Between talks on interview techniques, getting book deals and crafting the perfect query letter, the 2011 American Society of Journalists and Authors writer’s conference had sessions on blogging – lots of them.
Freelancers heard expert after expert expound on the importance of having a blog to launch or promote a book or establish themselves as an expert on the subjects they write about.
But you don’t need to be a professional writer to take the experts’ blogging advice to heart. Anyone who’s serious about improving their blogging efforts – including bloggers in the 2011 WordCount Blogathon – can benefit from their knowledge.
Here is some of the blogging advice I picked up at the ASJA conference:
1. If you’re not on social networks, you’re behind. If you’ve got a blog, you need to be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Advice from writer/digital media marketing consultant and conference presenter Carmina Perez (@mogulette):
- On Twitter, make sure tweets are newsy and write from your particular angle.
- Tweet often but don’t overdo it – more than 20 a day looks spammy.
- Focus on one thing “so they know you’re the go-to person for that subject.”
- Pay attention to your profile: use keywords to describe yourself and always include the URL for your website.
From marketer Sam Horn (@samhorn_dot_com): Use the 30-30-30 rule: devote one third of your tweets each to pragmatic info about what you do, promoting your work, providing information your network will find interesting.
2. Mobilize your blog. Because so many people use smartphones to read blogs, make sure yours is mobile ready. That doesn’t mean building a different site, just tweaking what you’ve already got, says Fauzia S. Burke (@fauziaburke), an internet marketing consultant. Other tips:
- Add new content every day, either new posts or through a widget that displays your Twitter or Facebook feed on your blog.
- Don’t use Flash – it won’t show up on iPhones or iPads.
- Put navigation links at the top of the site where they’re easy to see on a phone.
- Add social sharing buttons or “your site will look dated.” Make it personal “so anyone who comes to your site feels connected to you.”
3. The future is video. At the conference, speaker after speaker stressed how big video has become on social networks, and how much bigger it’s going to be. What should bloggers do about it?
- Get comfortable making and posting video to your website or blog.
- Create your own YouTube channel, post videos there and link them back to your blog.
- Register the “.tv” versions of any domain names you use. If you’re promoting a book, use your own site to practice talking in sound bites so you’re ready when The Today Show calls.
4. Everybody’s turning a blog into a book, or even a TV show. Numerous writer-bloggers at the ASJA conference talked about turning a blog into a book deal. Beth Feldman (@rolemommy), founder of a mommy blogger network called RoleMommy says approach a blog as part of a PR campaign for a book (or other project). Her other tips:
- Hire a professional to design your blog.
- If you’re a blogging beginner and want practice, blog “where the big fish are” on sites like Huffington Post but write on your own blog too.
I’ll be sharing other writing and writing business tips I picked up at the 2011 ASJA writer’s conference in future posts.