Write like a Marketer: How to Build your Writing Brand through Blogs
~ By Sofia Sawyer
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, first starting with some pretty basic poems when I was in grammar school all the way to full-length manuscripts by my early twenties. I was creative, always looking for ways to tell a story. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties when I hit a roadblock in my career that made me look at writing a little differently. It was no longer about being an artist, but about putting myself out there as a subject matter expert. Through that, I quickly learned how writing can position you as a thought-leader and grow your career.
When the recession was recovering, I found myself struggling to find or keep a job. Working in human resources, job openings were far and few between when companies were downsizing or had hiring freezes. Couple that with the fact that I only had two years of experience under my belt, and I found myself unable to stand out for those rare spots that did open up. My resume wasn’t doing it, so I had to find a way to really prove my worth.
The Start of a Blog and Its Impact
Frustrated with my situation, I turned to what I knew: writing. Pretty soon, I was writing a blog that focused on human resources, recruiting, and job hunting. But writing a blog wasn’t enough. I needed to get it in front of people. Therefore, I launched social media sites to promote it, connect with others, engage, and get involved in relevant discussions.
Within a few short weeks, traction took off. Not only was I writing nearly a blog a day (easy to do when you’re not working), but I was also on guest blogs, vlogs, and so on. Doing this not only helped me land a career that was 100% remote for an employer I stayed at for more than three years but it also completely transformed my career. I moved from recruiter/HR operations to recruitment marketer. Since then, my career has significantly changed, focusing now more on content development.
Definitely not what I thought it would be when I started on this path but provided valuable skills when it came to marketing. And these skills are exactly what I’m tapping into when I’m building my own writer brand.
So, what are the most important things to consider when starting a blog? I’ll tell you.
Top Tips for Blogging
Pick your audience.
Are you writing for other writers? Trying to reach new readers? A bit of both? Identifying this before you start will give your blog focus and help you create an identity. Not only that, but it will make it easier to know what you’ll write about consistently.
Identify your core topics.
Once your audience is selected, you’ll need to think about what will matter to them. If you’re blogging for writers, think about important topics they’d want to read about, such as writing tips, industry news, learning opportunities, and more. If you’re writing for readers, consider giving them a look behind-the-scenes on what you’re working on, book reviews for other authors, giveaways and exclusive promotions, and a way to connect with you so they can become a fan.
Build out your editorial calendar.
It takes a decent amount of effort to gain traction, both in terms of content produced and time spent building an engaged audience. Consistency is important. Consider an editorial calendar to make sure you’re planning out your blogs. This not only means consistently posting such as weekly or bi-weekly but that your topics are rotated through evenly.
Focus on the format.
Aside from voice, you need to write a blog in a way that can be scannable. I know that’s not what you’re looking for—someone scanning your blog rather than reading it in full—but blogs are different than novels. People are there to identify highlights quickly and seek out the information that matters most to them. Consider short paragraphs, headers, bolding, images, call-outs, etc. Basically, anything that makes it clean and easy to get the point across even if someone doesn’t read it to its entirety.
Giving your readers additional resources to look into is vital. Whether you’re linking to your own site, to other curated content, or to purchase yours or another author’s book, having those links are important. You want to make it easy for your readers and give them things to reference for more understanding and clarity.
If you haven’t started building your writer brand yet, now is the time. Get those social media accounts set up. Build out that email list. And consider digital or social media ads to drive traffic to your blog or website. Know your journey doesn’t stop after you hit the publish button. You need to take the time to invest in promotion—organic or paid—to reach the right people. Otherwise, you’re writing for an audience that will never see it.
As I mentioned, blogging takes a bit to build a following. The world is noisy and overloaded with content. So be patient with this, keep at it to ensure consistency, and go easy on yourself. Just like writing a book, success doesn’t happen overnight. You need to get started, evaluate what you’re doing, constantly iterate, and find your sweet spot. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll find your momentum!
Sofia Sawyer is an American romance writer based in Charleston, SC.
Growing up along the East Coast and having the pleasure of traveling around the world, Sofia finds ways to incorporate her favorite places into each of her stories. From a professional perspective, Sofia spends her time working in marketing, with a focus on brand, content development, and digital advertisements.
When she isn’t doing the 9-5 thing, you can find her reading, writing, playing with her goldendoodle, being a foodie, traveling, and appreciating nature.