If I write it, they will come.
If this has been your motto for marketing your work, you need to stop lying to yourself.
As declared in part one of the “Write Like a Boss” series, to be a writer all you have to do is write. And the more you write the more you’ll get clear on the type of writer you are, as discussed in part two of the series. To be a writer who makes money and makes a difference, you need an audience and to find that audience you’re going to have to do more than just write. You must market your work. People can’t read your writing if they don’t know it exists.
So many of the women writers I work with struggle with the idea of self-promotion. They believe that marketing their work is the same as bragging about their talent. But as the late, great Muhammad Ali once said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up!”
I’ve discussed before what I believe is the key to successful self-promotion, which is knowing your value, voice, and vision. Knowing your value, I think, is the most important. Know what your work adds to your readers.
Instead of feeling guilty for telling someone to read your articles, books, or blog posts, you should feel guilty if you don’t share them! Think about it, if you have written something that is going to educate, motivate, empower, inspire or even entertain someone, why would you not share it? Why are you keeping this valuable work from the people who want and need it?
How to Build Buzz
Perhaps you have no qualms about promoting your work, but you just don’t know how.
I’ve shared before 7 Ways to Build Buzz for Your Blog, Book, or Brand, but to review, here are some of the best ways to promote your work:
Email — Start an email list. Share valuable information with this email list often and promote your products or services to this list occasionally. A good rule to follow is give, give, give, ask.
Social Media — Some people say you need to be on all social media platforms all the time. While this would be great, so would a world of unicorns and cupcakes trees. Most people simply can’t do this. So focus on the platforms that you enjoy and the platforms that your ideal reader/client frequents.
Guest Blogging — Write guest posts for blogs that your ideal reader/client reads and promote the book, blog, or service you have to offer in your bio.
Media Coverage — Traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, TV and radio can still be great sources of promotion. Reach out to the editors and producers in charge of planning content and request coverage. (Pro tip: Don’t approach media outlets saying they should feature you on their show or in their publication because you’re so awesome. Focus on the value you can offer their audience.) For tips on landing TV segments read “How to Land Your First TV Appearance” and “Tips for Your First TV Appearance.”
Networking — I know you probably don’t want to, but you’re going to have to step away from your computer and go talk to people IRL. Attend networking events that will attract your ideal reader/client and go schmooze a bit! You can read all of my networking tips in the post “How to Network Like a Boss.”
Speaking Engagements — Now that you’re feeling froggy, why not try to land some speaking engagements, too. You can promote your brand or blog and even sell your books at the event. Check out the post “Build Your Brand With Speaking Engagements” for tips on how to land speaking opportunities to help build buzz about your passion projects.
Live Events — If you can’t land an opportunity to speak at a conference or to a local organization or company, create an opportunity of your own by hosting a live event. If you don’t want to host in-person events, you could always host virtual events such as webinars. You could also just host a networking event centered on the theme of your brand, book, or blog.
Your Ideal Reader
Now I’ve been talking a lot about reaching out to your ideal reader or client and chances are you’ve been thinking, “Who the heck is my ideal reader?!”
No worries. I’m going to help you with that, too.
Your ideal reader is someone who is not just a follower but also a fan. Your ideal reader is that person (who’s not your mom or favorite aunt) who not only reads your work but shares it with others. Your ideal reader is that person who promotes you and all you do better and more frequently than you promote yourself.
If you don’t yet have a specific person in mind that is your ideal reader, look inside for help. Think of the person you used to be before you grew, evolved, and transformed into the person you are today. That’s the kind of person who would benefit most from the stories and information you have to share. For example, let’s say you are a body positive fashion and fitness blogger striving to help plus-size women feel confident, stylish and chic, as well as healthy. Think about the person you were before you felt the confidence you now enjoy. Think back to when you hated everything in your closet or had no idea how to put items together to create flattering and fashionable looks.Think back to when you wouldn’t try yoga or running because some idiot told you that you had to be skinny to do so. Think back to when you longed to feel good about your wardrobe and yourself. That person that you were back then, that’s your ideal reader.
When you’re promoting your work go where your ideal reader would be. Period.
So let’s review:
- You must market your work. People can’t read your writing if they don’t know it exists.
- Use email, social media, guest blogging, media coverage, networking, speaking engagements, and live events to promote your work.
- Identify your ideal reader and keep her in mind as you market your work.
In part four of the “Write Like a Boss” series I’ll discuss seven ways you can make money with your writing. Be sure to sign up for the See Jane Write mailing list to be notified when the next post publishes.
And if you want to dig even deeper, join me Tuesday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m. CT for the Write Like a Boss webinar. I’ll go over the content covered in this series and more and I’ll answer any specific questions you have about writing and blogging. Space is limited. Sign up here.