Reaching a Broader Audience

Do you fix something that isn’t technically broken? How about tweaking it to make it more effective?

Over the last week, I’ve read best-selling author Kristen Lamb’s two books on social media. We Are Not Alone: A Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer.

Her books have encouraged me, because there are things I’m doing right. Things I enjoy. Like connecting with others and building relationships. I like doing that stuff. I like that I get to spend time on Facebook and Twitter and call it work.

Her books have also challenged me, because there’s always room for improvement.

One of the things I wrestle with is blog content.

I blog about writing. And a lot of times, I feel like I’m repeating what’s already been said a hundred times before. In craft books. In workshops. In articles. On other blogs.

I’m writing to an audience of writers when I’m trying to reach an audience of readers. 

Granted, some of you (hopefully), will read my book when it releases in May. But I’m also alienating a whole population of readers who could care less about writing.

Here’s the thing.

Remember that post I wrote about creating a social media plan? The one where I encouraged everyone to ask important questions? Questions like why are we blogging, or Twittering, or Facebooking?

I had to take my own advice. I had to ask myself those same questions.

Why am I blogging?

My answer isn’t: To help writers grow (as awesome as that is).

I started blogging and continue to blog because I want to build a relationship with readers.

The majority of my readers are going to be Christian women who love romance. They aren’t going to care about Motivation Reaction units. And those who do can pick up a book by Dwight Swain.

So what am I doing?

I think I’ve gotten so comfortable blogging about writing that I haven’t stopped to think why I’m doing it. And really, it’s sort of been working. My blog has steadily grown in its readership and I’ve formed some really cool friendships because of it.

So if it’s not broken, why mess with it?

It’s a question I battled with all last week. And here’s what I decided:

Even though it’s working doesn’t mean it’s working as well as it could. I don’t want to miss out on connecting with a wider audience because I’m afraid to try something new.

Which means…..

I’m going to try something new. Especially after reading Kristen’s post on blog content.

After a few months, I’ll assess. If it’s a flop, I can always go back to what I’ve been doing. But if it works? I will kiss Kristen Lamb’s feet and enjoy building a relationship with readers before my book hits the shelves.

So here it goes. My new content and schedule:

Writing related posts on Monday. Because writing is my passion and I want to continue serving the audience I already have (writers). Plus, I enjoy sharing my journey as a newly contracted novelist in a rapidly-changing industry.

Faith related posts on Wednesdays. Because the Christian faith plays a big role in each and every one of my novels and an even bigger role in each and every day of my life.

On Fridays? Romance. Family. Books. Life. I was thinking of limiting it to romance, since that’s what I write, but then I thought. What if I want to write about books? Or parenthood? Maybe it would be best not to make this too limiting.

So there you go. My new schedule. If any of these topics interest you, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

Let’s Talk: Why do you blog? Why do you read blogs? Do you read blogs that don’t focus on writing? Do you wrestle with content? Do you think non-writing readers are looking to connect with authors via blogs?removetweetmeme

38 thoughts on “Reaching a Broader Audience

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  2. Roni Loren

    Seems we've been going through the same blog soul-searching. πŸ™‚ It's such a hard thing to decide on. I want to connect with writers AND readers as well. But then I also have that niggling worry that the bulk of people who follow me are doing so because they want to hear about writing. I've spend two years building up a successful writing blog and I don't just want to bait and switch those followers.

    But just like you, I also don't want readers comiing to my site once my book is out and only seeing posts on writing craft. My solution right now is two blogs–which is NOT ideal but I write super sexy romance, so I don't feel right just throwing in boyfriend of the week posts to my writing blog followers who may not appreciate that, lol.

    Great food for thought. We can all blame Kristen Lamb. πŸ˜‰

  3. Michelle Fayard

    I think your idea is a great one, Katie, because it's a balance of providing content that appeals to blog readers who book readers and blog readers who are book writers. I can't wait to hear the results, as I would except they will be very positive ones. πŸ™‚


  4. Kathleen @ Kath Ink

    I blog to write to a potential audience. I enjoy reading blogs that are usually about a variety of topics — usually a faith perspective, household management, motherhood, and plus friends I know in real life. I don't visit many writer blogs talking about writing — although I read publishing blogs that discuss some writing.

  5. Katie Ganshert

    Thanks everybody for the kind words!

    Shannon – so fun to see you on here!

  6. Marla Taviano

    Personally, I'm thrilled that you're mixing things up. I don't come here for the writing tips really–I just like the way you write about them. I think you're great. πŸ™‚

  7. Shannon M.

    It's likely that I'll forget to tell you this later… I like this new plan. Good self-evaluation and response.

  8. Sarah Forgrave

    Great topic ideas, Katie. I like the new schedule!

  9. Writer Pat Newcombe

    I think blogging really does test your powers of writing interesting words that others might like to read. If you make your blog posts about writing but personalise them to yourself and how it affects you then I think it gives a different slant to the 'reiterating material' debate

  10. Jeanette Levellie

    I blog because I connect with others, grow as a writer and person, and because it's fun!

    I think some non-writers enjoy connecting with authors on blogs, but my guess is they do moreso on FB–blogging is very time-consuming.

