What good is writing if it will never be read? Ok, maybe I shouldn’t start with that question because there are those writers write for the purpose of expelling their demons, or to make a record of their day. Many of those with journals and diaries never want anyone else to read their work. I am writing to those writers, like myself, who not only write for pleasure but also write for a living.
One of the biggest questions I am asked is: “How do you get your work out there?” and my answer: It’s all about finding the right conversation.
You’re a writer.
What you do is share stories– A story teller.
The one thing that every story teller needs to be able to tell their story is an audience of listeners. I am telling you a story right now. You are my audience. You’re reading with your eyes, the words I’m saying with my fingers, and you’re listening with your understanding.
I’m sharing with you a piece of a conversation that you’re interested in. My story is either interesting to you because you are a writer and where looking for something about writing, or because my story compliments a conversation you have been having and have been interested in for some time now.
This is the key to getting your work out there. YOU my writer friend have a story to tell, and I promise you that there’s a huge audience out there that in interested in your story. There are people, editors, publishing companies and a massive audience that want to pay you for your story.
NOW, how do you find them?
One way is getting your hands on a Writer’s Market Book and researching the markets. This is not an option to me, it is a MUST DO. I don’t know why so many writers have told me ‘It’s not for me’, ‘it’s just too tedious to go through all those pages’, or ‘It’s too hard’. Stop it! You’re a writer. It takes work to make a living and that is true for writers. If you decided to become a writer because it is the easy life, that you should probably stop thinking you’ll be able to live off your writing, because it takes real work to make a living writing full time.
OK,now that that is out of the way,
Another way to get your story out there is using social media. This is the part of love the most. I can tell you right now with total confidence,
WRITERS HAVE NOT SCRATCHED THE SURFACE OF THE POTENTIAL OF WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CAN DO FOR THEM!
This next part of ‘My Story’ you are going to love, and I usually charge good money for this, so I hope you share it with every writer you know.
Social Media is all about conversation. You use Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc, because you like to share your story. There are millions of conversations happening on these social media outlets every single second, or every single hour, of every single day. The amazing thing about these conversations in the Social Media world is that they never end. I shared a picture of a great cup of coffee I had during a coffee tour I was on for the Travel Channel a year ago, and I got a comment this morning about it, which started up that conversation again.
Those who are interested in a specific conversation, can discover something you said about that conversation they are interested in months and even years later and bring your little piece of the conversation into their conversation stream, which is taking place in their social conversation currently, which makes your story relevant again and new and fresh.
This is one of the most brilliant things about using all the avenues of social media possible, because each social media, is a different social stream, flowing with a million different social conversations. How many of those social streams would be interested your conversation piece?
How do you find the conversations that are looking for your story?
Let’s take coffee as an example.
I write a coffee blog called TastingThePlanet, I also write a weekly column on coffee in the Examiner. Since I knew that I was getting paid for my blog posts, and I was also getting paid for my column, with bonuses based on the number of viewer traffic I pulled in, I knew that I had to get creative with my articles and how I was going to draw in readers.
The first thing I did was start a Facebook fan page for my TastingThePlanet. Why? Because every article I write about coffee can be posted there, for the fans of my Travel Blog to see. I did a search on Facebook for every coffee fan page I could find, every barista page, coffee interest page, and anyone who liked those pages.
Then I opened a twitter account @TasteThePlanet so I could start following everyone I knew that loved coffee. I followed every bean farmer I could find, every coffeehouse, roaster, barista, coffee lover, coffee magazine, barista competitions, and every one of their followers I could find.
And I would browse my new coffee friend’s pages to see what they were saying and posting and I would ‘Like’ some posts, and ‘Comment’ on others. In turn they realized that I had entered into their favorite conversation stream and was invested into the story being told.
Next, when I wrote my article or blog, I would post in on my Facebook or Twitter, and post the link in theirs too, with a short note about how I thought that they would enjoy this piece I wrote. I quickly noticed that my readership started going up.
Then I discovered Instagram. Which was a new a different way to share my story. Now I had the option of sharing pictures of amazing coffee’s I’d had a different coffeehouses and link those back to my article. It was amazing what this did. Now I had people who were my friends on Instagram also sharing their pics with me as well.
I created a Google+ account and found Communities. These are groups of people who all realize that they’re interested in a specific conversation and have created a social club based on a favorite topic, inside a massive social stream. Brilliant! So I joined the Coffee Community and the 8 other communities that had to do with, coffee, espresso, farming, roasting, etc. and in one night had over 100,000 new friends! That was in just one night using avenue of social media alone that wanted to talk about coffee, and now any time I posted something there I had the potential of reaching 100,000 new readers. It was up to me to grab them with my story headline.
It’s the same with Facebook fan pages, and groups.
Now for the cool stuff
I sold an article to a cigar magazine through a coffee article and gained 3,287 Subscribers and 47,000 readers in one article over 3 days, with this social media strategy in mind. Here’s how.
The article I originally wrote, ‘Cigars and Coffee: 2012’s Top 25 Cigars and the Coffee’s that compliment’
In this article I mention:
- 25 cigars- the makers, the farms, and a place to purchase them
- 25 coffee’s – the farms, roasters, where to get them
- The Magazine I got to 2012 Top 25 Cigars from.
On Instagram I posted pictures of these cigars and their complementing coffees. Then I linked it to my page.
On Facebook I posted the link to my article on my page and my TastingThePlanet page. I also posted the link on all the Coffee and cigar pages I could find.
On Google+ I did the same thing that I did with Facebook and added it to my communities.
With Twitter I posted my link and hash-tagged (#) Coffee, Cigar, Aficionado
I made sure to get the article link on the pages of every:
- Cigar Makers Page for each of the 25 cigars
- The Cigar’s Farmer page
- And any page celebrating any of the individual cigars.
- Pages for places that sold them
- The Cigar Magazine – With a special shout out.
- Each Coffee farmers page
- Each Roasters page
- Each Coffee fans page
- All Pages Celebrating Coffee
- And places to buy them
In all, for two hours of research, writing, and submitting time, I used 4 social medias, and posted my link into 50 social conversations, and with that alone my article passed in front of about 900,000 eyes, not counting the ‘Shares’, ‘Re-Tweets’ and shout outs I got back from each of those places tagged in my article. I’m still getting followers, subscribers, and readers from that article. The Cigar magazine called me and asked me to write the article for them.
And all that is really only the beginning of using and understanding the potential of using social media to promote your writing. I may sound like a lot of work, but as you reach out to more and more people, more and more people begin to follow you and that’s when it gets easier.
You have to remember that writing is work too.
I have so much more I could share on this, but I am in the process of finishing an e-book about Social Strategy right now and I don’t to turn this post into a book itself. Why e-book, because I am able to add live links throughout the book to lead the readers back to other helpful resources.
A few of the other benefits to jumping into this kind of conversation search is that while you are looking for great places to share your story, you’ll come across SO many other stories, which can lead to your next big story.
You’ll also reach editors that want to buy your story, get other writing opportunities, and make a tons of great friends.
I hope you enjoyed this post and got something out of it.
If you have questions about using social media for your specific ‘Conversation’ feel free to shoot me an email. Sam@SamTheWriter.com or message me on Facebook.
Also check out my Social Streams – and share yours as well.
Most of all, as a writer to a writer, I encourage you to Write, Write, Write! Write like you’re on fire, then submit.
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