Want to more easily attract and engage your readers? In this blogging/social media universe, few hard and fast rules apply. The landscape changes daily, and so must we authors who are blogging, tweeting and otherwise pushing out content to the social universe.
But these three bits of advice will never go out of style. If you’re not practicing them yet, time to start. If you already do and want to share your own experience with fellow authors, we encourage you to join the conversation with your response below!
1. Bowl ‘Em Over With a Great Headline
This applies to your blog post AND any content you share. Social media experts consistently tout using numbers in your headlines, i.e. today’s headline here, “Three Quick Ways…” or “12 Steps to…” or “Top 10…”
Why does this rule hold up? My guess is that in this world of drive-by reading, a numbered headline lets me know I’m about to read a finite bit of useful information. Example: “Success at Author Social Media” vs. “10 Steps to Succeed at Author Social Media.” The first is broad and all-encompassing (read: Do I have time for this?). The second lets me know the author will give it to me in 10 chunks/steps/concepts. I can wrap my virtual arms around that.
The next most popular headline themes involve the classic “How To…” and the provocative question, e.g., “What Does Your Website Say About You?” The how-to appeal should be obvious — we all love learning stuff, especially when it comes free on a blog post. The question appeals to the ego in each of us (more on that below).
2. Ask for What You Want
If you’ve ever been involved in sales or politics, chances are you’ve heard the golden rules – ask for the sale, ask for their votes.
The same applies to whatever desired result you’re trying to get from your readers. Ask them a question they can reply to in your blog post. Ask them to share. Ask them to read your book. Ask them to review your book.
True, not everyone will respond, but certainly more will act on your requests if you have a clear call to action.
The same goes for social sharing. Did you know that saying “Please RT” (retweet) at the end of your tweet gets your information shared four times as much as if you just post and hope? Be proud of the content you’re sharing, recognize the value you’re imparting, and don’t be afraid to ask your readers to pass it along!
3. Keep the Conversation Going
Perhaps the problem of trying to build an author “platform” is that word, platform. It puts you on the pedestal, behind the lecturn, standing on a soapbox. What you want to aim for instead is conversation between you and your readers, a conversation that more and more readers can join.
To keep it going, make sure you answer comments your readers post on your blog (and use their names – we all like to be acknowledged and appreciated!). Ask questions at the end of your posts that readers can weigh in on and feel that they’re part of the conversation. Ask questions in your social media, too. Join like-minded groups and weigh in on other’s work and opinions
Being open to conversations will open up surprising new opportunities. Our clients have stumbled into speaking engagements, book signings/parties, conference invitations and more, all just by widening their online circles and engaging in two-way discussions.
P.S. Three days left to grab your PubSmart videos with over 20 hours of publishing insider insights.
Creator of Where Writers Win, Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years. She is also the principal author of the WWW blog, and speaks at conferences around the country. The Where Writers Win team’s newest collaboration is The Winner Circle – vetted book review directories, book clubs and other cultivated resources for emerging authors.