You write…and believe it or not…you want someone to read what you write.
That can be a scary prospect. But, ultimately, you have a message you want to get out to the world.
So you decide to gain some kind of following, and you’ve done your homework too. You do everything the “experts” say to do.
- You start a blog
- Ask people to sign up for your email list
- Advertise your posts on social media
And it’s rewarded you in the deafening sound of crickets.
It’s frustrating, and it can make you feel like no one cares about your writing. Or worse…you begin to think maybe your writing isn’t good.
Many have hit that roadblock and given up. I wonder how many writers have something valuable to share with the world but get stopped in their tracks at this juncture never to realize their dream to share their writing with the world was achievable if they hadn’t quit.
And that writer could very well be you.
So why haven’t these tricks worked like they’re supposed to?
Just because you are going through the motions of these strategies doesn’t mean you’ve optimized them to work well for you.
Which is a fancy way to say there’s still hope. Don’t give up yet.
I work with Leverage Creative Group, where we help (mostly) writers get their platforms set up and ready to sell courses to their followers. For years we’ve been able to home in on exactly what works and what doesn’t in the platform building game.
And we want to make sure you can set up a writing platform that works for you too.
So, let’s dive a little deeper into the formula that will help your writing get discovered and drive traffic to your author website.
Step 1: Getting SEO Right
You’ve heard the term before. You’ve probably researched it too. But SEO remains something just out of grasp for many writers trying to get their writing discovered.
And that’s because there’s so much information out there about SEO, it’s hard to tell fact from fiction.
It’s easy to skirt the edges of what SEO actually is but not get it dialed-in correctly to make the strategy work for you.
Here are three big SEO myths that are still hard for people to shake, and are still taught by a lot of SEO “experts”:
- You need to write a new blog every week (or even more than that)
- You need to target a specific (long-tail) keyword in your posts
- You can slap a few keywords in your articles and then write about whatever you want
Google’s algorithm regularly gets updates, and these strategies just aren’t going to help you anymore.
Now the strategies, especially surrounding keywords, look something like this:
- Long-form posts that target multiple keywords within the same topic dominate search results
- As long as your posts are long and well-optimized, it doesn’t matter how often you create new blog posts.
- One post could rank for 1000’s of keywords that send tons of traffic to your site
So here’s how you can start utilizing these strategies on your writing platform, no matter what topic you write about.
First, you need excellent long-form content.
But what does that look like in practice?
You need to do some heavy research (I know that doesn’t sound particularly fun) on keywords to find opportunities for the topics you write on. Create posts on relatively broad keywords with decent traffic and low competition.
And finding the right keyword matters.
I recently wrote a post on side characters in storytelling. I fully intended to use the term “side characters” throughout the post and in the title.
But, when I researched keywords, I found that no one was searching “side characters.” They were searching for “secondary characters.” There were thousands more searches for it. And I could have totally missed out on that traffic without that tweak.
Second in your SEO strategy is looking for backlink opportunities.
Backlinks are when you guest post for another site and use links in that post to send traffic back to your site. These backlinks essentially tell Google your content has votes of confidence for that topic.
Be patient with this one.
You will need to build trust with other writers and pitch articles on other sites to help you do some link building. In the long run, though, it pays off. The SEO boost could keep traffic coming for a very long time after the awkward encounters are over. (Especially for us introverts.)
The good news is, other writers want to build backlinks too. So, you can set up an article trade.
And lastly, guest posting itself will help you with more than just backlinks.
They will help you build relationships with other writers. Once that trust is formed, you will see others helping you promote your writing. Pretty awesome.
I recommend getting five to ten guest posts on other sites within your niche after you have a few posts on your site.
(And remember to link back to your site in those guest posts).
Step 2: Using Social Media to…be Social
I get it…you want to use social media just to follow your friend’s dog account and find memes. But, it’s crucial to building your writing platform no matter how much it makes you cringe.
But, social media doesn’t have to be that place you annoy everyone by trying to get them to go to your website.
The right strategy is in the name itself. It’s “social” media.
Most writers don’t use social media for what it’s really for: engaging with readers and writers.
It’s not about how many followers you have. It’s way better to have an engaged 100 person following rather than 10,000 that couldn’t care less about you because they just followed you back to be polite.
Yes, you should post your writing on social media, but that should just be one piece of the puzzle.
You need to provide value to your current readers, potential new readers, and other writers out there like you.
Respond to people’s posts, comment, like, and retweet. They want to be engaged with too. The more you engage with them, the more they will do the same thing back.
And they will do that when you do more than just advertise your site.
Join an interesting debate, participate in conversations, and answer questions.
That’s valuable to other people because people on social media want attention. And they remember who gives it to them.
Step 3: Convert Readers Into Followers with Your Email List
If you want to build an audience of fans that want to read more and more of your writing, then you need an email list plain and simple.
First, you need to create a lead magnet that makes people want to sign up for your list. (A lead magnet is just a simple PDF of extra writing goodness that your readers can download for free that’s sent to their email). Make your freebie valuable that will help solve a problem for your readers.
Once a subscriber is on your list, keep giving them value. When a new post goes up, let them know. Let them be the first to know about a new book or project that you’re working on. Give them more free things, like a free peek at Chapter 1 of your work in progress.
Keep them engaged without getting spammy.
Bonus Tip: Be Patient
Good things come to those who wait.
Your website won’t change overnight as much as we all might want that to be the case.
Over time, you will hone your writing down to something that gives value to your readers, and they will only want more.
When you get the fans engaged, they start sharing your writing all on their own. That supercharges your outreach efforts.
Don’t quit just because things aren’t moving as quickly as you want. Keep working on the strategies you’re using and find what resonates with your audience.
Your writing deserves to be read, don’t give up before it has a chance to see the light of day.
As you grow your writing platform, your personal writing brand grows too. Find out what else might be missing from your branding toolkit with this FREE quiz. It can help you take your writing platform to the next level.