Thursday, September 28, 2017

What to Do When You're Just Adding to the Noise

No matter what stage of the journey we're on, writers are taught to create a readership on the internet as part of our platform building. But sometimes when everyone is blogging, writing articles, or penning engaging Facebook posts, it can feel like we're just contributing to the noise -- especially with the current social media climate.

Or at least that's the place I (Laurie) found myself this summer. After my book launch, which involved lots of social media exposure and new content (for which I am VERY grateful), I cringed a little inside when I opened a new post screen. Tired of the sound of my own voice, if we're really being honest here. 

If you find yourself with this self-perception as you navigate the publishing waters, then please! Feel free to learn from my trial and error with these tips:
  • Define the message you want to say to your audience and the tones/voice you want your content to convey. Every time I teach on branding, my number one guideline is staying cohesive across your entire platform 1) so your audience knows what to expect from you and 2) so your content reflects what you're passionate about. Establishing your message, tone, and voice up front helps you decide what story your words will tell.
  • Pick a reasonable schedule. Figure out what works best to avoid burnout and keep your content fresh. You don't need to post every day (or even every week) to keep your audience engaged, as long as you're consistent with what you choose so your audience knows what to expect. If that's twice-monthly blog posts or a monthly newsletter, then good! But when inspiration strikes, feel free to deviate from the schedule as long as you stay consistent.
  • Focus more on stewarding your current audience instead of wishing for a bigger platform. I could write a whole blog post about this, y'all. Don't wait until X number of followers to begin. Even if your only follower is your mom right now, this is so much more than a trial run. Learning to take care of the people who have opted to stick with you ensures you can build and keep a reader's trust. The best way to learn that is to start small and grow organically, so don't be discouraged!
  • Amplify others' voices. Seriously, friend. Once you've figured out what you're all about, you do you. Part of the internet comparison trap is the temptation to tie our content to a hot-button topic because everyone else is doing so. But if someone is saying it well or is more qualified to tell that story, point others their way, especially when that topic is outside of your sphere.
If, on the other hand, you feel like you've lost your voice in all of the noise, I highly recommend creative nonfiction. Write for yourself, process it in a space no one else will see, and then find the common denominators that spell what you're truly passionate about and what your audience can gain from your unique experience. 

Instead of posting something for the sake of posting something, wait until you're ready. 

And then begin again.

When have you felt like you're contributing to the noise? What do you do to combat that feeling?


Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author and cheerleader for creatives. She believes that God's love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles. 

Previously a full-time book publicist, Laurie now serves as a virtual assistant and runs a freelance editing and PR consulting business called 1624 Communications

She lives with her husband and two small children in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her novella, That's When I Knew, released with the Love at First Laugh rom-com collection this spring, and her debut contemporary romance novel, With No Reservations, is now available wherever books are sold from Harlequin Heartwarming.

You can connect with Laurie on her website, Facebook page, and Twitter


Krista Phillips said...

Oh my goodness, I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! I just tipped my toe back into blogging on my own site. I've been SO NERVOUS about it but this line seriously was exactly what I needed to hear:

Focus more on stewarding your current audience instead of wishing for a bigger platform

It's been tough to "start over" if you will... my hundreds a day before is now... well, NOT hundreds, let's just say that.

But I've been missing writing on my own blog. I've missed the FUN it used to be in my pre-published days. I'm hoping to slowly get back to the "fun" part and not stress so much about the "platform" part of it.

Tim Suddeth said...

I so agree with this. There is so much noise out there that I don't want to add to it. But I do have a message and I can build up other writers. I also like the reminder to write for your current audience, not one you hope to build. Thanks Laurie, great post.

Narelle said...

Hi Laurie, I love the wisdom in your post. 'Amplify others' voices' - so easy to do but often the one thing we forget to do. Thanks for sharing. :)

HeidiDruKortman said...

I have always thought that any blogging I've done is another yip in the yapping. Why should I put up a writing blog when I'm still learning stuff from the people with hugely established writing blogs? Posting fiction fragments in a blog invalidates them from being published elsewhere. My politics are no one's business but my own. My fiction is not issue-driven, nor do I want to go down that lane on the freeway.

I write my fiction for people who need an escape, somewhere else for their minds to go in stress-filled times.

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