Thursday, December 04, 2008

Is your blog creating a buzz or just Z's?

You probably started your blog as a way to communicate with your audience, perhaps hoping that an Internet presence would help increase your readership and ultimately sell your book or service.

How's it working out for you so far? Do you sometimes feel you are pouring your heart out on the page (or onto the computer) and you've no idea if anyone even knows you exist? Do you ask yourself if you're wasting your time when you could be writing your book instead? If you're not getting any feedback in the form of reader comments or trackbacks from other blog writers, it may be time to ask yourself, "Is my blog creating a buzz or putting people to sleep?"

Like books, blogs are meant to educate and entertain. To be successful with your blog (or your book), ask yourself these three questions before beginning:

  1. Who will read what I write? Identifying your audience before you begin will get you focused on communicating your message and help eliminate writer's block. Having a clear picture of your reader will also help you figure out how and where to reach them in the real and virtual worlds. 

  2. What new information or solution am I bringing to the marketplace? This may be the single-most important factor in determining whether you will keep and grow your blog readership. Certainly a pleasant design and good writing helps, but if you're not educating, offering new information or providing a solution to a problem, then there's little reason for readers to follow your blog.

  3. How can I balance creating value for my readers with marketing my book, product or service? Readers understand that you have a book or service that may help them; that's why they read your blog or newsletter. They appreciate hearing about your new offerings, especially if there's a special reward, such a discount, bonus or gift. The key is balance your promotion with real value to the customer. If ever in doubt, go with this maxim: The more you give, the more you will receive.

Blogging can be an effective and fun way to spread your news and your views. The most popular blogs are the ones where the author keeps a clear and authentic voice. So be who you are: funny,chatty,  radical, serious, intense--just don't be boring and your readership (and sales) will grow.

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