Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Build (or Improve) Your Writer Platform in 30 Days

There are several ways to build a writer platform. There are even more ways to improve your writer platform after you've built your foundation. In April, MNINB readers set off on a 30-day challenge to build and refine writer platforms. I'm happy to say the results were excellent!

Building a Solid Writer Platform Requires the Right Tools.

In fact, here's what just a few participants said after completing the platform challenge:
  • "I learned a lot. My favourite task was the editorial calendar and coming up with a daily task for the month of May. These are two things that I plan on doing for months to come." --Rena J. Traxel
  • "I had a blast, and learned a lot. Most helpful (and most painful) for me was kickin' my butt to add more social media sites. And along with that, your blessing to back off on those that didn't blow wind into our sails. ... In a word, NB? This has been PHENOMENAL!" --Anne Kimball
  • "This challenge has been by far the single most beneficial experience of my social media and writing life. As many others noted, some of the tasks were ones I had already completed but much of this information was brand new." --Blyth McManus
  • "This challenge moved me farther and faster than I ever would have on my own. Without the support and guidance, I probably would have given up (or just not known to do) some of the tasks involved. It's been invaluable--thank you!" --J.B. Everett
  • "Seriously, this has been great. My favorite part was pushing me to interact with other bloggers by offering a guest post and asking for an interview. I never thought I was 'big' enough in the writing world to take those steps. You showed us that no one cares how big you are." --Sarah Negovetich
Good stuff, right? And anyone can take (or revisit) this platform-building challenge now for free by using this blog post.

How to Build Your Writer Platform in 30 Days

Here are the steps writers can take to build their writing platforms in 30 days. While using this post as an outline is helpful, I must emphasize that clicking on each link and reading each post thoroughly will provide you with so much more information and insight into how to complete (and optimize) each day's task. Also, go in order if you can help it, because it's in a certain order for a reason.
  1. Define yourself. There are questions every writer should ask before building a platform.
  2. Set your goals. Goals provide you a purpose and a finish line. A smart writer has long-term and short-term goals.
  3. Join Facebook. Even if you're already a member, this post shares some tips on how to improve your use of the popular social media site.
  4. Join Twitter. Again, optimization tips are included for Twitter users.
  5. Start a blog. It's sounds like an important step--and it is--but it doesn't have to be painful. In fact, starting a blog is easy.
  6. Read a post, comment on it. Most importantly, link back to your own blog. This post includes strategies for leaving thought-provoking comments that will help you build connections.
  7. Add share buttons to your blog. Even if you already use share buttons, you may find you like these share buttons better. At least, that's what other platform participants claimed.
  8. Join LinkedIn. With optimization tips.
  9. Respond to at least three Tweets. This task is vital to building a social media routine that actually involves you with your online connections.
  10. Do Google search on yourself. You might be amazed (or embarrassed) at what you find.
  11. Find a helpful article and link to it. Part of being social effectively is being helpful--and not just in promoting yourself.
  12. Write a blog post and include call to action. What's a call to action? Find out in this post.
  13. Link to post on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In this post, we focus on the value of linking your social media profiles to your blog and vice versa.
  14. Join Google+. Yes, another social media site. It's called a challenge for a reason.
  15. Make three new connections. If you want extra credit, go for five.
  16. Add e-mail feed to blog. Your blog may already offer this, but it's important to building traffic and keeping readers engaged.
  17. Take part in a Twitter conversation. For instance, the MNINB crowd meets on Tuesdays using the #MNINB hashtag.
  18. Think about SEO. SEO means search engine optimization, which itself means making it easier for people to find you on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and/or other search engines.
  19. Write blog post. Part of this challenge is building routines.
  20. Create editorial calendar. This tool is one of the most important for improving the content on the MNINB blog. Many platform-building participants loved this post.
  21. Sign up for social media tool. Many social media super users swear by these social media tools. This post discusses options.
  22. Pitch guest blog post. Don't have any experience? That's fine. You can pitch relevant blogs anyway.
  23. Create a time management plan. Smart people realize that time is often more valuable than money. Learn how to manage that precious time.
  24. Take part in a Twitter conversation. Again, the #MNINB hashtag is especially busy on Tuesdays, though there are plenty of other writing-related (and not-writing-related) hashtags out there.
  25. Contact an expert for an interview post. This post includes tips on how to contact your preferred experts.
  26. Write a blog post and link post to social networks. What once was spread across two days is now done in one. Welcome to optimizing your time and efforts.
  27. Join another social media site. Whether it's Pinterest, Goodreads, RedRoom, or something else, keep the pedal to the metal on the social media hopping thing. Plus, here's how I handle social media sites.
  28. Read post and comment on it. Routines are good, especially when you're connecting with other like-minded bloggers.
  29. Make a task list. Time to get thinking about next month. Don't let your momentum completely stop on Day 30.
  30. Let me know what you think. After all, I like to know what's working, not working, could be improved for my challenges. Hope this one rocked your socks off.

Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author
by Chuck Sambuchino

What I value the most about Chuck's latest book is that it covers all aspects of platform building (and for all genres). So while this book thoroughly covers online platform (in fact, it contains some Not Bob content), it also covers speaking gigs and shares actual case studies.


Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Plus, sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.


Check out these other Not Bob posts for writers:


Sheila Good said...

You are my inspiration. I didn't get to finish your April challenge. Family responsibilities took me away. Excuses, I know. In fact, writing has taken a back seat for the last few weeks. But, I'm trying to get back on track. Thanks for being a great mentor.

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Thanks for the nice comment, Sheila! Hope you have a great May!

Sarah said...

Robert - As you know, this challenge was exemplary: from you as our fearless teacher pushing relentlessly on despite our stubbed toes, confused brains and tired fingers; and for us, pushing us out of the nest to test our wings, our very core values. I am still reworking some of the initial questions. Great to revisit and humbling to remember we, and our SM, are living works in progress!!

Richard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AlvaradoFrazier said...

Challenge is good, it's growth, and I needed that push & encouragement which you provided.
The MNINB'bers are a great bunch of writers/poets.I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet most of them on FB, through their blogs & tweets.
Their comments keep me energized although I'm now devoting more time to writing, less to platform after reading Jane's post: http://writerunboxed.com/2012/04/27/should-you-focus-on-your-writing-or-your-platform/

Lara Britt said...

As someone who has only recently felt comfortable calling herself a writer, I recommend building the platform as you take on the title. Platform building challenges you to define yourself and your work as well as your target audience. It is a terrific dry run. And you know what, it involves a heck of a lot of writing! Win-Win-Win! Thanks so much for this opportunity, Not Bob!

Maria said...


Thanks for your post. I was searching for some ideas about my writer (and my new career as a graphic designer) platform.

Although this month I'm snowed under, I will try to put some of these ideas in place.

Thanks again,

Gerry said...

It's great to see all the assignments in one place! I'd love to revisit some of them.

I want you to know the momentum continues. I just launched my Facebook Writer Page last night, and I sent a guest post off today. I'm enjoying the community of writers and still exploring their blogs and connecting. I would never have done all this without the push! I'm so glad I took on the challenge and stuck with it.

Can't wait to see what else you might have in store!

J. R. Nova said...

This was a great idea :D

I bookmarked it and am going to come back to it. Thanks!

Lynn said...

Awesome. I tell anyone that I think would be interested to check out your April Platform Challenge.

writingwithbothsidesofmybrain said...

I actually learn a lot from your posts. Thanks :) Angie

Joseph Lalonde said...

I know I jumped in late to the challenge but it was a blast. I know it helped me and will help others in the future. Thank you for pushing and stretching us.

Sakuntala said...

Thank you, Robert, for your valuable posts. I am on Face Book, Twitter, Linked In, and Goodreads for sometime now but haven't made any headway up to now except to make random comments. Now that I am armed with your list I'll make a blast for sure.

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Thank you, everyone, for the nice comments! I'm so happy to have helped in any way, and I'm excited to see what everyone will accomplish!

Michele Brenton aka banana the poet said...

I do almost all the things already listed except be organised :)

My 'platform' is fairly solid after a number of years plugging away but not sure how effective I am as far as 'using' that platform.

Plenty of people know who I am and most of them seem to think kindly of me and I've met a lot of very interesting informative people - yourself being one of them of course.

I liked the link to get new share buttons. I've added the new ones on top of my personal blog to see what effect that has and left the original ones which came with my blog at the bottom of the posts.

One site I would recommend 'booky' folks to join is Goodreads. Especially if you have books published - a very beneficial site for raising reader awareness.

Thanks for yet more useful stuff Robert - much obliged! xx

John H. Byk (Conrad Johnson) said...

You need an editor. So much repetition in your post.

Monica Watkins said...

I'm a little late to the party, but I was very excited to run across your post about the platform challenge in one of the Writer's Digest emails. I was pleased to see that I've already done quite a few of the items on the list. Some I need to continue to do with more diligence. I plan to take the challenge. I hope you're still available to answer questions.

AmyMak said...

Awesome list, Robert! Thank you. I've done just a few of these things and got a 1000 more hits last month than the one before. I'm still feeling resisting Twitter...thanks for such a great post! I'm off to work on a few more of these.


Deb said...

Nearly six months later, I come across this 30-Day-Challenge. From what I've read (so far), this will be a valuable resource for me. Your blog will surely be a part of my "must read" list from now on.


Ellen Keigh said...

This is a real inspiration-- I'm working my way through the steps and actually starting to feel comfortable (okay, truth-- less uncomfortable) with social media. Thanks for the encouraging how-to roadmap!

Roberta Burton said...

You make sense out of the most complex topics.

Pennie said...

Unless you can help me figure this out, I think I'm going to have to skip this one. I can't seem to get my buttons to show up.