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If you’re here, the answer to this question seems obvious. You’re writing a blog about books! Having a topic in mind is an excellent first step, but to succeed you’ll need to think a little deeper about what, specifically, you’re looking to accomplish with your blog. Are you starting a book review blog? A book writing blog? A book club blog?
Knowing on a deeper level what type of content you want to create will help you focus and allow you to stand out among the crowd.
There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:
"If you try to be everything for everbody, you will be nothing to no one."
Establish Your Niche
When creating a new blog, you need to find your niche. This is the corner of the market that you have the most knowledge about, the place you can establish yourself as an absolute authority. If you try to take on GoodReads all at once, you will find yourself squarely outmatched and very disappointed.
The key is to find a subject that is more narrow than, “books”, but wider than “my review of To Kill A Mockingbird”. If your topic is too wide, you won’t stand out. If it’s too narrow you’ll quickly run out of things to say or never establish a large enough audience to sustain your blog.
Some examples of niche book blogs are:
- Book Review Blog - Reedsy
- Book Writing Blog - WriteLife
- Book News Blog - BookBrowse
Name Your Blog
Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a name for your blog. You’ll want to pick a name that’s brandable and available. Use our domain name tool to check if your name is available. If it is, scoop it up before someone else gets to it first.
Having a good sense of who is going to be reading your blog is one of the best ways to know what type of content to create, how to shape it, and, ultimately, how to grow your following. With a clear understanding of your niche, understanding your audience should come more naturally.
Finding your target audience - the people you want hanging out on your blog - isn’t only statistics and demographics. It requires a deeper understanding of who these people are and what they want. Your target audience is the people you’re writing to when you write your blog.
Are you writing to book lovers who want to enhance their reading experiences, or are you looking to help would-be writers get their first novel started? No matter what the core focus of your blog is, considering the people you want reading it will have a significant effect on your blog’s tone and content.
Create a Persona
One way to understand your audience is to create a persona of your perfect target audience member. This essentially means creating a mock-up of the ideal person you hope to reach with your blog.
Here is an example of a target audience persona:
Having a persona for your perfect audience member helps you to visualize and understand who you are writing for and provides important direction to your content.
Be Your Own Persona
Another popular way to find your perfect target audience is to be your own persona. Many of the best products and services come from scratching your own itch. It’s possible you’ve searched for the perfect book blog to read, came up short, and decided to create it yourself. This makes you the perfect audience member for your own blog.
This can be a great strategy for creating highly effective content. If you’ve noticed a meaningful omission in blog content, chances are you are not alone. By writing personally satisfying content you are likely to reach an audience in search of the same things.
Where Is Your Audience Hanging Out?
No web content exists in a vacuum. While you should strive to create uniquely entertaining content for your blog, your target audience is almost certainly already out there reading other blogs, engaging on specialized forums, and using social media. Finding the sites where your audience already mingles is a great way to discover what topics they are most interested in, what language they are using, and what valuable content you can add to that mix.
Some examples for your book blog may include:
Visiting these sites is also a great way to begin engaging with your audience before your blog has even gone live. Jump into conversations on forums and in comments sections and get to know the people you’ll be writing for. This is a great, organic way to build relationships and direct people to your blog in its early days. Sharing your passion with like-minded people will make them more excited and passionate about supporting you in your blogging endeavor.
Traditionally, when most people think about a blog they picture written content on a page. However, there are several different ways to present your ideas on your blog, depending on your subject matter and target audience. Every blog will thrive with different formats, so it’s important to think carefully about how to best showcase your content before you start.
There are several effective methods of presenting the material on your book blog. They include:
As the name suggests, evergreen articles are composed of content that lasts. These articles are designed to have a long shelf life and continue drawing readers to your blog over time. They are typically long-form, text-based articles that delve more deeply into a particular topic.
One great option for evergreen content on a book blog is book reviews. While reviewing new books is useful and important, you can produce excellent evergreen content by reviewing classics or other books that have remained popular over time. People looking for a great book to read or picking up an older book years after its publication will often look for reviews online. If you’ve put together a few solid book reviews you’ll be able to continue drawing new readers to your blog.
While the video format is not new, the explosive growth of YouTube and the advent of new and innovative video-based tech like Snapchat and TikTok have shown the true power of video as an online medium. While you may think that creating video is much more difficult and expensive than writing your content, you have access to all the technology you need to make high-quality video content right on your smartphone.
