Here’s How to Grow Your Online Author Platform in 5 Easy Steps!
If you’re a new writer, the idea of an online author platform can feel intimidating, vague, and overwhelming. As a veteran writer, guess what? It can feel the same. In fact, I wrote my BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge to address just how to start and establish your online author platform, plus daily lessons on blogging, social media, book reviews, and other promo tips.
We speak in the industry about having ‘planks’ to our platform; lay a strong, strategic foundation, and you and your author platform will soar. Here are 5 steps to get you started:
Step 1: Define Your Audience
When writing, it is important to have a clear understanding of your reading audience: a particular group of readers who will be exposed to your blog posts, articles, and social media.
It is important to define this group to ensure that the content you create, curate, and share is relevant and appropriate for them. Understanding who will read your work can help you determine the style and tone of your writing, as well as inform you which topics should be covered or avoided. Knowing your readership can help you create compelling, accessible content that resonates with your intended audience.
Where does your ideal reader hang out online? Check out Pew Research to find out where your readers are on social media and online. Example: If you write YA or Romance, you want to be on TikTok (#BookTok), because it’s where the younger demo lives right now.
Step 2: Create Your Online Presence
Creating an online author presence is essential to making your mark on the literary world. It is important to create a website, social media accounts, and other digital outlets where you can showcase your work and connect with readers.
Additionally, having a strong platform gives you a competitive edge when pitching to publishers or agents. It is worth investing time in building up a strong author presence, as it will give you invaluable exposure and be beneficial for your writing career.
Tip: You don’t have to be everywhere. Hate Twitter? Skip it. Facebook is my least favorite platform (so slow and clunky) but my demographic hangs out there, so it’s important I check it throughout the day or whenever convenient.
Find a balance: which social media do you not hate? Start there. If you hate it all, keep in mind that you don’t have to be on it at all, however, accept that your visibility online (e.g., search engines) will be extremely limited.
And you can always hire someone like myself to do it all for you, teach you, or somewhere in between!
Step 3: Connect With Readers
This can be done by writing in a relatable way and creating stories that speak to the reader’s emotions. Additionally, it is necessary to ensure that the characters are written in a realistic manner so that readers can relate and connect with them on a personal level.
Establishing this connection helps create a lasting impact and ensures that the reader will come back for more.
Tip: Most writers will jump into their social media of choice and immediately follow other writers. Cool. Do that but don’t only do that. See who follows them; look at what they’re posting and who comments. This is all free research, by the way.
Step 4: Utilize Social Media Strategically
Utilizing platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and others can help you reach a larger audience and build a following.
It is essential to create content that resonates with readers and actively engages them to foster success. Social media can be an invaluable tool for writers if used correctly, so take the time to develop an effective strategy and capitalize on its potential benefits.
Tip: Who has made an impression on you? Share them and what you admire (or dislike – but be prepared for the replies!). Read a great blog post? Share it on your timeline and be sure to give attribution to the author.
Step 5: Build and Curate Content to Engage Readers
Creating content that engages readers is like building a house; the foundation needs to be solid and provide a structure for the rest of the work.
Creating content that engages readers is essential for any successful online marketing campaign. A well-crafted piece of content should be informative, entertaining, and provide value to the reader. It should also be optimized for search engines and include keywords to help increase visibility on search engine results pages.
By creating interesting content that resonates with your target audience, you can drive more traffic to your website and increase conversions (aka, book sales, newsletter sign-ups, etc.).
Social media tip: Don’t only talk about your own book constantly; that’s poor social media etiquette and even violates the spam rules in most of the major platforms’ terms of service. In fact, tweets and posts with NO links are seen more often in the various platform algorithms (more here).
This also applies to your blog posts – surely you have different interests beyond what your book is about, yes? Write about that.
Start Growing Today
Still confused about where to start? I suggest blogging. It’s a great way to express your voice, share opinions and experiences, and establish your online presence. What to write about?
- What are your main topics of interest?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What do you struggle with in your writing?
- In life?
These are all valid options that help brand you, the author, not only your book(s)! Now carry your answers to the above questions to Google to find articles, quotes, videos, and even books on those topics.
What online author platform tips do you have that work? Please share below!
This post was written with the aid of WordHero (NOT an affiliate link). I like it for basic info that I then add to and customize. To learn more about using AI in your writing and content creation, see my previous post.
Join Rachel every Wednesday for her free #BookMarketingChat on Twitter Spaces at 11 am pst/2 pm est, sponsored exclusively by BookLinker. Got questions? Follow her on Twitter @BadRedheadMedia (DMs open).
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Thank you for these useful tips.
Very good, easy-to-understand information. Do you have any thoughts on whether to use a pop-up sign-up for blog followers or a static form – or both? Thanks!