Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! Rethinking my online strategy


I’ve been through a fair amount on this platform-building journey, from my first hesitant steps, through my experience of being hacked, and my triumphant return to the blogosphere.  I think it’s time that I took a little more control of my online life rather than letting it control me.

To this end, I’ve retooled my blogging schedule.  I’ll only be posting twice weekly now, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Tuesdays (starting next week) for my learning and development category, and Thursdays for all things Writerly Goodness (it’s a grab bag folks!).  Fridays will be set aside for any guest blogs and other special events.

The truth is that I really have to get back to my novel.  If I don’t have a product, what’s the point of all this platform development?

Back in April I partook of Robert Lee Brewer’s Platform Challenge.  I’ve learned a lot from the experience and made a lot of online friends through the continually evolving Wordsmith Studio community.

Recently, I also volunteered to help develop Author Salon’s social media campaign.  With working, critiquing, curating, blogging, and hopefully writing, my schedule’s full enough.  I’m learning and growing though, as a writer and in social media.  As Christina Katz wrote, if it’s not painful, you’re not growing.

Actually, what she wrote was:

If you are frustrated to the point of tears or total exasperation, then wow, you must really be taking risks and stretching yourself. Good for you!

Think I’m getting there 😛

For the next six weeks, I’m participating in We Grow Media’s How to Build Your Author Platform course delivered by Dan Blank.  I’m hoping to learn how to make more efficient use of online tools to recapture some of my precious writing time.

Today, however, I want to share some pearls of online wisdom I’ve learned over the course of the past few months:

From Nathan Bransford:

  • When you post something to Facebook or G+, the link that you copy into your status will be embedded.  Once the post shows up, you can delete the pesky link and use the space to say something more apropos of your witty authorial persona.
  • Render unto Twitter that which is Twitter’s.  In short, if you tweet a lot, don’t link your Twitter feed to Facebook.  I experienced the negative side of this earlier this year, when a friend joined Twitter and I saw his half of every Twitter conversation he had.  It was excruciating clutter, but because he was a friend, I didn’t say anything.  He isn’t the “hey, you’ve got a booger in your nose” or a “that dress makes you look like a hoochie mama” kind of friend.  Sorry Dan.

From Kristin Lamb:

  • Don’t spam your friends.  Though tools like Hootsuite make it very convenient to post to multiple social media at multiple times, don’t do it unless you’re there to engage anyone who might respond.  Twitter is about having a conversation, forming a community.  If you’re automating you posts and someone replies to you or retweets saying that they liked it, you have no way to engage them if you’re not actually on line to respond.  Prove you’re not a robot?  Only post/tweet/share when you’re on line.  Got a day-job?  Tough.

Other points of etiquette:

  • Got published?  Yippee!  But I don’t need to see the same post every five minutes.  If I’m interested, I’ll check it out, but I find that half my Twitter feed consists of people trying to promote their books.  It becomes a visual kind of white noise and I tend to ignore those tweets after a while.  Pace your promo posts, and again, try to do it when you’re online to respond to any enquiries.
  • In the same vein: be professional.  In the early stages of any platform building effort, it can seem like you’re not getting anywhere.  It takes time.  Sometimes years.  Be patient.  If every time you post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, or any of the other social media sites, you’re practically begging people to “share, please share” it smacks of desperation.  It’s off-putting.  If you write honestly and put out quality material, people will share of their own accord.  Again, it takes time to build a solid following.
  • If you’re interested in proposing a guest blog for someone and they’ve posted guidelines, treat them as seriously and professionally as you would submission guidelines to a magazine or journal.  Read the guidelines and follow them.  Respect the blogger you want to guest post for.
  • The other side of that coin is that if you’ve entered into an agreement, informal as it may be, to host a guest blog, or to interview someone, treat it with as much respect as a written contract.  If you can’t, for whatever reason, hold up your end of the deal, be up front and address the issues with your guest or interviewee.  If you have to decline after receiving the interview transcript or post, then do so in a timely manner.  Pretend you’re a publisher, because that’s what you’re doing when you host guests or conduct interviews, and treat your guest or interviewee as you would like to be treated if your positions were reversed.

