Five steps to a good publisher blog

It has been fun to watch the little discussion about who had the first mainstream publisher blog. So much fun it prompted me to consider what it is that makes a blog so useful for publishers and how, by following a few basic rules, a publisher, mainstream or niche, can pretty easily start a blog and attract attention.

I jotted down some quick steps that should work for most people. No if only I can spend some time building up my work blog, but that is for after the holiday.

Comments, additions, suggestions and feedback welcome as ever.

Five steps to a good publisher blog

1) Start:
Sounds easy but it sure ain’t. You really need to ask yourself:
What are you blogging for, to promote your books, your authors, your titles or your company?
What would you consider to be success, 1000 hits a month, 30,000, 2,000,000?
What tone will you strike, open and free, tight can controlled, markety, chatty corporate or a combination?
Who will blog, a team, anybody, the CEO, the marketing team?

2) Make it easy to grabd and syndicate your feed:
Often when surfing i find a great site with excellent content that readers of my blog might like and I sure as hell love but finding the RSS or atom feed for the blog proves too much hassle. They miss out a reader and promotion on my blog and unless you make it easy as hell to get that feed and syndication going you will too. Who cares where readers find your content or where they read it so long as they actually read it and like it.

3) Engage with the community:
Write comments on others blogs, respond to comments on your blog. Allow negative feedback and in short don’t shirk away from the nasty, dirty gritty work that is the basis for all good blogs, publisher or otherwise. It takes me a good two-three hours a week to keep track of comments and admin on my blog and that’s with a relatively low comment rate and a pleasing but hardly overwhelming visitor number.

4) Link:
Don’t expect link love. Link to sites you think your sites readers will like, be free with links and if the quality of the links are good, readers will reward you. For a good links strategy (Which may be shifting towards lazy ever so slightly see The Big Bad Book Blog). Don’t be concerned if your posts take people away from your site, if it is really worthwhile they will be back.

5) Read and learn:
There are some excellent examples of top quality blogs by publishers. OUP USA have an incredible blog that uses the amazing resource that is its writers. Copy them. Or maybe you prefer a CEO blog, look to Richard Charkin’s blog here for some guidance. Penguin’s new blog (here) shows signs of being a team effort which is nice. There are many other examples that I have not listed, read them, visit them and learn from them

6) THE BONUS ONE. Just Do it:
Don’t wait, get in there and start blogging. look at the entrenched position of the top 1000 blogs. Consider the effort that will be required to reach those lofty heights and start working now. If you want you blog to be number one in three years times or even six it means a long hard slog to the top.

The key though is to get going and follow what works.

Still on Holiday
Eoin