How to blog strategically to build your brand as a writer, with Lisa Richardson http://lisarichardsonbylines.com One Week Job The Happiness Project How to be Alone Julie and Julia : My Year of Cooking Dangerously The Fire Starter Sessions Me! Me! Me! Build social media savvy for wanton self-promotion.
What do these people have in common? Danielle LaPorte, creator of White Hot Truth, business consultant, author of The Fire Starter Sessions: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project Sean Aiken, author of The One Week Job Project Julie Powell, author of Julie & Julia, and Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession Tanya Davis, spoken work poet, How to Be Alone JB MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, co-authors of The 100 Mile Diet
A: They’re writers who used social media tools (blogs, online columns, youtube videos, facebook, twitter) to promote their work, build their brand, and become household names. Until How to be Alone went viral, (1,789,790 views) who had heard of spoken word artist Tanya Davis?
WTF is social media? Not a stupid question. Take your crash course here. SOCIAL MEDIA IS DEMOCRATIZING COMMUNICATIONS “Technology is shifting the power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment, the media elite. Now it’s the people who are in control.” Rupert Murdoch Bottom line: it’s a toolbox of free online applications that allow you to engage socially, build community, connect with like-minded folk and self-publish.
The Prosecution: Social Media stands accused of - Causing Procrastination – you feel like you’re getting stuff done, but you’re not actually writing a novel tweet by tweet Exacerbating ADHD – multiple streams of input and output make it hard to sustain the quality of attention and focus you need to read and write long-form Invading Privacy – apparently it doesn’t exist anyway, but it does turn a private sphere (your notebook/office/headspace) into potentially incriminating public output Misleading ROI – effectiveness is not easy to measure
In its Defence:why social media is a good tool in a writers arsenal Establish your credentials for free. PRACTICE. Build a brand, a beat, an audience.
Guy Kawasaki says the benefits of blogging are: Personal – as an outlet for expression and creativity Business – as a fast and free marketing and communications weapon Think “book” not “diary”. A blog is a product. Not your spontaneous thoughts and feelings.
The Golden Rule of Blogging: “I’m…pretty sure I puked that. But when the fuck did I eat carrots?” http://hungoverowls.tumblr.com/
The Golden Rule of Blogging:VOMITING IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD DO IN PRIVATE. Be strategic. Be selective. Curate your content. You don’t want a digital tattoo that’s going to be difficult and expensive to erase. Blog is just another delivery method for content, like a book. The story is what counts. So develop your craft. Blog should serve your ultimate goal… which is what?
“Connect, don’t network.” “It’s much more important to write than to blog, so only blog if it makes you happy and if you have something to say.” Neil Gaiman Set your writing goals first, then work out how social media tools can support them. Seth Godin: “Power is going to continue to accrue to authors with direct connections to readers.” An A-list writer is equal parts craftsperson and brand.
Strategic thinking… 1. Use your own name. You are building a brand. 2. Choose the publishing platforms that suit your style and your work: facebook, twitter, blog, vimeo, youtube, flickr, tumblr etc. You are becoming a publisher. 3. Build relationships. You are building a community. You need a personal relationship with the first 1000 members on your website. 4. Maintain the integrity of your content. What is your brand? Your voice? Your schtick? Your beat? 5. Commit to a practice of writing and publishing that you can maintain.
Ask the same questions that marketers ask a client: What do you stand for? What makes you awesome? What 3 words would people use to describe your personality as a writer? Who are you talking to? Who is your target? Who’s going to read this? What’s your tone? What ground rules will you set? What’s your beat? What are you an expert in? How will there be thematic cohesion in your blog? Who are your competitors? Check out what they’re doing, for best practice, and become part of each other’s community.
Best Practices: Starting Today: Poems for the First 100 Days Mila’s Daydreams Clean Bin Project Susan Orlean@susanorlean (84,000+ followers) Annabel Lyon “The Golden Mean” Wayne Grady and MerilynSimonds“Breakfast at the Exit Café”