Norah Myers works on the editorial side of marketing. She sources narrative non-fiction for an independent publisher and interviews lovely publishing folk for BookMachine. Here, she shares the guide she would follow if she was just setting up a blog for the first time.
I started a WordPress blog in 2013 as part of my research for my publishing dissertation. I was writing a book proposal for a health-focused memoir. I tried to discern if I had an audience for the book by blogging about yoga, pilates, physiotherapy and acupuncture. I kept up with the blog for two years, but found that I wasn’t progressing with it. I know several people who are successful bloggers, but I was not one of them.
Below are my tips based on my unsuccessful blogging experience. If I ever start blogging again, this is what I would do differently:
1. Use pictures or videos in as many posts as possible
Instagram and Pinterest are popular because they are picture-based and visual. Like I said in my earlier blog post about crowd funding, campaigns with visual content garner more interest because supporters feel that they are getting to know the content creator.
2. Don’t box yourself in
My blog was entirely disability focused, but I wish that I had created space for other things that interest me, like writing, reading, publishing, makeup and yoga from a perspective other than disability management. Allow yourself some freedom to blog about at least two or three different things. Sticking to one topic will eventually leave you frustrated and bored.
3. Plan content in advance
Planning content in advance gives you more focus, discipline and clarity, and allows you to take the work more seriously. You can put more thought into the work and consider how it works with your blog as a whole rather than just as a standalone post about an experience or product.
4. Create a schedule and stick to it
Because I blogged about my disability experience and the treatments I received, I would blog when things happened to me: when I tried a new therapy, had a breakthrough of some kind, or when I was really struggling with something disability-related. I think I would have had more success if I had committed to posting two or three days per week and not just as things came up.
5. Create a menu at the top of your blog
Make your categories and posts easily searchable. It’s a user-friendly way for readers to choose what they want to read rather than slogging through page after page of uncategorized posts. It will also help you balance out how much content you devote to each chosen blog topic.
6. Treat it like work
I am working on a manuscript, and I have noticed a huge shift in my productivity and the quality of my writing since I decided to take writing as seriously as I would any other job. Once I forced myself to work with the same focus, accountability, responsibility and seriousness that I would an office job, I found that I produced better writing at a much faster rate than before.
7. Create at least one associated social media account
Cross-post your content to your blog and social media platforms. You will build a bigger audience both ways if you use Twitter and Instagram in association with your blog. Most of the bloggers I read are people whom I started following on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter first.