    Yes, I wrestle with content. But if I pray, the Lord will always give me something to say. It may not be unique, but it's what my readers need to hear that day. He's sweet like that.

  11. Tana Adams

    I love to blog, I really, really do, with the exception that on occasion it feels like I'm reiterating material. Usually when that happens I'm working on my blog eleventh hour. It's a good thing that I still enjoy it because it is a lot of work!

  12. Sally Hepworth

    Good idea. Can't wait to read them! I'll still be following. Sally

  13. Jill

    Writing blogs do get boring after a while. Ultimately, it's the personality of the writer that appeals to me, so I guess if I like the personality, I'll read about any topic. It always breaks down to a style thing for me, as shallow as that is. I'm also very argumentative, so tend to be reeled in and hooked by debates.

  14. Anne-Mhairi Simpson

    You're exactly right. When I first started reading Kristen's WANA book, I started blogging more about fantasy-related things, and my hits leapt. Then I let it go by the by and the hits haven't dropped, but they haven't really grown. I need to reconnect with my brand and sort out exactly who I'm writing for. As you say, it's for the readers, not the writers. Although I don't know how many of them actually read blogs, but there's no point in wasting even a single opportunity to reader potential readers!!

  15. Keli Gwyn

    Katie, you could blog about dust bunnies and dryer lint, and I'd read your posts. I'm a fan, and you're stuck with me. =)

    I recently took an online workshop with Kristen, and I think she's onto something. While writers are wonderful and I have many as treasured friends, I want to reach readers as well. Therefore, I've been going through the same self-examination you have. Once I figure out what my passions are, I won't be posting as many writing-related posts as I have in the past.

    I look forward to your new format.

  16. Jessica R. Patch

    Great post! When I started blogging I didn't know what to write about because everyone wrote about writing. So I decided to write about things that interest me. People and books, faith, and silliness! I think that covers all people writers and readers! Looking forward to your new schedule!

  17. Jaime Wright

    I'm with you 100%! Relationships is why i started blogging too … it's fun … I still love your original title "Brain Throw Up" πŸ™‚

  18. Heidi

    I've been thinking about the same things recently. Most writers write about writing (wow, that's a long of variations of "write" in one sentence), and I feel like I have nothing original to say. Someone else has probably said it better. And writing is only one side of who I am, even though it's a pretty big side. There's other passions.

    I'll look forward to your new content, and I'd love to hear how the rest of your blog readers react! πŸ™‚

  19. Lisa Jordan

    I haven't read Kristin Lamb's books yet, but they are on my to-read list. I've heard really good things about them.

    My problem isn't always content but consistency. I blog, feel no one is really reading what I'm posting and slack off. Or else time becomes an issue, especially with having a demanding day job.

    Now that my first book is due to be released this fall, I need to make a stronger effort to blog more. My schedule is similar to yours, but in a different order:

    Monday Musings–faith-related blog posts
    Wednesday Writing–not so much how to posts, but my experiences in the writing world
    Friday Family, Fun & Anything in Between

  20. Patti

    I see a change in writers blogs after they get published. They become less about writing and more about them and their books. I guess that's equated to a change in readership.

  21. Olivia Newport

    I don't blog (at least so far) specifically because of the kind of issues you raise. I do follow some blogs that I know are about writing and others that keep me informed about the publishing industry, and still others just to see what other writers are doing. Some of the time it's not very interesting. I don't want to add to the cyber-noise with a blog unless I'm very focused on what I want to say and who I'm trying to say it to. And I have to be persuaded it's worth saying. So far I'm not there. So I appreciate that you're taking time to think strategically about where you want to go with your blog, beyond just having a blog because writers are "supposed to." Once again you are a positive example.

  22. Lacie Nezbeth

    Hi Katie, I love that you'll be adding another day of blogging!

    I started blogging as a sort of journal for my writing journey. I have also noticed that there is not much "advice" I can give that hasn't already been completely covered (especially since most writers are ahead of me in the game anyway). My blog is more about my life, my family and my struggles.

    I love to read other blogs that are somewhat personal. It gives me a better understanding of who they are, what they do on a daily basis and what similarities we might share.

  23. Katie Ganshert

    Hey everyone! I've been so much enjoying reading all these comments. Soaking them all up. I love seeing some new faces on here in the comment section! Can't wait to get to know you all better and I hope you enjoy the new content on Wednesdays and Fridays. πŸ™‚

  24. Paul Anthony Shortt

    Katie, I'm doing something very similar! After also reading Krisen's blog (she's fantastic, isn't she?) I decided I needed to spice up my own content.

    So I'm adding cooking recipes and movie anlysis to my blog topics. Now you've got me thinking about topics which will attract the kind of audience I write for, so I'm considering other subjects I can include.

  25. Slamdunk

    Sounds like a good plan Katie.

    I began blogging for selfish reasons (practice writing), but have found it to be so much more rewarding in learning and connecting with others.

    On addressing different audiences, I think just being a guy who has a blog and visits others gives me a bit of a niche–the stats on bloggers reveal that their are lots more women than men.

