Next week I’ll head to Monterey for my first ever Left Coast Crime conference – I’m stoked! In addition to enjoying other festivities, I’ll serve on two panels, Chills and Thrills: Psychological and Medical Thrillers and Social Media: Getting the Word out in Today’s Digital Age. For the latter, I’ve been asked to focus on blogging. Three years ago, I never would have imagined that I’d not only be
addicted to blogging blogging and loving it, but sharing insight on the platform for others. That’s one beautiful thing about artistic paths, don’t you think? We never know where our paths will lead.
Here are three huge perks I’ve gained from blogging (and you can, too!):
1. Content and discoverability as an author. Before starting my blog, I had loads of articles online and I was pretty findable. Blogging gave me the ability to increase my discoverability as an author, rather than merely being known or recognized as a health (and now sexuality) writer. Agents, publishers, editors and potential writing clients dig that.
2. Fun! I was happily surprised to learn that blogging can be so darn enjoyable when we don’t treat it like necessary homework. When we write about topics we’re compelled or jazzed to cover, it resonates with readers and makes our writerly lives sparklier. I truly believe that that positive energy attracts more of the same in our personal and professional lives.
3. Readership and sales. It’s impossible to quantify sales derived from blogging, but I’m sure that it’s helped mine. Numerous of my first reviews on Amazon derived from blog readers, and reviews seem to lend themselves to sales. My sales have consistently spiked during book promotions I’ve run or announced on my blog. And it only makes sense that enthusiasts of our blogs are likely to take interest in our other work.
Here’s a chart I shared at the OWFI conference last year that shows the correlation between promotional events and my Amazon rankings during my first few months post-release. As soon as my book announcement hit my blog, my ranking went to too-low-to-measure to pretty high. The same happened once I posted my 99-cent and freebie promos on my blog. In some cases, I use other techniques to gently promote as well, but my blog has inarguably helped.
I also shared these stats at OWFI, which I found relevant and intriguing:
- Social networking sites reach 82 percent of the world’s online population, representing 1.2 billion users around the world. (Comscore, 2011)
- 61% of U.S. online consumers make purchases based on blog content. (Shareaholic, 2013)
- 77% of Internet users read blogs. (The West Program, 2011)
- Companies with blogs generate 67% more leads (READERS) per month on average than non-blogging companies.
- Once we publish 21 – 54 posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%. (Traffic Generation Cafe, 2012)
- Once a blog has 300 pages, traffic generation increases by 236%, on average. (Stigma Web Marketing, 2012)
I’m not suggesting that we blast “buy my book” promos on our blogs, by any stretch. On the contrary, I believe that authentically writing and supporting others are the most powerful ways to increase our professional success through blogging. When we’ve built a quality community of blog readers (which trumps quantity of readers big time), they appreciate the occasional, “By the way, my new book is available!” I want to know when bloggers I adore have books available, don’t you?
Another practice I love: Because I value blog readers so much, I offer them special extras during promos. When I first gave my book away for free for a few days on Amazon, I sent MP3s of one of my original tunes to anyone who downloaded it and sent me a copy of their download confirmation, for example. And I always aim to make any promotional-type-stuff fun and not advertisey (pardon the not-a-word!), and support other folks rather than just me. It’s tough to go wrong with fun. By having fun, supporting others and remaining authentic, we don’t have to worry about words like “promote” or “platform.” Success becomes a natural derivative of who we are.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! What’s your favorite perk of blogging? How do you feel blogging can (or can’t) enhance sales and overall professional success? Any examples to share? Or blogging questions or challenges you’d like help with?