Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Expanding Your Audience Through Self-Promotion - Six Tips

Hi everyone. Yes, I am still alive. This post is going to be a little different from my previous ones because I'm combining yet another update with some tips and resources for self-promotion.
First comes the update part. I've just created my profile and first gig on a website called Fiverr, which allows people to sell their skills (such as writing and art) as "gigs". Basically you promise to complete a task within a certain timeframe for a certain cost, include descriptions and variations on your gig "package", and then upload it to the site. People looking for someone to complete a task similar to the one you uploaded as your gig can search and find your gig and hire you to complete said task. If you're an observant follower you'll see that there is a shiny new link badge in the sidebar leading to my Fiverr profile. If you're interested in starting to do a bit of freelancing, you may want to check Fiverr out.
Now a litle blurb on self promotion and what to do. Running this blog has given me the most experience with self-promo, and I have a few tips for you if you're wanting to expand your audience.

1. If you are running a blog, respond to comments.
This is one surprisingly few people do. Just take ten or fifteen minutes once a week to check your emails and see what comments have been left on your blog. Then, respond to them. All of them. Even if all you can think of to say is "Thanks for reading!" It shows that you're interested in interacting with your audience and also opens you up to being asked questions or for your opinions and advice. I've had several people ask my advice about their writing through comments threads, gotten into discussions about cliches in popular movies and books in comment threads, and also had people shoot down examples to points I made in my post. It can be difficult to respond to comments sometimes, but put in the effort and it really makes a difference.

2. Interconnect your social media accounts.
And by that I mean, provide links and buttons to your other social media accounts, online shops, webpages, blogs, facebook pages, etc. on ALL of those said pages and accounts. You don't want any account or shop or page which has anything to do with your online publicity isolated. Connect everything so that the audiences you accumulate through one account don't just stay stuck at that one account. Get them to explore your Facebook page, or your blog, or your Etsy shop, or your Pinterest. Allow people to explore you.
Now, I wouldn't reccommend linking your personal Facebook profile to all your public accounts and letting everyone see your private life. If you want to involve Facebook, I'd create a page for your followers to interact with you on instead. That keeps your personal information safer and keeps your accounts focused on whatever you are promoting and not your personal life.

3. PROMOTE. SHARE BUTTONS ARE USEFUL.
When I first started up this blog, I checked the self-promo rules of the Facebook writing groups I was part of and then shared whatever new posts I had during the weekends, when self-promo was permitted. I shared to my groups and my personal profile on Facebook, pinned my new posts to my Pinterest account as soon as the post was published, and shared new posts on Google+. Facebook got me started, since I was already part of several groups which had interest in my blog topic of creative writing. But once the blog was up and running, Pinterest became the website that brought the most readers into my blog. I started seeing my blog posts popping up in my own newsfeed because I'd followed people from the Facebook writing groups, they had followed me, and they were circulating my posts to the point where I'd see some of my more popular posts pop up three or four times in my newsfeed. I got curious one day and searched my post popular post at the time on Pinterest and got about thirty or forty results for people who had pinned the post! For a beginning blog that isn't too bad.

4. For blog posts, include title images in every major post.
This post doesn't have one because I don't have the time nor do I expect this post to be popular, BUT, if you noticed, all my posts from back when I was publishing new posts regularly had an image with the post title on it. I copied that idea from the blog The Write Practice, because it made the posts look so much more clean, professional . . . and shareable. Text won't capture the attention of potential readers just browsing through the internet on it's own. It needs the help of visuals. What I would do was search for images I could use on Google (make sure to check the copyrights!) or a website called Unsplash, a site that has hundreds of images free to use without worry about copyright. Then go use a program such as PicMonkey to spruce the photo up with special effects, banners, stickers, and a title. I personally also always included in smaller text the url to my bog's home page so people could find my blog if clicking through the image on Pinterest wasn't working. If you're going to do that, make sure you are consistent with your font and that it is easily readable.

5. Create a brand.
Your displayed name/username as well as any displayed picture associated with your accounts and websites needs to be consistent if you want to be recognizable. This is as simple as choosing a single clear picture of yourself or, if you have a little experience in digital art, creating a logo for yourself. I'm admittedly still working on this as I didn't try to bring all of my accounts together until recently and some places won't let me change my public name.

6. Socialize online with some people who are interested in whatever you are trying to promote. 
For me that is writing (no duh). My involvement in several Facebook writing groups, my connections to other writers over Pinterest, and my active commenting on other writer's blogs (NOT just leaving a comment with a link to my own blog in it! Say something about their post!) made me part of a writer community. Spreading yourself around will also spread what you're trying to promote around. Even if you're an introvert . . .you can do ALL of your socializing for this nowadays online. You don't even have to open your mouth to talk. Just be involved.

That's it for my self-promo tips. A lot of them are pretty common, so if you have any other tips for expending your audience, leave them in the comments!

2 comments:

  1. Ah yes as a fellow writing blogger I definitely agree with this post. :D

    ReplyDelete