By beautiful, I'm talking from a marketing perspective. She's doing nearly everything on my critique list 100% right.What Susanna would like, however, is for her blog to bring in more of her readers: librarians, parents, and teachers. So instead of speaking to her individual blog elements, I will post some suggestions to marketing to her desired readership.
First, Susanna, a couple of little technical suggestions:
- I would make the link from your blog to your website more visible right away. Make it a page link on your blog navigation bar. Your website has invaluable information and people need to see it.
- Even more important than your website, your blog doesn't have an easy link to your teacher/parent resources. I don't even know you have them without looking. It's even hard to find them on your website. If you really want to draw these people as readers then make your resources to them more evident.
Now on to the real meaty suggestions. (Really it's just one suggestion, but hopefully you can find something worthwhile in it and adapt it to you.)
- Create a weekly post series for teachers/parents/librarians. If you really want to, you could create a whole new blog, but I have to say here that I don't think it's necessary.
- In your series, you could choose a different picture book each week and focus on ways to use it in an educational setting. A rough example follows in blue (your choice if you include the printable resources or not):
Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Eric Carle
Good for: One-on-one
Skills focus: Matching, interacting, attention building, animal identification
Activity: Print clip art pictures of each of the animals in the story. Pictures do not have to exactly match the look of the pictures in the story. In fact it's better if they don't to enforce that animals of the same species do not always look the same. Place all the pictures in front of the child. As you read the story, have the child hold up the picture that matches the animal on the page.
Small group adaptations: Hand out one or two pictures to each child. When the story gets to their animal, have them stand up and show the animal to everyone.
Ok, sort of blah, but you get the picture. You have more experience with this than me :) The point is to create a series that will be informative and interesting to the people who are buying your books so they will come back over and over. But creating the series is only the first step. Now comes the hard part: Getting the readers to your blog in the first place. I'm not going to lie; it's going to be work. Some ideas:
- Get on the computer and google libraries and teachers. Search across the nation. Pick a city a week and just tackle that one. This will be an on-going project, obviously. Most school and library sites have emails these days. Draft a form letter and send it to all the emails you find telling them who you are and that you feature FREE resources on your blog each week.
- In your email, on your blog, and/or at your school and library visits, invite librarians/teachers/parents to share their own activities and resources on your blog via guest posts. This is great because it gives them a vested interest in your blog and makes them more likely to return.
- Search for blogs and websites that have teacher resources. Here's Scholastic's list of the Top 20 Blogs to start. Wherever you can, leave comments stating that your blog features a weekly resource series and invite them to visit.
- Search for mom blogs (there's millions), friend the bloggers and invite them to follow you. We do this with other writers, do it with moms!
- Invite other authors to guest on your series with their own educational ideas. Though they may not bring more of the readers you want to your blog, it will create more awareness about your series in general.
Don't forget to:
- Be sure to occasionally include your books in your series rotation.
- Include in each post title the title of the book and use the word "activity" or "resources" in your post so that it is easily searchable for people looking on Google. Ex. Title: "Stories in Action: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Eric Carle." Then have your first line be something like: "Educational resources for Eric Carle's classic book." You want people to be able to find your post when they search for resources relating to specific books.
- Advertise your series in a prominent place on your blog and website so people can find it.
- When you email the people near you, make sure you offer personal visits. And always include links for people to buy your books!
Ok, that's what I got. Is any of this helpful, Susanna? How about the rest of you - any suggestions for her regarding drawing different readers or her blog in general? I can't wait to hear your ideas!