Living Creatively: How to Promote Your Blog on Social Media

Living Creatively: How to Promote Your Blog on Social Media

Alright ladies and gents, we’re now in the final installment of the “Living Creatively” series. In this fourth post, we’re diving into how you can promote your blog on social. In part one we talked about how to start blogging and do what you love, in part two how to set up a website with SiteGround, and finally in part three how to write great content that matters.

Using social media to promote your blog posts tends to give creative entrepreneurs the chills – it means advertising ourselves, finding ways to stand out and be creative. In a sea of voices, it’s possible to use social media to drive traffic and grow your blog – even when you feel fresh out of creative ideas.

The Fear of Self-Promotion

It’s totally okay to be scared of self-promotion. As humans, our biggest fear is being judged. That’s why our egos work so hard to fill in the gaps – with money, with popularity, with attention from the opposite sex. You name it. These are all ways our ego tries to keep us from looking “bad,” from being judged.

Social media is a plethora of eyes that can cause our egos to go H A Y W I R E. I want you to know that fear is good. Why? Because it can help you become better at what you do. You put in so much of your time and effort into your business, you create incredible content, and then when it comes time to share with others you freeze.

That’s fear – there’s something there that wants your attention. Figuring out what the block is lets you create a plan of attack. Once you’re able to recognize it and say “Oh… I see. I’m afraid people won’t like me and my creations.” You can begin to work through that, and find ways to affirm that you and your creations are exactly what the world needs.

Why Promote Your Blog On Social Media?

Self-promotion is essential to selling. You can create and create and create. But keeping it to yourself will never allow you to start a real business. It’ll make a nice hobby though (if that’s your intent).

It may seem as if social media invented the art of self-promotion. Actually, self-promotion has always come part and parcel with being creative. Before a writer can get an agent or a publicist, they need to be able to share and sell their ideas. They need to go to an editor and say “hey, I have this great idea for an article. I think you’ll love it. Here’s why.” That’s called pitching. Every industry has some aspect of pitching involved – portfolios, samples and resumes are crucial for this reason. Cover letters? They’re all about selling your skills and sharing how your work can benefit a company or business.

What’s great is that now social media makes it easier to promote your blog. Learning how to use social media is important because it places you in front of the people you’d like to be at the table with. We’re all looking for a seat at some table. I like to think the world is a lot like college just on a larger scale – we have different subjects to study, extracurriculars, groups of friends to sit with. Social media is like picking a table, sharing a meal, and creating thoughtful conversations while there.

Ways to Use Social Media to Promote

There are a few different ways to promote your blog: social media, email marketing, even in-person networking. All of these work together. Each way will have a different strategy and practice. You want to keep that in mind when creating content for social media platforms. You wouldn’t approach someone at a workshop the same way you would at a team dinner. The same goes for social media. You don’t just want to create one post, and slap it onto three different platforms.

Say someone follows you on all three. First, they’ll think you didn’t care enough to put in the effort to diversify your content. Second, it shows that you’re not paying attention to how each platform is used and for what purpose. Third, you can have very different audiences on each. Customize and personalize your strategy when using social media to drive traffic and promote your blog.

“To effectively cross-promote your blog posts, you can’t simply broadcast the same message on each social network; you need to tailor your message to fit each platform and audience.”

Social Media Examiner

It’s a good idea to choose two to three social networks to start off with. Most people only use a maximum of three on any given day. Using a mix of platforms allows you to diversify your content and reach different audiences. If email newsletters are also part of your social media strategy, make this your third channel. That way you can get into a consistent rhythm, nail down your plan, and branch out further down the road.

Creating a Social Media Strategy

Creating a social media strategy was one thing at the beginning that scared me. I’d think “Oh man, how do I make the content on each different?” It sounds like it can be tons of work too. Thankfully, it’s not! I dive a little deeper into the 101s of social media marketing here. If you’re having trouble creating a plan, and tailoring your brand story for different platforms then this’ll be a great intro read.

To create your own social media strategy, check out who you already like and connect with. It’s likely that you’re already following people who are serving your ideal client – and seeing what works for them or what’s not working too well can give you an indication as to where to begin. Let’s take my favorite: Marie Forleo. Marie is a marketing master, and if you look at her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook throughout the week you’ll see she doesn’t just share the same content across all three.

