Agents and editors look for it, pubbed authors cultivate it, and pre-pubbed writers need to build it. In today's publishing world, platform isn't really an option, it's a necessity.
Platform—that name recognition and access to people who might be interested in buying a book with your name on it. Thankfully, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to building your platform. What works for one won't work for another unless it's tweaked and tailored to fit better. Blogging is definitely one of those things.
Blogging isn't for everyone! But for others of us, it's a great way to build a platform. Here's a few key things to remember:
- Your blog is an online representation of you. Do your best to make the site reflect you—visually and verbally. Some people are naturally bubbly or snarky or soothing. And others of us are just plain ordinary. Let who you are shine through everything about your blog.
- At the same time, your blog needs to be inviting and comfortable for your visitors. Even if your favorite color is high-viz green (for those of you not in coal country, that's neon greenish-yellow), it's probably not the best choice for a background color.
- Consistent posting is a key to growth—kinda like consistent feeding helps kids grow. I've never nailed down posting on certain days—I'm too free-spirited for that, but aim for 3 posts a week, spaced throughout the week. And hey, just like candy sweetens you up, fun posts sweeten your blog. (Memes can be like dessert—light, fluffy, and oh-so fun! But you don't want to o.d on them.)
- Use pictures in your posts. They add personality and appeal, in addition to squeezing in those extra 1000 words they say a good picture is worth.
- Ask what your blog can do for others. Remember, blogging is about adding value to others, not free advertising—that's what mothers are for. Even smiles are commodities, at wallyworld and online.
- Post length. This is a biggie unless you have
groupiesdedicated followers, and even then, you don't want to wax eloquent or your readers will... Keeping your posts less than 800 words keeps your readers happier. Brief is beautiful. (And bikinis are s... oh wait. Sorry. Mixed metaphors.)
Your blog can be the hub of your platform activities.
By using tabs, buttons, links, pages and a good dose of organization, your blog can double as your website. That's a two-for-one deal for you multi-tasking bargain hunters. Many authors are doing it now, with great results. Just like fresh cookies keep kids coming back, fresh content keeps your readers coming back. With thought and organization, you can become a resource. Did you catch that repeated word? It's important. And no, I'm talking about fresh.
Blogging is not a just-add-water solution. (Neither is baby powder.) Like everything of value, it takes time to build your blog. If you view it as an investment of your time and effort, you have greater chances of seeing a higher return on investment. That's why you need to start working now. Don't wait. Sure, it only takes a few moments to pop up a tent, but you won't like what happens when you try putting book shelves up in your tent. Build now so you have time to build strong.
Even if blogging isn't for you, there are ways blogging can work for you and help build your platform. Now there's a thought everyone likes: something that works for you! Are you interested?
Join a group blog. There's all kinds of group blogs out there—everything from regional sites (like The Barn Door, about life in the Midwest), to devotional sites (like Jewels of Encouragement), to writing craft sites (like my personal fave, Seekerville), and so many others. Together, the writers create a stronger, more attractive site that's able to draw a wider audience. Each team member has their own circle of influence and they bring that with them as they write. Joining together, the math often changes from addition to multiplication. Now that's a smart investment.
Most team blogs have a few days when they welcome guest bloggers. Look around, follow some you're interested in and then ask. The worst that can happen is they email back and say their schedule is full—and even if they do, they'll probably think of you when a spot opens. Remember, blogs are often like southern Illinois, not Chicago. Sometimes you've got to set a spell and visit before you can even ask Harold to fix your weed eater—even if the sign says Harold's Fixit Joint and there's a well used, antique cash register in the corner, surrounded by generations of mower and weed eater parts. It just don't work to barge in, drop and go, and they'll tell ya so. Ahem. Where was I before Harold bellowed? Oh yeah...
|Parajumpers, just for Cheryl & her Wings of Refuge series.|
Watch for spots to guest post on people's blogs. If you're part of ACFW and on the main email loop, you've seen guest opportunities circulate. Step forward and offer to guest. When you do, put your best foot forward. Always. Keep your periscope up for guest blogging opportunities.
See, you don't have to be a blogger to use blogging to help build your platform, and blogging is a great way to build a platform.
Because I love designing blogs and helping Christian bloggers, especially Christian writers, leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a blog premade design. You can see the premade options here. (These designs work on Blogger sites.)
Thanks so much for having me, Seekers!
So tell me, what are some sites you love for what they offer you? What do they offer their readers?
Patty Wysong, a home executive with over 20 years of experience, homeschools three of her five children, but don't let that fool you. She spends much of her time working on what God has placed in her hand: her keyboard. From the corner of her living room she writes inspirational fiction, devotionals, blog posts, and teaches online blogging workshops. You'll also find her drinking Kool-Aid from her china cup, preparing for the ladies Bible study she leads, and helping at their church.
Patty learned about blogs and blogging the hard way and now delights in teaching and helping others, sparing them that frustration so they can focus on what God has called them to do. Through her writing, Patty has found the extraordinary God in her ordinary life.
You can find her online at her blog Ordinary Lives and on Facebook.