When students ask me about marketing your writing, my suggestion is that you: “do what’s FUN for you… there are endless possibilities.”
Then someone comes back with, “yes, but…” There’s always a “but.” 🙂
I’ve been using social media networks in some fashion for years, so I no longer think about it. It’s automatic. When I have a moment — often on my phone or iPad — I jump into social media, and then out again. Once a day I spend a few minutes on Twitter, or Google+, or Pinterest. Or LinkedIn.
There are many theories on HOW to use social media, but most of those theories apply to social media professionals. Or to business people who can spend half an hour a day on social media, because Twitter or Facebook is their de facto customer services department.
As a professional writer, you don’t have a spare 30 minutes a day. If you do, you spend it writing, rather than on social media.
Let’s look at some ideas for getting value from the time you do have.
1. Prepare, prepare… tweet NOW
There’s no ONE way to use any social media network. There’s simply a way which works for you, at this time in your writing career. For example, if you’ve just published an ebook, you’ll jump on Twitter or wherever and tweet “buy my book!” Fair enough. However, it’s probably not the best way to use Twitter.
Whenever I whine to myself about spending too much time on social media, I mentally slap myself on the head. Then I remind myself that it’s all about visibility. In other words, if you’re jumping onto Twitter because you’ve just published a book, you’d definitely have better results if you used Twitter WHILE you were writing your book.
So, if you know you need to start marketing something — anything — use social media WHILE you’re preparing:
- Tweet about your book while you’re writing it;
- Tweet about your new writing service while you’re gearing up to deliver it;
- Tweet about gaps in your calendar in which you can take on writing jobs as soon as you notice the gaps.
2. Get help from social media (visibility)
Let’s say that you’re working on an article for a magazine. You need sources. Tweet that you need a source for your article. Just give the topic, and your ideal interview subject. How long would it take you to write that tweet? 30 seconds? Two minutes, maximum.
I’m sure you’re wondering: “how is that marketing, if I’m finding sources?” It’s marketing because… visibility. Who knows, the CEO of a corporation may see your tweet, view your profile, and ask you to write something. You’re being transparent. Buffer’s known for its radical transparency policy; it works for them.
3. Have FUN with social media, and get inspired
You know that if you wait to be inspired before you start writing, you’ll wait forever. Why not use social media for inspiration? Follow companies and people who inspire you. Engage with them. The simplest way to engage on social media is to “like” something. Or say thank you. You don’t need to bend your brain over it.
Although you’re on social media for a purpose — marketing — you can have fun with it. I often open Twitter in between writing sessions to clear my mind, AND to remind myself that writing is supposed to be fun. If you’re not enthusiastic about a piece of writing while you’re writing it, your readers won’t be enthused either. And yes, this applies even if you’re writing catalogue copy.
4. Avoid over-thinking your marketing: do a little often
For some writers, “marketing” has all the appeal of a trip to a dentist — they get it done, and feel instant relief when it’s over. For best results however, marketing needs to be something you enjoy, so that you can do a little, often.
Social media is perfect for the “little, often” strategy. Use it your way.
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