Blogging, the series: The Big Mistakes

In my interviews with publicists, marketing experts, blog alliance coordinators, and bloggers, one of the questions I asked was “What do you think are the Big Mistakes writers make when blogging for promotion?” (actually, Marcus and LL requested I include that question to help with their session). Here are the top answers, based upon how many times the same answer was mentioned.

5) Content is wrong and/or poor. Author Dillon Burroughs wrote, “(some authors) write for people who will never read their blogs.” Kathy Carlton Willis also points out that when you don’t blog on the topic of your blog you might lose the readers who only want to read that niche. And, of course, if the quality of the posts are poor, don’t expect to maintain readership.

4) Author is unrelatable. As we discussed in the previous post, blogging is ultimately about creating relationships. If the blogger refuses to be transparent and genuine, then readers quickly tire and move on.

3) Blog is too self and promotion-focused. Readers are turned off by making the blog all about the author. You don’t want your blog to feel like one big advertisement, or – even worse – a used car lot, where the salesman is only interested in making a sale. LL Barkat notes, “Bloggers generally want authentic connection, so the promotion of self is inappropriate to the medium.”

2) Author expects too much from blogs. WaterBrook Multnomah publicists Liz Johnson and Kelly Blewett said, “From a publicity standpoint, we’ve found that it can become easy for authors to think blogging is the only promotion they need to do.” Reaching the masses through blogging is the exception, rather than the rule. Rob Eager of Wildfire Marketing suggests, “. . . focus on providing your target audience with real value” in order to gain awareness that translates into sales rather than believing just putting up new posts will push your book to the bestseller list.

1) Author does not blog consistently. Publicists and bloggers alike repeatedly cited consistency as a major mistake. Burroughs cautions, ” If your blog hasn’t been updated at least within the past two weeks, shut it down or update it. Blogs work because they are personal and instant.”

So how about you? Do you fall into any of these traps? What mistakes do you make about blogging?

Hear from bloggers about their experiences with blogging, blog tours, and publicity. To read the interviews in this series, click here. (Randy Ingermanson, Mary DeMuth, Camy Tang, Dillon Burroughs, LL Barkat, and Marcus Goodyear are up.)

To read all of the posts in this series, click here.



  1. I’ve recently come to wonder about the question of blogging frequency. If blogging is somewhat about relationship, then this could hold readership through some of the low-post times. I’ve seen this happen in the case of Charity Singleton, a warm and talented writer whose illness this past year has cut into her blogging time.

    Just thinking, as usual. 🙂

  2. I am a publisher that strongly encourages authors to post to their Amazon blog because it is the only piece of content on their book’s detail page that they can edit in near-real-time. I now encourage authors to keep only one or two blog entries per book on Amazon but keep *those* healthy and updated.

    I do this for my own books and “pipe” the blog entries to my WordPress blog using a plugin called FeedWordSmith. That way I can write one blog entry and have it show up both on Amazon and on the Nimble Books blog.

  3. spaghettipie

    LL – I definitely think that’s a good example of the relationships – although Charity does still post with some regularity (every 1-2 weeks). We expect her to post less frequently for a time but we still expect her to post. My guess is that if she posted even less frequently some of her readership would definitely fall off.

    FZ – Thanks so much for stopping by. It definitely helps to be able to write just one blog entry. Do you find that authors really do keep that Amazon entry updated?

  4. I really struggle with “the content is wrong.” How often do I write about editing directly? It is often thematically related to my editing job–faith in the workplace kind of stuff, high calling kind of stuff. But I never know what people want.

    Ultimately, I fall back on this being my way of processing creative stimulus. I read stuff, then blog about it. Some others may find it helpful, so I make it public. But like I’ve said before, I’m not writing a “subscribe to me” kind of blog. I’m not really looking to create a media empire or get my name out really. I’m just thinking, and hoping a few people will think with me. And I think that’s an ok approach to blogging.

    Heck, if people don’t like it, they can read one of the other 10987603698423750948735 blogs available. : )

    GREAT series by the way, Tina. I’m seriously seriously impressed.

  5. spaghettipie

    MG – Oh, come on! You’re not really out to build the Goodyear Empire? Seriously, In some ways, I do agree. I guess it depends on what the focus of your blog is – if there’s not a clear, specific focus (like this one, for example!), then it’s hard to have “wrong content.” However, a blog like Mary DeMuth’s So You Wanna Be Published blog is extremely focused on writing and publishing, so if she starts posting her favorite recipes or about her dog (although cute as a button), some readers would be turned off.

    How did anyone else feel about that first point (or any others, for that matter)?

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