When it comes to marketing books online, authors are encouraged to establish a platform. We’re told to get involved in social media, and often that involves starting a blog. How do we go about building an audience for our blog though?
There are the basics, of course. Build an attractive, easy to navigate site. Write blog posts of interest and post on a regular schedule. Make it easy for people to follow the blog and get updates. And of course, network with other bloggers to build a readership. This takes time and effort
Want to know how to expedite the process and with more efficiency? Get involved in the A to Z Blogging Challenge!
The Challenge was started in 2010 by Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out. It began as a challenge to post every day in April with Sundays off for good behavior. This left twenty-six days-one for each letter of the alphabet. Now in its sixth year, the event draws over two thousand participants.
One of the first benefits is discipline. Participants learn to come up with short, interesting blog posts, often with a theme. Six posts a week establishes a habit of regular posting. With other bloggers visiting, it also prompts the blog owner to get into the habit of responding to comments and visiting others in reciprocation.
Another benefit is content. An empty blog won’t attract readers. With twenty-six posts in one month, it places one on the fast track to building content. This also helps with search engine rankings, which in turn brings more readers.
The Challenge expands a blogger’s reach within the community. With new blogs to explore and others stopping by for a visit, readership begins to grow. New connections happen daily and a blog’s reputation develops quickly. What normally takes months of searching instead takes just a few weeks. That’s a big bonus to the writer on a time crunch.
Probably the greatest benefit is connections and friendships. The Challenge is common ground and it connects us to those of like minds. Building up a community of friends and supporters is vital to an author. We need encouragement when we hit those low points. We need cheerleaders when things are falling into place. And we need supporters who will help spread the news about our books. The only way to get that is by establishing genuine friendships.
To give you an example of how well the Challenge can help a blog grow, I’ll use my own. Before the very first Challenge in 2010, I had roughly thirty followers. There were only one hundred participants that first year, but by the time April ended, I had over eighty followers. The following year, I joined as a co-host, and with over a thousand participants, I gained almost three hundred and fifty new followers. Those bursts propelled my blog forward with much needed momentum and established my blog in the community. And it’s been my blog and involvement in the blogging community that have had the biggest impact on my sales, propelling all three of my books to the top of the Amazon Best Seller list for Science Fiction.
So, what are you waiting for? Join the biggest blogging event of the year and give your author platform a boost-join the A to Z Challenge!
Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design, graphics and technical editing. Online he is the Ninja Captain, an A to Z Challenge co-host, and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm, and his next book, Dragon of the Stars, comes out April 7, 2015.