Platform Building Tips: 4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Brand

What are the most important things a writer can do to be smart and strategic about platform building (instead of being overwhelmed)?

No matter what kind of writer or author you are, this question is so important to ask.

Smart and strategic platform building tips for writers

What is a platform?

First I want to address this confusing term because it’s part jargon and part new word use.

The way I’m using the phrase today is defining “platform” as it pertains to a writer.

In many cases this is called an author platform. However, it can also apply to other types of writers.

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At it’s most basic definition, a platform is the sum total of a writer’s ability to sell their work. It combines visibility with connections through established distribution channels.

The risk when pouring energy into platform building is you’ll either spend time focusing on areas that don’t pay off or you’ll put too much effort into one area and neglect other, equally important areas.

Here is an example of a well-rounded author platform:

  • Social media followers and existing contacts/fans/readers/email subscribers—30%
  • Knowledge and expertise on your topic—25%
  • Personality and follow through—25%
  • Previous work (articles, books, etc.)—20%
Elements in a well rounded author platform.

Social media followers and existing contacts, fans, readers, email subscribers—30%

Knowledge and expertise on your topic—25%

Personality and follow through—25%

Previous work (articles, books, etc.)—20%

Extra reading: Learn more about author platforms

Extra credit: How to Set Up a Basic Author Platform from Kirsten Oliphant

So now we come back to our original question: how can a writer be smart and strategic about platform building, instead of being overwhelmed?

Tips for platform building

As you can gather from my example, your biggest ROI from platform-building activities comes from your circle of friends and followers.

But these people can’t just click “like” on your chosen online profile. They need to be fans—active, engaged, wallets-out fans.

Here are my top four suggestions for platform building (for growing and maintaining your following) without letting it take over your life

Platform building tips

Tip 1: Get clear on why you want a following

To some writers the “why” is obvious. And perhaps it makes sense through the lens of platform building. But still, think about WHY you’re trying to attract people to you and your writing.

There are no wrong answers here, but it’s important to know what your goal is so when things get hard or you get busy, you can stay laser-focused on your objective.

Think about why you want a following and write it down. Then figure out how to get this following. Do it! It’s worth 30% of your platform!

Extra reading with worksheets: Four Decisions Every Writer Needs to Make

(Or go direct to the worksheets in my resource library)

Tip 2: Make strong, authentic connections with your followers

Making connections with other human beings may seem like a big ask for writers who are introverted or shy.

But in today’s world, “if you write it they will come” isn’t a thing. We have to figure out how to build relationships with others. We need them in our tribe just like they need our writing.

It’s a symbiotic relationship but it doesn’t happen without effort or by accident.

How you do this will look different for every person because you have to work with your strengths.

For some people, making connections means you publish high-quality articles in publications your ideal followers read.

For others, this means gaining a following through speaking at events or hosting workshops and showcasing your expertise on a topic.

Another example of how a writer can build relationships is by going all-in on a social media platform and building a huge following of loyal fans by showing up and doing the work.

This could mean:

  • Following your ideal readers
  • Engaging in discussions with your ideal readers and your existing followers
  • Leaving thoughtful comments on other people’s posts
  • Joining and becoming an active member of the community (or starting one)

While the “how” varies from writer to writer, the important piece to keep in mind is it must be true to who you are.

How do you best connect with people? Lean into that. It’s the only way these relationships will be authentic and genuine.

Extra reading: Make Stronger Connections with Your Ideal Clients

Tip 3: Optimize your online channels for your audience

Whether it’s a social media profile or your personal blog, it’s important to put due care and attention into your online presence.

As a writer, you’re the brand. How you present yourself online matters.

Make sure your profiles are consistent across the web and that your “about statement” reflects who you are as a writer. When you’re in platform-building mode, this isn’t the time to be cute or vague. State who you are in a clear way and write it for your ideal follower.

The same goes for your website. Ask yourself if your site or blog is an accurate reflection of the type of writer you want to be known as. If not, fix it. Get it up to snuff or make it private. Make sure it’s attractive and loads quickly and is easy to find.

