Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Writer's Media Roadmap

The Howard County Chapter of the Maryland Writer's Association had its first meeting of 2018 on January 18.  We were treated to an excellent presentation entitled "Creating Your Social Media Roadmap" by Tiffany Carter.  More than just an introduction to creating a media platform, Tiffany gave us some insight into how to make it really work for us. 

Here is just a bit of what she shared, starting with her approach of:  Platform - Schedule - Automate - Connect.

Platform - She listed six platforms as high priority for writers and authors: a personal blog, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram.  The advice was to pick two of these and maintain them well, rather than try to do them all at a shallow level.  She suggested the two most powerful platforms were: (1) having a website "home" with a personal blog and (2) an active presence on Goodreads.  

Schedule - But the emphasis regardless of platform was on consistency.  Pick the platforms you can engage with the most robustly.  Her advice was to create a schedule for posts/tweets/content and stick to it.  This ensures that followers and fans know when and where to find your content.  When is somewhat flexible, although she had recommendations (like posting once a day if doing Facebook or Linked In) she said the key was making sure followers were getting the content when they had come to expect it.

Automate - Of course staying consistent with media is always a challenge.  Tiffany gave us some tips for automation, like connecting blog posts to Goodreads and Linked In, and using tools like Buffer.  I know I've used HootSuite in the past with some success to automate tweets.  She said that once set up, a writer could spend as little as an hour and have the rest of the week's media scheduled and automated to post.  I'd love to reach that point ... I'm certainly not that efficient now with posting.

Connect - Connecting with fans and followers is obviously the point of all of this.  Writers want to meet people and forge connections that lead to authentic interaction.  Being efficient about posting means that time can be spent in the kinds of interactions that are rewarding for both writers and their followers.  Tiffany said that a good foundation of quality content, delivered on schedule, including guest blogging, blog tours, and even pod casting would support more 'rapid' forms of exposure like live video/audio, book promotions, and giveaways.

Finally, she emphasized that we are of course all readers.  She reminded us that we already know what our fans want, because we are readers, too.  We know what works with us - how we get engaged, how we have fun, and what we are looking for from books and authors.  We just need to put those ideas into motion for ourselves as writers.

I thought her presentation was really valuable, and certainly the rest of the room received it enthusiastically.  I hope she comes back to the group and shows us more advanced techniques for making the most of our time online.

Image Credits:  Publicity image of Tiffany Carter from MWA HoCo flyer.  Image of Tiffany Carter from her workshop taken by myself and posted with permission.

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