Monday, October 19, 2015

Three Ways to Connect with Your Readers

Edie here. Today I'm so excited to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Bethany Jett. This young woman is doing some amazing things for writers! She's created the Serious Writer Academy, a place for writers to study, be encouraged and hang out. In addition, she's also developed an AMAZING planner for writers. She sent me one, and I'm absolutely in love with it. All the links for these opportunities at at the end of the post. So drop over and see what she has to offer!

Three Ways to Connect with Your Readers

by Bethany Jett @BetJett

“I feel like I already know you!”

Best. Praise. Ever.

In today’s ever-crowded online space, your message can easily get lost among thousands of other blogs and sites yelling for attention from readers. With all the noise, readers have quickly tuned their value-meters to high volume, and it’s becoming harder to capture their attention.

They can pick and choose who they listen to and trust, thus the need to connect with your readers is at the heart and soul of your mission as a writer. What sets you apart from the hundreds, possibly thousands of writers focusing on your topic is you. Your voice. Your story.
Building trust with your readers is crucial to maintaining a steady and strong platform base. They become our fans, supporters, and friends.

1. Show Up
Consistency is crucial for building trust, and it’s SO easy! Write a post. Schedule it for week one. Write another post. Schedule it for the same day on week two. Have eight posts for the month? Pick two days a week that you’re going to show up online and in your subscribers’ inboxes.

The consistency is more important than quantity. Wouldn’t you agree that you’d rather read one-to-two well-written blog posts instead of several slap-happy articles mushed together because someone is trying to meet a goal of blogging five days a week?

Five posts a week is hard. It takes a lot of time. It’s okay to let yourself off the hook and only post 1-2 times per week.

One resource I’ve found helpful is this WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin. It is a free and simple way to view, edit, and schedule your posts.

2. Provide Value
Become “the site” for readers to check first. If you’re writing about parenting teenagers, share useful websites, posts from other bloggers, articles from major magazines…anything that parents of teens would find useful.

Sharing other people’s work (when attributed correctly) does not hurt you; it actually HELPS you. Your readers see you as the “go-to person” in your field because you know where to find the answers.

I’ve heard this called the “Oprah Method” and it’s what I teach in my Serious Writer Academy. When repurposing content, which is what you’re doing when you’re sharing other people’s work, share your story along with it. Oprah shared her stage—her platform—with other people. She thrust them into the spotlight, and as she did, we learned about who she was, and what she valued. Oprah built an empire by giving her audience value, sharing other people’s stories, and letting people fall in love with her at the same time.

3. Share the Bad
While we want to maintain a positive online appearance, it’s okay to share some heartbreak or mistakes you’ve made along the way. Back to the parenting teens example, sharing a time when you felt like you’d failed can provide not only an incredible teaching moment, but also allows readers to see your human side.

Be careful about sharing too much information, however. We don’t want to cross into TMI territory! Too Much Information may turn off readers instead of helping them relate to you. The Pity Me sob story won’t help either.

When you share the hard times, it pulls you off the screen and into the hearts of your readers. After all, Ernest Hemingway said it best, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

It’s so easy to feel like we’re on a pedestal, removed from reality, when all we show is the happy-go-lucky, easy-breezy life we live as writers. *insert eye-rolling*

We write for different reasons—because it’s therapeutic, because we feel led to encourage or teach from our experiences, because our fingers itch to express our thoughts and emotions.

Sometimes my hands do a better job of speaking than my mouth.

Many of you are the same way.

We also write for our reader. By focusing on how we can best use our God-given talents to help the person on the other side of the screen, magazine, or novel page, we naturally give them an inside glance as to who we are and what we believe.

And one day, if we are very lucky, someone will come up to us at a conference or send us an email telling us that they feel like they already know us, and that we’ve spoken directly to their hearts.

TWEETABLES



Bethany Jett’s life changed when she left her first writers conference with an agent and a book deal. Not only was TheCinderella Rule a Selah Awards finalist, it opened doors to national speaking engagements, international radio interviews, multiple publishing opportunities, and teaching at writers conferences.

Along with ghostwriting for her literary agency, Bethany founded Serious Writer Academy and created the My Moments quarterlyplanner and the Serious Writer’sCompanion: the All-in-One Organizer for writers.

Connect with Bethany on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, SeriousWriter.com and at BethanyJett.com. Click here toregister for her upcoming free webinar “3 Secrets to Landing a Book Deal on Your First Try.”

15 comments:

  1. Thanks again for some much needed encouragement and advice!

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  2. Great advice! I would love for a reader to say they feel like they know me. What a compliment that would be!

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    1. It really is! Sprinkle yourself into the posts and it's inevitable! :)

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  3. This post just makes me smile. Because it's true--and it's from you, Ms. Princess. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Awww!!! BIG smiles over here!!! LOVE you!

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  4. Every time I see your sweet smile and your words in print I smile. I also go to the source so I can read what you have written. Good post Bethany. I feel like I know you. ! :-) Oh wait, I do!!! and you are charming and talented and sweet and good and......

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    1. I am SO blessed to know you!!! ...and so grateful you were there with me during that first writers conference. Life changing. :)

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  5. So fun to find you here, Bethany. Good advice too. Consistency can be hard - you have to find the right pattern - I do well with my blog but haven't found my rhythm with periscope yet. So I think its good to keep trying and evaluating and don't be afraid to take the risk.

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    1. Yes! I think this can work along all social media avenues as well!!! I always hear great things about your blog!

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  6. Thanks for the reminder about consistency. I've been struggling with that one lately as life has been extra-full lately.

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    1. Ginger - I totally hear you on that. Sometimes it feels like just even one more tiny thing will throw me over the edge! Praying for you!

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