Compelling video how-tos are a great option for video content on a book blog. People are turning more and more to online video content to gather information and acquire knowledge. Depending on your topic, a how-to can be an excellent draw. If your blog is about writing, you may consider putting together a guide to starting and writing a book or how to navigate the publication process. You may also create a how-to guide to selecting the next book to read or starting a successful book club. No matter what niche you operate in, quality video content can work for you.
News articles or other “announcement” type content can be a great way to gather new readers. One benefit of news content is the short-term but powerful increase in search volume during an event. While this bump may be temporary, it can be a great tool for grabbing new readers who end up coming back for more.
Writing about current events or new happenings also means there will typically be less competition for readers. Other blogs and media sources are all getting the information as it develops. Since the base of knowledge available is smaller, this gives you a good opportunity to add your own flavor to the article.
The downside to news-type articles is that they tend to lose popularity much more quickly than evergreen content. While the interest for an event may be very large one day, the next day people may already be moving on to the next shiny object.
New book announcements are a wonderful option for news-type content on your book blog. If a new book that appeals to your audience is about to come out, you can create articles with updates on the release, rumors or speculation about the plot or characters, or even host an interview with the author. Any content that stokes excitement about the book can draw new readers to your blog. Some popular bloggers are even given advanced copies of new books to review before their release.
While most people expect to be reading when they visit a blog, image-heavy content can be very appealing and break up your text-focused posts to keep people’s attention. Depending on the topic of your post, displaying multiple images per page on a single subject can give your audience a better sense of what you are trying to convey.
While some topics may take to images very easily, like a car blog or a celebrity gossip site, others may require some deeper thinking to make this strategy work.
There are several options for good image-heavy content on your book blog. You may visit and cover book-related events like signings, readings, or conventions. Posting photographs of what you did and saw can bring the event alive for your audience.
Even if you don’t travel for your blog, there are plenty of creative ways to bring images into your content. You may write a post on choosing a book by its cover, and feature some of the most attractive and appealing book cover designs. You can also do an article on the use of artwork in books. If you write about children’s books, the options are endless when it comes to showcasing picture books and other visual content.
Mix and Match
Your blog doesn’t have to - and shouldn’t - follow just one of these content delivery strategies. The most effective blogs use several different formats to create a dynamic, exciting blog. While you will most likely lean toward one signature style over another, injecting your blog with a variety of post types will keep people interested and coming back for more. Even if you mostly write 800-word news-type posts, that doesn’t mean that a 3,000-word in-depth book review or a video post won’t suit your topic and audience. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and mix things up.
One of the main reasons people start blogs is to generate some sort of profit. Whether you’re looking for a few hundred dollars per month or a job-replacing income, blogging is still an excellent way to make those dreams a reality.
There are a few great ways to make money from a book blog:
Display Ad Networks
Display ads are the simplest way for websites to generate any sort of income. Ad networks, like Google Adsense, are fairly simple to be accepted into, and implementation onto your site is streamlined and clean. If you’re just beginning to see some traffic to your blog and want to turn this into dollars, display ads are where most people start.
There are a few downsides to display ads, however. The first is that some feel they detract from the user experience on your blog. Most people have been to a site where large ads pop up and block the content in the middle of reading. This can be distracting, frustrating, and even drive people away from your blog. While it’s possible to clean up and control the type of ads you use, it can be a constant battle to balance effective ad placement with aesthetics and readability.
The other main downside is that they don’t pay a lot. These networks generally use a pay-per-click (PPC) model which, depending on the niche, can pay anywhere from $0.01 to $1.50 per click, most on the lower end.
While display ads are a great way to make your first dollars, you’ll want to make sure any negatives they bring are worth the profits they provide. Once you develop a solid following, you can consider moving on to more lucrative and effective profit-making options.
Affiliate marketing programs like Amazon Affiliate have become much more popular over the past few years, as they take the payment model from pay-per-click to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). This means you can refer as many users to an advertiser’s product as you want, but will only get paid when the user makes a purchase.
Both advertisers and publishers benefit from an affiliate marketing setup. The advertiser pays nothing until a sale is made and the publisher enjoys much higher commissions than the pay-per-click model.
The Amazon Affiliate program is an excellent fit for a book blog. This platform has a very low barrier to entry and pays commissions to publishers for sales that they help facilitate on products from Amazon.
Blogging about books offers an especially seamless way to include affiliate links. Whether you write a book review, post book recommendations, or highlight a particular author, most readers will expect you to link them to Amazon where they can purchase the books. Being part of the Amazon Affiliate program means that you make money every time one of your readers follows those links and makes a purchase.
Many book blogs start with Amazon Affiliates as their first source of income, and most stick with it for a long time. Small blogs can look to make a few dollars per month, while larger blogs can bring in thousands with this model.
Sell Digital Products
Digital products are an online entrepreneur's dream. You create the item once, then sell it as many times as you can, with little to no cost of reproduction. This means that you can scale your business to infinity.
Examples of digital products are:
- Ebooks - A piece of writing, generally in PDF format. These can contain literally anything that your audience would want. They can either be true book-length all the way down to a few pages of content. Depending on your niche, audience, and subject, these can run from $1 to $100 per sale fairly easily.
- Gated Content - This is content that is served on your website just like any other article, except that is behind a “paywall”. If you are creating content that you don’t want to be released to anyone but your true followers, you have them sign up for an account on your site and charge them a subscription fee for access. Generally, authors charge anywhere from $5 to $200 per month for access to gated content.
- Online Courses - If you can teach a skill that your audience wants to learn, you can create an online course to sell to them. These courses can be formatted in whatever way makes the most sense to you, but most nowadays are video courses. Online courses can sell from $10 to well over $10,000 per course, obviously depending on the subject matter and audience.
A great example of a digital product that a book blogger could sell is an online course on how to write a book. If you are a writer who has had any success in creating and selling a book, then people want to learn that skill from you. Get feedback from your audience until you have several video modules answering the most common questions and provide the methods you used to reach your success. A well-produced course in this niche could easily sell for $1,000 per sale.
Sell Physical Products
Selling physical products is the original money-making strategy. You gather an audience that is hungry for something, you sell it to them, and everyone wins. You don’t have to be an inventor, designer, or manufacturer to sell products. Sites like Alibaba and AliExpress import already-made items into the United States and sell them for a markup.
The two main methods for the distribution of these items are: dropshipping and self-fulfilled.
Dropshipping is a method where you advertise a product on your site that you do not own. Once you make the sale, you inform the manufacturer, who will handle the shipping and handling to the end-user. While this is simple because you don’t have to worry about storing or shipping any items yourself, you’ll find that the margins can be quite slim.
Self-fulfilled sales are much more of a hands-on approach to sales. You buy the item from the manufacturer, store it, then ship it to the end-user once you have made the sale. While there is much more work involved, you’ll find that the margins per sale are much higher.
Product sales through a book blog may seem difficult, but there are a few options available that can work for you. Journals and other easy-to-print products are a great fit. If your blog teaches writing, a writing prompt workbook is an affordable and appealing option for your readers. Blogs that review or recommend books may consider a book journal for tracking and writing about the books you read. You can typically purchase or print products like these for just a few dollars per copy and sell for a significant mark up.
While it can be very profitable when done well, selling products is not generally recommended for the beginner blogger. It’s best to secure an audience that you know will be receptive to the product before making a large investment in product development or acquisition.
Create A Service
Providing a service is another very basic money-making plan. If you can provide a service that you know your audience needs, you have a viable business on your hands.
Whether this service is delivered through one-on-one interaction with the user, through a piece of software that you develop, or by directly completing a task for the user, this is a great way to monetize your skillset and your blog.
If your book blog focuses on writing skills, you may offer your services as an editor or proofreader for your users. Depending on your skills, experiences, and connections you can offer to work on cover designs, facilitate publication, or aid in marketing their books.
Since you’ve positioned yourself as an expert, you can charge a premium for your time. Just make sure that you don’t overextend yourself and take on too much work. Blogs selling services can make a vast range of incomes, with the best creating a full-time income for the owner and any staff they decide to take on. However, it’s important to be sure providing services does not detract from creating the main content of your blog, which is what will continue to draw people to your site.
Now that you have the strategies in place to build and grow your own blog, check out our free course: How To Start A Blog.
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