So You Think You Can Blog

Katy Lee here. It’s Sunday, and the hills are alive…well, not really but here’s a little music to a writer’s ears:

“I couldn’t put your book down.”

Ah, the greatest compliment a reader can give a writer. It means you did your job right. You gave them just enough information on page one to keep them interested, and willing to stay with you, until page three hundred. You took the reader on a satisfying journey, unfolding the story little by little, bit by bit. You were careful not to overload them with too much information up front.

But If there’s anything I’ve learned since I joined my fellow Scribes, it is that being a writer does not make me a blogger. In fact, I have had to learn a whole new style of writing from what I was used to. It turns out that writing for the web takes on an opposite approach to writing fiction. But take heart, because it’s still all about satisfying your reader. Just in a different way.

Most traffic to your blog will come from search engines, like Google. People who are looking for an answer to some question or information on a certain topic. They’ve typed in a keyword that your blog contains, and Bingo, they’re on your page. They’re not here for entertainment and you probably have ten seconds or less to keep them reading. Talk about pressure!

So how do you do it?

Well, just like fiction, you give them a hook, but you can’t stop there. And this is where the change comes in, because you then have to follow it up with your best stuff right up front. It is no time to tease. Give them the answer they came looking for. Give them the same satisfaction in the first paragraph that your book readers have when they read your last page.

The Unlocked Secret:  Take more of a journalistic approach when writing for the web. Feature your most important information first, followed up by more good and necessary content to support your idea. By doing it this way, you earn the reader’s trust right up front, and they’ll continue reading to the very end. But wait, I think I hear music playing. If you earn their trust, they won’t hesitate to come back again and again.

And that is the greatest compliment a blogger can get.

Do you have questions about what it entails to start a blog? Or if you have a blog, what kinds of things have you learned from it?

13 thoughts on “So You Think You Can Blog”

  1. You are so right, Katy. I never thought of it that way, but you nailed the number one quality of a good blog–earn your reader’s trust and they will come back. I love that and will keep it in mind when I’m writing my next blog. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Yep, I think you’re right, Katy. The mini-workshop yesterday was very interesting. What really hit me was – persistence. Growing and building a readership, little-by-little. Staying with it. It takes dedication to your writing but also to your readers. I think the “buddy system” is the way to go. The Scribes seem to have a winning formula.

    1. Honestly, I never could have done this on my own…not at all. I wouldn’t have been as dedicated to getting my posts up there and I never would have found all the extras – like feeding directly to FB and Twitter…

    2. Thanks Kathye! I hope we encouraged others to look into the process. I find it very rewarding, and I’ve met so many people I wouldn’t have had the pleasure if not for making this committment.

  3. I have been blogging for over four years now and simply love the creative experience that it provides. Blogging has helped me connect with other like-minded families and has opened up the door to many amazing experiences like writing for online magazines and ‘guest blogging’ on some really great sites!

    Happy writing to you!
    -Jill Houle

  4. I’m very new to blogging, and the easiest thing for me to write about would’ve been writing fiction, and yes, how-to topics on writing would bring in some traffic from google searches, but I really wanted my blog to be a way to connect with my readers, whether they’re writers or not…and I’m still trying to figure out what that looks like.

    I think it’s important to know your audience, because we could get a lot of Google hits because we’ve blogged on some great topic, but is the traffic interested in our kind of book? Randy I. of Snowflake fame is a great example. His blog gets tons of traffic, but I don’t think it’s boosted his fiction sales all that much. It did establish him as a great teacher, though, and he’s done well selling all kinds of “how to” books and software as a result. And as you said, established himself as a trusted voice.

    1. Knowing your audience is crucial as well as your objective for blogging. If you’re looking to stengthen your relationships with a selected group of people, then I would think more of a conversational approach would be needed. Your readers wouldn’t want to feel like you were talking at them, but rather, with them. And also, they aren’t coming to you for information. They’re coming to get to know you better.

      I have a blog set up on my personal website, but I don’t really considerate it a blog. I think of it more as a place where I can connect more intimately with readers. More intimately than FB, even. It’s kind of like guests coming to visit your home. That’s not the time I would take to start instructing them. I’d want to sit down with them over tea and ask them to tell me their story.

      Which leads me to my next point…The reader needs to feel appreciated. That there was something in it for them. Whether they took something away from the experience, or perhaps, had the opportunity to bring something to the table and contribute in some way. After all, what would tea be without some of their fabulous cookies?

  5. Hi Katy, I’m getting my feet wet in the blogging world by being a guest blogger on others blog sites. I’m not brave enough, or successful enough, to start a blog of my own. I love your hint about writing an article like in jounalism. This should help me a lot. Thanks for sharing.

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