You want to write a book.
But you want to blog as well.
And build up your platform (a.k.a. your readership).
Don’t forget podcasts either. You’re thinking about starting one of those too, right?
Oh, and you want to start a YouTube channel too.
What should you do first?
How can you do it all? You want to do it all, but you’re not able to yet. Is something missing? Some kind of magic formula is the answer, right?
Sadly, there are no magic formulas.
But, thankfully, there are simple strategies that can give you clarity and insight.
Check out this picture.
Yep, it’s a train. Trains have an engine, and then the rest of the cars follow the engine.
The same logic applies to building an audience.
You must pick an engine.
For some folks, blogging might be the engine.
Or the book is the engine.
Or even YouTube or podcasting could be the engine (if you prefer those methods of storytelling).
You must have one focus — one engine — to reach your audience.
Otherwise, you will get confused and lose momentum. You’ll likely get overwhelmed too.
Having a bunch of priorities means you don’t have a priority.
So how do you select the right engine? Here are a few simple guidelines you can apply today:
- Be willing to be wrong. Seriously, perfectionism will paralyze you and cause you to overthink. You’re ready for step two now.
- What is the easiest medium for you? Choose one of the following: audio, video or text. (I like to call this The Triple Threat.) Whatever you choose, you can easily create the other forms, so again, don’t worry about being right here — they are actually quite interchangeable and compliment each other well.
Let’s say you choose text. You can always read your text and make it into a podcast. Or even read it on video. You can always lift the audio recording from the video with a few clicks. Suddenly you have content marketing options galore!
For most writers, you need to decide whether your book or blog is the most important.
You can use blog posts to serve as chapters or summaries of content that goes into a nonfiction book.
The priority is the book in this case — the blog becomes a testing ground of sorts to help you write your book. You’re laying down the foundation for your book, one blog post at a time.
Let’s say you don’t want to blog the book. I get it. That’s totally fine.
You can always share the “DVD extras” or even the “movie trailer” for your book. You can always give readers a sample of your story.
So what does this look like?
- Creating content about your characters. (I’m even going to dive into the Enneagram in some of my content. I find it SUPER useful for creating characters.)
- Sharing backstory or even scenes that you know won’t make the book as short stories.
- Talking about movies and books that inspired your own story.
- Sharing your writing process or something else behind the scenes.
No matter what you do, the content comes first. The audience comes second.
It’s not an exact science. It takes time and experimentation. But the good news is YOU CAN do it.
Don’t focus on the numbers and statistics. Focus on helping and entertaining one person. And then do that over and over and over.
People don’t want a “guru.”
They want an authentic, honest voice that tells them stories and helps them solve (or forget about) their problems.
The Social Media Problem
Most writers try to be everywhere on social media. But you can’t be everywhere. It just doesn’t work. It’s a great way to be stressed and burnt out and anxious. Thankfully, there is a better way.
Step 1: Pick one platform that you enjoy using and start there.
If the answer is none and you flat out hate social media, I think I’d recommend using Instagram because it is one of the easiest ones to use. You can even take a picture on Instagram and then automatically share the same picture to Twitter and Facebook with a free service like If This Then That. This makes one photo on Instagram have much more reach than any other.
Step 2: Focus on connecting with one person per day.
That’s right, just one single person. Thank them for sharing great content. Just reach out to them and say hey. It’s like meeting new friends in real life. Don’t be a creeper. Be nice. There is a big difference. If at any point you’re thinking, this is a little creepy, don’t do it. Be cool and use good judgment.
What To Do If You Hate Social Media
I know for some writers the idea of connecting with one person per day sounds a like a lot. You don’t want to be on social media and you know it. If you really really really don’t want to be on social media, you don’t necessarily have to be on it. You have some options. You might want to pay to have someone else do it for you (or get you started).
If you don’t want to spend any cash, you could always barter your services. You could say, “I’ll edit five blog posts (or a certain number of words) for you in exchange for a certain number of social media updates.”
Just be crystal clear about the terms. It’s also smart to write up an informal contract. Keep it simple and keep it clear. You might even have a friend that will help you out for free. (This is a FANTASTIC way to help someone who is just getting into social media and needs to build up their portfolio.)
Steps To Take Today
Remember, pick your engine. It’s likely the book or the blog. Go from there. And keep it simple. Once you have your engine, you’ll have some clarity. Focus on the engine and the rest of the train cars will follow. You’ve got this. I know it’s a bit overwhelming if you lack clarity. Here’s the good news: everyone else is in the same boat with you. Once you have clarity, you can move forward.