Engaging Readers with Social Media
Margaret Miller and Reetta Raitanen asked me to write a post on the “Microblogging and Macroblogging” workshop from Ravencon. Microblogging is Twitter, and Macroblogging is a blog like this. With indie publishing exploding and forcing change on the publishing industry, writers of all flavors are having to learn how to do social media to sell their books. The old marketing methods like “repeat the message” not only don’t work with social media but can instead disengage readers. Who wants to receive a constant stream of “buy my book”? I’ve found it a frustrating process because there’s a lot of information on what not to do, but what to do to be successful is a little vague.
These were the ‘don’ts’ discussed by the panel:
- Don’t send “Buy My Book” tweets.
- Don’t blog about your writing.
The latter of those strikes me as a curious tip. I think the first thing every writer gravitates straight to is doing a blog of how-to tips. Obviously, those are going to appeal only to other writers, and not to future potential readers. Austin S. Comacho noted that we’re writers, so we have a wide variety of interests that we can talk about. But a little later, he also said he hadn’t had much success with blogs and was participating in reading groups on Facebook. And he is also blogging about — guess what? Writing!
It all keeps coming back to writing. Even ones who are well known like Bob Mayer, Kristen Lamb, and M.J. Rose have all gravitated to blogging about writing in some form or another. We do write every day, and some write all day, so it’s hard to ignore talking about it entirely since it’s so much a part of our lives. Maybe it’s not discussing how-tos, which tend to have an “article” flavor and only draw writers, but maybe something that would fit in with the writing but that readers would enjoy.
I’d like say there was some enlightening point in the workshop, but the above was the most exciting part. They wandered off on a tangent about Live Journal, and there were two writers who only used Twitter to send blog links to. No one answered what to tweet about or what to blog about, and it makes me think that maybe no one really totally knows. I was glad I wasn’t the only one who was clueless!
But it prompted a question: Are there writing topics that would appeal to both readers and writers? The how-tos are obviously very writer-focused, and reviews are time consuming because reading the book is involved. Post your opinion in the comments.
Meanwhile, here’s an info graphic from Copy Blogger on coming up with topics. Since this is being linked from another site, I’ve included a screen reader version below.
For screen readers:
The infographic contains 22 tips:
- Curation: Compile a list of 10 favorite blog posts from other blogs
- Group brainstorming: Ask some friends for ideas
- Ask your readers: Get some help from your readers by asking what they would like to read about
- Interview someone: Writing a few questions for someone else to answer is easier than turning out a whole post
- Let a guest write: Guest posts add content effortlessly to your blog.
- Best case studies – company, product or website to do a best case study on
- Worst case studies – company, product or website that you don’t like
- Review something: Pick a product or service and write what you like and dislike about it
- Share your success: Show people step by step how you got there.
- Share your failures: Write about your biggest challenges
- Relive the memories: Pick some of your most useful older posts and share them for new readers
Use name recognition: This method requires mashing two unrelated subjects into one post i.e., what Batman can teach you about blogging
- Movies: Popular movies are a great place to get ideas
- Television: Chose television shows your audience would be likely to watch
- Books: Use the author’s name or book title, but aim for fiction or poetry for more impact.
- Comics: Superheroes make great blog post themes.
- Top trends: Click Google trends to see what’s hot now.
- Celebrities: Any celebrity will do.
Find your muse. Sometimes it takes a little jump start to get your creativity flowing again.
- Take a walk: Breaking up the routine can help restart your brain.
- Watch a play: The atmosphere of a theatre can be very stimulating.
- Expand your cultural horizons: Visit an ethnic restaurant.
- Get personal. Tell a personal story on your blog.
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- Click to print (Opens in new window)
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