Hey Space Cadets, another installment of my marketing series. I know this is the administrative background work we have to do – it is still important, so bear with me. Take your fingers out of your ears and settle down, it’s not that boring. Today’s subject is Blogs. Again, I’m no expert so this is just what I’m doing that seems to be working for the moment. As things change, I’ll adapt which is a major key to success in many of life’s adventures.
My Blog is one of the main aspects of my marketing strategy. I won’t bother linking to it, since you are reading it which means you are already there. I know I hyperlink more than conventional wisdom says is necessary, but when it seems appropriate I link away! I’m probably a little neurotic on the topic, but hey, they say acceptance is the first step to recovery! This blog serves as my author platform, right next to my public Facebook account. In a broadly general sense, this blog is a marketing enterprise. I won’t continually shout, “buy my book, buy my book,” like some authors are wont to do, but I don’t hide that I’m an author either. I have a link to my books at the bottom of all my pages. I try to keep my other links on topic and of interest to my readers. I try to have useful content on my blogs using hyperlinks as appropriate. There is a fine line here between hyperlink and hyper-annoying that I try not to cross. I am not trying to spam my readers; I am trying to sell my books.
Due to my limitations, my process is unique, but every blog I post goes through my team. They look for more than just grammar, also considering the broader concept of ‘branding.’ Basically, branding is who you are to the world. It needs to be consistent, and authentic. I want to my blog to brand me as a science fiction writer people want to read. Therefore, I keep this in mind when I plan the posts for my blog.
The theme of your blog is very important. Both the general theme or look of your blog and the theme of the contact of the blog. First, let’s look at the general theme of the blog. When I started my blog, its sole purpose was to simply exist. I had more generic posts, some of it appealing to the deep well that is the WordPress author community. I’ll admit I also participated in the ‘I follow you, you follow me’ gimmick because I didn’t know any better. Ultimately, if you want your blog to serve a purpose, following others so they will follow you serves no purpose. What will help is themed blog. The theme will be broadly based on the genre in which you write. There are many ways to do this, both visual and content driven. My blog starts with the intro of “Hey, Space Cadets,” which harkens back to the earlier Heinlein book with the same name. It screams to the world, “I’m a science fiction blog.” I do this intentionally, but didn’t violate my rule of authenticity because I do love science fiction. If I didn’t love it, I couldn’t write it. Following with the theme for my blog, I end everyone with “Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry.” Again, this was to intentionally call back to America’s earliest military history and Rogers Rangers. The US Army Rangers claim this as their origin story, but it’s also something I heard throughout my time in the infantry and the military writ large. It reminds the reader that one of my sub genres is military science fiction. It also reminds them that I have some credibility with that genre because of my affiliation with the US Army. I was a Sergeant in the US Army. When you pick your theme, it should reflect who you are and what you write. Part of that old adage, know your audience.
The second type of theme is the theme/subject you’re discussing in a specific blog. The general theme branded me as a military science fiction author. While I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it, bear with me awhile longer. My general theme includes several factors; the visual look, as well as the header and footer. The content of my blog – information I choose to share – has a theme of its own. I’ve intentionally avoided politics because it’s an unnecessarily divisive issue – personally I don’t want to unintentionally alienate customers due to my political views. My purpose here is to sell books and I try to remember this. Let’s face it, you need to be a mercenary when you think about your marketing strategy. For me, I do this by putting on my reader’s hat, considering what I look for from an author, what information I like versus what turns me off. I try to keep the subject of my posts related to my writing. Sometimes those decisions are unconscious, I’ve admittedly been known to follow my massive gut, but strategic nonetheless. I have several series I have started such as, World Building Wednesday; Scyfi Shenanigans; and Warrior Weekend; among others. I try to keep my topics entertaining – but the purpose of my posts is to generate interest in my world. This is tricky, since I have the “curse of knowledge.” I need draw my readers in without spoiling the adventure in my books. As I finish The Sleeping Legion and start writing new books, my blogs will evolve. My methodology has been to give the first hit for free to reel the readers in. Sorry, I have watched to many Cop shows – I blame my parents. Anyway, I hope you get the general idea here and can translate it into what might work for you and your book babies.
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry.
–>As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are videos used by JR Handley for use under fair doctrine.