I almost titled this the Purpose Driven Blog, but I hear Rick Warren’s lawyers are really good. I pulled some good advice from an interesting blog post titled Using a Blog to Reach Your Readers: http://cayceberryman.com/using-a-blog-to-reach-your-readers/
I was intrigued by the author’s comparison of a blog to a restaurant. “Let the sign guide them” is a good idea. Someone who’s in the mood for a cheeseburger doesn’t usually walk into a sushi joint—if they do, you can believe they’ll leave if they don’t have something to hook them immediately.
She talks about incentive and notes how bloggers don’t want to write stuff that nobody is ever going to see, hence the need to provide something that meets a need or interest of the reader:
If your book has vampires, I bet you can snag a list of 10 must-see vampire movies before you read my book. I bet, if you write about zombies, you can create a zombie-hunting toolkit (with a list, not physical stuff). If your fantasy world is new and complex, you can create a guide to navigating a world with rogue spirits or even something very narrow like 20 secrets a telepath won’t tell you.
These things are customizable, of course, but anyone interested in your story genre/theme will also be interested in the incentive. I’d click on the last one for sure. I don’t need it, but if you’re writing fantasy, there are few things you can offer a reader that they need. Give them something fun. Something they want. But don’t give them something like 10 ways to die in a bathtub if your story is about a man who falls off a plane and into another dimension or something.
You can research incentives for your particular niche and see what others offer. Make sure you customize any idea to fit your needs, though. You can always offer an incentive. But after you do that, make sure you already have posts for them to go to.
It’s a well-rounded post about blogging and I’d recommend people give it a read and find something (as I did) to take away. Honestly, I need to get better at the above but always felt like give-aways and the like were hokey gimmicks. Maybe they are, sometimes… or maybe I just haven’t seen things that really get me excited enough to sign up or follow a blog (at least by way of a tangible incentive outside of the blog content… but those two or three times that I HAVE done that resonated with me: usually a free ebook about writing tips or marketing strategies. Maybe I’ll have to put together something like that based on my advice and experience column. I’m compiling it all anyway as I prepare to speak at some author panels.)