On Instagram, she gives a more personal inside look into her business – she shares photos of her dog, Kuma, throws in a clip of her upcoming video, gives us a behind the scenes into her new pasta adventures. It’s like we just came over for coffee, and she pulled out the photo albums. Seeing her joyful and inspired life makes us want to live that life too. Marie makes being a coach and business owner look fun, enjoyable, and refreshing.

On Twitter, you get more of Marie – the teacher. This makes sense, she’s a coach and so scrolling through her Twitter feed brings up inspirational quotes, links to recent blogs, even tips she loves from other coaches in the industry. On Twitter, she’s able to drive traffic to her website. This gets more eyes on Marie’s content – one follower retweets her quote, another thinks “wow I need to see the full post” and yet another loves the Tony Robbins article she shared so they leave a comment. On Twitter, comments are posted directly to your timeline, further extending Marie’s audience. 😉

With Facebook, Marie again gives you another side. Here she mixes the previous two personas. Facebook is one of those hubs where people go to catch up with friends, get some news, take a break. So Marie gives you fun tips on how to become more fulfilled, she asks her community questions, she even shares insightful personal wisdom. Through Facebook, Marie creates trust with her audience – she lets her community get to know her, and she gets to know them, making them advocates for her brand and services. This is how you create brand awareness.

When creating your social media strategy, think about how each platform fits into your blog and business goals. The most common are:

  1. Brand awareness: telling the story behind your brand
  2. Improving engagement: inspiring people to take action
  3. Increasing clicks: driving traffic to your website or content
  4. Driving conversions: turning customers into buyers

Once you’ve established your goals, connect a platform to it. From their experience, Quick Sprout has found that “the social media sites that send the most traffic to blogs in general are: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.”(In that order).

Mix Up Your Social Media Content

Once you’ve created a strategy brainstorm what types of content will help you best promote your blog. Say you own a shop and one of your goals is driving conversions. Your content is very visual, so you’d like to use Pinterest to sell items from your store. You can create product pins, use text overlays to tease out the benefits of your products, and encourage customers to find out more on your blog.

Harry & David use Pinterest to promote their products using a holiday gift guide.

You’ve now got a great way to promote your blog and turn customers into buyers using Pinterest! This is just one example of what your social media strategy can look like in practice.

Next, create a content calendar. Calendars are so so so crucial to social media – it’ll eliminate any anxiety around what to post and when. With a calendar you can create your social media copy in batches and then schedule. I use Buffer for scheduling posts. It’s free, has a simple to use layout, and lets you connect Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and in the paid version, Pinterest.

The best part about creating a calendar? If you’re stuck for creative ideas, you can simply switch up the copy and share a previous post. Every two to three months, you want to share older posts (if they’re not time-sensitive, like a Christmas feature). You can also repurpose this content. If a post did really well, and you notice it’s a topic your readers enjoyed then you can turn into a YouTube video, or create an eBook for it. You’ll have fresh ideas, and increase blog traffic.

Get creative with your content. For example, only the links in your Instagram bio are clickable, making it a challenge to promote your blog. Though there are still ways to creatively use social media and build your audience. The Content Marketing Institute, for example, suggests using stories. “With Stories, you can link within an individual story, bringing people directly to your content without leaving the app.” You can also share one of the visuals on your page, use the comment section to write up a mini-post, and then encourage reading the full feature with the link in your bio. 🥳

Building Your Blog Audience

Now, once you’ve created your content and are ready to promote your blog you need to engage. Getting to know your audience is an important piece of the social media puzzle and one piece many businesses get wrong. The drive behind business is to sell, so social media tends to become just one more way for businesses to promote, promote, promote. But the real gem of social media is connecting. Providing value (i.e. offering help), rather than trying to make a sale.

Think of it this way: you go to a friend and say “Man… I’d really like a slice of pizza.” Your friend now acknowledges that there’s a problem or challenge you’d like help with. They say “hmmm… I know a great pizza spot I think you’ll like. Let’s go.” Wow! This is great. You’re thrilled that they’re so open to being of service. They’re helping you satisfy your pizza craving. Because they were so nice and generous, you offer to get them a slice. And man, that slice? Thebomb.com

Now imagine if your friend said “Hmmm… I know a great pizza spot I think you’ll like. Let’s go. But… you have to buy me a slice.” 😰 You might be taken aback, because now your friend seems more interested in helping themselves than helping you. By the time you get there, you might even be upset ‘cuz you just traveled for who knows how long to a place that looks like a hole in the wall, and now you’re stuck having to buy this guy a slice that you’re not even sure you want!

