Today’s guest post is by speaker and author Dorit Sasson:
Finding your readers on the Internet is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. The US Digital Consumer Report states that the average US consumer spends more than sixty hours a week reading and watching videos across digital devices.
This means authors can impact readers with a strong online presence, but with more than 100,000 new works of fiction published each year, it’s challenging for authors to get noticed. While blogging is a solid way to attract your ideal readers, it needs to be done strategically by entering a niche without hunting down readers.
Identify Your Topic and Niche
Why not start by identifying your niche for the genre you are writing about? There’s a lot of talk about finding your ideal readers, but I have yet to read the steps on how to hunt them down. If you think about it, your target reader is online, almost everywhere. He is reading other noteworthy blogs and actively participating in forums and threads on your topic. That’s why it’s more practical to start with your niche and enter that arena as one of the masses. To find your ideal reader, consider these steps:
- First, identify the various topics (subtopics are good too) your novel focuses on. For example, if the overall topic of your novel focuses on overcoming a specific trauma, you might blog about that topic, keeping the angle fresh and unique for Google search engines. Your topic determines your niche. For example, if the overall theme of your novel focuses on transformation or travel, then that is your targeted niche.
You shouldn’t have to come up with some brand-spanking-new category. In fact, it isn’t recommended. What’s important is that you are offering new and better information in your niche to your readers who are perhaps tired of reading the same old stuff. Here are some blog topic ideas that are also niche related.
- Consider your blogging strategy. Will you primarily guest blog or blog from your site? You can certainly do a combination. What’s important to remember is to stay consistent and provide a “bread trail” preferably back to your site, where your readers can learn about your novels.
- Be sure to target golden keywords effectively. There are many online resources that explain how to do this, but this site explains thoroughly and concisely the consumer psychology when searching golden keywords. In a nutshell, targeting your keywords in your tagline, heading, domain name, and in your articles will, over time, result in your site ranking higher in the search engines.
What Makes Your Site Unique?
The key with maintaining any niche site is to get specific and clear on what makes your site unique and different from other topical blogs. It’s easy to give up when there is so much competition and you end up thinking, “Who the heck is going to listen to what I’ve got to say?” But your target readers will soon perk up their ears when they discover your unique and specific angle.
I’d like to share with you a personal example. My memoir focuses on the heroine’s journey of change and transformation, so I targeted the niche areas of change, healing, and transformation, along with the genre “memoir writing.” When I guest blog, for example, I focus on these terms exclusively to help build credibility. I approached high-profile websites such as Change.org and offered a guest post on these niche topics. In this slow and steady way, I am building my author platform.
Knowing your niche right off the bat will also help simplify self-promotion. You’ll be talking to one potential reader from one industry or genre. This is exactly what happened with novelist of note Hope C. Clark, creator of Fundsforwriters.com and author of the Murder on Edisto series. She ended up changing her strategy to promote locally instead of traveling extensively. She sold one hundred copies of Murder on Edisto at the Edisto Beach bookstore in two hours. This successful event convinced B&N in three coastal locations to carry her books. The Pelion Peanut Festival that takes place in Pelion, a little town outside of the state capital of Columbia, South Carolina, resulted in multiple appearances because no one had written about Pelion before.
Show Up as a Blogger
Once you’ve done the legwork of identifying your niche, it’s time to dive into strategic blogging. It’s a good idea to have your niche site or website focus on a very specific term or target because that is what readers will identify you with over time.
Now here’s where it starts to get juicy—learning how you can blog strategically. There are many ways to blog your topics. Here are a few ideas:
- Share your own personal experience and how it led to writing your novel. I have a few blog posts on why I finally decided to write my memoir Accidental Soldier on the years serving in the Israel Defense Forces.
Readers are always interested in your reason or motivation. Always aim to make your posts relatable. Remember, you’re writing for your reader.
- Blog about the research process. How did the research inform your decisions regarding characters, plot, dialog, and other fiction-based elements?
- Blog about your themes. Themes refer to the meaning or lesson the story teaches the reader. This is a great way to test your idea and market. Avoid posting endless chapters. This defeats the purpose of blogging. For example, is there an overarching symbol or metaphor for your novel?
Whether you’re blogging at your own site or guest blogging (see next section), you’ll always want to provide a link at the end of the post telling your readers how they can learn more about the book and purchase it.
Guest blogging is a great way to build your brand and increase your online visibility and credibility about your books to as many readers within your target market as possible.
One way to do that is to create your author blog or website and then drive traffic to your site. Guest blogging helps drive massive traffic to your site from other popular blogs that have the same target market as you. Yes, readers. But before you approach some of the most popular blogs, try guest blogging for some smaller, less-well-known blogs within your niche.
BloggerLinkUp.com is free, and once you sign up, you’ll get an e-mail with a list of bloggers who are looking for someone to guest blog for them about a particular topic. It’s also a great way to find readers.
The key is to find the right guest blogging opportunities. I’ve had success with MyBlogGuest, which is the largest free marketplace for guest bloggers who either are looking for guest posters or want to land a guest blogging gig. These aren’t high-profile blogs, but it’s a great place for landing moderate-page-ranking or moderate-traffic sites. You can either pitch an idea for a targeted niche blog or you can post your own ad in the section “Looking for Guest Bloggers.” This section is great for highly niched blogs and blogs that tackle a fringe topic.
As with any blog, your number-one priority is to connect your reader with good content without blatant self-promotion. If you do this process well, chances are your reader will be piqued to learn more about your novel and be encouraged to buy it.
Finding readers isn’t a cut-and-dried process. I’m always finding ways to build my platform and connect with readers. It’s a constant learning process, but when you increase your strategic blogging efforts, you have a greater chance to cast your net over the right niche of readers.
Dorit Sasson is an award-winning speaker and author and creator of Giving Voice to Your Story radio show and website. She is available for consulting, speaking, and writing projects. She posts regular updates to her memoir fan page, Accidental Soldier: What My Service in the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Courage and Love.