How I built my platform in 9 months & how you can too
Rebecca Berto (a.k.a Novel Girl) is a Melbourne writer and an editorial assistant (junior editor) at a publishing house.
I invited Rebecca to stop by and share her tips on how she’s built her Twitter and blog following, two of her largest forms of traffic for her platform. Hopefully you’ll find her experience and tips helpful.
Take it away, Novel Girl!
Hands down, Twitter is the best way to get noticed. This is because most users actively look for new content to tweet and people to follow.
If you want a tonne of followers add a tonne of followers! This means the most amount of people possible are aware of you (1), will see your tweets (2), and will be the little people helping to spread the word about your brand (3).
Some people think that’s shallow – following just for numbers – but you can make this method as interactive as you want.
I have over 5,800 followers at the time of this post but I reply to every one of them if they want to chat and also any person not following me. In fact, I re-tweet, quote or reply to any one on Twitter.
The second greatest invention on Twitter behind following (I like to talk positive).
Twitter limits you to 1,000 new followers a day and/or 10% above your following limit once you reach 2,001 followers, whichever applies. If you want a large following, unfollow those who don’t follow you, including – gasp! – authors, publishers. Etc.
Why? You can add them to your follow lists, and gain space for more willing followers. The kicker: you don’t have to lose track of those you like!
Create lists from day one so you can manage your followers.
I can’t keep up with the aforementioned 5,800+ followers but I can keep up with 10–100 hand-selected Tweeters who are of particular value.
Choose to make these lists “public” or “private” depending on your needs discretionary needs. For example I have:
– Literary agents
– Good links/advice
– Cool people
– Book bloggers
WordPress is my preference because it allows your site to look like a website! Blogger, Tumblr and the others look more like blogs (web diaries), so pick the best one for your needs.
I want a professional looking site, so WordPress allows a blog format *and* a website format.
Make it easy for people to follow you
I display my follow button on my home page, at the top of my sidebar, encourage sign-up after each post, and in my footer.
I don’t want the opportunity to arise where a follower *could* follow me but can’t find the button or can’t see it from where they are, and thus can’t be bothered looking for it.
I’m easy! I’ll take any level of dedicated follower. I just want them!
Use your blog’s features to find followers.
For e.g., with WordPress there’s a tab on the main wordpress.com site called ‘reader’. Within that is an option called ‘Topics’. If you’ve just written a post about social media, why not find another post on social media, comment on that post and your strike rate of having that person visit your blog and signing up is at least seven times higher than for Twitter.
Commenting and encouraging comments on blog posts is essential for higher site hits, meaningful relationships (networking), and a popular blog.
Would you ignore someone saying thank you or asking you a question face-to-face? No? Blogs work the same way except it’s much easier to ignore someone. But, yes, the same feelings from the person ignored will be the same as face-to-face. And you don’t want readers to leave your site angry.
The little stuff
By which I mean:
– Create a short, catchy title; or a long meaningful title – both *need* to sum up the article;
– Use pictures! When I don’t see any pictures I think boyohboyohboy there’s no way I’m slugging it through that essay. Pictures break up chunks of text and introduce white space, giving a visualisation to posts as well as a manageable-looking article that readers think they can scan quickly;
– Get to the point ASAP and stay there: the worst offence is to waffle as people reading blogs are in a rush and may give you the ten-second test before clicking the big, red ‘X’;
– Think ‘customer first’. If you can write posts with the goal of serving your readers, you’ll have the mindset to offer a “point” vs. a tear-jerking diary entry in which you spill all your feelings.
Thanks for making it all the way to the end!