It’s the same with social media. You have a community of friends who are in need of service, genuine help. By providing quality, risk-free solutions, you can turn these friends into buyers. It takes trust to get people to actually buy from you. It all comes down to satisfaction. Will I be satisfied once I buy this? Why? With continual exposure, your audience will see you as a brand that provides value.

Social media allows your business to create trust over time. Your community will say “Hey, this brand really knows how to deliver good stuff. I always learn something new from their posts and videos! I see they’re having a sale. I’m going to sign up for their next class.” Based off past experiences, your audience is now more inclined to take a risk and invest in your business. See? 😄

How to Connect With Potential Readers

One popular way to boost your blog traffic and use social media to promote your blog is groups. This is like going out to a cool party and socializing with people while there. You get to create conversations and let people reach you.

This is a great way to also meet others who are doing similar things as you, who are in a similar space, and who you can partner or collaborate with in the future. You may for instance find your next graphic designer or photographer from hanging out in these spaces!

Facebook and LinkedIn are two primary spots for groups, while Twitter allows you to create “lists” for certain audiences. There are also great forums, like Reddit, LanceBase, and Alignable that give you an opportunity to directly connect with potential readers and promote your blog.

“[F]ocus on building your reputation in the group first, and then keep it by only sharing valuable content, at the right time,” says online business expert, speaker and coach, Lilach Bullock.

There are so many networks to join online, so if you’re wondering where to even begin here are some of my favorite Facebook groups for creative entrepreneurs:

The sky is the limit with groups. You can find specific groups such as for freelance writers or virtual assistants, interest groups if you enjoy traveling or fashion, even location-specific groups. Try out a few and see which ones you enjoy.

Grow Your Blog

Now, the only thing left is to actually promote your blog! Use social media to grow your blog and boost traffic. You may even make a new blog or business friend along the way. 🙌🏽 These business friends will keep you encouraged and can be of service when you’re in a sticky challenge.

Want more ways to promote your blog, use social media, and live well? Sign-up to get weekly tips:

Living Creatively: How to Start Blogging and Do What You Love

Living Creatively: How to Start Blogging and Do What You Love

Woo! Yes! Congrats on taking your first steps to live a creative life. Doing what you love and brings you joy can seem daunting. You may wonder if it is even worth it to start blogging. It’s what we’re taught NOT to do. Today, nearly half of the world’s population is online. And looking for a way to break free from the monotony that has become much too common.

You may worry that with so many freelance writers, designers, social media managers, etc. etc. that what you want to do is already being done. Or the highlight reels may make you think you just don’t have what it takes. You want to do something from the heart, something that makes you jump out of bed in the morning and that you’re passionate about.

First, let go of fear & comparison.

Fear and comparison are two silent killers that are always after our dreams.

But think about this…

Two sparrows sell for a coin of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

So have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31

Do you really think there’s someone out there who is exactly like you? Down to the way you think, the experiences you’ve had, the hairs on your head? Sure, you’ll find similarities. But the specific, minute details of who our Father and Creator made you make you and your life uniquely yours. You see things differently. You have your own perspective.

Like those two sparrows, your value and what you have to offer is not defined by the sell, but by the knowledge, the Maker himself has embedded in you. And that’s what this world needs. Besides, do you really want to look back on your life and say “man, I should’ve done that really scary thing that could’ve made me really happy?” Hmmm… yeah, nope. Exactly. SO. Sweep all of those doubts and fears and worries and anxieties into the trash bin (where they belong, thank you very much) and rip a page out of Nike’s playbook. Just do it.

Next, why do you want to start blogging?

There are a number of reasons why a freelance writer or creative entrepreneur may want to start blogging. For example, are looking to explore your career interests, build expertise and create a solid freelance portfolio? Or are you a 9-5’er looking to go full-time in your freelance biz? I mean jeepers, you could even make blogging your career! Whatever your reason blogging can be a really fun and rewarding experience.

Creating consistent content – whether that be in the form of blog posts, videos, or even social media – is a great way to connect to your community and potential customers. A blog can show that you know what you’re talking about and can help position you as an expert in your craft. In this four-part series, I’ll share exactly what you need to know to start blogging and get your biz off the ground!

(Update: Here’s where you can read parts two, three and four).

