BLOGGERS: How to make an update post worth reading to those who don’t know you

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 2.33.19 PMBlogging is a wonderful tool for any writer, and I’ve found that update posts can be among the most beneficial type I put out, if I write them well.

I’ve always considered update posts to be a little on the dangerous side, because they can backfire on you in terms of views/hits. In my personal experience, I’ve found that an update post generates less traffic than other posts.

  • Most bloggers, especially at the start, are trying to connect with an audience, to build an audience. They don’t already have a large, engaged group of people who are going to pop by for updates.
  • People who don’t know me or what I do aren’t going to care about my update in the slightest
  • Most people who come to a blog come because the blog has something to teach them. It makes them view a topic dear to them in a new way, or helps them with a problem. Update posts aren’t “how to,” “let me help you,” or “let me teach you” posts.

Still, update posts  have their point and their purpose, and they are important. You want to keep your followers informed of what’s going on with your business or your art or your travels, or whatever you blog about.

Keeping followers informed will keep them involved and might even intrigue someone enough that they join your mailing list or buy your book.

So, how do you write an update post for maximum impact???

INCLUDE A REFLECTION OR A LIST THAT DEMONSTRATES SOME POINT YOUR AUDIENCE WILL FIND USEFUL OR INTERESTING.

I’ve written before about how and why you should be a “selfish” blogger, but in an update post, your topic is already inherently selfish. You need to focus on engaging your target audience.

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 2.39.00 PM

What’s in it for your audience? Why should they care? What information are you giving them that applies to them in a beneficial way, that isn’t just throwing marketing at them?

Make sure you include such content with an update post, and when you title and market that post, use a tagline that plugs the non-marketing content at least partly.

My examples to follow will come from the perspective of an author-blogger, because that’s what I am, but really, you could adjust them to fit any industry.

  • Are you updating that you’ve finished a first draft of your novel? Why not includes some pointers to help other writers get to that end point if they’re struggling?
  • Are you doing a cover reveal? Remark on the qualities of a good book cover and how yours is accomplishing your specific goals and fits your novel.
  • Are you announcing a release date? Why not remark on what to do (or not to do) during a release?
  • Are you announcing a blog re-design? Why not expound on the qualities of a good blog layout and why you chose yours?

By nature, an update usually comes after an accomplishment. You should be able to come up with some kind of reflection/advice at that end stage to assist and encourage others trying to accomplish a similar goal.

REMEMBER: BLOGGING IS ALL ABOUT INTERACTION

Blogging is social. So you need to remember your readers aren’t just looking to take-take-take your promotional content. They deserve something for them as well. This way, everyone benefits.

“Marketing” posts won’t get shared by people unless those people are your friends or fans and just want to help you out.

A marketing post that teaches something or inspires reflection on the part of the reader will also be shared by those who don’t have a reason to want to help you. People will click on the link for the content that’s useful for them, and then be exposed to your update at the same time.

So remember: blogging isn’t successful if you consider it advertising and solely advertising. You need it to be social, to be conversational, to include some consideration for the other party.

What do you guys think of this idea? I’ve been trying to incorporate it in update posts where I can, and I’ve found it’s helped the number of hits for those kinds of posts.

Have you written this kind of a post for your blog, if you’re a blogger? How did it do?

If you enjoyed this post and are researching blogging, you might find the other posts I’ve written about blogging useful. And don’t forget you can sign up to follow my blog by email at the top right of the page.

Advertisements

34 responses to “BLOGGERS: How to make an update post worth reading to those who don’t know you

  1. Damn… I posted too soon! I wish I had waited till after you posted this before I dropped my release post, hehe. I don’t feel I appropriately engaged the fans/ followers on my blog. My release date is a month away but I feel I may have flubbed the post.

    Thanks for the advice for future release/ update posts! 🙂 You’re awesome, Victoria! Just entering my 4th month blogging and I appreciate your great advice on the topic. Thanks again.

    • Glad the post was helpful! Yeah, I hear you, I’ve had that same experience in the past with that kind of post. Releasing a release day…. It’s tough to get traffic to that kind of a post, for sure! You’re steps ahead of me if you started blogging before your first release, though! 🙂 I came far too late to the game.

      • The blog was only started because a friend of mine suggested it. It was some great advice. Build up a reader base before you launch the book. I think it’s working, hehe. Can’t be sure till after the release I guess. I don’t expect to sell a ton of copies, I’d be amazed with just 10! But the platform is great.
        Thanks for the great post. Gives me a better opportunity for release and update posts in the future. My release post may not have gotten the views I would have liked but now I have something to challenge myself with. 🙂 Thanks, Victoria!

        • 🙂 The platform is a lot of fun! Personally I always kind of dread putting up an update/ release post. As exciting a moment as it is, there’s always something anticlimactic about it when the hits don’t roll in

        • Don’t be amazed if the first doesn’t sell. Don’t be discouraged if the second doesn’t. Stick with it, and reassess after your third. By that time, people are going to start paying attention.

