Sunday, 8 February 2015

The benefits of blogging and blogging etiquette – Lynne Garner

Brer Rabbit - Traditional Tales Retold
I teach a number of writing courses that encourage students to earn money from their writing. As part of their marketing campaign I always suggest that writing a blog can be a good option. The reasons I give are the very reasons I blog. They include:

  • It provides you with the opportunity to exercise your writing ‘muscle’
  • Blogging doesn’t cost you anything apart from time – so can be a cost effective marketing tool
  • It allows you to create your USP by proving you know your subject – great if you want to impress an editor
  • It enables you to reach a worldwide audience and market yourself and your work, even when you're asleep

Now when blogging there are things you should do and things you shouldn’t. What follows are a few tips that will hopefully help you create a blog people will want to visit plus a few tips on blogging etiquette.

What you should do when blogging:


One:

Don’t just use it to sell, sell, sell. Write something of interest; create a blog that is useful and provides information, just as I’m hopefully doing with these tips. However remember a blog can be used as a marketing tool and include a link here and there. Be honest you don’t get anything for nothing. As a reader I’m more than happy to gain from someone’s knowledge with the only cost to me being the odd link here and there (which I don't have to follow if I don't want to). 


Two:

Include images of anything related to the blog content, you or your work. It makes the page look more enticing and allows you to ‘hide’ a little advert - hence the picture of my latest book – see point one.


Three:

Don’t moan about your in-grown toenail, how bad your day has been or what you plan to have to lunch, people don’t care. I refer you back to point one, so write something of interest or of use.


Four:

Ensure you proofread and edit, make the work the best you make it. This will prove you care about your work and hopefully encourage an editor to contact you and offer that book contract you’re looking for. As someone who is an Indie publisher it also proves to possible readers of my work that I can string a sentence together.   

What you shouldn't do when blogging:


One:

Use it as a tool to send spam.


Two:

Steal someone’s copyright (words and or images). You’d be annoyed if it were to happen to you.    


Three:

Don’t be rude, cruel, incite hatred, say anything that can be considered libellous, encourage someone to break the law or say something you know is untrue. It damages your reputation, will lose you readers and may lose you work. This also goes if you're leaving comments on a blog post. What you write reflects on you and once your reputation is damaged it can take a long time (if ever) to repair that damage.      


Four:

Don’t share information that is personal to you or anyone else.


Five:

Don't claim to have done something you haven't or be something you’re not. There will be at least one person who will know you're stretching the truth and will let the world know. As with point three it will simply damage your reputation and people remember.  

Although writing a blog may not directly earn you money you may find you get commissions based upon your on-line presence. I know a couple of my writing friends have and I gained a commission from a US magazine from one of my crafting themed posts.

I hope you’ve learned a little from this post and I’d love to know why you blog.

Lynne

As I’ve mentioned I teach a few writing courses I thought just in case anyone was interested I'd included links to three of my courses that start on the 7th March 2015:


See what I did there? 

9 comments:

Lee said...

One of thr best things about being a non-commercial indie writer is that I don't have to give a rat's ass about my reputation. And the older I get, the more it amuses me just how much people worry about theirs.

Jenny Alexander said...

Love these points, Lynne - and I did see what you did there! A lot of the blogs I follow do include personal content, and I've become much less reserved in my blogging because of that, but then I suppose I write and blog in broadly self-development fields, and the point of blogging for me is that I have chats with people all over the world about the things that particularly interest me - what's not to love?

Mari Biella said...

All very good tips, Lynne. They may seem like common sense, but I'm amazed by how often I've seen them ignored! I know that the blogs I like most, and follow, are well-written and provide consistently high-quality, interesting content, and that's what I try to provide myself.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

I'm increasingly in two minds about the value of blogging. Although I like this one, probably because it's so very varied, and if one post doesn't appeal there will be another one along soon. I have become a bit sceptical about general 'how to write' blogs unless they are written by somebody with vast experience, preferably of the business side of things. But I know some people do find them useful. But to my mind, the most successful blogs in terms of finding a publisher, if that's what somebody is looking for, do seem to be very personal and rather controversial. Something safe isn't going to attract today's acquisitions editors. Although I also think there's a technique for creating a 'persona' that may not be exactly like the person you really are - nor, indeed, give too much away. We are writers, after all! I resolved to write little and often on my own blog in the New Year and of course I haven't done it. But I still think it may be the way to go. Either that, or jettison the whole thing. I'm still pondering. It says something that my most successful post ever involved a long moan about my memory foam mattress. Hated it. So do lots of other people and they all weighed in. That too should tell me something - personal, mildly controversial, essentially harmless and nothing at all to do with writing!

Lydia Bennet said...

Good tips Lynne. though sadly the sheer volume of blogs has to some extent diluted their usefulness and any possible profitability - younger people in particular are going for Vlogs these days anyway. Those blogs we read about which lead to high profile publication of books are almost invariably by successful journalists who probably have the deal set up in advance and the whole 'started a blog and was offered a contract' is part of the PR. There are some very strange vlogs about - one woman has earned millions, by filming herself simply unwrapping new toys, novelties etc in close up. Kids watch them in droves. who'd have predicted that? there's a whole subgenre for unwrapping now. I think blogs that moan about stuff could be quite popular if they touch a nerve like Catherine's mattress and are funny.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Yes - for some reason, unwrapping is soothing. I know people who watch the shopping channels - actually, I've been known to watch the craft and card making channels for half an hour or so myself when stressed. Never ever buy a thing, not even tempted, but for some reason, the way in which it drifts past your eyes is very relaxing! Who could have guessed?

Lynne Garner said...

Thanks for the comments folks.

Jenny - by personal content I meant stuff that could possibly put yourself or a loved one in harms way. For example I have friends who on their Facebook status share something along the lines of "so a family night out tonight." Great house is empty, let's go rob the place!

Catherine - I have gained work from some of my posts and I know a few other writers who have. I feel they are along the lines of the 'clippings' I used to keep of my work in order to show an editor what I can produce.

Lydia - thankfully at the moment I don't have to impress the younger generation. It's editors I want to get in front of.

Reb MacRath said...

Good springboard here and a nice companion piece to Wendy's post. I'm with Catherine about the value or judicious controversy and flamboyance. But I'm with you completely about not using a blog as a spam board with little but personal touts. The Youtility factor must rule, imo.

Wendy Jones said...

Really interesting post and some great tips. I always try to abide by these. It is amazing how often I read blogs which come out every day saying buy my boo, or a complete 5 star review from Amazon about the bloggers book. Boring and unnecessary. The other blog I see on a regular basis is the rant. I would never read that persons work if they are so unprofessional