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

One of my favorite Ted Talks is with author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek. In his talk, “How great leaders inspire action,” Simon shares that moving people to action is all about understanding your motives and intentions. Your why. Keeping your “why” top of mind will be what keeps your drive high when the honeymoon period wears off. And yes, the honeymoon period will wear off. But if you clearly identify why you do what you do the spark will come back every time.

Some reasons to start blogging:
  1. To entertain: Creating a blog to entertain can keep readers on their toes. Many online publications and magazines use their blog for this purpose. This could be a fun way for a filmmaker to share their inspiration and tease out an upcoming script. Exhibit A: Issa Rae‘s blog. If you find that you really love lifting people’s spirits and providing entertainment then this could be the way to go.
  2. To sell or promote a cause: Do you primarily sell goods or services? Are you creating a non-profit? A blog here can help you get your idea out into the world. For folks who are very passionate about a cause or craft, a blog provides you with a platform to connect with people of similar interests.
  3. To network: Sites like LinkedIn, Medium and DeviantArt have created ways for us to share work online. Displaying your expertise and networking with others is another reason why you may decide to blog. Say you’re a finance professional building a Styling agency. With a blog you can begin actively sharing fashion news, developing your brand voice and letting people know about your new venture.
  4. To build community: By tapping into what’s going on nearby, a blog can work as a catalyst for why your work exists. A local artist can benefit really well from having a blog that highlights how her drawings are inspired by the surrounding community.  Your customers will appreciate knowing the background and history attached to your craft.
  5. To teach: Are your friends always asking you how you make those delicious apple pie turnovers? You may just have a skill that others want to learn or know more about! Educational blogs range from social media managers sharing “how-to” create a personal brand to life coaches helping others develop self-confidence.

Which one of these 5 do your blog fall into? I love getting to talk to other freelance writers and creative entrepreneurs about how to stay healthy, master social media and see the world while doing what we love. For me, it’s really fun to be part of a community, share and collaborate. Keeping this why at the center helps me stay motivated. Once you’ve got you why turn it into a pretty quote or poster and put it somewhere you’ll see every day. That way, you can always keep motivation high!

Living Creatively: How to Start Blogging and Do What You Love via Dronile Hiraldo

Ok, so… what will you blog about?

Whew! You’ve sacked your fears, you know your why, and you’re ready to start blogging. Now you’re wondering what do I even blog about? Good question Padawan. This is where knowing your business and being totally YOU comes into play. The first and most important thing to think about: Why’d you start your business? Ha! See, why your why is important now? 😋 When you start blogging, to do what you love, put yourself in your reader’s shoes.

Think about:
  • What made them look for your blog in the first place?
  • Are there challenges or problems they’re currently dealing with that you can write about?
  • What questions do they have about your goods and services?
  • Who would your readers like to hear from or know more about?
  • What resources (books, podcasts, events) would your reader be really interested in?

For instance, say you’re the girl who’s always got the freshest sneakers. You know where to buy for the best deals, you know how this brand is really changing and stepping up the sneaker game, and you know they come in 3 dope colors. It may seem obvious to you because it comes naturally, but to others (hello 👋🏾 moi) style and fashion may just not be a forte. And that’s ok. That’s why your fashion knowledge and expertise are needed.

You could…

  • Create style guides on how to wear this season’s hottest kicks
  • Interview up and coming designers
  • Share a recap of a cool fashion event you attended with inspiring quotes
  • Create a Christmas shopping guide for sneakerheads based on personalities…

And on and on…

Really, the sky is the limit when it comes to deciding what to blog about. Looking to your own challenges and lifestyle can provide tons of inspiration. Ever stop to think and wonder why mommy blogs are so popular?

Life experiences help us connect with one another. They offer us opportunities to swap ideas and tell others what we know. There will always be people interested in trying that new fusion Japanese place down the block with the really good fish tacos. Or learning how to create a budget for their next trip to Italy. Digging through your own interests, hobbies and challenges can provide you with blogging gems.

Cool. Sounds like you’ll need a name.

Once you’ve settled on what you’re going to blog about, you may be wondering what the first step is. Do you dive straight into blogging? Create social media channels and then start blogging? These are all really great questions.

First though, take a step back. You actually want to iron out what your blog name is. This will be the domain name or website address that people will use when looking for you. Mindset coach and business strategist, Melyssa Griffin, has a great guide on how to choose the perfect name for your blog or business that you’ll definitely want to read. It’s what helped me ultimately decide.

