When I speak about social media for writers, they often ask: “Do I need a website?”
My answer is often complicated: Yes and no.
Yes, you need to be online.As a writer, you will need to find some sort of an online home. Whether you want to write books, articles, or business white papers—you need to have a small piece of online real estate. Why? Because your potential clients and readers will look for you online. In today’s market, much of our networking takes place in virtual settings—on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. When we need help with a project, we search for that help on sites like these or through a search engine. The service providers with an online presence rise to the top.
No, you do not need a website.Your online presence can be a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, or a blog. Each of these online platforms can support your career and capture the attention of potential clients. But know this: your online presence needs to be more than a fancy online business card. Your online home needs to be as interactive and vibrant as you are.
The “must have” list.No matter what venue you choose as your online home or what color you put up as the background, consider adding these essential features:
- Good content. Your home online needs to provide regular, rotating content. Don’t just put up a pretty picture of you and your book and call it done. Plan to change some content on your homepage frequently—even if it is just a new quote or a silly riddle!
- About. Your site needs to tell visitors who you are, what you write, and what sort of work you are looking for. Tell visitors enough about you so that they know you are legitimate and respected by clients, readers, and others in your field.
- Contact information. Let visitors know how to contact you. Here’s my biggest pet peeve: so many websites, blogs, and social media profiles provide absolutely no contact information. Don’t be the writer who misses the big job because no one can find you!
- Additional resources. Whether you are the author of a book or freelance grant writer, potential readers and clients will often stay connected to you if you provide good complimentary resources. These might include a sample chapter of your book, a podcast interview with you, an audio of a class you taught, examples of articles you have written, and links to resources from others.
- Connect! In addition to providing your own contact information, a good online presence provides a method of staying connected to those who visit your page. This might be a blog people subscribe to or an ezine you send out.
Whew! That’s quite a list, and that’s just the beginning. Your assignment: If you have an online presence, evaluate it for each of the above categories. What can you do to make it better? If you don’t have an online presence, take the list and start creating one today!
WANT TO USE THIS TIP IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) is the 10th book authored by Melander, who teaches professionals how to write fast, get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at http://www.writenowcoach.com and sign up to be a member of her Write Now! Mastermind class for professionals at http://www.writenowmastermind.com