Last week I mentioned that I was moving away from more traditional construction DIY projects and focusing on those that could have an actual impact upon your freelance writing business.
Starting with how to install a WordPress theme on your freelance writing blog last week, this week we're going to take an introductory look into how to promote your freelance writing blog using 5 different social media tools.
N.B. - this post is meant to act as an introduction into social media and its uses, aimed primarily at those freelance writers who have just set up their own blog. It includes what I consider to be the 5 most useful social media tools for beginners, but it by no means covers how to use them in an in-depth manner, acting as more of a way to get started and help your new blog get off the ground.
- Twitter - if you haven't already got a Twitter account, go get one now. Arguably the most important social media tool out there at the moment, there are two golden rules to always abide by when using Twitter.
Firstly, you should never just tweet about your latest blog post and secondly, you need to use it as though you were having brief - but helpful - conversations. The idea is to share and discuss information with your followers so that they enjoy tweeting with you, meaning that they will not only recommend that others follow you, but that they will also be more likely to read your business related tweets.
- Facebook - I'm going to be honest here and say that I don't use Facebook for business. Yeah, I've got an account that I use (sparingly) on a personal level, but as I'm not a massive fan of it for keeping in touch with friends, I've only used it minimally for business.
However, I know people out there who use it regularly for business purposes and who see massive benefits, which is why I've included it in this list.
If you're planning on using Facebook to promote your freelance writing blog, there's no need to take out a business account just yet (or at all, in fact). Start by setting up some groups on interesting topics related to your niche and begin promoting them so that their member count increases. When your groups have several members, you've got yourself a captive audience and whilst not really suitable for promoting your freelance writing services on a general or direct basis, if you've got something in particular to offer on your blog - an e-book, for example - then you can expect to see a steady stream of traffic from Facebook.
- LinkedIn - I love LinkedIn. I've only started using it in the last 6 months, but I think it's an absolutely fantastic social media tool and a must for any freelance writer, regardless of whether they've been writing for 2 weeks or 20 years.
LinkedIn works by acting as a way of keeping in touch all of your business associates, allowing you to contact people who you have worked, or are working, with.
Most importantly, it has a fantastic 'recommend' feature, where you can recommend people who you have worked with and conversely, receive recommendations yourself, instantly helping to get your name - and therefore your freelance writing blog - noticed more.
When you start using LinkedIn, look for everyone who you have worked with in the past and add them. Then, just like in your Facebook groups, you've got a captive audience - made up of people who have enjoyed working with you in the past and benefited from your services previously - to begin promoting your freelance writing blog to. Simple.
- StumbleUpon / Digg / Delicious - I've grouped these together (no doubt much to the dismay of StumbleUpon, Digg or Delicious aficionados), as the way I see it is if you look to use one of them, you can use any of them with relative ease.
The idea behind all three of them is to share interesting and informative content from around the web. Now, the reason that they can benefit you and help with the promotion of your freelance writing blog is that you can gain followers to your profiles (which should feature the details of your blog, as well as all of your details as a freelance writer) and become reputable amongst the community as someone who provides quality content.
Therefore, if you provide informative content on freelance writing, you'll soon develop a loyal following who, if interested in the freelance writing news you've been providing, will also be interested in your freelance writing blog.
- Blogs - although they may have developed away from the whole social media scene, blogs are still, to all intents and purposes, a social media tool - and possibly the most useful.
When you're first starting out your freelance writing business, you need to be getting involved in as many blog discussions as you can, making sure that your input into the discussion is worthwhile and that you're not commenting for the sake of getting your name out there.
It's also worthwhile noting that regardless of what you may hear from Search Engine Optimisation experts / gurus / gods, you don't have to comment on blogs that are only 'do follow' (there are two types of blogs - those which have an effect on your ranking in search engines if you use the comments box to fill in your blog's details - known as do 'follow' - and those which have no effect on your search engine rankings whatsoever - known as 'no follow').
This reason behind this is simple and as long as you fill in your details properly and your comment is beneficial to the conversation, people will begin checking out your blog naturally.
It's important to remember that social media tools aren't to be used solely for promoting your own freelance writing services. There's no doubting that they're a fantastic way for promotion, but it's important that you use them in a way that's going to offer value to others, as without this, you're doing nothing more than providing random pieces of information that no one particularly cares about.
Furthermore, don't expect overnight results. Take things slowly, gain members or followers and most importantly, listen to what is being said about your business. You might not be able to see instant in, for example, the number of people coming to your blog, but due to the nature of social media websites, you'll be able to see instantly what someone thinks about it. Whether it's positive or negative, it allows you to act on it and ensure that your freelance writing blog is heading in the right direction.