When thinking about your name refer back to why you do what you do and what you’ll start blogging about. You may decide to give your blog a title, the way Contently does or you may just allow the blog (and your potential business) to fall under the same name.

A name may define your values such as, Soul Lipstick Mavens, for women who use makeup as a form of self-love. Or your name could hint at what you do. “In The Air Virtual Assistants,” a virtual assistant biz for high-level execs in the travel & hospitality industry. Most of all, have fun and let the name you choose reflect you.

And who will your readers be?

Sure, you may be creating this blog because you’re an aspiring author or because you’re really good at creating graphics and want to help others create pretty posts. But your reader is the cornerstone of what you do! A wellness blog, for instance, will attract others who are into healthy living and taking care of themselves. Similarly, who will your blog attract and why?

Some things to consider:
  • How old are they?
  • What’s their lifestyle like? What are their hobbies and interests?
  • What do they do for work? How much do they earn? Where do they live? (City, Suburbs, Farm?)
  • Are they single? Married? With kids?
  • What are their challenges? Why are they reading your blog?
  • Where do they shop? What magazines or publications do they read?
  • Do they read your blog from a laptop? A tablet? A phone?

Mhm, you’re gonna want to get real personal with readers. Think deeply about who this person is and how you can reach them. As a freelance writer, attending blogging conferences and participating in writing communities has been a saving grace! Take to MeetUp, go to local events or even try marketing on social media to find your community. Attend events you love with the kinds of peeps you’d like to work. As you start blogging you’ll make friends who share your experiences and who you can collaborate with.

Make your friends your colleagues

Dope! Now, what’s next?

Before you start blogging and start doing what you love you need to nail down your why. Let go of fear. And stop comparing yourself and your work. You’re well on your way to living creatively! In part two of the Living Creatively series, we’ll talk about setting a blog schedule, creating a website, and sharing your page with the world.

I’d love to hear: what made you start blogging or why would you like to start blogging? Share your motivation in the comments below!

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Social Media Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers

Social Media Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers

So, you want to be a freelance writer? Is writing from the beach G-O-A-L-S, goals? Today, social media marketing has made it easier than ever for word lovers to live the dream. Back in my day–the days of light up sneakers and grunge bands–writers had to rely on newspapers, radios, even billboards to get their work seen. Talk about ice age! amIright? 😂

Jokes aside, writers these days need to be triple threats: editors, marketers, and publicists all wrapped into one. Your writing can be in front of readers, agents, even fellow writers in just 280 characters. BUT with more than 200 active social media platforms deciding where to put your energy is still a challenge many writers face. Even trying to be on all the major players–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn–may not be ideal for a writer doing #allthethings.

Focus is power, sensei.

Now that you have to be your own agent to even get an agent where does social media come in? From branding to strategy, to pitching and guest posting the wide world of social media marketing can bring on major anxiety for even the most seasoned freelance writers. But, there’s no need to fret. I got you, kid! Here’s a little story I like to call social media marketing 101 for freelance writers:

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. What’s that mean? If you click the link and make a purchase I get a small commission to help keep this blog and jet-setting dreams alive. I love sharing products and services that I truly believe in, and that will help you become the best you can be.*

Create Your Story: Branding

What’s the backbone to every piece of entertainment? From novels to music lyrics? Well… the story! (Sans, of course, Fast & The Furious). This might seem intuitive to some but what I mean is as writers there’s a vision that comes to us. Sometimes we hear a character or see a scenario that sparks the whole thing.

Then we flesh these visions out. We give characters motivations: a personality, a backstory, a journey. Creating your brand is no different. The very first step in becoming a master at social media is to create your own story. This means understanding the personality behind the brand, in this case, YOU, and who you best connect with.

open notebook with pen on table with plant and chair
Photo: Createher Stock

Part of understanding your own story is understanding what you’ll most want to write about as well. While you may want to write about ALL the things and reach ALL the people (we’re very ambitious people us writers) it’s simply not possible. You won’t become J.K. Rowling by writing in every genre under the sun. The idea of a “niche” makes a lot of freelance writers cringe. I myself have fallen privy to the “but-what-if-I-pick-a-niche-and-want-to-write-about-other-things?” mentality.

When you’re putting together a social media plan, you need to think about what YOUR story is. The why behind your writing.

