Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Branding: Why do I have to have a Blog? by Patty Smith Hall

Patty here. I’d hoped to introduce my newly designed webpage and show how I’d incorporated my brand into it, but technical problems are causing a delay. So today, we’re going to press ahead and talk about social media, in particular, your blog.

Now, if you don’t have a blog, that’s okay. There are a lot of writers who, for various reasons, hate to blog, me included. It’s one of those things that you either fully commit to or don’t even want to start. For years, I’ve tried (and failed) at starting my own blog.

But recently, my husband gave me a compelling reason to try again. A little background information—Danny has always been interested in the business side of my work which is great seeing as I’d rather be writing. So a few weeks ago, I gave him Edie Melson’s book on social media, hopeful that he could help me get a grip on my own. He read it in a week between downtime at his job and actually made a list of talking points he wanted to go over with me. On the three-hour ride to my mother-in-law’s house, we talked about the list. One of his questions jumped out at me.

“Why don’t you blog?”

Because I’m too lazy. Because I’d rather be making up stories than blogging. Because I don’t have anything to say. “Because I don’t like it,” I answered, thinking the matter was settled.
“Besides, I write once a month for a writer’s blog.”

He shook his head. “The book says you need to blog at least two to three times a week. And what about your readers? They don’t read writer’s blogs.”

I was beginning to dislike Edie and her stupid book. “What would I say? It’s not like I’m that interesting.”

He reached over and squeezed my hand. “You’re a lot more interesting than you think. How many people do you know who actually took a gold-mining class so she’d know how her characters felt in a book? Or what about the time you talked that WWII bomber pilot at Love Field into showing you how to take off and land a Spitfire so you could describe it correctly.” He nodded. “Stuff like that would be popular with your readers.”

Danny was right. I never considered that my readers would like the story behind the story. Danny’s idea had a lot of merit and stayed in line with my brand as a history nerd. Just because you’ve bombed out of a blog in the past doesn’t mean you can’t have success with it now, especially if it will help build your brand.

How to get started

Before you start, you need to be ready to commit to writing for your blog at least two days a week, three if you can. This builds up a trust in your readership that you will be there for the long haul. Trust is important. Remember, we’re building relationships.

If you have an author website, most have an option to add pages. Use one of these to start your blog. If you don’t have a website yet, it might be a good time to consider starting one. Most publishers want their authors to have a presence on the internet. Building a following before your first contract shows them you’re serious about your work. I use Wix because it’s easy and even someone with my limited tech skills can build a great looking webpage. Wix (as well as GoDaddy and Wordpress) have templates to help you design your page. Once your webpage goes live, you’re ready to post your first blog.

A little side note—when you start to set up your webpage and other social media, go with one name across all medias. It makes it easier for people to find you. When you’re ready to post your first blog, remember to connect it to your Goodreads and Facebook pages (as well as your Amazon page if you’re published.) It’s a good way to generate traffic to your webpage.

I’ve got a blog. Now what?

Consider your brand. Do you write books that feature bakers or chefs? Then share recipes. Medical romances? Talk about the research you have to do to make it realistic or share why you write what you write. Or if you’re a nurse, tell a funny doctor story. Talk about your favorite writing place—one of my most commented posts on Facebook were of pictures I took while writing at a local lake. It was basically the same view every day, but people love it—and my readers knew I was working on something new.

More suggestions:

1)  The first chapter from an upcoming book of another author.

2) A weekly chapter from a novella you’ve written.

3) Pictures/Videos of things you’re doing.

4) Devotionals.
The important thing to is be yourself. Your brand is you.

Homework: Check out the blogs of writers in your genre. Come up with two or three ideas that will promote your brand.

Just because you’ve bombed out of a blog in the past doesn’t mean you can’t have success with it now. via @pattywrites #SeriouslyWrite #Blogging #AuthorBrand


A multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour, Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 35 years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who has her wrapped around his tiny finger. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.