Published Podcast Episode 18 | Launching a Blog with Corrin Foster
In today's episode, we are excited to interview Corrin Foster, Greenleaf's Director of Marketing & Branding, about why authors should consider blogging and how they can get started. Corrin regularly coaches authors on how to build their author platforms and ran a successful blog for fifteen years.
2:25 Why should authors consider starting a blog? What's the benefit of blogging?
- Content ownership & control of messaging. This gives authors an outlet to bring their brand to followers in a way that's clear, concise, and consistent.
- They can bring additional value to followers outside of the book's content.
- For SEO purposes, it builds inbound links and authority. Blogs are fresh content, which helps connect people searching with keywords to that content.
- Blogging allows an author to connect to current events and news topics quickly.
- For many, the biggest reason to start a blog is to humanize the brand.
- Authors can use blog as R&D to test new ideas.
5:25 What should authors blog about? They've already put their time into writing a book. How should the blog be different?
- If you have a book, you can create 6-12 months of blog topics from it. Content mapping is pulling chunks of content from the book and making note of where you can add more value, provide more examples, that maybe you didn't have space to cover in the book.
- 101 level content. Assume your reader knows nothing about your area of expertise. This allows you to build on topics and link back to those 101 posts as you build.
- Look for main ideas in each chapter to pull out for blog content.
- Look to see where you can link to other people or connect to things that are happening in the news.
7:30 How do I make sure my blog is optimized with keywords?
- We recommend that authors build their blogs on the Wordpress platform. There is a plugin on Wordpress called Yoast that allows you to optimize individual pages and blog posts within a website, giving you a red/yellow/green rating based on SEO optimization. Over time using this, you'll learn how to optimize your website naturally.
- You want to be conversational and use keywords organically, instead of trying to fit as many keywords in there as you can.
9:20 How often should authors post blogs?
- Consistency is more important than frequency. I'd be happier with an author posting a smaller number of higher quality posts for a longer duration of time.
- You don't want to post so frequently that you burn out right as you start building a following.
- That said, you should try to blog once a week, preferably at the same day and time.
11:00 How should authors promote their blog posts?
- Social media is the number one way to promote your post.
- Think of it like a "carousel of content" with your blog post at the hub. What keeps the carousel moving is how often the post is shared and with whom that post is shared. You want to share your blog post on different networks, with different intro copy. Share multiple times to reach different people.
(To learn more about repurposing content and the "carousel of content," we've included a free download below with more information!)
- Don't forget to recycle older content, especially when it becomes relevant again in the news.
12:45 You mentioned Wordpress as the main platform for blogging. Are there other platforms to consider?
- Squarespace is another big one that people like.
- My recommendation is to look at the platform's Terms of Service and make sure that you're clear on who owns the content after you upload it to the website.
- Also be sure that you're partnering with a host that will have minimal downtime so that your content is readily available.
14:00 What about authors who blog or write for other publications, like Inc. or Forbes? How do authors decide where to post their content?
- If you're looking to grow your audience size, writing for other online publications is a great way to do it. They usually link back to your own website.
- When you do post on partner publications, you can still create a blog post with an introductory paragraph that links to the article so that you can still drive traffic to your own site first.
15:40 How much time should authors expect to dedicate to writing blog posts?
- Start off by creating an editorial calendar so you can know exactly what you need to write about each week.
- Most people should dedicate 1.5-2 hours to write and optimize a blog post at first.
- Remember that you don't have to create everything from scratch. You can save time by repurposing the material you already have on hand.
17:00 How can bloggers capture the audience's email addresses?
- You should have an opt-in to your email list on every page of your website.
- Be sure that your social media links are present on your site so that people can follow you on their preferred network.
- In every blog post, you should include a Call to Action, like subscribing to your newsletter or leaving a comment.
18:20 Any final advice?
- Take it slow! No one is policing what you're doing, so just try it.
- The blogging world is very welcoming and bloggers really support each other. There will be a community that will support you.
About Corrin Foster, Director of Marketing & Branding
With over fifteen years of experience in branding and digital marketing, Corrin has extensive knowledge of content management, product marketing, and online advertising. At Greenleaf, she develops and executes strategic marketing programs; oversees social media; and consults with authors on building their brand, establishing online presence, and growing reader communities. Corrin holds an MBA in marketing from Indiana University, completed the Yale Publishing Course, and was a 2015 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. Corrin is also a popular lifestyle blogger and has spoken at IBPA Publishing University, WordPress WordCamp, and South by Southwest.