One of the biggest misconceptions about any type of writing is the fact that if you write it, they will come.
You see it on blogs all the time, where a writer feels they have such a good idea, and then takes that idea and writes what they think is such a great post. Confidence is through the roof…
But then they hit that “publish” button.
It’s why so many blogs fail; with a few posts here and there, trickles of traffic if any, and then discouragement. Frustration soon follows, and then the heck with it.
And it’s not just blogs—social media posts, eBooks, and more. If you’ve engaged in any type of writing yourself, you know getting people to actually read the stuff is more difficult than what you had to go through to put it all together in the first place.
It’s probably the reason you’re here.
But before moving forward, I need you to acknowledge this fact; say it out loud if you have to:
Getting people to read your writing doesn’t come down to how good said writing actually is. Fact. Case closed.
Sure, the quality of your writing might play a big factor in whether or not people continue to read your writing, but it’s not the first hurdle to clear by any means.
The first hurdle is simply getting people to recognize that your writing exists. (Which is why my answer will always be “yes” when asked if you need a website. Unpublished authors need websites. Baseball card bloggers need websites. We all need websites.)
You can’t see an awesome movie if you’ve never heard of it, and you can’t eat at the amazing new restaurant if you didn’t even know it has opened its doors for business.
How to Promote Your Writing
Which brings us to promotion. Kind of a dirty word in a sense because it conjures up images of nagging or bugging others through some sort of flashy marketing.
But that’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about promotion, but what we really are referring to is sharing, or amplifying. Just getting your writing in front of those who might be interested in reading it.
- Build relationships
- Be a source on HARO
- Complete an expert round-up piece
- Be a “guest” on someone else’s platform
- Answer Quora questions
- Repurpose your content
Please don’t roll your eyes. Because if you’re the one rolling your eyes, you’re also the one who is failing at promoting your writing.
I don’t mean to be so harsh, but I’ve had one too many chats – both as an SEO and writing consultant – with clients about the need to exploit their current relationships, and build new ones only to see or “hear” an eye roll.
The fact of the matter is, 90% of the suggestions below are powered by relationships in some fashion or another. This is how most of the world works, too – from securing an internship or job, finding a date, etc. – so why should promoting your writing be any different?
So, this is your grand strategy, to build your network, and most of what follows are the tactics that will allow you to do that.
Don’t worry about your personality, or not being the “networking type.” I’m not the networking type, and would typically prefer to keep to myself and my select few friends, but have also found ways to make this work.
Be a Source on HARO
Think about the different types of blogs you read (if you don’t, start!). Do you ever think about how these writers find all of these seemingly random people to quote and stories/real-life examples to include?
One such way is a service called HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out. It’s free, easy, and one of the best things you can do to promote yourself, and your writing.
Here’s how it works:
Say a writer or blogger is putting together a blog post on how to get into freelance writing without any experience. They realize for a complete and useful piece of content, they’re probably going to need a few quotes and additional pieces of info from freelance writers themselves.
So, they utilize HARO to get the word out, who in turn takes that writer’s need – and that of many others – and emails a digest to their subscriber base of “source experts.” You, as one of those sources, receives the email, and then scans it for anything relevant to your area of expertise. If you’re a freelance writer, and you see the topic mentioned above come across, you simply respond, answering the writer’s questions to prove your credible.
From there, the writer looks over all of the received responses and chooses the best source(s), and then uses their submitted info in their content piece.
Seems like a lot, but it’s not.
Here’s how to get started. Go to helpareporter.com and select “I’m a Source.” Simply fill in your personal data, submit it, confirm the email you receive to prove you’re in fact a human, and you’re on your way. From there, you’ll receive an email from HARO three times a day, each with a list of “requests” from writers looking for sources.
How does this promote your writing? Because one of the best ways to answer writer requests is to do so by providing a link any relevant content they can use or link to in their piece. So, if I were to answer the request about freelance writing I used as the example above, I’d do so by saying something like, “And I talk all about my process and success in my blog post XYZ.”
