Invest & Prosper: #6 Your Online Presence

Christina Katz, photo by Mark Bennington

By Christina Katz

Once you know very specifically what your platform topic is, who your target audience is, and what the objectives of your online presence are, you are ready to establish and grow three crucial mini-media outlets:

1. Blog with a purpose
In Writer Mama I said, writing is a rhythm not a formula. I meant that each writer has a need to find her own writing rhythms and may or may not wish to do so publicly. When you blog, you are sharing with the world, so diving into blogging without forethought is not a business strategy. If you are blogging as a part of your platform, you want to know why you are doing it and have a long-term sustainable plan, which is very different than merely keeping an online journal. There’s nothing wrong with keeping an online journal, of course. It’s just not a business strategy. In order to establish your platform online, you’ll want to blog in harmony with everything else you do.

2. Hang your web shingle
I have taught myself everything I know about Web site design. Of course, this does not mean that you should follow suit, unless you think the job sounds fun (it is). I’m just here to let you know that if the idea of Web design appeals to you at all, you can do it. You do not need any technical training. And the technology to build your own site gets easier every year and is a far cry from the archaic methods I was using almost a decade ago (although I will say that occasionally basic html stuff I used to use still comes in handy). Any type of WYSIWYG Web site building software will do. As always, know your purpose and audience before you hop online and start building.

3. Keep your readers in the loop
Call it a newsletter, call it a e-zine, call it whatever you like-an e-mail newsletter sets in motion regular correspondence between yourself and your readers, which necessarily forces you to think more like a writer with an audience and less like an artiste speaking to her muses. Creating an audience-specific newsletter is a key element of producing yourself, which I highly recommend. Why wouldn’t I? I’ve created two e-zines so far with another coming soon.

When you produce yourself, you create a following and you communicate with them directly without intermediaries. When you rely on associations or the media or others to deliver your message to the world, you are subject to their needs, parameters and schedule, which may or may not align with yours. Of course, associations and the media have an important role and you will want to partner with them. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t. I’m simply saying that you should produce yourself first and continue to produce yourself while partnering with the mainstream media.

Sure, each of these platform elements requires a modest investment of time and energy. But the return on investment is so worth it.
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Christina Katz, author of Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, is working on her second book for Writer’s Digest Books, Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform. She has also written over two hundred articles for magazines, newspapers, and online publications and has appeared on “Good Morning America.” Christina is a popular writing instructor who has taught hundreds of writers over the past seven years. She blogs daily at The Writer Mama Riffs and is publisher and editor of two zines, Writers on the Rise and The Writer Mama. More at http://www.thewritermama.com/.
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