First off, let’s be real. Do you really want to write about all those things? Or can you pepper them into what you already enjoy and love? Branding is about authenticity. If you find yourself watching more Romance movies than Comedies, more Historical timepieces than Thrillers then my dear: your interests are telling you something. That doesn’t mean your 18th Century British Colonial (that is a thing right?) can’t have drama, romance, or comedy.

Actually, you’ll notice that a lot of different niches and genres influence each other and play well together–for example, the Romance Comedy, one of my favorites. Love is a funny thing especially when you love what you’re writing about. Getting clear on your own story will lay the basis for your brand. Which really means: who are you as a writer? as a person? Who is your reader? Why would they be interested in what you write? What makes you special? What makes your writing special?

I’ll share a personal example. I love empowering creative and entrepreneurs especially female creative entrepreneurs. Because I grew up in a predominately Black & Hispanic neighborhood (Wash Heights represent!) I saw firsthand how little opportunities young creatives of color have to follow and pursue their passions.

As a little girl, I always wanted to see people who looked like me on tv and in films! But Arts programs in my neighborhood were consistently cut from public school budgets. Since then, I’ve wanted to use my love for writing, media, and tech to help people creative entrepreneurs follow their dreams and create a life that excites them.

You may like a whole bunch of things, but you’ll probably notice that what you already pay most attention to is what matters most to you.

So, who are you? What interests and hobbies are central to your backstory and journey as a writer? What has motivated you to write? Think of branding as the initial step in your character development. Let your character–yes, that means YOU!– shine. AND pick a genre. The genre that speaks most to your soul. I pinky promise showcasing who you truly are to the world will be worth it.

Research Your Story: Content Strategy

Alriiight. Now we’re getting into the fun stuff. Marketing, while all fun and creative is also about planning. Think of your content strategy as your writing roadmap. A content strategy, like a story’s research, is the backbone of the entire book or novel. You wouldn’t, for instance, have your character pull out their shiny new iPhone X if your story is set in the 1980s. It wouldn’t be relevant to the world you’ve created.

As you begin to map out what happens to your character you add key events and experiences to the story. Same thing with branding.

laptop on black table with water bottle
Photo: Createher Stock

Think about you: the writer. What is most relevant to your work, your values, your mission? What newspapers, magazines, publications would you like to connect with? Who in your field most inspires you? What events and experiences can you offer your audience and community that relate to your work? Take some time to dream and visualize your end goal. Include content within your strategy and marketing plan that puts you closer to your goals.

For example, say you’re working on a new script. You can share behind the scenes to your writing process, create a live webinar on dialogue for screenplays, or share a freebie with your email list on the top 10 screenwriting niches. (Hope you’re all taking notes! 😋 LOL) Mix it up and get creative about how you’ll promote brand YOU. Your strategy is all about seeing what relevant topics and themes tie into your work.

What steps do you, the character, have to make in the beginning, middle and end to tie up the entire novella? That’s your marketing plan.

Your strategy will include a string of different mediums from a website to social media to email newsletters. As a professional writer, it’s your job to let your audience know you’re a master wordsmith. Creating a website is an excellent and fairly easy way to do so. (Editors note: Here’s a great post I wrote on how to create a website with Siteground to get you started).

To create a website:

  • Decide on a name. Choosing a name, while challenging, is also one of the fun parts of starting a new website. First, decide what the purpose of your site will be. Are you looking to brand yourself as an author, novelist or screenwriter? If so, use the name you’ll be writing under. It will help readers associate you with your work. If you’re instead looking to create a writing business, think about what makes your business stand out. Have fun with your business name and be creative!
  • To Self-Host or Not? If you plan on self-hosting your own website–which means paying a company to store all the information, images and content from your site– then you’ll want to use a site like Namecheap to ensure the website name you want is available.

I personally chose to self-host because I enjoy the flexibility and control it allows me over my design and webpage. After switching from a different self-hosting company, I decided to go with SiteGround because their customer service is extremely helpful (especially for us non-web designer folks) and it’s one of the cheapest options out there. If you’re interested in setting up your own self-hosted site, use my code to get 60% off.

sitegroundhostingsignup-step1-new

  • Choose a Blogging platform. WordPress.com (not .org) and Squarespace great choices if you’re just starting out. If you’d like a website that’s easy to design and manage then a blogging platform is the way to go. As part of your package, you’ll also get to choose your domain name.
  • Decide on your “look.” While you are yes, a writer, the visual aesthetic of your website will matter. Think of it like your book cover. One of my favorite markets, Creative Market, allows you to purchase affordable website themes and get up and running in a matter of seconds!

Blogs are very popular and one of the fastest ways to share what inspires you. But they’re not your only option! A content strategy is where you get to pick and choose what happens to your character on the journey. It could include a vlog, a monthly newsletter, or even a fun-podcast you co-host for the community.

Marketing and business mastermind, Kimberly Ann Jimenez, has a great post on how to create a content marketing plan for your online business over on her website that I suggest you check out to get started.

You may have heard a rumor going around that “email is dead.” The truth? It’s actually the only form of marketing that you have the most control over: remember when you lost all your MySpace friends because Facebook took over? Unless you sell your domain and shut down your site, your newsletter will be a direct line to your readers! So, be sure to invite visitors to sign up for emails and share what you’re working on.

 Pick Your Agent: Social Media

Alright soldier: now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to pick how you’re going to deploy it. This is where your storytelling skills will really take center stage. When it comes to marketing, you generally want to find out where your audience is. This is similar to when you’re sending out query letters, and shopping around for agents.

You wouldn’t send your fiction manuscript to a well-known agent who specializes in non-fiction. That’d be a real faux pas. Each social media platform has its own community and “specialization” too. Here’s a nifty social media for writers guide from Writer’s Cookbook that I love!

Photo: Createher Stock

Now, this doesn’t, of course, mean that if you’re a screenwriter you can only make good use of Twitter. With a little creativity, you could create a presence on a social media platform where most of your audience is not: that’s why your strategy is so important. Because you could, say, share a riveting script about the rise of a media mogul on LinkedIn, where members are always looking for thoughtful, leadership content.

No matter what channel you decide on, remember it always boils down to the story: why would someone be interested in your writing? why would they read your book? Watch YOUR film? Catch my drift?

Think about what story would captivate that platform.

At the start, you want to choose 1-2 platforms to work with. This’ll make it easier to manage and learn the platform. Once you’ve identified a social media platform’s audience, and the right platform for you it’s time to start sharing and promoting. With your content strategy in tow, start to put out original content and content relevant to the interest of your readers.

What I see a lot of writers get wrong in this stage, is that they make their efforts 80% promotional and 20% informational etc. Instead flip it, so that your social media is 80% informational etc. and 20% promotional. How? Simple.

To engage your readers to create content that speaks to their interests. Before reaching out to an agent it’s always smart to research what stories they publish and are interested in. On social media, this means talking to and connecting with fellow writers, readers, and the community.

One great source for learning more about your audience are groups, like Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups, as well as Twitter Chats. You may, for instance, find that your audience is really interested in learning more about the publishing process, or interesting historical places found in novels. By joining the conversation, you get to listen to what your readers and community really want. And deliver.

Do A Book Tour: Promote, Promote, Promote

Yes! You just:

  1. Wrote a story
  2. Found an agent
  3. Landed a book deal

Now it’s time to take that baby around the world! Guest posting for blogs and publications you enjoy is a great way to get your name out into the world. Websites like The Write Life, The Creative Penn, and Jane Friedman are always looking for relevant guest posts. As a writer though the sky is the limit for where you can submit your work.

I, for example, love learning how to stay healthy as a freelance writer and very often submit to wellness blogs and publications to share what I’m learning with other writers and creative entrepreneurs. Just like a book tour puts you directly in front of your audience, so does guest posting.

photos on iphone with laptop blurred
Photo: Pexels

Another way to promote? Talking with podcasters and YouTube influencers. One of my absolute favorite is Marie Forleo. She invites writers, entrepreneurs, artists and creatives of all industries, backgrounds, and ages to share their story on her popular MarieTV.

You may already enjoy a number of great podcasts or be Instagram friends with readers who would be interested in sharing your work. Or, you may want to invite your favorite writers to chat with you and share the conversation with their community.

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Whew! Congratulations! You’ve just completed your first lesson in social media marketing for freelance writers. Figuring out whether to Tweet, Instagram or keep it strictly Facebook can be a MAJOR decision. Instead of spiraling down the marketing rabbit hole think of social media much like writing.

First, decide on your character (personality, backstory, journey, etc.) and key players (influencers, agents, etc.). Then research your story and get to learn more about what topics and themes need to be included (strategy). Finally, get it out into the world through an agent and promote!

What tips do you for using social media as a freelance writer or creative entrepreneur? Share them below in the comments. 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