Build a Writing Brand That Rocks (Part 2)
As CEO of your personal brand – yep, you’re not just a writer anymore – you’re in charge of finding new assignments, writing, editing your work, promoting your pieces and seeking out opportunities to continuously develop a strong personal brand that sets you up for future success.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the possibilities, we get it. Social media tools can feel daunting, but there are quick things you can do every day to slowly grow a brand that rocks.
Hop over to Part One for tips on using Facebook and Twitter to develop your platform. Then, meet us back here for Part Two on LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.
If you thought LinkedIn was just another career site to repurpose your resume, think again. LinkedIn has emerged as a publishing powerhouse over the past few years. Time to dust off your profile!
Publish a post on LinkedIn
It’s a game-changer: LinkedIn now allows users to publish long-form content on the site.
If you don’t have your own website or blog, use LinkedIn to write content and share your expertise. If you to have your own blog, republish some of your posts on LinkedIn, sharing a link back to the original post on your site.
LinkedIn shares your post on your profile as well as on the main news feed, allowing your words to be viewed by those who follow you and the greater LinkedIn community.
Update your profile with documents, images and presentations
Gone are the days of copy and pasting resume bullets into LinkedIn and calling it a day. LinkedIn is fancy now!
Now you can add all kinds of media to different positions listed, including presentations, videos, documents and photos. Set yourself apart by making your LinkedIn profile an interesting and visual place to get to know you and your work.
One of the best ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile is to check out this Freelance Writers Den program. They have numerous case studies on how freelance writers are using LinkedIn to get INBOUND leads and land clients.
Who doesn’t love scrolling through Instagram? It’s meant to be a beautiful place for creativity, inspiration and eye candy. And it can also help you build a strong writing brand and community.
Instagram is notorious for only giving users one link in their profile and not allowing clickable URLs within a post. The truth of the matter is that Instagram doesn’t really want to be a place that sends traffic to your website; instead, it wants to be the place you build your brand and community through compelling images.
However, you do get one link, so use it wisely. Your link appears underneath your bio on your main profile. Most people include their website’s homepage in this space, but don’t be afraid to change the link every so often when you have something specific (an article, blog post, etc.) you want to give a little extra love.
To draw attention to that link, post a relevant image, write a clever caption and then include somewhere in the post the phrase “Link in profile” so folks know to click over to your Instagram homepage if they want more details.
The best way to get your content discovered on Instagram is by using their stories and reels features. Just like Snapchat (which we’ll cover in a minute), Instagram allows you to create short-form stories called Insta-stories.
What are Insta-stories?
They are typically made in 15-second increments of video but can be strung together for as long as you want to record. They can also be photos, music, or text, depending on what you want to post. The trick is that they expire in 24 hours, creating a border-line addictive need for your audience to know what you’re up to.
What are Reels?
Reels are similar to Insta-stories in that they are short-form content, but they are slightly different in that they can last for longer than 24 hours on the platform. They are currently limited to 60 seconds of video, but you can overlay the video with plenty of other features.
If you’re asking yourself, “What would I ever use an Insta-story or Reel to do?” let me challenge you to get creative!
Writers and bestselling authors are using Insta-stories and Reels to show behind the scenes of their days and lifestyles, like Donald Miller. They are using it for podcasts and speaking clips and promotion of upcoming events, like Jon Acuff. And they are even using it for audiobook previews, like Rob Bell.
There are plenty of other ways to utilize these powerful aspects of the Instagram platform, including promotional giveaways, announcements, and more. The possibilities are endless if you think creatively.
Another great way to get your content discovered on Instagram is by using relevant hashtags.
Hashtags are super useful, but you can also quickly muck up a post if you use too many or don’t place them properly. If you only plan to use a few hashtags and they make sense within the text of your caption, sprinkle them there.
If there are other hashtags you’d like to use that don’t fit in the post itself, add them in the comments section. This way, when others comment on your post, the hashtags comment is hidden, but they still lead others to find your post.
More is not always better! Don’t pepper your post with dozens of hashtags, although Instagram does allow up to 30 hashtags on a given post. Consider using between five and 10 relevant hashtags on a given Instagram post.
Some favorite and popular hashtags for writers, according to Iconosquare? Try #writing #amwriting #writingcommunity #instawriting and #writinglife.
Pinterest may be best known for tasty recipes and some serious closet inspiration, but it’s also a great place to display your portfolio – and find additional writing inspiration and resources.
Create a living resume or portfolio
Looking for another beautiful and creative way to showcase your work? Turn your writing portfolio into a Pinterest board.
Pin articles and blog posts you’ve written, as well as any type of press you’ve received. Let this living resume Pinterest board be a place where you truly shine. (Here’s mine!)
Build your board over time rather than pinning everything at once to give your followers a chance to see the content in their feed as you pin. As you’re pinning archived content, consider posting three to five pins a day; once you’re up to date, pin new articles and posts are they’re published.
Find inspiration and be a resource to other writers
You know all those awesome articles and resources you find and want to save for to read later? Before you know it, you’ve got 25 tabs open in your online browser.
Nope? Just me?
Pin those articles to a Pinterest board about writing, marketing, entrepreneurship or whatever it is you’re hoping to build your brand and expertise in. This type of board not only keeps you organized, but also positions you as a resource for others who may be interested in similar topics.
While you’re at it, find other inspirational writing boards to follow to build relationships with other writers and find new content to pin.
Make your writing pinnable
Pinterest can serve as a great source of referral traffic to your website if you put processes in place to make your writing Pinterest-friendly.
You may not have much control over the images selected to go with your post on external websites, but for your own blog or site, use a free tool like Canva or PicMonkey to create fun graphics. These visual cues will entice viewers to repin your pin and click out of Pinterest to read your content.
If you’ve been ignoring Snapchat because you think it’s just for teens, grab your phone, download the app and prepare to be amazed. With 100 million daily usersSnapchat is nothing to sneeze at.
Create (or simply watch) a Snapchat story
Flex your creativity in a new way by creating a Snapchat story. Perhaps one of the app’s best features, Snapchat stories allow users to create a narrative through photo and video.
Within a story, a Snapchatter can write text, draw pictures, insert emojis, and add filters to mark their location, time, weather, speed and more. Speed videos up, slow ’em down, put them in reverse; Snapchat allows you to share stories in a unique, fun and unfiltered way.
Consider documenting a day in your writing life using Snapchat. Don’t be afraid to flip the camera and turn it on yourself; Snapchat audiences love to see the person behind the phone. Talk to the camera about your latest writing project or what inspires you to write.
Remember: Snap stories disappear after 24 hours, so you have a limited window of time to share your message.
If you’re not ready to create your own story yet, watch stories of those you follow, or enjoy one from any of the “Live” stories featured that day.
If you’re neglecting social media as a writer, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You’ve invested so much time in creating great written content, don’t click publish and hope people magically find it. With social media, you can now get your written content in front of more eyeballs than ever!
You don’t have to use every social platform available. If you try, you’ll burn yourself out. But you can choose 1 or 2 that appeal to your audience, where your readers are already hanging out, and go for it!
What do you think? What is your favorite social media site? If you have any social media tips for writers, leave a comment and let us know!
This is an updated version of a story that was previously published in 2016. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers.