I read recently (I forget where – and I have already scalded myself for not saving the link) that every aspiring writer should have an electronic platform namely, a social media presence.
What that media presence is, and how effective it is has until recently seemed to me, to be knowledge only for the elite and all powerful superb loggers, and not something I was that bothered about until I read about the importance of having an electronic platform. So I set about doing some research on how to boost traffic and network better.
I am guessing that most aspiring authors, myself included, started a blog to do one or more of the following:
a) Network, meet other aspiring writers and build contacts and if your lucky friendships
b) If and when you are brave enough to post work, build some kind of appreciative base of friends, acquaintances, people (fans?!) who don’t think your utterly useless (like my own brain does).
c) Learn from, and share your own learning on the writing process (this one is important to me)
d) Write more
e) Procrastinate writing blogs instead of stories, and claim it’s writing (I do this, it counts in my head and somehow gets me closer to finishing my novel)
If we are honest, B – is probably the one lots of us secretly hope for? I do, not ashamed to admit it. I am a writer, and although I write because my brain gives me no other option (characters scream at me if I don’t). I dream of one day selling thousands of books. This means having people that God forbid, actually read my work! But what better place to do that, or at least start that conversation than on social media.
But how do you actually build a follower base? Well, I can’t claim to have an extraordinarily large base yet, but it is growing, and there are a few things in particular I have done that have helped. So I thought I would share the nuggets I have found with you so far.
Here is an infographic that gives you some ‘headline grabbing’ (see what I did there!) stats on blogging
Thanks to Norah Colvin for introducing me to some writing Hash Tags on Twitter.
I saw a 400% increase in twitter followers in 10-11 days using these hashtags so if you want traffic use them!
Click #MondayBlogs to links to their twitter account. If you post on Mondays tweet your post with the hashtag #MondayBlogs. If you tweet and retweet others, trust me when I tell you you will get a ton of followers – take a phone charger to work your phone battery will die! Posts must have been posted on a Monday.
#SundayBlogShare Same thing – Links to the account but use the hashtag on a Sunday and tweet and RT others, you can tweet anything you like from your blog though.
#ArchiveDay not quite sure who created this one, but same thing – tweet any post from your archives on a Saturday, tweet and RT others.
#wwwblogs This ones for ladies (sorry guys) same principles – but on a Wednesday
I read an interesting post the other day on Twitter Tips there are 50 things to do, or not to do on twitter, some basic but others actually quite interesting.
The other point to note is that when someone follows me now, I respond thanking them and pointing them in the direction of my website. This has helped a lot, and I have connected with lots more writers, and even started to make friends with fellow writers.
I’ve written about the benefits of Pinterest before here. Mandy Wallace who I have also talked about before here has mastered Pinterest for writers. She now has thousands of re-pins and refers from Pinterest to her website everyday. Mandy has written an excellent tutorial about how you can get your posts to go viral like hers here.
Mandy discusses things like, the size and importance of the size of photos you put on your blog posts, the importance of having the right headlines and having good images, and ensuring you post them to Pinterest.
I have also read recently that to get featured on Pinterest there are a few key things you can do – like ordering your boards to reflect who you are, titling your boards something relevant to the content and similarly having a reflective picture of the content. I had never been that bothered about being featured on Pinterest, I just used it for inspiration and completely selfishly just pinning things I thought were interesting or useful. Despite that, I was actually featured for a few days – my writing board – which you can find here. Although quite why I was featured, still remains a mystery, but I have to say if you are interested in increasing traffic it is a really good way to do it, my followers on there exploded over night. But I do think with most of these ‘being featured’ like on freshly pressed, it’s mostly a matter of luck.
I haven’t seen much luck with Pinterest in terms of referrals or viral posts, so I am still looking for more hints and tips to share.
This is an obvious one. I haven’t ever posted my articles to Facebook before, partly because I blog under a pseudonym and had previously wanted to remain anonymous. I posted my interview with James Howell on the 13th, and I got 44 refers just from that one post on Facebook. I don’t know what everyone else finds when you post your blogs to Facebook? But I would be interested to know what you find on traffic from facebook?
Google plus is completely new to me. It wasn’t until I spoke to my friend who works in marketing that I really understood what it was. It’s a new platform that is similar to Facebook. But it is quickly becoming THE platform in social media. The biggest reason for it’s success is what it can offer you. Your google plus account directly affects your visibility on google. The better more prolific your google plus account is, the more searchable and visible you are on google searches… ideal for any writer. I have only just signed up for an account so I am not sure theres much I can offer by way of intelligence other than to suggest its a ruddy good idea for networking. There are dozens of communities and groups on google plus dedicated to writers, so it is already proving to boost networking.
In Mandy’s post there are some links to a post about headline grabbing titles which I have now added to the Free Resources Page, alongside Jon Morrow’s website where you can download his headline hacks article, which is fantastic. It’s a complete tutorial all about how to create the perfect headline to grab readers attention. I have to say, it is very interesting how many more clicks an refers they suggest you can get just by changing the title of your posts. I’ve noticed a small increase, but as yet, nothing major.
Interviews and Guest Posts
It’s fairly common knowledge that guest posts and Interviews give your blog credibility. They show an ability to network, and sharing of expertise knowledge. I was skeptical as to whether and actually, why, interviews and guest posts had such an impact. But after posting the interview with Howell, I got the most hits in one day I had ever received – so it obviously works. I guess the importance here is to choose your guests wisely and your interviews more wisely in order to keep your credibility and boost your networks.
Timing is Everything
Now, if you’re anything like me, then you post when you post, and you tweet when you tweet. I have a full time job, and child, so I don’t have the luxury of much free time to do any of the things I am suggesting. But timing is another really important aspect of social media. There are key times in the day for each social media platform. It’s not something I had thought about until I found the infographic below. But I guess it makes sense. If you want to post at the ideal time for the social media site of your choice, use the below timings for your benefit.
Imagery is essential for any writer, so why should it be any different for blog posts, they are of course ‘writing’. Images for writers though can be hard to find, particularly free ones that you can manipulate to your hearts content, in the knowledge you aren’t breaking any copyright laws. Creative Commons is excellent for this. Just go to the explore section and choose where you want to search. I use it ALL the time. I am drawing together a list of image databases which I will put in the free resources section once it is complete.
That’s it for now, but I will be sure to share any other intelligence I glean 🙂