As previously discussed, platforms are one method on how writers argue their worth to agents and publishing companies.
But how do you get a platform?
You have to be visible. Sounds easy but anyone who has been on the internet for longer than a day knows how hard it can be to attract viewers, let alone followers. The key is to know your strengths and to be consist: I know I won’t follow new blogs if they rarely update.
Every format is going to be different, but a regular schedule is the number one thing viewers want. If someone is coming to your blog, channel, page, or website they want to fresh new content every time they visit. Experiment with want works for you and don’t do the ones that don’t work. If you don’t like using a website, you’re not going to use it effectively and it’s a waste of your time. Below is a brief introduction of some popular social media sites and how to use them.
YouTube has changed so dramatically in the past three years that it’s almost harder than ever before to establish yourself. However, because the site and culture around YouTube has changed so much, there’s a lot more opportunities now. Successful channels range from educational to discussing news stories, video games, scripted skits, make-up tutorials, music, weird funny things. There’s literally no topic that won’t find a fanbase on YouTube.
However, one of the biggest challenges for new YouTube users is quality. Producing videos is completing different than writing or taking photographs. You have to control everything in a set location – even your house can have pitfalls such as getting phone calls/texts during filming, outside traffic, pets, unplanned visitors, etc. Additionally, you have to be comfortable with your voice and your face being in the public.
YouTube is often the quickest way to gain a usable platform – but it takes a lot of work.
WordPress is seen as a place for professional bloggers and writers. Most sites are text heavy and require the writer to share insights from their lives. The really successful sites (that are not from companies – that’s a whole other bundle) feature the writer sharing deeply personal, authentic life experience. WordPress writers have to be willing to have everything out in the air while having perfect grammar and spelling.
Even sites that function primary as review sites (such as a book club or movie buff) require writers to give a piece of themselves to readers. For some people, this is an impossible demand and for others, it’s a Tuesday. Using WordPress does give writers a bit of an advantage in that it’s easy to tag posts so Google will display it in a search.
However, consistency on WordPress is a must. Readers expect to see a new post every three/four days. Writers should plan for this before jumping onto the site.
Twitter is the most difficult site to use to gain a platform. All posts are limited to 140 characters, are automatically sent to readers and there are millions of bad accounts to battle against. Additionally, the trending topics on Twitter change every second so it’s hard to coattail on a popular idea (whereas that’s super possible with YouTube and WordPress).
That all being said, there’s something to be noted about Twitter’s ability to alert users of updates immediately. It brings the product to the reader, which means them more likely to not miss anything and that can translate to them sharing your posts frequently.
The posting schedule for Twitter is intense! Successful accounts will tweet frequently, at least once every two hours. The scheduling can be rough because if you over-tweet people will unfollow, and if you under-tweet people won’t share. But Twitter grants users the freedom to be funny and silly to supplement more serious tones on other social media platforms.
Those are just brief summaries of each site. This bares repeating, each site operates differently. Use the one that works best for you and experiment with how you use them! The internet loves new and creative ideas – finding something new will attract followers better than blending in with the other accounts.
Tune in next week for a brief breakdown of Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest.