More Sacred Cow-Tipping–Common Blogging Misconceptions
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Welcome to WANA Wednesday, the day I teach you guys how to rock it hard when it comes to social media and based off my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. Last week we talked about Sacred Cow #1—Writers write, thus they must write writing blogs, right? Um….WRONG! Go here if you want to find out why writing blogs are bad. I teach writers how to blog to create a brand. What is our author brand? Our name—US. Blogging gives us an opportunity to reach out to millions and give them a chance to get to know us and support us as fellow friends and human beings.
Why limit the topics?
Many of us became writers because we were interested in so much stuff that we couldn’t figure out whether we wanted to be a scientist, a dancer, a race car driver, an archeaologist or an astronaut when we grew up. As writers….we could do ALL those things. So why, when it comes to blogging, do we have this knee-jerk reaction that we can only talk about one topic…writing?
Last week many writers promptly had a panic attack when I said writing blogs were bad. There is a difference between a Writing Blog and an Author Blog.
Writing Blogs have cutesy titles like…oh, let’s see…Warrior Writers (look at the URL). Writing blogs lack the author’s name and they pidgeon-hole content. Author Blogs, however, have the writer’s name clearly visible and then a certain day is dedicated to blogging about writing. See? Never said you couldn’t blog about writing, so hand over the paper bag. It’s okay.
But, here’s the deal. Many writers are insecure and so the reason we get the same bright idea to blog about writing is, deep down, many of us need affirmation that we know what we are doing. It’s a security blanket. But, here is the thing, writers don’t need to be expert writing teachers to be amazing storytellers. Fiction authors establish expertise by writing great fiction. Our blog is for us to connect with others, not to prove we know what we are doing. Good books will prove that.
Back to blogging….
I have made all the dumb mistakes so you don’t have to. This said, after YEARS of highly unscientific testing, I have found what works and what is very literally a social media tar baby. Am I saying MY way is the only way? No. But, I am saying, “Hey, when I did this, this and this, I was losing hair by the handful and could hear crickets on my site. Ah, but when I did THIS, people CAME TO MY BLOG AND THEN HOLY CRAP THEY CAME BACK AND SOME EVEN BROUGHT FRIENDS! SQUEEEE!”
Then, to ensure I was not a lone anomaly, I used a lot of friends as guinea pigs (Hey, Piper!), and they found that these techniques worked for them too. Not only did they begin to ENJOY blogging–GASP!–but they saw drastic improvements in their traffic fairly quickly. This said, feel free to do any of these no-nos I am listing below. I will not stop you. But later, when friends and family find you curled in the fetal position under your desk with a letter opener to your thoat and clutching a bottle of scotch, it will be very difficult for me not to say I told you so.
Last week we tipped over Sacred Cow #1 The Writing Blog. Today? We take out a couple more. Mooooooooooooooooooooooove over, Bay-bee!
Sacred Cow #2—You need multiple blog sites if you talk about more than one thing.
Um, no. Multiple blog sites dilute your brand and erode your author platform. You need one place where alllll your precious nuggets of wisdom collect.
Our blog must be under our name and then just put certain topics on certain days (even writing). Then we are connecting with people via mutual interests and this, in turn, builds our brand and our name.
I am a social media expert. I have the burden of proving I know what I am talking about.
But here is the cool part. Even if you are blogging to establish expertise, you can still benefit from blogging on other subjects on different days. These types of posts make you more human and approachable, two essential ingredients for a great blog. I blog on all kinds of things, but if people want to learn about social media, they simply check in on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
I don’t believe it has confused any of you that I have blogged about my junk drawers or growing up in the 70s. Why? Because those were on Friday, which is Free-for-All Friday. Did you start questioning my expertise about Twitter because I blogged about dreaming I was in a nasty divorce/custody battle with Batman?
Hmmm, maybe not the best example.
But back to my point. How many of you do more than one thing? Would it fracture your reality to know I do more than one thing? Why is our knee-jerk reaction to treat readers like they are morons? If we blog about writing every Monday and gardening every Wednesday and travel every Friday, but everything is under the banner of our NAME, which is our BRAND…most people will catch up. We don’t need totally separate blog sites that spread us thinner than a college kid’s budget. Keep it all in one place. Really.
