We had a packed house Saturday at the See Jane Write workshop, How to Build Buzz.
During this free workshop I shared with attendees the story of how I’ve grown See Jane Write from a small women’s writing group and BlogSpot blog to an award-winning business.
It all started on March 24, 2011 when I gathered with a group of about 14 women at a local Mexican restaurant. Most of these women I had never met before, but these women and I all had one thing in common — we all loved to write. And I’d gathered them there that evening to ask them what they wanted and needed from a women’s writing group. This meeting would be the first See Jane Write event.
Two months later See Jane Write hosted a workshop on Twitter that drew 40 women.
Two months after that we hosted a panel discussion that drew 75 women.
See Jane Write was in full swing!
Eventually I started to get quite a bit of attention because of See Jane Write and even started winning awards. In 2012 I received the SMART Award from the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, an award given to local women who are doing innovative things in business, education, or the arts. In 2015 I was named one of the city’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Birmingham Business Journal and just this year Southern Living magazine included me on its list of Innovators Changing the South, a list that included the likes of the iconic Dolly Parton and actress Reese Witherspoon.
After this recognition people started to ask me my secret. They wanted to how I was getting so much attention for myself and my brand. And I told them, “I know how to make a scene!” In other words, I got really good at self-promotion.
If you’re still stuck in the mindset that self-promotion is somehow dirty or wrong, read this.
Go on! I’ll wait…
Now here are the seven ways I build buzz and make a scene!
When I came up with the idea to launch See Jane Write I reached out to any and every woman in town I thought might be interested in such a group. I compiled my list by looking for local bloggers, by checking the bylines of local news stories, and noting names on the mastheads of local magazines. I even read through the attendee lists of local events that I thought might attract female writers or bloggers. After compiling a huge list of names, I used my reporting skills to find email addresses for these women.
I used this list to invite people to that first event, but I’ve continued to build that list over the past five years. You can grow your list by using lead magnets or opt-in incentives. And be sure you’re sending your email list valuable content on a regular basis and using intriguing subject lines to urge them to open and read your email.
Don’t neglect growing your email list. Growing your social media following is important, too, but you don’t own social media. Algorithm changes can and do affect if your followers actually see your content. So make growing your list your priority.
Use social media to build buzz for your blog, book, or brand. Be sure you’re being consistent on at least three platforms — platforms that you actually enjoy and platforms that your ideal reader or client would frequent.
Hosting a Facebook group was instrumental in the growth of See Jane Write as it was a great way for female writers and bloggers in my city to connect with one another even if they couldn’t make it out to all of the events. When I started the Facebook group for See Jane Write, the women in the group instantly started building friendships and supporting one another. As a result, this made my movement stronger as it made them eager to attend any See Jane Write event that they could because they wanted to meet their new virtual friends in real life. The Facebook group also made the women feel truly connected to See Jane Write. It gave them a sense of ownership. See Jane Write was no longer just my group; it was their group, too. This sense of ownership meant the women of See Jane Write were telling all their friends about this group and thus building more buzz for my brand and my blog.
Guest Blogging & Freelancing
Guest blogging and freelancing for other blogs, websites, and publications is a great way to grow your blog traffic. Just be sure you’re writing for sites your ideal reader or customer would frequent and the you’re including a bio that directs people to your website or blog.
I write a monthly column for B-Metro magazine and my one-sentence bio at the end of each column reads, “Javacia is a freelance writer and founder of See Jane Write, an organization for Birmingham women who write and blog. Learn more at SeeJaneWriteBham.com.” I’ve had several people at See Jane Write events tell me they found out about See Jane Write because of my B-Metro column.
Reach out to local and national media outlets to get featured. Be sure you’re contacting the right person and in your pitch remember to stay focused on the value you have to offer the media outlet’s readers or viewers. For tips on landing TV segments read “How to Land Your First TV Appearance” and “Tips for Your First TV Appearance.”
Every time I attend a networking event, I recruit a new See Jane Write member. You can read all of my networking tips in the post “How to Network Like a Boss.”
Shortly after I started See Jane Write I started using speaking engagements to spread the word about the group. Just two months after our launch I spoke at an event called Ignite Birmingham about why I started See Jane Write. Today speaking engagements have become a source of income for me, too. 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.
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.
Live events are the cornerstone of the See Jane Write brand. If you’re an author you can host an event at which you discuss your writing process, how you got a book deal, or how you self-published. If you’re a blogger or business owner, host an event at which you share valuable information about your niche.
And after presenting that valuable information, you can make your pitch to make a sale, which is exactly what I did Saturday!
After sharing my seven strategies for building buzz, I let the audience know that over the next year I’ll be hosting workshops on all seven of these strategies and much more. And I let them know that the best way to make sure they wouldn’t miss any of these events was to become an official member of See Jane Write!
You can learn more about See Jane Write membership at seejanewritebham.com/membership.
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a member, but you’re not sure if it’s the right fit for you, let’s talk about it. Click here to schedule a 15-minute strategy session with me for this week. During our chat we’ll discuss what your goals are for the next 12 months and how See Jane Write could help you accomplish them. I’ll explain to you all of the benefits of becoming an official See Jane Write member and answer any questions you may have about the organization and the membership program.
Enrollment for See Jane Write’s membership program closes August 1.