It’s the golden rule.  Be polite.  Be professional.  Show respect.  You’ll be amazed how those three simple phrases will transform your online life and how much more quickly your platform will grow as a result.

Ok.  Kicking the soap box off to the side now 🙂

There might be some additional changes coming in the future as the result of Dan Blank’s course.  I’ve been considering a thematic revamp of the blog, but I want to hold off until I have some feedback.

On that note, if you have any of that for me (feedback) please feel free to comment.

How are your platform development efforts going?  Have there been bumps, or ruts in the road?  What have to done to work through these issues?  Do you have a plan moving forward?  Do tell 🙂

Writerly Goodness, signing off.

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21 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! Rethinking my online strategy

  1. Thanks for the tip about erasing the link after the post has been embedded. I wondered about that!

    You have lots of good lessons here. I have been “doing” social media for two years (I think) and it’s been a slow grow for me, but I’ve never been absolutely frazzled. I don’t LIKE being frazzled! I continue to learn and slowly things fall into place. It’s okay with me that way, because I feel like you. I need to write and have a reason for all the social media! Fabulous post!!

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  2. It can be overwhelming, Melanie. I’m so excited for you that you’re taking Dan’s course… he has lots of great info on his blog! I just disconnected my twitter feed from Facebook, it’s been something I’ve worried about since I connected them, so Nathan’s quote pushed me into action! I know I tweet a lot and I don’t want to annoy anyone!

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    • Tonight’s the first night! I will definitely be reporting on all the good learnings 🙂 Nathan’s post, some months back, really opened my eyes to good netiquette.
      Thank you for commenting and I’m glad you gleaned 🙂

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  3. I needed this post today, Melanie! I may not have a blog post this week at all. I’m knee-deep in novel revisions and running behind (re the goal I set for myself, but still). I have guest posts set up for the next couple of weeks, so that will help. But these are great and timely tips because I was just at the point of feeling that the whole social media thing is controlling me, not the other way around. I will bookmark and save this to read again. Thank you!

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    • I’m so glad it was helpful, Gerry! My own struggle with the whole work/life/creative balance thing has lasted months. It’s still a work in progress, but I hope that my more recent changes have put me on the right path. Wrastle that angel! Cheering you on!

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  4. Brilliant! I agree 200% with everything you said. My goal is to post 1-3 times a week now. I can’t wait to read what you glean from your newest platform building foray. I’m spreading this post thickly around my virtual world. Thanks for this.

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    • Thank you Lara! You are so kind. And you work so hard for your writing community, virtual and otherwise! I’m glad that this has struck home with so many of the #MNINB/WS Studio people. I think many of us ramped up and just kept going. Moderation in all things. I’ve found the fulcrum and will strike a balance soon. Will definitely be blogging my We Grow Media experience 🙂

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  5. Melanie, I can’t but agree completely with you. About a month or so ago, I suddenly dived into the swamp of desperation, because I was too busy reading, following, commenting, sharing and so on, nice things others have written. Somehow, I lost the satisfaction and happiness I used to feel when I used to be solitary writing :-). The bad side of it is that whenever one disappears from the social media for a couple of days, people tend to forget about her/him. Balance is very hard, indeed. I think your decision to blog twice per week is a very good one – thus, you will keep blogging regular and your followers will not lose sight of you, and you will still have some time to “mind your other business”, which is writing.

    Thanks for sharing such a nice post with us.
    Best, MK

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  6. I definitely understand about needing to work on your novel. I’m trying to get ahead on my blog posts so that I can focus on the novel in November. I think I technically can’t participate in Nanowrimo since it’s a WIP, but that’s alright. I’m still looking forward to dedicating a period of time to getting the novel done. In January I had a goal to get the first draft done by December. We’ll see. . . . 😀

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  7. Thanks for sharing this, Melanie! I’m glad that you’re stepping back and focusing on your novel. It was helpful to learn about all your tips (esp. the Google+ link one). I’m guilty of using Hootsuite, so I need to make sure I don’t abuse its functions, too.

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