I'm late to the blogging game. The first blogs I read seemed to be a waste of time. Personal info on what other people are doing doesn't interest me. I wondered why writers spent time with this format and who the heck has time to read it?
I've come around. In fact, I encouraged my Kings County writers group to create a blog. No other groups in our area had picked up the idea and run with it. We saw it as a way to explore our various levels of writing, from the newbie to the professional. We also saw it as a tool to promote our group and attract more members. To check it out, go to http://www.kcwriters.blogspot.com
A tool is only as good as the person wielding it. I noted a few pitfalls and tried to steer the group around them. A blog every day is not only tiresome, but it drains the writers. We set up a schedule so a new blog is posted on Sunday. An enthusiastic blogger often dominates a group, so we assigned a rotation order. We decided to make this a professional forum, not personal.
A blog doesn't do much good if only group members read it. Heck, we could just as well discuss this stuff at meetings. The trick is to lure others to the site. When I blogged about being a contest junkie, I went to several online groups I subscribe to and simply planted a teaser, then the blog addy. How many people do I reach via groups and personal connections? Around 1,000, and that's a conservative estimate.
Some of those who read the blog went back to the group and said, “Sunny's right,” then proceeded to quote me and add their own two cents. If a blog gets people talking and dropping your name in the right circles, it's all good. If they like your “voice,” chances are good they'll check back often.
Quid pro quo: I started checking out the blogs other people mentioned. Often, I dropped off a comment on their site, and my comments come with my photo attached. I also noted the addy and sent an email to friends who would benefit from discussions on marketing, outlining, character development and other aspects of writing.
I'm invited to be a guest blogger on other sites. This is one way for the host to take a breather, plus it adds a breath of fresh opinions to revive a blog. Again, I steer my network to this new blog. Everyone gets something out of the deal.
I'm also discovering blogging doesn't eat up my writing time. I do a monthly column for the local paper on writing, plus I contribute to several newsletters. With a few sentence changes, I can take a piece geared to a small town readership and expand it for a wider-based audience. This is recycling at its finest.