Don’t assume people are aware of what you do or even understand it. Do you know the details of your entire network?

Lay everything out for your followers like it’s the first time they’ve ever stumbled across your site or profile.

Optimize your website and social media channels for your audience. It’s time to put yourself out there by making yourself discoverable.

Remember, if you don’t take control of your brand story someone else will.

Extra reading: Five Tips for Optimizing your Social Media Profiles

Extra credit: How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm

Tip 4: Have a strategy

You want to be consistent and smart about strengthening your platform, right? OK great. So you need a strategy. Even if you’re a pantser who doesn’t plan.

I’m serious!

Without the structure of a strategy (or at least the framework of a general direction) it will be too easy to let platform building go by the wayside when urgent things crop up.

Because this is a long game, which means it’s always important but rarely urgent.

Which means you have to build these activities into your schedule and make it a part of your daily life.

Here are a few things to think about when creating a platform building strategy:

  • Who do you want to connect with?
  • Where are your potential friends and followers hanging out?
  • Which channels or networks will have the biggest payoff for you?
  • Where are you the most comfortable, the most yourself?
  • You can’t be everywhere so which networks will you focus on?
  • What can you do or post consistently to build your visibility, credibility and authority?
  • How can you serve your followers and build relationship with them?
  • What scheduling tools or services can you use to help you execute your strategy and stay on track?

Extra reading: Five Step Social Media Strategy for Writers

Platform building is a lot easier if you have a road map to follow

Yes, the plan has to change sometimes so it also needs to be a bit fluid.

But it’s easier to adjust something in existence than it is to sit around wondering how on earth you’ll increase your influence so you can attract that agent or get a new client.


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What are the most important things a writer can do to be smart and strategic about platform building (instead of being overwhelmed)? Great question!

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

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What are the most important things a writer can do to be smart and strategic about platform building (instead of being overwhelmed)? Great question!

4 Tips to Improve Your Blog Writing

You know you need to improve your blog writing skills but you don’t know what to do next. I’m right, aren’t I.

Improve Your Blog Writing Skills

Because you know content marketing is important for platform building, for visibility and for generating business.

So now what?

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Why you should write a blog

If you’re just starting out in freelance writing, your blog can be an excellent source of writing samples until you build your own portfolio.

It can also give you a ton of useful resources to share on social media to help build your platform.

Extra reading: 10 Reasons to Start a Blog

If you’re running a business, a blog is a great way of adding new content to your site, stuff for search engines to index and present to Internet browsers.

You know, stuff that gets people to your website who will then hopefully hire you or purchase something from you.

Extra reading: SEO Tips and Tricks for Freelance Writers

Blogging is also an excellent way of connecting with your ideal reader or target client. Writing regular updates or producing trainings on your website helps you build relationships.

Content, when used correctly, can help businesses to improve their reputation, to position themselves as thought leaders, to attract new customers and to improve their customer retention, making it something worth investing in.

Extra reading: Make Stronger Connections with Your Ideal Clients

Here are four tips to improve your blog writing skills. 

blog writing tips

4 ways to improve your blog writing skills

Pay attention to your craft

Maybe you weren’t trained as a writer but it’s a skill anyone can learn. Remember, the content displayed on your website is a reflection of you.

It’s your digital business card, your storefront and your first impression.

If you want to improve your blog writing here’s some free advice from Jericho, a website dedicated to helping aspiring content creators.

Find your voice

In the writing world, the most important discovery you can make is finding your writing voice. This is the style a writer uses to relay information and tell stories. If done right, your writing voice will be like your fingerprint. Unique, compelling and recognizeable.

Voice is a huge piece of a strong brand, which is critical to a successful online presence.

Extra reading: Brand Your Blog A Step-by-Step Guide

Plan your content

While it’s fun to be spontaneous, platform building and business growth responds better to consistency. This is why planning ahead is so key.

Creating and maintaining an editorial calendar not only allows you to publish on a set schedule but keeps you focused and on message. Easy in theory, tough when life gets busy.

Extra reading: How to Create a Blog Content Calendar

Make your site mobile-friendly

There’s no way around it, your blog needs to be responsive. This means your site is optimized for mobile.