Oh the humanity! She blogs about writing AND travel. How can I go on?????
If people like you and your writing voice, likely they will read your writing blogs and your travel blogs because they find YOU and your topics interesting. Um, and if they only care about your travel blogs they…are you ready for this? They just won’t read the other days. O-M-G!
We don’t need separate blog sites to keep readers from clawing out their own eyes because we talked about something different. Having a bunch of different blogs might make US want to claw out our own eyes trying to keep up, but the reader will be fine. Multiple sites is a formula to go crazy. It might be fine now, but one day you are hopefully going to sign with an agent and you will have deadlines and a lot of work. This is why I am teaching you guys to streamline NOW. Make this blog puppy a well-oiled machine that grows as you grow in your career.
Sacred Cow #3–Group blogs are wonderful for getting your name out there and gaining a large following.
Uh…yeah, about that. Group blogs might not be the best use of time.
Can you contribute to a group blog? Sure. Can a group blog build your brand? Eehhh…not so much. The group itself gets the focus, so that is what will get branded. Think of it this way. Many of you will recognize Motley Crue. Would you recognize Mick Mars? He’s the guitarist. I had to look it up. But do you see what gets the name recognition? So unless we have an instance like The Police then Sting goes off and makes his own name, most band members’ names get lost to the overall brand…the name of the band. The BAND has the large following, not necessarily the individual members.
Same with group blogs.
There are a lot of wonderful group blogs and contributing to group blogs can open up your readership, but your own blog should be paramount. Readers know Writer Unboxed, Adventures in Children’s Publishing or Writers in the Storm, but many of us would be hard-pressed to name individual contributors unless they also happen to have their own blogs. I meet a lot of writers who are contributing hundreds and thousands of words a week to group blogs that will do very little to build their brand.
Worse still, they are contributing to the group blogs while their own blogs are neglected.
Are group blogs evil and a waste of time? NO, but they are a different tool for a different task. Is a tack hammer bad? Not if you are hanging a painting, but if you are busting up concrete? Wrong tool! Group blogs are great for getting you started and for even opening up your own blog to fresh readers. That is what group blogs do best. I contribute guest posts for group blogs. I have posted on Writer Unboxed and Genreality and I will be contributing to Adventures in Children’s Publishing in July. See, I contribute…but my own blog is first and foremost.
My tactics help you maximize time. If we are going to churn out thousands of words a week in content, then the best thing is to make some minor changes and have that effort fueling our overall goal…growing our platform and solidifying our brand.
Questions? Comments? Want to hurt me? Break out in song? What are your thoughts?
I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of June I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.
Important Announcements (Mash-Up of Awesomeness is Below)
June Week One Winner is Delorfinde
June week Two Winner is Jennifer Fischetto
Please send 1250 words in a Word document to kristen at kristen lamb dot org .
Make sure you join our LOVE REVOLUTION over on Twitter by following and participating in the #MyWANA Twibe. Read this post to understand how this #MyWANA will totally transform your life and your author platform.
In the meantime, I hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.
Mash-Up of Awesomeness
Ten Ways to Avoid Mid-Book Doldrums by the awesome and talented Jody Hedlund
3 Tips to Set the Mood for Romance by the amazing and funny Tawna Fenske
Villians Dissected: Magneto by awesome writing teacher Terrell Mims
Interesting blog by Bayard & Holmes. Is profiling logical?
Jenny Hansen has a great post about how writers can ROCK LinkedIn.
The brilliant word pirate Chuck Wendig has two special nuggets of awesomeness. First a HYSTERICAL blog about the new baby that every parent should read. DO NOT drink liquids while reading. Then Chuck chimes in about all this writer blogging stuff.
Albert Berg has a great blog about YA. Is it getting too dark?
Austin Wulf has a very helpful post about resumes for the freeleance writer.
Fun and short post by Patrick Thunstrom about the organic nature of social media.
Looking for the best shows to watch on TV this summer? Then you MUST go to Tiffany White’s blog.
Until next time…