your blogging platform will inform the person whose blog you’re linking to that it’s happening and they might even check out your blog post.
- Link to other posts on your blog. Remember when I sent you to read the previous tasks at the start of most days? Or when I sent you to read about flash fiction on day 11? Those links subtly call “click me” and people will most likely go and read these relevant posts for a full experience. That’s good for your blog.
Why include a call to action?
A call to action gives readers an indication of how they should engage with your blog. Links to previous posts lead readers to helpful/interesting information.
Making sure your social media links are in the sidebar gives readers a way to connect with you elsewhere and keep the conversation going.
Why you should have all your social media platform links in the sidebar: you need to be easy to find, and once people have found you, you need to be easy to contact. I’ve been disappointed on so many blogs where I’d wanted to share the info on Twitter, only to find that the person neglected entirely to add their Twitter handle anywhere on their website. People don’t want to search. Make it easy, or they’ll give up. If you’re easy to find and to contact, you’re already ahead of the game.
Adding links to older posts isn’t really self-promotion: it provides readers with a way to fully immerse themselves in your ideas and world.
If you’ve just started:
Write today’s blog post about this challenge and link to your previous blog posts (the first one you wrote when you set up your blog, the ones you wrote about your experience with this challenge, and the one where you tried out different images) and link to your new social media accounts.
It’s a good place to start.
Did you write your blog post and include a call to action? Did you share your post’s URL in the comments? Awesome.
Author: Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Ronel writes dark fantasy filled with mythology and folklore, some of which can be read on Wattpad and on her blog Ronel the Mythmaker. When not leading her Rottweiler pack or arguing with her characters, she’s writing award-winning fiction.