While this isn’t a writing tip, investing in a mobile-first template will both bring people to your site (Google won’t even show your site in results if it’s not responsive) and keep them there.


These are just four tips out of many, many more opportunities to improve your blog writing. If you need more help then consider contacting a freelance writer (a freelance writer like me!) who will be able to help you with your content strategy.

You know you need to improve your blog writing skills but you don't know what to do next. I'm right, right? Here are four tips for upgrading your content.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

Freebies related to this post you’ll find helpful: how to write an outline, create a writing schedule and elements of a brand.

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You know you need to improve your blog writing skills but you don't know what to do next. I'm right, right? Here are four tips for upgrading your content.

Four Important Decisions Every Writer Needs to Make

There are four decisions every writer needs to make before they get started marketing themselves online. They’re foundational to your writing life and should be part of every writer’s resource list.

Four Decisions Every Writer Needs to Make. Every Writer's Resource

Every writer’s resource: want the worksheet for this training?

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Four decisions every writer needs to make

In the writing life, it’s easy to get swept up in tactics and strategies other people recommend. When you’re just getting started it makes sense! You don’t know what to do so why not try something that seems like it’s working?

Making decisions about who you are as a writer may seem overwhelming and restrictive, I get it. But in thinking this through, it will provide you with an important foundation. These decisions will help keep you focused when the writing gets hard and the rejections pile up.

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The four questions

Consider these four questions and try and come up with answers that reflect your personal writing goals. What you come up with will help you stay focused in the wild west of online marketing. And yes, you can change your answers over time.

Definitely!

Who is your target reader?

  • Try and form a mental picture of your ideal reader, your biggest fan
  • Where does this person spend time online?
  • What does this person care about?
  • Why does this person love reading your work?

For more on discovering your ideal reader, here’s a longer walkthrough.

Why do you want an online following?

  • This may feel like a selfish/self-serving question but it’s important to know what your goal is and why you want followers
  • There are no wrong answers so be honest with yourself!
  • It’s important to know your end goal so you don’t get swept up in every trend and fad
  • Understanding why you want an online following will help you hang in there when you don’t feel like being online or you encounter bad Internet people

Writers who want to be traditionally published should be working towards growing a platform. For more on author platforms, here’s a definition and an explanation.

What is your focus/niche?

  • What do you write about?
  • In a perfect world, what would you be known for?
  • What type of writing do you do?
  • While you may have diverse interests and write in several genres, decide on a primary topic or focus

Often, writers are resistant to choosing a narrow focus or niche. I’ve written about my journey and expand on why branding yourself is so important in the online world.

What problem do you solve for your readers?

  • What is something you offer your ideal readers that they both need and want?
  • Be as specific as possible
  • Think about what your reader is hoping you’ll help them with
  • The problems and solutions you offer can be big or small

Understanding why what you write is important to your readers is a fabulous opportunity to help people take the next step on their journey. It also helps you build your brand, which I expand on in this article.

Why do you write?

Bonus question: Why do you write?

No matter the reason, you should know why you write. If you can get clear about your why it will act as a beacon when your path isn’t clear. You know, when things like self-doubt and insecurity knock at your door. Or when success doesn’t come in the timeline you daydreamed about.

Your why will help you see past the discouragement of the day and keep moving ahead. Because you have a larger purpose! Your why is bigger than a momentary setback.

Your Writer's Statement Worksheet (Free Download)

Ready to create your writer’s statement? Download the worksheet from my free resource library.

Enter your email address in the form below, confirm your subscription to my email list and then I’ll send you the password to my free resource library. Once you’re in, navigate to the writing section and look for the worksheet titled “Writer’s Statement Worksheet.”

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And for the sake of an example and accountability, here is my recently-updated writer’s statement.

I write stories and articles to help others create vulnerable connections—with others, with themselves, with the world—so they can move towards the person they’re meant to be.

My goal in sharing is to help someone else discover they’re not alone and give them hope for the future.

