Blogging is hard! I’ve read it a thousand times and I know that consistency is key. But with family, kids, after-school activities, freelance writing gigs, trying to find more freelance gigs, and actual time to write the things I want to write, who has time!? Not me! At least I didn’t think I did, until I figured out the trick. It’s one that Tim Grahl mentions in his great book on platform building, Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-By-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book (Out think 2013)
Tim Grahl is a master book marketer who has consistently put his clients on the the New York Times Bestseller list— at one point, he had five clients on that list at one time! As I mentioned in a previous post, his book is full of simple and practical guidance for how to successfully build what he calls a Connection System that can put any author on the bestseller lists. I picked up Grahl’s book a couple months ago when I was starting to freak out about the impending release of my debut picture book, Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters (Atheneum 2017). I had some idea of what to do, but was in desperate need of guidance.
The Secret to Tim Grahl’s “Connection System”
Everything for Grahl revolves around building an email list of eager and avid readers who want your content. One way Grahl suggests doing this is through a blog that offers consistent, high-quality content for free. This content is a key element in creating the “trust-based, value-driven connections” that are so important to what he calls the Connection System.
But blogging can be tough. And for writers who barely have time to write as it is, the idea of blogging on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis can be daunting.
How to Make Blogging Easier
Grahl has a great trick for making blogging easier. First, Grahl suggests you ask yourself, “What are the byproducts of your writing process?” Why are these byproducts important? Because there may be something you are already doing that could be turned into blog content! Wouldn’t that be nice?! Do you do tons of research? Could that be shared with fans in a way that would allow them to engage with you or your work on a deeper level?
I bet the answer is yes. Look at this blog, for example. I’m a self-confessed book junkie. I love books on craft and self-improvement. So I was reading all of these books anyway, and it occurred to me that I was amassing a ton of information and knowledge that other people might find useful. So I started this series which basically explores the best books on the craft (and business) of writing. I share what I’ve learned and my favorite lessons from the books; the authors of these books get free publicity and a few extra books sales (hopefully!); and readers get great lessons about writing and dreaming big.
So, what are the byproducts of your writing process? How can they be re-imagined as content for your real (or imaginary) blog? List 5-10 possible byproducts in the comments below and I’ll do the same!