There’s a lot of talk about content, traffic, SEO, and networking these days. Everyone who works social media or who is just thinking about it is looking for the secret key that will unlock a world of traffic.
I hate to tell you this, but there is no secret key.
Nor is there a magic bullet beyond quality content and connecting with your audience.
Before You Take The Plunge
Most of us understand the need to have an online presence of some kind. The best writer in the world will find selling books difficult work if no one knows who he or she is. A good writer with a lot of name recognition, on the other hand, can sell books with relative ease.
So the question is no longer should I have an online presence. The question has become what kind of online presence should I have?
There are a lot of options these days. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin are just a few of the options. None of them works for everyone. Not everyone will want to do all of them.
Although many authors use multiple platforms, I like blogging primarily for the following reasons.
- The content stays online until I take it down
- Use of proper tags and categories makes searching for old content easy
- Posts aren’t limited by anything but my ability to say what I have to say and the reader’s interest in reading what I have to say
That doesn’t mean I think the other forms of social media are bad. It just means they don’t work for me as well as blogging works. You may find the same holds true for you or you might find a different social media mix is ideal. As I said above, there is no magic bullet.
To Blog or Not To Blog
So how do you know whether or not blogging is for you? Here are four questions that will help you decide.
1. Are You a Writer First?
The first question to consider is your primary job. In order to make social media (or any marketing) work, you need to know your primary focus.
For most of you reading this blog, your primary job is writing. Fiction or nonfiction, children’s stories or travelogues, you get up every day to w-r-i-t-e. That’s the most important part of your job every day. No. Exceptions.
Before you get on the social media treadmill, take a good look at your daily schedule. Determine how much time you have each day (or each week if that works better) for writing and writing business.
Then set aside time each day or week for writing. Nothing–I repeat, nothing–else should occupy that time. Yes, there will be the inevitable Must Do things interruptions, but keep that writing time as sacred as possible. After all, if you haven’t written anything, building platform is a waste of time.
After you’ve blocked off time to write, then you know how much time is available for social media. If there is none or not very much, that’s okay. Work with what you have.
2. What Form of Social Media is Best?
Choices in social media are becoming as varied as choices in ice cream flavors. None of them suit every writer. In fact, for most of us, there are two or three that suit our needs. You can maintain a presence in all of them if you wish, but most of that time will be wasted. Or, at best, poorly utilized. You’ll do much better (and stay more sane) by finding the one or two that works best for you and working them for all their worth.
How do you decide that?
How do you communicate with your readers best? If your preferred communication style is short and to the point, you’ll be quite comfortable on most forms of social media presently available. Whether you’re verbal or visual, there are outlets designed to cater to you.
But if you enjoy writing longer essays or article-style content, think about blogging.
How do you learn best? The chances are good that you will be best at teaching in the same way you learn best. If you’re a group discussion person, Facebook and other social media providers are worth your attention.
If you do better one-on-one, blogging is most likely to be your best form of social media.
If you do better at teaching and communicating through pictures, videos, motivation thoughts, or short sound-bites, then you’ll most likely do better with venues like Twitter or Pinterest.
If you’re primary interest is more professional in nature, Linkedin may be for you.
Each venue is very good at something. The time you spend finding out before entering any of them will be time well spent.
3. How are you at multi-tasking?
This is a serious and legitimate concern. If you can multitask productively, you’re probably able to assimilate information in the same fashion. In other words, if you’re daily life is lived doing a lot of different things all at once and if you’re good at that, then you’re well suited to juggling multiple forms of social media.
If multitasking is more problematic than productive for you, you’ll do well with blogging, where you can write (or learn) in a more focused fashion. You can focus your attention at that one task, give it the best you have, and move on.
4. What Is Your Long-Term Goal?
Social media isn’t an end unto itself. You should be doing it for a reason, at least as far as your writing career is concerned. For example, are you trying to sell books? Are you trying to reach potential students or promote a service?
Whether you Facebook, tweet, pin, or blog, everything you do should contribute in some way to your long-term goal. From the venue you chose to the look of your site to the content you post, pin, or tweet, consider what you want to accomplish in the long run.
Take time to give thoughtful consideration to these questions. Answering honestly and evaluating properly could be the difference between a lot of frustration and a productive social media experience.
The first step in taming the social media monster is finding the best social media fit for you. That may require experimenting with anything that looks interesting. Don’t be afraid to spend that time. Finding the right mix isn’t always easy and it rarely comes quickly, so be patient.
For those of you who are like me and prefer blogging, we’ll take the next step next week with a list of things to decide before you start blogging.
For additional thoughts on deciding when and how to take the social media plunge, visit a guest post I did for Mustard Seed Marketing on January 15, 2014. You can read that here.
As always, if you have a comment or question, please post it in the comment box below. Your personal experiences in deciding whether or not to blog are also welcome.
Clinics in This Series
Introduction to Blogging For Writers
Blogging For Writers – To Blog or Not to Blog
Blogging For Writers – 7 Considerations Before You Get Started
Blogging For Writers – How To Choose A Host