Monday, April 18, 2011

Quick Note on Blogs and Branding

DSC00843_zI follow a bunch of writing blogs--nearly 2000 now. And each time I find another writing blog out there (I’ll click a new follower’s link on Twitter, I’ll click a link in someone’s blogroll, etc.), I immediately click over and subscribe.

It’s funny, but 90% of the time, I can tell the writer’s genre from their blog. YA blogs pop on the page, mystery blogs have a lot of dark backgrounds (obviously Mystery Writing is Murder doesn’t conform! I have a hard time reading dark backgrounds, so I just made mine very minimalistic. But I did get the word “mystery” in the masthead…), romantic blogs have a softer look, etc.

To me, it’s instant branding. I get it. In my head I’m thinking, “Okay, when I’m looking for some great material from a YA/SFF/mystery/romance blog, then I’ll pop by here.”

There must be many other people who do the same thing—click over to a blog and get a feel for the writer who posts there and the material they write. I’m sure some of these folks are agents and editors who follow links in queries to blogs.

So I think it can be useful to either mention your genre in the subtitle of your blog (conventional wisdom states that it’s the best branding practice to have your name as the blog’s name—oops. :) ) or have the genre be obvious to anyone spending a few seconds on your site.

Helpful elements to have on your blog: RSS feed button for those of us who like to quickly subscribe

Contact me link (you’ll want agents or editors or other people to be able to reach you)

A way to belong: While I’m subscribing, I usually want to click on a Networked Blogs follow button or some other type of followers button

Blogroll: These are great for link exchanges. (Are you on mine? If you’re not, let me know and I’ll add you to my blogroll.)

About me: Even if you’re anonymous you can spare a few tidbits. Something like “Science Fiction reader and writer who also enjoys writing poetry.” Just something.

Buy links: If you’ve got books out

Links to any social media you belong to. For my purposes, it’s handy to see a Twitter link if you have one so that I can @ you if I tweet a post.

Have any other tips for useful things to have on blogs? How does your blog introduce you to readers, writers, and others in the industry?