Photo by Atikh Bana on Unsplash
You've written a great article, but how do you get the world to pay attention?
There is a LOT of content online. People scroll past hundreds of articles a day. It's no longer enough to write great content and hope for discovery. You also need an effective promotional strategy.
In this article we'll explore some free tactics to help make your articles and stories stand out from the crowd.
1. The Basics: Title, Images and Writing
The first thing to consider is your article itself. Have you thought of a title that is likely to be the subject of a search query? Do you have an enticing subtitle? Does the article contain information people will find compelling?
Coming up with a good title can be the most difficult part of writing. Sometimes effective titles are provocative, and even borderline offensive. You can practice writing good titles with status updates and tweets. Experiment with language that seems to promote engagement.
Once you have decided on a good title, you need to pick a dynamic image. Free images are available at Unsplash.com. And don't just use one. Sprinkle them throughout your article.
Don't subject your readers to intimidating blocks of text. Write short paragraphs and give your readers plenty of photos. Keep your articles breezy, entertaining, and fun.
2. Create a Facebook Author Page
You can't just write an article and expect the internet to discover it. You have to share your article to all of your social media platforms. A good place to start is a free Facebook author page (click here to see mine).
Your Facebook author page takes only a few minutes to create. Having a page allows people to find you online, and it gives you a place to share your article.
There is no law against sharing your article multiple times. You can share your article across many platforms, and then come back at a later date and share it again.
Also, be sure to encourage your followers to select the "see first" option under the "following" tab. This ensures that your posts will appear on the timeline of your followers and not get lost in an overload of posts.
Social media management plans like Hootsuite allow you to schedule posts on a variety of social media platforms. There are many programs, but I mention Hootsuite because it has a free option.
The advantage of a social media management program is that it allows you to spend one day a month scheduling all your social media posts. This is much more efficient than taking the time to log in to all your platforms to compose a new update with links over and over again.
Be sure to utilize relevant hashtags (#) for your posts. Trending hashtags create yet another avenue of visibility.
There are no lone wolves in writing or in nature, because the lone wolf starves to death. If you want to survive, you better surround yourself with a healthy pack.
Helping other writers means reading, liking, and commenting on their stories as well as your own. If you provide a link to another writer's page, they're more likely to share your work on their social media ("Look who gave me a link, I'm so thrilled!").
The more support you give to fellow writers, the more eyeballs will make their way to your work. If you really want to make a fellow author happy, pick up and review their books like I did here.
Connect with other writers via email. Emails are free, and you can make wonderful connections just by sending a quick note that says, "I enjoyed your story."
5. Develop Your Social Media Platforms
Social media is critical to the success of the modern writer. Think of these platforms as a microphone that allows you to broadcast your latest work. The more followers you have, the louder your microphone.
Take advantage of #writerslift to help you grow your following.
You need profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram at the very least. Once you start efficiently managing your profiles with your social media management program and good content, you will begin to gain followers over time.
6. Share Your Articles to Facebook Groups
Don't just share your articles to your author page and your wall, share it to relevant groups as well. There are hundreds of writer's groups on Facebook, and if you get just one or two views from each share, that results in hundreds of total views. In the best case scenario, the article might go viral and you'll wind up with thousands or millions of views.
Sharing articles to groups requires organization. It's good to maintain a spreadsheet of all your groups. The other option is shelling out for the paid option of your social media management program, but it can be done for free if you're organized.
Many groups require that you request membership, and there can be a delay between signing up and getting approved. Also, don't post content that is irrelevant to the group or you'll get banned.
7. A Web Page and Email
It's pretty tough to be a writer in this day and age without a web page. A web page does require minimal cost, but there are free options on Wordpress.
If you're intimidated by the idea of creating your own web page, start with a free Wordpress platform and work on it until you feel comfortable, then upgrade to a paying plan. Plans start for as little as $50 a year, and with minimal advertising, these pages pay for themselves.
Good old fashioned email remains a great way to connect with readers. Bulk mail services like MailChimp allow you to send mass emails for free to thousands of people.
MailChimp also features a plug-in that you can put on your web page which allows people to sign up for your email list. My web page is called Streets Of Lima, and you can see the mailing list subscription box in the right hand sidebar.
It's important to have a strong promotional strategy. You haven't completed an article until you've done all the necessary promotional work to get it read.
Think of promoting your articles like nursing a seedling. If your article takes root and grows strong, it can take on a life of its own. That kind of success ensures regular views, and will also help to lift up all your other articles.