The Problem: Your title isn’t doing enough work to promote your blog post.
Why is This a Problem? Readers don’t know what your post is about and pass over it, or you don’t reach out to new readers who are interested in specific subjects, or you’re not tapping into a key reader who could share your post for you.
The Solution: Hashtags and usernames. Is the book you’re reviewing about a serial killer and it kept you turning the pages because you couldn’t wait to find out what happened? Brainstorm some key terms that would describe the novel, like suspense, thriller, murder, serial killer, or detective. Next, you can test these terms out as hashtags on Twitter. Go to Twitter and type in the search box, for example, #suspense. A result appears, so click on it! Quickly skim to see how often people are using this hashtag. Turns out, #suspense is used every few hours, meaning it’s a fairly popular hashtag for readers. Repeat for your other key terms. If you don’t find a popular hashtag, you can still turn any word or phrase into a hashtag, but it won’t connect you to anyone else.
Now, let’s say you read You Know My Name by Kristen Orlando, published by Swoon Reads. I can easily search this author on Twitter, and the publisher, too! If either or both are on Twitter, include their handles in your title. Don’t for get the @ sign! That way, when your WordPress account publishes your post and sends out that first burst of publicity on social media, Kristen Orlando and Swoon Reads will get a notification — and are highly likely to share your review or contact you!
I did this very thing on my review of Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper, who both wrote on my review and agreed to let me interview her! Now I have someone else sharing the good news about Grab the Lapels (the author), a happy author (because someone read and reviewed her book), and new material for my readers (the future interview). What if your review is negative? My review of Marla Cooper’s book wasn’t terribly positive, but I am fair and provide reasons for my criticisms, which (respectable) authors appreciate.
The Bonus: Every time someone else shares your review on Twitter, the hashtags and usernames remain (unless the reader chooses to remove them, which I’ve found they almost never do). Thus, the author gets pinged more times by various people, gets more interested in the post, and is likely to share it or check it out. Same goes for the publisher if you tag them!
Also, most readers who like or re-Tweet my book reviews are people I don’t know, but when I click on their profiles, they’re typically interested in a subject that has something to do with one of the hashtags I’ve included. Earning new readers who aren’t on WordPress is a concern I know many of you have mentioned!
Any social media that uses the @ sign to tag people will tag people for you when you share! All hashtags become clickable links!
The Caution: Don’t describe your blog post in the title. Readers unfamiliar with your blog don’t know if that’s the title of the book, some musing you’ve had, if you’re sharing a short story you wrote, or what. Apprehension makes it so easy to pass on your post. When I review a book, I include the title and the hashtags #BookReview and #ReadWomen. These always work for me. Then, I include any others that are fitting, such as #LGBT or #journalism or #nonfiction. Since I am doing the 20 Books of Summer Challenge, I always use #20BooksofSummer to link me to other folks doing the challenge, which has helped me make new bloggy friends this summer! Here’s a recent title for a book review:
Terror in Taffeta #bookreview #mystery #wedding #20BooksofSummer #ReadWomen @kindacozy
Author interviews require different hashtags. Here was the title of my recent author interview (a series I call “Meet the Writer”) with an author who was visiting Grab the Lapels as part of a book blog tour:
Meet the Writer: Laura Ellen Scott #blogtour #HistoricalFiction #AuthorInterview @LauraEllenScott
The Reminder: This all works fine and dandy if you remember to make use of what you learned about changing the slug!
Next Week: I’ll talk about hooking your social media up to WordPress to automatically post in places like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Google+ for you, and how to make those posts give readers a taste of what you’ve written in words and just the right image.