  26. Wendy Paine Miller

    I blog to poke brains.

    And to connect.

    This is great, Katie. I'm a huge fan of trying new things. Even our God was into that.

    "See, I'm doing a new thing." I believe from Isaiah somewhere. πŸ˜€

    ~ Wendy

  27. Erin

    Katie, I read your blog because I'm a big fan of yours in general, and I'm fascinated with your writing talent and dedication. I can't wait to read your next book so reading your blog posts is the next best thing πŸ™‚ Since I'm not a writer, I confess my eyes glaze over a bit when I attempt to read your more technical posts about the craft. I
    Will definately tune in on Wednesdays and Fridays from now on!

  28. Rosslyn Elliott

    I'm looking forward to more non-writing related posts! I like a good mix, and it sounds like that's what you will have on your new schedule.

  29. Grammy

    I love Christian books and started reading the blogs to learn more about the writers & what others have to say. I really enjoy finding out more about what is being written and what I can look forward to reading. Thanks to all of you that work hard at writing so I can enjoy reading even more.

  30. Theresa Milstein

    I've never heard of those two books. I only own one social media book called Internet Publicity, but I haven't read it yet.

    My blog is called Substitute Teacher's Saga, so I attracted teachers and writers, as well as writer-teachers. It took me a while to find the writers since I mostly blog about writing and not teaching.

    I don't think much about platform. Like you, I like the relationships I've built.

    Good luck with your book!

  31. Jill Kemerer

    Great post, Katie. This is terrible to admit, but I blog because it's a way of being heard. My mini-dachshund gets tired of hearing me drone on and on. Let's face it, I'm alone–a lot! I can throw my opinion (I have lots of those) on subjects and get non-barking responses. Magic!

    I've been stirring up my blog content since December and it's fun. I like to include social media posts because I'm passionate about it, but I also love to discuss magazine headlines because I AM addicted to mags. πŸ™‚

    I'm looking forward to seeing your new direction!

  32. Jen J. Danna

    I think this is a great plan, Katie! Kristen's post has also made me think about my blog content, so while I'm not going to have a set schedule, I'm going to be blogging more about content related to my fiction series (now, that is still a fairly wide range including forensics, history, architecture etc.). We'll see how the mixed bag of loosely connected topics goes.

    Looking forward to see how your plan goes. Looks promising to me though!

  33. Terri Tiffany

    I love that you are looking into this. I hadn't thought much about writing for future readers–just for writers or anyone else who happened to drop by:) But I will now!

  34. Heather Sunseri

    This is such a difficult thought process to work through. I actually don't read a ton of blogs on the craft, because like you said, I've got Dwight Swain or James Scott Bell (remember? We're tight.) for that. I read blogs to connect with others – not necessarily other writers, but others with common interests (sometimes, that means a post on characterization b/c I need it).

    When I set out on the blogging/writing journey, I blogged to chronicle my life as a writer and a little bit about my faith journey. I think you're smart to set a schedule and try to attract "readers" to your blog. The schedule will let them know what day will interest them most.

    I read a great post by Alexis Grant once that was very informative about how we should be connecting with "readers" through Twitter and Facebook, and seeking blogs about the subject we're actually writing about. Instead of connecting with other writers every day, she also Tweets with other travelers, which is what she writes about. I think you can do this with fiction as well. Find people tweeting about the books in the genre you write and start following some of them.

    Loved thinking about this first thing on a Monday, Katie. Thanks for the great post.

  35. taniadakka

    Hi Katie!
    Thanks for this post:) This is a topic that I have been struggling with since I jumped into the writing pool. I read blogs because I want to learn. However, I am not an "expert" yet, so I don't want to blog about writing to people that may know more than I do. What I wanted to do was connect to readers that would enjoy my novel [WHEN (not if:D) it gets published]. So, I started with flash fiction…which I LOVE. The problem is, I don't know if it is working out too well πŸ™ But, I love that you scheduled certain days for certain types of posts! I think that is a great idea. Justine Musk and Abby Kerr tell us to blog from our edges…just gotta find mine. Thanks for yours!

  36. Catherine West

    Like you, Katie, I started blogging mainly to connect with others, but mostly as an outlet for my writing. Over the years I have had to make some changes in what I post and say online. I'm continuing to reassess what it is I am doing on my bog and whether it's working or not. I still don't know. It's probably time for me to read those books you mentioned! I don't really have a blogging schedule, and that's one thing I would like to establish.

  37. CJ

    I blog mainly for myself, an online journal if you will. But I also hope to engage those that stop by my blog (and hopefully follow). I try to blog a mix of things, my art, movies I like, tools and widgets. Hopefully others will also be interested and will also glimpse a little bit about me. That's the part I like best about following blogs. If the blogger is a creative (artist, author), I like seeing what motivates them to create and to learn a bit about them beyond the paint or page.

  38. Laura Pauling

    It depends. I think each blogger has to make their own choices. I didn't fully agree with Kristen's blanket statement but I don't write women's romance. Kids will most likely never read my blog unless they need to do a book report or something. And I think writers are the biggest bunch of book buyers ever. I'll be interested to see how your experiment goes.


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