The observant amongst you will have noticed I’ve been bothering you more often with my posts over the past few months. You may also have noticed that I’ve diversified the things I post about too. There is a reason for this – and it’s not just because I’m the chatty, sociable sort.
Firstly, the whole purpose of the Sometimes Stellar Storyteller site is to connect with writers. I started this blog because I have a passion for writing but like most people, I need to practice and rid myself of all those habits that dampen my awesome. I don’t have time to commit to night school or shiny writers’ courses but I still need help to build on my writerly foundations. In my wisdom, I decided that starting a blog and using your fabulous minds as my mentor and critic was the way forward. So far it’s been incredible, but in order for it to function as intended I need to publish my stories more frequently, so that’s what I’ve been doing.
Secondly, there’s only so much of my rambling and pleading that a small family of followers will tolerate, so in order to avoid irritating people, I need to bring fresh eyes to my blog. I am on a mission to tempt new followers into helping me on my journey, hence the increased activity.
Since I’m a sharing sort of girl, I thought I would write you a post on my plan for improving my online profile and keep you posted on how its going so far. I know some of you were interested to know.
I’ve summarised the top 5 things I’ve been concentrating on over the past month to keep me relevant to my audience and increase readership, I hope they work for you too:
1. Make a plan
You need to make yourself a schedule and stick to it. This will help you write posts in advance and be fully on top of your content. It also makes you answerable to yourself if you don’t feel like posting. Before I had a plan I would go weeks at a time without posting anything which is blog suicide.
Here’s the plan I’m using for March. It’s an excel based calendar detailing what will be posted and when. You will see that it also has areas for me to record how the post was received (more on that in point 5). I don’t plan when I will be posting short stories or poetry, I like to keep that nice and spontaneous. I wouldn’t be able to produce it to order, but I can fill in my random posts as I go along so I can keep an eye on what I’ve been up to.
2. Keep it relevant
My blog is about all things writing so I wouldn’t publish a post on fashion advice. Chances are that your blog is aimed at a certain cross section of people or interests so make sure that you write posts aimed at the people you want to read your blog.
If you don’t have time to write content all the time, share someone else’s post. As long as it’s relevant to your blog theme this is fine and most bloggers are more than happy to be reblogged. It’s always polite to ask first though (DavyD, I’m hereby requesting consent to reblog one of your posts on World Poetry Day!).
3. Tell people about your post
There’s no point writing posts if nobody can read them. Share your posts on social media and link your accounts to avoid replication. Use hashtags on Twitter and Instagram so people can find them, your objective here is to build your following and push people to your post. Make sure you know how to use tags properly on WordPress and which ones are trending. Certain hashtags are popular with your target audience on certain days across different social media platforms, chances are that you see them daily in other people’s posts so why not use them yourself? A quick Google search will give you dozens to use, I like to use hashtags aimed at writers.
You don’t have to be a slave to social media, there are plenty of apps and websites that allow you to schedule posts. I am currently using Twuffer to tweet for me. I get 50 free scheduled posts a month which is more than enough for me.
4. Expand your content
My blog is about my writing journey but it would be a dull little offering if that’s all I talked about, that’s why I decided to make it a bit more interesting. I bring you the weekly Six Word Story Challenge to hone your storytelling skills and now invite fellow authors and bloggers to participate in a fortnightly guest post feature. I also bring you my monthly Stellar Review of indie authors’ work to introduce you to your new favourite authors. I have given each of these their own featured image which is instantly recognisable when it pops up in the reader or on social media.
In the future, I plan to add a hints and tips section for writers (this is actually the first one!), as well as an interactive writers’ workshop. I will also be adding more regular discussions to coincide with important literary dates, like my Dickens post did last month.
Since all of this is geared to encourage engagement with my followers, I want to have a conversation with you in the comments not just see you in the list of likes – don’t be shy, talk to me!
What could you add to your blog to make people come back?
5. Measure success
Decide what your objective is before you start and decide what success looks like. For me, the objective is to increase followers on WordPress and Twitter and encourage constructive feedback. I can measure this very easily and I am very pleased to report that since I started doing all of the above things, my following has increased at a much higher rate then it ever has before.
For each post, I note the level of interaction in terms of views, comments and shares so I can measure over time if what I am doing is working. If not, I’ll change it. Nothing is set in stone.
I’d love to know why you blog and what you do to keep yourself and your audience interested.
Why do you blog? What was the reason you started and has this changed over time?
What do you do to keep your blog fresh and interesting?
Do you actively plan to attract new followers or is it a happy side effect of your blogging genius?
Do you keep to a schedule or do you prefer a free spirited approach?
Do you find this sort of post useful? Would you like to see more of them?