Four 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.

Four Decisions Every Writer Needs to Make

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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.

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.

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

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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!

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

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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Make Stronger Connections with Your Ideal Clients

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

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

Make Stronger Connections with Your Ideal Clients

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!

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 with your tribe.

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.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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Get Your Freelance Business Noticed

Getting your freelance business noticed is more important than ever, whether you’re new to freelancing or a wisened vetran.

Get Your Freelance Business Noticed

Get your freelance business noticed

Are you struggling to to stand out in a sea of multi-talented freelancers? Here are four ways to get your ideal clients to notice your freelance business.

Identify your target market

When you first start out it’s easy to become a generalist freelancer. You’re so desperate for work you take any client or gig that comes your way. This type of scattered approach may work for a while. However, it prevents you from developing streamlined processes because you spend so much time switching gears from one job to the next. It’s important to take a strategic, targeted approach if you want people to notice your freelance businsess.

Think about who your ideal clients are and how you can best reach them. What social media platforms do they use? Which forms of advertising would best reach them? For your target market to notice you, you need to be able to appeal to them and make them want to find out more about your business and how you can help them.

Bonus tip: Here are three questions to ask to discover your ideal reader

Know your niche

Operating a small business in today’s gig economy means niching down and finding ways to specialize is more important than ever. Is your industry already saturated with similar-sounding buslinesses? If so, it may be time to get specific.

Try to identify how your business differs from your competitors, figure out what your unique selling proposition (USP) is. What can you do better than anyone else? Why do your current clients choose to work with you instead of someone else? Narrowing your services and pointing out your differentiators is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd.

Bonus tip: If you’re ready to work on your freelance business branding, here’s more about choosing a niche

Optimize your website

Having a website is a business requirement. To get your business noticed, your website needs to rank on search engine results pages so potential customers can discover you. Website optimization can be tricky and overwhelming, which is why many people choose to work with agencies such as Let’s Get Optimized.

Bonus tip: Here are seven essential freelance writer website elements

Engage with your ideal clients

A big piece of getting noticed online is by actually interacting with people. When used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool for freelance business owners, enabling them to engage with their followers and potential customers.

Bonus tip: Here are five tips for optimizing your social media profiles

Whether you're new to freelancing or a vetran ready to streamline your client base, getting your freelance business noticed is more important than ever.

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.

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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Get Noticed by Influencers on Twitter Using Lists

Using lists on Twitter is one of the best ways to get noticed by influencers (or anyone really). Serious! Here is a quick overview and tutorial plus best practices.

Get Noticed by Influencers on Twitter Using Lists

Get noticed by influencers on Twitter using lists

I know some users are freaked out by lists (why is someone adding me to a list? I don’t know them!). And I know others have had negative experiences with lists (they can be used for evil as well as for good). Howver, when used properly, Twitter lists are a wonderful resource and can help you grow your platform.

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the reasons freelancers, writers and freelance writers should use Twitter or lists so I won’t get into the sales pitch. Today I want to review a specific technique for getting on the radar of people you would like to meet.

I love this technique mostsly because it’s not creepy. It’s intentional, definitely, but not creepy.

The technique

I first learned this technique, and about Twitter lists, from Alexis Grant. She suggests creating a private “Notice-Me List” on Twitter and adding people who you want to notice you. Simple, right? I’m still using lists like this today and find them QUITE helpful.

Here’s the jist: create a private list on Twitter, figure out whose radar you want to get on to or who you want to meet and add their handles to the list. Make sure to pay attention to this list, and the tweets, and interact with tweets/people as it makes sense.

Wondering how to interact with tweets? Here are a few ideas.

  • Retweet tweets your followers would be interested in
  • Jump in on a conversation if you have something valuable to add
  • Are they asking for help? Can you help? Be helpful!
  • Be a literary citizen as much as possible (or in this case, a good Twitter citizen)

What not to do

  • Don’t be desperate. No begging for attention, no DMing and no trying too hard (be cool!)
  • Avoid asking for things. Don’t ask people to check out your website or if they hire freelancers (or asking for favours in general—you’re doing the favours here)
  • Don’t overdo it. Yes pay attention to the people on your list but try not to retweet every tweet or tag them too much. You want to get their attention in a positive way, a way that makes them want to check out your profile and perhaps follow you. If you overdo it you’ll just annoy them and end up blocked

Pretty simple, right? Figure out who you want to connect with on Twitter, then pay attention to their tweets, then be helpful/useful/fun/valuable. They may notice you, they may not. It may take a while, be patient. They may never @reply to you, that’s OK. But at some point, someone will start a conversation with you. They’ll be curious about who you are and what you’re about. Be ready.

And that’s how to get noticed on Twitter! Straightforward, right? While it may sound too simple to work I’ve practiced this technique for the past five years and I’m living proof that it works.

Using lists on Twitter is one of the best ways to get noticed by influencers (or anyone really). Here is a quick overview and tutorial + best practices.

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.

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

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Social Media Dangers You Should Be Aware Of

I spend a lot of time talking about why freelancers should be social online but there are a few social media dangers we need to pay attention to.

Social Media Dangers You Should Be Aware Of

Social media dangers to be aware of

As literary citizens, it’s important we don’t get swept up in the drama of the moment when we’re engaging online. Here are a few quick tips for avoiding the negative side of social media.

Social media is now seen as a must-have for many in business. It’s a fabulous marketing tool, which can allow you to build relationships with clients. It’s also good for networking and even for providing customer service. However, social media can also cause problems, so if you’re using it for business there are a few things to be aware of.

Getting too comfortable

Social media gives you the tools you need to get a little more intimate with people. You can casually and closely engage them, having conversations and creating discussions. However, sometimes this means you can get a bit too familiar and forget your professionalism. It’s smart to keep some distance between your personal opinions and the things that you put on social media. For example, avoid engaging in heated discussions or debates!

Experiencing social media overwhelm

It can be a lot to handle when you’re trying to manage several social media accounts. There’s a lot of information coming at you, and many people trying to interact with you. Even when you have some distance between your personal life and your business’s social media, it can be difficult to manage.

Are you experiencing social overload? Here are some strategies for dealing with social media overwhelm without quitting social media altogether.

Accidently spreading fake news

Sharing things on social media is extremely easy. With just one click, or sometimes two, you can share something with all of your followers. Sometimes this is convenient, but it also means you can unthinkingly share fake news without taking the time to check its veracity. Learn how to spot fake news and help to prevent it from spreading.

Infographic Design By University of Southern California

Other Posts You May Like

I spend a lot of time talking about why freelancers should be social online but there are a few social media dangers we need to pay attention to. As literary citizens, it's important we don't get swept up in the drama of the moment when we're engaging online. Here are a few quick tips for avoiding the negative side of social media.

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