So, you have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram that is connecting you with your audience. It is flourishing, and you enjoy the ability to share your thoughts in a confined space. But eventually, perhaps, you begin thinking of bigger ideas; concepts for longer posts, or more in depth analysis. If you feel yourself leaning in this direction, you may be thinking of starting a podcast or blog. While the usual suspects of social media are great for thimblefuls of interaction, blogs and podcasts offer authors the ability to go deeper into their daily or weekly thoughts. This month, we’ll look over some strategies—written by Beth Bacon for Digital Book World—for starting a podcast or blog successfully. Know the Competition, Find a Niche Beth Bacon’s first suggestion involves research. Basically, this boils down to knowing your market, so you can optimize your approach to your subject. If there are fifteen other podcasts looking at a similar topic, try to find a fresh angle for yours. “Ask yourself what is not being said that should be. What unique point of view is missing?” —Beth Bacon As part of this step, Bacon also recommends building awareness of audience biases. Ask yourself some questions. Who is your ideal audience? What topics will attract them? Are there controversial topics you wish to avoid, or engage in? Having a crystal clear idea of your ideal listener or reader is vital to attracting that listener or reader. Know Thyself Part 1 Although blogs and podcasts are different mediums than books, if you’re trying to use either of these to spark interest in your published work, you’ll need to understand how to connect the two. Often, writers find it difficult to define their own work. If this is your issue, Bacon recommends calling in the aid of a trusted friend for perspective on “what your book is about.” In addition, she suggests asking the following questions: “What do people get out of your books? This can be a specific lesson or set of facts (in the case of non-fiction), or a feeling or emotional response (in the case of fiction.) Can you define what your writing stands for? What values are implied in your storyline or message? Are there any ‘lessons learned’ in your books? What are they? What does your audience love about your book? What complaints have you heard? If you have a series or more than one book, in what ways are each of your titles similar or different?” After you have completed the questions or enlisted aid, take a break. Spend a day away from your answers. Then come back again with fresh, analytical eyes. Repeat this until you feel confident in your topic. Know Thyself Part 2 Now you know your audience and your book. You’ve determined possible topics. But what’s next? Well, you’ll have to set aside some consideration for yourself! “The area you blog about must be intriguing enough that it can generate a range of discussion topics, and fascinating enough to you personally that you won’t get bored. You need to find something you’ll be able to talk about over the long haul.” —Beth Bacon So, what do you like to talk about? Presumably, your book will naturally include topics that interest you. Pick one and roll it around in your head for a while. Can you come up with at least five possible posts about it? Can you envision how this topic could expand? Or where it might have limits? Here also, Bacon suggest considering the “voice” of your blog. “…take a look at the tone of your books. Do you tend to communicate using a particular quality or tone …a blog is a long-term commitment, so select the tone that feels right to you so that you can ease into it week after week.” —Beth Bacon Find the Overlap Finally, you have covered the above three steps. Now your task is discovering where your audience, book, and personal interests intersect. Remember, there is no reason to jump into this too early. Take time to really find something you can sustain. “Toss around a bunch of ideas until you find the one that makes you laugh, makes you angry or makes you excited. Remember, it’s got to have a connection to your book and your own life experiences, and be a unique beacon on the horizon compared to the current the blog- or pod-o-sphere.” —Beth Bacon A final caution from Bacon: start narrow. When you begin your blog, try to have a very narrow focal point for the first few posts or shows. You can always expand from there, but you can’t start out by being everything to everyone. Check out our piece on Roy Goble for a first-hand account of an author navigating this area. “When it comes to blogging and podcasting, your goal is to gain superfans in a very specific area. Then those superfans will use their network to help you grow to a wider audience. Also, narrow blogs are easier to advertise.” —Beth Bacon Okay, so now you have the tools: go out and get to work! And if you do start a new blog or podcast, be sure to let Deep River Books know by contacting us at authorrelations[at]deepriverbooks.com. The source for this article first appeared on Digital Book World. You can find the original here.