Dawn Rae Miller posted an interesting blog today about “Why You Shouldn’t Be Writing about Writing (At Least Not All the Time).” Dawn is a friend of mine, and we’ve had a lot of discussions about the purpose of writing blogs. We both come from a marketing background. Dawn makes a lot of good points in her post – namely that a “strong social media strategy should target your end users (readers), and writing about writing only reaches out to other writers.”
She’s 100% right . This is a basic principle of Marketing 101. Does this mean you should quit writing about writing on your blog? Well, no. Here’s my take on things to offer up a little friendly debate.
Is Your Blog Your Whole Social Media Strategy?
I think we’re actually talking about two different things. I think a blog is only one element of a social media strategy. If you have a website, are on Twitter, have a blog, have a Facebook page, and create videos on YouTube, should you ONLY be talking about writing in all of those places? No. Definitely not. Is it okay to have one place where you talk a lot about writing? Yes, I believe it is.
As Dawn pointed out, you really need to understand who your audience is. As a young adult writer, you may want to target teens as Dawn is suggesting. In my case, my blog is less about building a readership and more about networking with fellow publishing industry professionals. Talking about writing and publishing are my way of contributing to the community. I’m passing on what I’ve learned to newer writers. And I’m sharing my journey with those who’ve helped me grow as a writer. Do I blog about writing all the time? No, but even my personal posts end up with some aspect of books, writing, or reading attached to them.
Blog vs. Author Platform
With that said, a lot of what Dawn suggests is right on the money for a social media strategy (vs. a blog strategy). Contests, allowing for user-generated content, etc., are all great tips. But I think what she’s really talking about is building your author platform. A blog is only one element of a social media strategy, and it can’t do everything. For example, John Green built out a brilliant author platform that encompasses a website, YouTube, a Forum, and more – basically, a community for like-minded teens to gather and share their own content. A blog is not meant to do all of this or even really structured for it. Rather it’s only one element of a larger beast that Green built out at Nerdfighters.com. A blog is merely the pinkie on the whole hand of social media strategy.
Right now, I don’t have a book to market, so my blog is meant to market ME to other industry professionals, in addition to being part of the community. But you better believe that WHEN it happens, I’m going to gather all my marketing know-how and resources to get the word out. An author website is a big part of that strategy. This website will be targeted to my readers with the kinds of bells and whistles and content that appeal to someone who would buy and love my work. As with John Green, my blog will be one component of that website.
That’s not to say that you can’t build a blog that teens will want to read. But it’s a hard thing to TRY to do, rather than having it happen organically once your work has touched a chord in your teen readers – a very visible chord that can turn into something larger.
Will Some Teens Read My Blog?
Sure! Of course. Some teens will be curious about the author. My blog offers up my personality and insight into my life. Will they be curious about the writing process? Maybe, but most likely not. But then, my website would satisfy that need to know more about my books, and as I mentioned, the blog is only one component of that. Building an online community may be part of my strategy, but it won’t be for every writer.
So yes, I will continue to blog about writing. The great thing about marketing is that you’re allowed to develop strategies that work for your style and adapt them as your career grows.
What are your thoughts?