Guest Post: Building Your Writer Platform Online by Jennifer Mattern
February 9, 2009 by Lillie
Help me welcome freelance business writer and blogger Jennifer Mattern. I think you’ll find her guest post on building a writer platform helpful. At the end of the post, you will find a discount code to save $10 on her latest e-book.
5 Ways to Build Your Writer Platform Online
Whether you’re an author with an upcoming book to promote or a freelance writer needing to attract a constant stream of clients, it’s in your best interest to start developing your writer platform as early as possible. The Web makes building a writing platform (sometimes called an author platform) easier than you might think.
What is a Writer Platform?
A writer platform is simply the existing demand for your book, articles, or other forms of writing, before they’re produced. Let’s look at an author for example:
If they had no writer platform, there would be no existing demand for their book—very few people would know anything about it to anticipate its launch. If that author had developed an author platform, however, that demand would exist. Potential buyers would already know the author’s name, know what they write, and they would have that anticipation to buy (in the case of freelancers and nonfiction authors, that platform also builds trust in the writer’s expertise).
In other words, building a writer platform is a matter of promoting yourself as a writer, so people know, trust, and like you enough to want to buy what you sell later on.
Here are five things you can do to start building your own writer platform on the Web.
How to Build a Writing Platform Online
- Start a Blog—A blog is an excellent way to build an audience with a direct interest in your niche. For example, a freelance copywriter might start a blog evaluating advertising from others (commercials, print ads, slogans, etc.). For a blog to have real value in your writer platform, it needs to have a relatively large following. Because of this, you should start your blog well in advance of when you hope to reap the promotional benefits. Don’t have the time? Consider blogging as a guest blogger or staff blogger for a large blog in your niche (one where you’ll have access to subscribers to mention your book launch, services, etc. for promotional purposes if at all possible).
- Get Interviewed—A big part of building a writer platform is being publicly treated as an expert in your niche by others. One of the best, and easiest, ways to do this online is to secure interviews. Get bloggers to interview you, or consider audio interviews by pitching yourself and story ideas to relevant podcasts or Internet radio shows (try services like BlogTalkRadio to find audio interview opportunities). Want something steadier? Consider hosting your own radio show or podcast.
- Start an Email Newsletter—Newsletters are a wonderful online addition to your writer platform. Why? Because you get to build a regular subscriber list—people who follow what you say and who are potential buyers for any future products or services you may release. A newsletter has value as a part of an author platform, though, only if the subscriber base is significant. Another option is to advertise in, or write for, another newsletter in the niche.
- Use the Web as a Teaching Tool—Teaching others is a good way to demonstrate your knowledge and build trust and interest in your work. You can do this online by setting up email courses (such as through a simple autoresponder), by offering online coaching sessions, or even running webinars in your area of expertise.
- Get Published Online—Whether you traditionally write online or not, you can use Web-based publishing credits to build more exposure for your own name, therefore increasing interest in future projects. This can be especially important for print writers who have no existing search engine presence. For example, if you earn your living ghostwriting finance articles, having bylined credits on large finance and business websites can be attractive to your potential clients. Another option is to publish e-books or reports distributed online to promote the later release of a traditional book in the niche.
Opportunities to build and grow your writer or author platform on the Web are practically endless. Online publishing, social media (microblogging, social networking, etc.), and the rise of audio-visual promotional tools make the Web an ideal place to reach out to members of your target market, no matter what kind of writer you are.
About the Author
Jennifer Mattern is a freelance business writer and blogger behind AllFreelanceWriting.com and AllBookMarketing.com. She is also the author of the Web Writer’s Guide e-book, designed to help freelance writers launch a successful Web writing career.
Save $10 on the Web Writer’s Guide e-book by entering discount code “lillie” (without the quotes) during the next 30 days!