Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Like You. I Like Your Blog. Now What?

Your blog, whether you like it or not, is a call to action. In commercial writing terms, that means you are drawing in readers, collecting them, for an end purpose. What is your purpose?

The Book - The most obvious, as ranted by author Derek Haines in his blog The Vandal, is the purpose of selling a book. If you have a book, then wherever you are should also be a link to where the book is sold. In his post "So Where's Your Book Then?", Derek shows his frustration in reading a blog and not finding a link to the book. Or reading a first chapter, and not finding a link to the book. That link should be in several places, all places, wherever you post your name and blog/website, wherever you interview. But as he says, many writers are afraid to post the link in numerous places, for fear of being labeled a "hawker." The link isn't hawking. It's as subtle a connection to your book as you can have. Use it. Then use it again.

Your Blog - Some make money from their blog. Therefore, that blog link ought to be all over the place. Your name and the blog. Why write anything and not sign it with . . . your name and the blog? Sign on other blogs. Guest on other blogs. And leave the breadcrumb trail of a link to your own.

Editing Services - You're an editor. You read other blogs, visit forums, respond in listservs. Sign your name and the link to your editing website. I mean inside the blog comment itself, not just in those little blanks after the comment. You want everyone to find you. Write an article? Put your editing link in the bio. Frankly, some of the best free advertising is in blog comments, as long as you go the extra mile to form a nicely worded, smartly answered reply, with a clear link to where they can find this very talented individual.

Your Articles - Maybe you want magazine editors to see what your capabilities. At the end of every blog post and article online, leave links to your published work, website, even resume. 

Wait, what if you aren't selling anything? Tell me then. Why are you blogging? If it's purely for fun and social reasons, no worry. If you claim to like selling your writing, then your blog posts are calls to action. Use them properly. When someone reads you, and likes what they see, what can they buy to see more? Where can they go to enjoy more of your talent?

If you are a writer, and don't see your online presence as a call to action, you're missing the whole idea of being online. Make it obvious. When people see your name, a secondary tagline should immediately come to mind so that they recall who you are and what you stand for, and of course, where to make a purchase.

Those important links are the difference between you being a hobbyist and a professional.


Civil War Horror said...

I agree that writers shouldn't be shy about hustling their wares on their blogs. Content remains king, though, so to attract readers and keep them you need to give them interesting reading on a regular basis.

Diva Jefferson said...

Great article, Hope! It opens our eyes to the online world around us. There is so much we can do without actually throwing ourselves out there. I'm going to create a tagline ASAP and use it when I sign my name anywhere.

Thank you!

-Diva Jefferson

Alexander said...

Interesting post!! I really like this site, and hope you will write more, thanks for your information.

Hope Clark said...

Glad to hear it, Alexander. I'll do my best to please! Thanks.

Sally Ferguson said...

It helps to clarify the purpose of the blog. Posting and linking become pieces of the puzzle that connect with the reader, and draw them back for more!
Thanks for the reminder to write with purpose!

D.G. Hudson said...

Very good points, Hope. You make us evaluate our motives and goals - good business sense.

I maintain my blogs to test my short writing, and find readers and fellow bloggers in the writing community. It's an effort to refine my voice as well.

DG Hudson-Rainforest Writing

Almost forgot about the other reason I blog: I'm a longtime photography hobbyist who likes integrating that into the mix on my blogs.

Thanks for sharing your insight.

Colleen LaQuay Urbaniuk said...

Your post really made me think about why I'm blogging. I started it right after I met you (and Robert Brewer)at the Blue Ridge Writer's Conference. I'd wanted to do a blog for awhile and as I sat surrounded by writers who were actually WRITING, I knew I just needed to stop thinking and start doing. And so thegiftofmondays.com was born. But now what...now where do I want to go? Your questions deserve good answers. Answers that I don't have...yet...but you have me headed in that direction.

Thanks for inspiring me again!!!

Colleen LaQuay Urbaniuk