Writer’s Statement, Robyn Roste (February 2020)

By the way, I worked through this at Laura Munson’s Haven 1 Writing Retreat earlier this year. Ask me about that incredible experience!

This is an excerpt from my workshop Blogging and Social Media for Writers.

You’ve heard that, as a writer, you need to build an online platform, but what does that mean? While building a presence through blogging and social media is both a science and an art, there are consistent elements writers need to think about and commit to. This workshop reviews the top elements to consider and the four decisions every writer needs to know before they get started.

There are four decisions every writer needs to make before they get started marketing themselves online. They're foundational to your writing life.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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There are four decisions every writer needs to make before they get started marketing themselves online. They're foundational to your writing life.

Make Stronger Connections with Your Ideal Clients

Wondering how to make stronger connections online with your clients or prospects?

Make Stronger Connections with Your Ideal Clients

It all comes down to understanding your ideal readers/clients/customers, answering their questions and delighting them with your generosity.

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How to make stronger connections with your ideal clients

In order to get more engagement with people online, there are a few areas worth considering. One of the most important is content. Yes, writing!

Part of a strong digital presence is what you write, on your website or blog and on social media. This comes from a strong foundation based on your unique, individual brand.

Here are a few tips for making stronger connections in the digital space.

Get to know your ideal client

It’s important to know your customers, clients, prospects, followers, readers, etc. Critical even! We’ve all heard when you try and appeal to everyone you appeal to no one.

Getting laser focused on your target customer will help you make authentic connections and build relationships.

As a busy freelance writer, you don’t have time to craft posts that don’t do anything for your business.

Try writing for your ideal client when you’re posting online, not just when you’re doing paid work. Write for and to them. See what happens.

Extra credit: Want to discover your ideal reader? Here’s an exercise I hope you’ll enjoy!

I’ve also created a worksheet to help you discover your ideal reader. It’s a free download in my resource library, but you will need a password. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the resource library navigate to the writing section and look for the “Discover Your Ideal Reader” worksheet.

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Create high-quality content

Everything you do online is marketing your business. So when posting, no matter if it’s a four-word meme or a 2,000 word blog post, make sure it’s quality.

People sometimes get swept up in thinking they need to post frequently in order be noticed. To stand out. To stay top of mind. And yes, posting on your chosen platforms consistently IS criticial.

However, think quality over quantity. Post as much as you can at a rate you can sustain. Keep the quality up. You’re doing this for your people.

Strengthen your lede

“Lede” is a journalism term meaning the first sentence/introduction of a news story. This is the most important piece! The lede should tell the reader what to expect and compel them to go deeper.

In the noisy digital world, you have micro seconds to grab attention. If your lede doesn’t entice people to keep reading? They’ll keep scrolling.

Build stronger connections

When thinking about blogging and SEO, getting noticed online means standing out. And that starts with the title. Get creative and think about what your ideal clients want to read. Answer the questions they’re asking. Be generous with your advice.

But most of all, hook them so they’ll stick around.

Want to make stronger connections? Engage!

While creating content that connects is important, showing up online and interacting with your ideal clients is where the magic happens.

It does take some extra time so it’s easy to tell yourself you don’t have time to be social. But might I push you to reconsider? Just a bit? A few minutes per day?

If you want to build relationships online it comes down to spending time with people. Yes, it’s work. And yes, it’s difficult to attach ROI (but not impossible!). But it’s, in my opinion, time well spent.

Wondering how to make stronger connections online with your clients or prospects? It comes down to understanding your ideal readers/clients/customers.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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Wondering how to make stronger connections online with your clients or prospects? It comes down to understanding your ideal readers/clients/customers.

How to Brand Your Blog A Step-by-Step Guide

Want to brand your blog? Here are the things you’ll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.

They’re not hard, but you do need to make some choices, which will affect your future. No pressure.

Brand Your Blog A Step-By-Step Guide

Do you want the worksheet that goes with this training?

I’ve created a worksheet to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Then once you’re in the library, navigate to the blogging section and look for the worksheet called “Brand Elements.”

