Last week, we took a dive into Building Your Platform – Part I. We learned why it’s important to start building our own site, yesterday. Over time, a site can turn into a key part of your platform. In this post, we can see what role social media should play with our nicely built site.
So you have a WordPress site. Now what? (Sounds like some self help book). In a word: write! The idea of having a site is to build a presence, and that can only be achieved by writing, writing, and more writing.
Wait a second. Isn’t that what we all do every day on Twitter and Facebook? You bet. And those companies are making millions over the content you and I write there. So in similar spirit, we must write on our sites. But about what? Not to sell!
“It doesn’t provide a place to run non-stop commercials promoting yourself and your books. A blog has to provide value. I don’t know anyone who finds commercials (even infomercials) valuable.” —Sara R. Turnquist
If you use your site and social media channels to sell, sell, sell, you’ll be tuned out faster than a midnight infomercial. Instead, you must write about things that excite you. Things that interest you. It can overlap with what you’re trying to sell. But in all seriousness, selling should occupy perhaps 10% of your total blogging efforts.
There are some who disagree on blogging at all. The alternative advice is to go for real writing gigs starting with published articles on web sites. If you’re goal is to become a paid, freelance writer, that makes sense. But if you’re goal is to be a novelist with several tomes under your belt, blogging is the way to build an audience.
When you blog, the next logical step is posting what you blogged. In short, publish links to your works on Twitter and Facebook. Turn these social media outlets where you can link up the rest of the world as a communications channel. A channel that leads people back to your site. A site you control and can tune, adjust, and optionally list relevant things (like your latest book!)
That’s not the only thing you do with social media. People will follow you if they like your material, if they find you engaging, and if you occasionally have fun links. If it’s 100% your own stuff, people may not enjoy that at all. If you build relationships on social media AND include links to stuff you’ve written, then you’ll have the ingredients for a growing platform.
Believe me, people can spot sincere relationship building on social media vs. throwing stuff over the fence.
To tweet or not to tweet
The next time you have a golden idea for a post, stop and ask yourself, “Is this enough for an article?” If so, pause and write it down on your site and THEN tweet the link. You’ll get the best of both worlds.
There is more to blogging than this. More tips and tricks. But the core bit is to invest more of your writing in your own site and use social media as the means to share it with others.
And then stick with it. It can take years to really build a following. Certainly doesn’t happen in a few weeks or months.
Next week, we’ll continue this series by discussing the value of building a mailing list. Until then, good luck and happy writing!