The World Wide Web has opened up many new opportunities for aspiring writers to see their by-line in print. A writer for years, but yet to be published, I decided to take advantage of this and experience the thrill of seeing my words online. Four primary lessons I have taken away from the experience are as follows:
1. Blogs – Perhaps the best-known vehicle for getting your thoughts recorded for all to see on the internet is by blogging. There are many sites that will allow you to start your own blog, will furnish stylish templates, provide hosting, statistics, and all needed support – for free. There are as many types of blogs as there are people with imaginations. Some dedicate their writing space to discuss their children, some focus on home repairs, or health concerns, or what they ate or wore to the park that day. Once you have a number of followers, you can easily offer space on your blog to advertisers – and get paid for it.
2. Content Contributors – A slightly less known opportunity is to sign up as a content contributor for one of many well-known sites. Most allow you to submit articles on the topic of your choice for publication. The compensation for your articles varies from site to site. Some offer a small monetary payment based on the number of views your article receives, some pay a small set dollar amount. Other sites do not pay but are valuable for the exposure you receive. If you aspire to become a published author in the ink and paper world, this is not a bad place to start building a name for yourself.
3. Social Media – Regardless of where you write your words, no one will read them if they do not know they exist. Always thinking SEO and keywords when you title your article and write your introduction paragraph will give it a fighting chance of being found in a web search, but you must learn to market yourself on social media. This means using Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon,Tumblr, and the like to spread the word each time you publish something new. It is also important to be a good neighbor. This means finding and reading other folks writing on the subjects that interest you and leaving appropriate comments. These folks will typically return the favor, increasing your readership.
4. Reputation – Perhaps more than in person, your online reputation is everything. All anyone has to form an opinion of you by online is what he or she sees your name attached to. If you wish to be taken seriously as a writer, it is important that everything you write, every tweet you send or retweet, be something your readers would expect of you. Once you have lost a follower, they are unlikely to return.