Not a Blogger: 5 Non-Blog Ways to Create Content and Grow Platform
Don’t be a ghost.
I use this phrase at writing conferences to encourage attendees to build their online presences. It may seem an obvious concept, but the challenge to grow platform causes many people to choose invisibility over exposure. So, why is an online presence important? Are blogs vital to success?
Let’s examine a real-life situation.
You meet someone new. What’s your response? If you’re like me, you run a background check, aka you find their social media pages.
Nowadays, “social media stalking” seems acceptable, that is, when used with respect. We like to know about people’s lives, their histories, and how we relate with them. That said, if we can’t find our new friends online or if they haven’t posted in years, we feel deprived of connection.
In the same way, literary agents and acquisitions editors want to type an author’s name into a search engine and find social media profiles, blog posts, and more. They don’t want ghost authors. Why?
Because exposure and connection sell books.
As someone with seven years of publishing experience and a degree in public relations, I could talk about book publicity and author presence for days. However, I want to offer five ways to create content and grow platform without blogging.
Confession: I don’t like to blog, and I haven’t posted on my website in six months. Instead, I’ve focused my attention on Instagram, Twitter, and speaking events.
The choice added thousands of new followers to my platform.
Whether you’re an author, entrepreneur, or pursuing publication, you need a developed online presence, but blogs are not always the key to success. Some factors to consider . . .
· Your audience’s age range and interests,
· Their preferred media platform,
· And how they engage with content.
For example, mature adults tend to enjoy Facebook more than other social media. So, if an author publishes a cozy mystery geared toward readers ages 45+, he or she may find increased success by focusing on Facebook promotions, i.e. paid advertising, regular postings, and giveaways.
Questions to ask yourself: Who is my reader/consumer? What does my audience want? How can I give it to them?
Understanding your target audience is the first step to optimizing your content and expand your reach. That said, if your audience doesn’t read blogs, you might want to consider offering content via different channels.
Here are five non-blog ways to create content and grow platform.
1. Social Media
Because of Instagram and Facebook, the term “blogger” is no longer reserved for those who post articles on websites. Instead, it labels someone who creates and distributes content through digital platforms.
I know bloggers who only post on Instagram because it allows them to deliver succinct content directly to their target audiences.
To the writers and authors reading this post . . .
Social media sells books. It allows users to connect with authors and other readers, develop relationships, and gain book recommendations from their friends—and a beautiful Instagram community titled #bookstagram.
Social media tips:
- Build accounts on all platforms, but focus heavily on your target audience’s preferred channel. Don’t be a ghost!
- Quality over quantity. Only post content that aligns with your brand, includes high-resolution images, and captions with call-to-action. No grainy pictures and awkward selfies. Be intentional about your posts.
- Unify your color scheme and headshot. Branding involves a lot of aesthetic-based details, so choose your “look” (headshot, bio, color scheme, and layout) and use it on all platforms, your website, business cards, etc. Simple design elements give coherency and professionalism to your social media.
- Make your social media about your audience. Why should they follow you? What do you offer them? How will your content add value to their lives?
- Post regularly, not excessively. Find your personal rhythm.
- Pay attention to your analytics to ensure you’re posting at the right times, you’re effectively reaching your audience, etc.
For word-count’s sake, let’s move on to the second non-blog way. If you wish to learn more about social media, check out my post about Instagram growth.
2. Online Classes
Whether you’re a new writer or seasoned pro, you can provide valuable information. Platforms like Udemy give users the ability to teach courses on any subject—and reach a large audience. If you want to provide content, establish credibility, and generate revenue, you should consider instructing online classes. To get started, pinpoint your strength (what you know) and author brand (how you want to be known).
3. Speaking Engagements
When I mention author events at conferences, attendees often ask the question: How can I book speaking engagements if I’m unpublished? My answer: Build your credentials by entering contests and writing for magazines, newspapers, and well-known blogs. Once you know your strengths, you can brand yourself as a professional in your field.
Overall, speaking engagements help you network and grow your platform.
4. Guest Posts
Ask fellow “bloggers” to host you on their sites or social media. Writing guest posts gives you exposure, the chance to build your following, and more search engine results.
5. Podcasts & YouTube
Does your audience watch videos or listen to audio? If so, consider adding podcasts and YouTube videos to your repertoire. Transmedia content allows your audience to absorb your information throughout their days. For example, they can listen to your podcast during their morning commute and watch your YouTube videos between meetings or classes.
Takeaway: Blogs are not always the key to success. Consider your audience’s desires when deciding where and how to deliver content.