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Brand your blog: a step-by-step guide

I have blogged for a long time. I don’t know if any of you have followed for the entire journey (like…more than a decade) but if you have you may be aware of a few domain changes, a blog merge, a big old switch from Blogger to WordPress, and then a rebrand.

This is where we are today. Post rebrand.

OK, so there are loads of reasons why I’ve made these decisions along the way. Some strategic, some necessary, some whims but the rebrand was the most important move I made.

The reason?

I needed to. I was a casual lifestyle blogger from start and I wanted to transition into a professional writer. My blog brand (or lack thereof) was holding me back.

Was I doing anything wrong? No. But I needed to make a change.

Elements of a brand

Branding is an interesting science mixed with art but there are consistent elements when you’re looking to brand your blog.

These are all things you’ll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.

  • Memorable name (not clever)
  • An easy-to-remember (and spell) URL
  • Tagline (what you do and who you serve)
  • Colour palette
  • Branded graphics (like a logo)
  • Consistent fonts and image use
  • Writing voice
  • Blog topics and keywords
  • Publishing schedule

Elements of a brand free worksheet

Do you want the worksheet that goes with this training?

I’ve created a worksheet to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Then once you’re in the library navigate to the blogging section and look for the worksheet called “Brand Elements.”

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When I knew I needed a rebrand I put it off for a while. I was overwhelmed. There were so many decisions to make and I didn’t know what the right choices were. Or even if there were right choices. I hummed and hawed over all the details and then I reached a decision: I needed help. So I got help.

I hired a graphic designer who could help me bring my ideas to life. It was a huge relief to have some of the load off my shoulders and once that decision was made, the rebrand happened in a couple months.

Here’s what I outsourced: colour pallet, logo design, font choices, and template design. This allowed me to focus on the foundation of my brand and while I was still part of the process, the load wasn’t so heavy.

This may not be the right decision for you but it was the right one for me.

Why do you want to brand your blog?

A brand lets people know who you are and what you do.

Readers new to your site will only stay if you make it easy. If they have to think then they’ll leave. If they’re confused they’ll leave.

By having a clear brand, readers will know what to expect. If they like what you do, they’ll stick around. They may even subscribe to your email list.

You might not want to brand your blog. You might not have to—it depends what your blogging goals are. Do you have goals? Why are you blogging?

If you need help setting goals, here’s a good place to start.

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And here are a few goal ideas

  • Gain more website traffic
  • Gain more email subscribers
  • Meet and network with other bloggers/influencers
  • Earn revenue
  • Increase personal expertise
  • Increase platform

If it helps, here are a few of my goals

  • First, I want people to think of me as a professional writer
  • I want my website to look and feel professional at a glance
  • By keeping a blog I will demonstrate my writing skills
  • I want my website and blog to get me freelance work.
  • Long-term goals include growing my platform, getting an agent and publishing a book with a traditional publisher

No pressure, right?

What you need to know

Before you brand your blog there are some other things you need to know, unrelated to branding. However, if you don’t know these things then your branding efforts may be in vain.

  • Your target audience
  • What problem are you solving for your target audience?
  • Your blog’s focus (also called a niche…what do you write about?)
  • Your email opt-in (yes you need one)

I know this seems a bit out of order but I know people love jumping into the “fun” stuff first. You know, the logo and colour palette. So I covered them first.

But I hope you understand making these larger, cornerstone decisions are what will allow your brand to communicate to your target audience in the way you intend.

Brand your blog

How it has gone for me

Since my blog rebrand I have grown into the design. It didn’t fit me right away. I felt like it was too flashy and self-important. It took some getting used to it.

I also had to retrain myself to write about my five chosen topics. This was a huge restriction compared to my previous anything goes approach.

So I went slow. And I stalled while battling self-doubt and insecurity.

And then I went for it. I made a plan, I set goals (and spoke them aloud) and I grew into my brand. Is it working?

Well, I’m on the way. I’m sticking to the plan and I’m seeing some results. Do I have a book deal? Still working on it.

Ready to brand your blog? Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help.

Want to brand your blog? Here are the nine things you'll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Want to brand your blog? Here are the nine things you'll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.
Want to brand your blog? Here are the nine things you'll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.