  2. I have written several update blogs although I don’t consider my blog something I advertise on. My posts are either stories for a challenge I’ve undertaken or are random posts about various topics, how they relate to writing or reading or life in general. I suppose my blog is more focused on me being me, posting funny little posts that are sometimes helpful and sometimes just offer a chance to make someone think about things. So usually my updates are interspersed somewhere amid some other funny details, thoughts or helpful information. I find people tune in just as much for those post as they do for my other posts.

    • I think updates are most effective dispersed among other information, like you say. I wish I had more short stories to send out… mine just aren’t any good, haha! And I haven’t written one in years. What time I could spend writing them I spend blogging

  3. I make it simple if it’s a cover reveal. Beyond that I use questions and humor to catch my readers. I’m never sure if I should write about finishing a draft or an editing run. Feels like it’s not that important to people, so I put it in with a declaration of what comes next. Again, I add humor like going on about needing a nap or a vaccine against papercuts.

  4. This is so true. Thanks for posting, Victoria. 🙂 As only an unplublished writing and student, I always find it difficult to know what exactly to blog about without saying ‘I did this, and this happened as a result’. I especially like that you said blogging “inspires reflection on the part of the reader.”
    I will definitely have a go at putting advice/reflection on my next update-y post.

  5. Great tips, Victoria! This is very helpful. Are awards posts also a type of update post? Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to do with those.

    • Ooh, that’s a great question…. I’ve gotten so many award nominations lately that I, unfortunately, just can’t accept them. I would consider those update posts of a type in that they’re you focused (even though you are passing the nom on to other people).

      One good thing about them is the do expose your readers to new blogs they may not be familiar with yet, so that’s something for the reader already built in.

  6. This is fate! I was just thinking over doing an update post, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d put in it and how. This definitely helped with that, ha ha! Thanks for the perfect timing!

  7. Thank you Victoria: I have three blogs running and in eight months not a single comment – connection or reply: I do not have a “how to,” “let me help you,” or “let me teach you” platform: I focus on “share” “ideas” and “story” sometimes intellectual-philosophy-and healing: my content is perhaps ALL “update type stuff”: It’s like poetry in the wind and the wind wins….

    Bye

  8. Thanks, Victoria. Very informative, as usual. Blogging and all still feels a little mysterious to me. I’ll definitely keep your tips in mind. 🙂

    • It took me quite a while to find my niche and feel comfortable blogging. I still sometimes wonder what the heck I’m doing 🙂 I try to take it day and day and fight my inclination to obsess over stats. The stats aren’t really that important.

  9. What a great idea! I had thought of doing an update post, but was thinking not many people would be interested and so they turned into a different post all together. I love this idea! I’ll have to incorporate this for sure in my upcoming update posts.

    • Glad the post was timely! I have found this is definitely one way to make an update post worth someone else’s time to read. There may be others, of course, but by the nature of my blog this one works best for me.

  10. I’m glad that you posted this particular topic, because it leads into a question that I have been wanting to ask you. 🙂 I am trying to get an increase in readership on my blog. The reason it fluctuates so much is because it is a review blog and it varies as to when I can post. I am wondering what else I could write blogs on to fill in between reviews. I think if I could do that, the consistency would even out and with that, hopefully so will the readership. The problem is that I am not an experienced enough writer to feel comfortable giving advice, although I’ve thought of a couple of things, yet I don’t think I would have enough to say about them to warrant an entire post. I know with the length of some of my responses to you, you will probably find that hard to believe..:) I read in another blog that a writer should have two separate blogs, one for readers and one for writers. The thought was that it was better to keep them separate to build up the different readership in each. It seems to me that would create a lot more work. What do you think about this? As always, thanks for all your help and inspiration. If you’ve covered this in your book, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I have downloaded it and can’t wait! 🙂

    • I only have one blog and it focuses on writers, so while I doesn’t always boost my fiction sales, it led to “Writing for You,” and I love how my blog gets me writing and concentrating on writing.

      I don’t think you have to have two blogs. If the idea of two doesn’t feel like fun, I wouldn’t do two, for sure. I do have a blog and an official website but the website is more evergreen content about my novels…. I don’t regularly update it or anything like that.

      As for what to write about: that totally depends on you and what you like. I know some people have a calendar of sorts: Author interviews on monday, a reflection on writing on wednesday, a guest post on Friday. Something like that. That’s one way you could go if you wanted: a calendar like that could keep you structured.

      You could even blog about your interests apart from writing and books and share funny things that happened to you. People who follow you want to get to know you a bit better. That’s one way to let them in.

      Don’t know if any of that will be helpful…. I hope it might spur some better ideas on your end! 🙂

      • Thanks so much, Victoria! The calendar idea is perfect! I like that! I think I will have to get my over-bloated queue chiseled down before I can implement that, but it sounds perfect. I still want to do the reviews, but since I am trying to do my own novel, it is really time consuming to focus only on them, and I do get so busy that I am not posting on a regular basis, so the structure of that sounds great. The idea on interspersing other bits and pieces of life is also a good one. Thanks again! 🙂

  11. Very helpful post for a new blogger! Thank you!

  12. Definitely gave me some great ideas for my “update posts” and those selfish posts in general. 😉 Thanks!

  13. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every
    day. It’s always interesting to read through articles from
    other authors and use a little something from other web sites.

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s