Feeling awkward about self-promoting

I never considered how freelance writers would need to do this…

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I’m a fairly new writer, but I quickly realized that few clicks will come when buried in the giant pile that is Medium. Even fewer reads. I’m not completely naive about SEO, but I’m no marketing guru.

If you’re not putting your links out there to be clicked, virtually nothing will happen. Don’t let that discourage you, but get comfortable with the idea of telling people about your work, whether through engagement or posting links where appropriate. Although I’m new, I quickly saw the difference in additional traffic once I posted my links around various platforms.

This can be hard. If you’re like me, you’d starve to death before you sold fitness shakes or Mary Kay, for fear of alienating your friends. But if you take some time on places like Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit (tread carefully — there be pirates here!) and build some goodwill with genuine engagement, you’re links will be welcomed for the most part. It is awkward at first — you have to push past that though — or you’re not likely to get many clicks.

There’s some excellent advice out there — I highly recommend becoming a Medium member so you don’t hit the article limit, because you could easily read five articles a day just on how to improve your writing, promoting, etc. I gave in and did this, even though I’m kind of broke between jobs right now — because it was worth it to me to glean any additional insight as I move toward writing for income, or hopefully, a living.

Here are two articles (by Robert Turner on Medium) I read recently that I felt were really next-level stuff — beyond anything else I had read (which has been quite a lot!), and well-past anything I had subversively figured out on my own to “hack the internet” for clicks. Don’t be scared away by the titles — I’m wary of get-views-quick content, and I feel these contain actual legitimate advice:

Advice on going viral:
How to go Viral in Six Practical Steps

Also, excellent Twitter Hashtag advice:
How to Generate 3K Views a Day Using Trending Hashtags

Both of these articles are from Robert Turner, an author here on Medium, and I cannot wait to add these methods of mass-clickery to my writing efforts. From what I already know about SEO and the Interwebs, both of Robert’s articles contain brilliant advice on getting your article to float to the top, alongside what is trending online. It’s all about the moment right now. This guy is awesome.

You do need to understand — as I’m quickly finding out — that there’s going to be a time for writing, a time for editing, and a separate time for getting your links out there into the wild, and building your network with real relationships. Engagement and goodwill do not happen 5 seconds at a time — they take time and effort. That’s OK — it is time well-spent — possibly as important (or even more important sometimes) than your writing — because if no one sees your work, no one will read it.

Just make sure you are setting aside specific hours to write so you can publish as consistently as you plan to — everything I’ve read indicates consistency is key.

It can be frustrating at first — particularly in places like Reddit, where lots of people are waiting to tear you a new one — that is — IF you even get your post/link approved in the first place. (ALWAYS read the community guidelines for posting on Reddit — many subreddits do not allow self-promotion at all.). Any appearance of a self-serving agenda on Reddit will get you eaten alive. It takes time there — and many writers seem to forego it, even though it can be a large source of potential traffic.

Don’t be discouraged — DO instead make the most of the article you’re going to promote with the quality your readers want and deserve. You have to stop being scared of promoting your own work, or it may take you exponentially longer to build a fanbase. As long as you have confidence, once you’re done posting it, remember it’s out of your hands how it’s received.

From one (hopeful) fellow writer to another — I wish you the best of luck as you endeavor to get traffic, traction, and ultimately build up that fanbase and start getting paid for your passion and hard efforts.

Justin Honse

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I write about Economics and Social issues that affect us all, because my country, America, has problems and change is needed now.

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