Goodreads for bloggers

Goodreads 101 for Book Bloggers

Posted 18 October, 2014 in Blogging Tips / 16 Comments

Welcome to this week’s edition of Bumblings Blog Tips!

Honestly, I feel like kind of a phony writing this. I don’t use Goodreads much anymore. But the topic was suggested, and I want to keep the people happy! But since I don’t have a lot of first-hand experience, this post will be short.

Goodreads is important for a lot of bloggers. It’s a great way to reach more casual readers who aren’t looking at authors’ blog tour schedules, in Facebook groups, etc. But how do you convert them from Goodreads friends or followers into blog readers?

Even though I’m no Goodreads expert, I do know a bit about social media marketing, so I have a few tips:

1. Use Your Blog’s Name on Goodreads

This one may not bring you any direct traffic, but it tells the Goodreads world, “Hi, I’m a blogger and this is the name of my blog.” That’s going to be really important for branding.

If you sign up through Facebook (like I did before I blogged) or decided to use your real name, things can get confusing. Your Goodreads friends also may not associate your Goodreads reviews and activity with your blog, which you want them to.

For example, let’s say you’re friends with Sally Smith on Goodreads and you use your real name. Your blog’s name is Reviews and Stuff (creative, I know). Then one day, Sally is on Facebook or Twitter and sees a link to a review on Reviews and Stuff. She likes it, but doesn’t subscribe or follow or anything.

If she knew that Reviews and Stuff was written by you, whom she talks to and reads all the time on Goodreads, don’t you think she would have been quicker to subscribe?

(Note: If you don’t want to confuse people you know in real life you’re friends with on Goodreads, you can always use a picture of yourself or include your name in your bio. That’s what I do.)

2. Utilize Your Goodreads Bio

Like any social network, Goodreads lets you write a bio. Take advantage of it:

  • You must, must, must add a link to your blog. There’s a form in the edit profile area where you can add the URL, and it also doesn’t hurt (for SEO purposes) to mention it elsewhere in the bio.
  • In interests, add some interests as well as the genres you read and blog about. Goodreads search uses keywords, so new readers can find you through there.
  • Use the big bio box to tell people about your blog.

3. Join Goodreads Groups

Groups are more for networking and making friends than directly promoting your blog. In fact, most groups won’t be cool with you posting all your reviews and tour stops.

But, most groups have a discussion thread that acts as a directory for bloggers. Additionally, groups are great ways to make friends. And if you follow the other pieces of advice in this post, your friends should easily be able to find your blog. Voila!

4. Post Repurposed Reviews

Note (very carefully) that I did not say to cross-post reviews. That’s a bad idea.

Why? Duplicate content. A longer post about duplicate is coming eventually, but I briefly explained it last week.

But additionally, you don’t want your Goodreads reviews to outrank your blog ones.

So, what do I do? Well, ideally (because I’m months behind on cross-posting and actually haven’t done anything lately), I’ll start off a Goodreads review with something like “For my full review: [link to my blog review],” with a shortened link to the blog post with the review.

Most people put it at the end. But if the review is longer than a paragraph, the end is usually hidden behind a “See more…” like (oh hey, like a post excerpt!). By putting it at the beginning, you’re making sure everyone browsing past your review sees the link.

So, after that, I leave a review that’s just a few sentences instead of copy and pasting the whole review. I noticed quickly when I started using Goodreads that my shorter reviews got more likes and comments than the longer reviews. So I figured that more people were reading them because they didn’t see 10 paragraphs and go, “Whoa, I don’t feel like reading that.”

So the short reviews serve two purposes: preventing duplicate content, and engaging Goodreads users and making them easy to read.

5. Connect with Bloggers and Authors

Let’s not forget what social networks are for: making and talking to friends! Find other bloggers and send them requests. Friend authors you review (you can also message them links to your reviews in case they haven’t seen them).

Be social!

So, I’m obviously still learning how to use Goodreads as a blogger. But what are your favorite marketing tactics over there? Leave them in the comments!

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Goodreads 101 for Book Bloggers

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16 Responses to “Goodreads 101 for Book Bloggers”

  1. These are some awesome ideas. I have Goodreads linked in my profile, but don’t really reference my blog in my reviews. I’m not sure if it would be annoying to some people or not.

    • I asked a few of my Goodreads friends that I know in “real life” when I first started my blog, and they said they had no issue with reviews that had both a link and a review, but didn’t like when bloggers just linked to their review and don’t actually say anything about the book. My “ratio” is usually like 1 line that says “Read my full review here: [link]” and like 10 lines of a real review.

  2. These are some great tips! I have been signed up to Goodreads for a while but haven’t really done anything on it other than star ratings of the books I have read. I haven’t posted any reviews on there yet, because I wasn’t sure if it was OK to include a link to my full reviews on my blog in them, but this post answers my question!

  3. I actually canceled my goodreads account earlier this year and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made 🙂 I was getting too bogged down by all the distractions it offers. It’s also where I had my TBR list, and I figured out that TBR lists were only causing reading slumps for me. So that had to go too 🙂
    I think I’m the only bookish blogger that doesn’t have a goodreads account now, but it’s working out great for me!

  4. Meg

    Oh, good tip on duplicate content! It’s good for readers and for Google spiders if you just share a paragraph and a link for more.

    • This is interesting to me. I use goodreads to ‘draft’ my review right after reading. So, I often don’t post the link to the blog post because it isn’t done yet. Perhaps I should find a different way to do this…I like documenting my thoughts right away when I finish and thats why I use goodreads. If I don’t jot down my thoughts right away I will forget what I wanted to say about the book.
      Does anyone have any ideas on where I might jot my thoughts instead?

      • I’m the same way! Sometimes I don’t review a book for months after reading it, so I make sure to write a few things down as soon as I finish reading. I’ll normally choose on of the following ways (with no rhyme or reason lol, just whichever I’m in the mood for).
        – In an ebook, create a comment either at the very beginning or very end of the book with a big list.
        – In a physical book, jot notes on a post-it or piece of paper to put into the book like a bookmark.
        – Make comments or update the description on the book’s Trello card on my blogging calendar.
        I also highlight a lot, which sort of acts as notes I can go back and look at!

      • Thanks for the tips. I actually started on GoodReads and then figured why not just do the book blog thing. So my first blog reviews were actually repurposed GoodReads reviews. It’s been a few months so I’m working on my branding. These tips are definitely making it onto a Trello card.

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