The only catch with HARO, is, while you’ll receive a good volume of requests from writers in need, you might only find one request every other day or so that pertains to your area of expertise.
Complete an Expert Round-Up Piece
So, after reading through the above on HARO, do you see another opportunity? How about anything you can do from the writer’s perspective as opposed to that of the source?
I’m talking about putting together your own content piece, and using HARO to find your sources! Though, you’re going to want to turn it up a notch, and instead of putting together a blog supplemented with a few quotes, putting together a blog that pretty much only features quotes.
It’s called an expert round-up, and it’s an excellent excuse/way to get in touch with multiple experts or influencers in your niche.
The idea is to put together a post on something related to your field of expertise—let’s say you’re a fitness guru who just put together an outstanding eBook that you’d like to promote. So, you turn to HARO and put the word out that you’re creating a blog about 11 things you’re probably doing wrong with your workout.
One of those points will be a big tip from your eBook, which you link to in the post. The other 10 points? Those come from the experts you get in touch with via HARO. Once the post is complete, you send it to the 10 experts, and they share it with their networks.
In the end, people are just more likely to share something in which they’re featured. Like, way more likely to share than something they receive from a stranger or just happen across on their own. You also now have an “in” 10 fitness experts that you might be able to call upon in the future.
Be a Guest on Someone Else’s Platform
The great thing about having so much content out there in the wild is that you always have someone looking to feature the services of another, from conference speakers, blog post interviews, podcast appearances, even university guest speakers, and so much more. So, the idea here is to utilize someone else’s platform to promote your own writing.
The specific road you take with this one depends on the type of writing you’re trying to promote. Meaning, if you’re a book writer, you’ll probably have all of the above available to you, and then some. But, if you’re simply a blogger, depending on your level of “fame” you might only be a guest poster on another blog.
Answer Quora Questions
I won’t spend a lot of time on this one because the premise is similar to HARO.
First, if you aren’t familiar with Quora, it’s a question and answer platform. (Remember Yahoo answers? Same idea.) Basically anyone can ask pretty much anything of the general public, and in turn, anyone can answer.
To utilize, you can simply search by relevent keyword, or, to be more efficient, you can set up alerts based on topic and question asked. When someone asks on a topic about which you’d consider yourself an expert, answer, and be sure to promote your writing when doing so.
(Importantly, the writing you’re promoting should fit seamlessly within the answer, and should serve as the source of your answer. Something like, “In fact, I just wrote a book on this very topic, called Book Title Here.”)
Repurpose Your Content
One of the greatest capabilities I ever unlocked was the realization that one piece of content can be chopped up and repurposed into other forms.
Thus, you’ll notice this blog doesn’t include the typical “promote on social media” as its own section because a lot of that falls under this very umbrella.
There are so many different permutations, that you’ll have to do a lot of the heavy lifting. But, here are brief thought-starters to get you going:
- Chop “10 Tips” blog post up and promote a tip on your different social media channels
- Tease a chapter of your book as a blog post on your website
- Write up the origin story for your book and post it on LinkedIn
- Create a short video for your “How To” eBook and put on YouTube
- Turn your “How To” eBook into a webinar or course
- Live read a passage from your short stories on social media
- Use your blog posts to answer Quora questions
Here’s the “Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content” from Buffer. And here are a few other posts:
- 27 Awesome Ways of Repurposing Content
- 40 Ways to Repurpose Your Blog Content
- How to Repurpose Content: An Infographic
In the end, when it comes to promoting your writing, remember these words: nobody really cares about you; everyone only cares about themselves.
On the front end of that statement, you must give someone a reason to care about you, as it’s very unlikely someone will develop feelings strong enough for you or your writing that they’re going to take action on their own.
Then, on the latter part, exploit the fact that people only care about themselves…boast them as experts in your round-up posts so they participate and promote your writing; answer their questions on Quora, solve their problems by being a source via HARO, and so on.
Have anything that has worked for you, specifically? Leave me a comment or drop a line, and I might just include – and promote – your info here.