Monday, March 28, 2011

How Do I Provide Fresh Blog Content if I'm Not Published?


One of the most challenging obstacles to overcome when starting a blog is coming up with new content. That is made even harder when you haven't been published yet. If you're an author, you can talk about your book, your writing, and your characters. What do you talk about when there is no book?

It took me a long time to decide what I wanted to blog about. I tried telling people about my new articles, new fan fiction stories I was working on, even shared a few personal tidbits about my family. Problem is that there's no benefit to the reader unless you can tie it into something that is important to them or they have an interest in. I loved blogging, though, and I was determined to stick with it.

After some soul searching, I decided it was a smart idea to begin hosting published writers at my blog. In the beginning that meant interviewing them. Why should I take time away from my writing to host another writer? Because it offered my readers a benefit. They could check in to read about books they might be interested in  and get a bit of insight into the authors too.

It's important to remember that your blog is never about you. It is about your readers. Give them a reason to keep coming back, or they won't.

My decision to host other writers at my blog also fell in line with my decision to get back to a regular reading schedule. I had come away from reading on a daily basis. I felt I couldn't dedicate the time to write and still have time to read, despite the numerous times I heard how important it was to read in the genre you wished to be published.

I finally stopped being a stubborn girl and started reading again. At first, it was books on my shelves at home. Then I began reading and reviewing books by writer friends. Then I started getting requests to host authors on virtual book tours and asked to review their books. I decided I really liked reviewing books and promoting authors, so I switched to a new blog dedicated solely to that purpose, and it has grown from there.

My story is just one example of finding your niche and letting it help you provide fresh blog content for your readers.

Here are a few more examples of things you can try. Most of them are directly related to books.

  • List your Top 10 favorite books. Lists are popular and they are quick to read. Something like this can  engage your readers because at the end you can ask them to share their favorites. Ask them if there are any books on your list they didn't care for and why.
  • Talk about books turned into movies or vice versa. As a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I'm always amazed when I run into people who won't watch the 1970's classic family show, Little House on the Prairie, because Michael Landon didn't stick close to the books. I grew up with the show and discovered the books later, so I consider them different ways to honor Laura's legacy. Another aspect of this topic is that writers rarely have control over how their books are turned into TV movies and films. This leads to some controversial changes that are fun to explore and discuss.
  • List your least favorite books. Remember required reading in school? I'm floored that I came out of school still loving books after reading some of the stuff I had to in school. I put together a list of books I wish I never read. Since all the authors are dead, I felt pretty safe. 
  • Do you write in a specific genre? Use that to generate topics for your blog. Do you write sci-fi or fantasy? Talk about world building. Do you write historicals? Use bits and pieces of research to create short blog posts that are informative and engaging. Maybe you like the paranormal. Ghosts, vampires, and werewolves are popular these days. I'm sure you can find something of interest to write on those topics.
  • There are the big holidays and then there are the little ones that nobody seems to know about. You can use a website like this one to share some of these holidays with your readers. Did you know today is Something on a Stick Day?
  • Draw attention to national, state, and local literacy events.
  • Even if you choose not to host other writers or review books at your blog, that doesn't mean you can't talk about books you've seen in the store or heard about. Check out Amazon's Books page. See what catches your eye and blog about it.
  • Post motivational or inspirational quotes.
I hope this article has sparked some ideas. I'm also open to suggestions from you. Where do you find fresh content for your blog?

5 comments:

Nicole weaver said...

Cheryl,

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

Nicole Weaver
http://mysisterismybestfriend.blogspot.com
http://marieandherfriendtheseaturtle.blogspot.com

Cheryl said...

Glad you liked it, Nicole.

billkirkwrites said...

Hi, Cheryl. Thanks for collecting these suggestions in one spot. Some of the ideas just never dawned on me. I'm convinced I need to learn and practice more efficiency in terms of how I allocate my writing time. Thanks for giving me a nudge.

Cheryl said...

Hey Bill, glad you found it helpful. Good luck with the blog.

joanyedwards said...

Dear Cheryl,
Thanks for sharing your ideas to write about in a blog. Your suggestions are really good! Do something good to celebrate being you today.