I often get asked about my online strategy. The biggest question is, “How do you connect everything?”
Other writers notice that I seem to be “everywhere” online and they want to do the same.
After all, a strong web presence is important for every web writer. Not only does it bring you business, but it’s also proof that you know what you’re doing.
But, my “dirty little secret” is … I’m not “everywhere” online. While I may “appear” to be everywhere, I’m really only using a handful of tools in my online strategy.
So, how can you “appear” to be everywhere online?
Here are the three steps I recommend:
1. Create your “hub.”
In most cases, your hub will be your freelance website. In other words, your freelance website should be the central part of your online strategy.
No matter what you do online, you should always point (or link) back to your freelance website (or hub).
To demonstrate, here’s a sample mind map for an online strategy:
See how everything points back to the hub?
That’s how you can get the best results from your online efforts. No matter where you are online — or what you’re doing — there should be a link back to your freelance website.
This gives you a place to “put your best foot forward.” Maybe you share something on Twitter and a potential client sees it … they might not feel confident enough to contact you based on just your tweets. But, if they can visit your website and learn more about how you can help them, they become more likely to contact you.
So, if you’re doing anything online and don’t yet have your own website, there’s no better time than now. You’ll maximize the results of your entire web presence by establishing a central hub. Here’s a great tutorial to guide you.
Why it’s a Bad Idea to Rely on Social Media as Your Hub
Before we move on, I want to remind you why you shouldn’t use a social network as your hub … even LinkedIn!
First of all, clients who are willing to pay well aren’t likely to hire a web writer without a website … think about it for a minute.
But also, a freelance website is the one thing you can control. You can promote yourself and your services, sell products, spread your message, or do nearly anything else you wish with your hub.
Social networks — on the other hand — are limited to the individual network’s “rules” or terms of service. Plus, those can change at any moment.
For instance, third-party advertisements on Facebook Pages are prohibited (without Facebook’s prior permission).
On your own website, you can display ads from third-party vendors and even make affiliate commissions.
Also, on your own freelance website, you can control the display of certain elements to make them more effective (and run A/B tests).
With Facebook — and most other social networks — you’re stuck with their layout and styling. Facebook even has Advertising Guidelines that say you “may not include more than 20% text in the image to ensure people only see high-quality content. This includes logos and slogans in images.”
To be clear, I’m not saying to skip Facebook Advertising. When you use it correctly, it’s actually a great source of cheap traffic.
But, don’t rely on Facebook — or any other social network — as the central part of your online strategy.
Social networks are simply the “spokes” of your strategy and should always point back to your hub.
2. Set up your spokes.
It might help to visualize your online strategy as a wheel. The center is your website and the spokes are the ways you attract potential clients to your website.
The spokes allow you to reach many different traffic sources (like social media, SEO, guest blogging, and more) and funnel the traffic back to your website.
The wheel or “hub” is just one way to visual this strategy. You might also think of it like this:
The concept is the same: everything points back to the hub.
Then, as you probably know, once the traffic lands on your website, you want to convert it into leads and eventually sales.
Which spokes should you use?
There are an overwhelming amount of spokes to choose from …
Writing your own search-optimized content … guest blogging … commenting on other blogs and websites … Facebook … Twitter … LinkedIn … Klout … Google+ … and the list goes on with new tools being added daily …
How do you choose?
I personally stick with a handful of main spokes:
- Twitter: For sharing content, quickly staying active online, and driving traffic back to my site.
- LinkedIn: To boost my professional position in the industry and be found when professionals are searching for a web writer.
- Guest blogging: To spread my name — and opinions — across sites that my potential clients frequent and drive traffic back to my site.
I’m also on Facebook (for my personal socializing) and Pinterest (for my own entertainment). Occasionally I’ll post about my business on either of these accounts, but they’re not included in my main strategy.
To determine your own spokes, research where your ideal clients are hanging out. For instance, if you’re writing for the home-improvement industry, you might find most of your clients via Pinterest.
If you currently have too many spokes to keep up with, consider reducing those to the handful that generate the most visitors and inquiries …
3. Connect your spokes to your hub.
Once you’ve decided on your spokes, you’ll want to make sure they all point back to your hub.
Most social networks provide a place to link to your website in your bio. Here’s the Wealthy Web Writer Twitter bio with a link to their hub:
Here’s their Facebook page — also with a link back to the hub:
If one of your spokes is “guest blogging,” you’ll want to make sure to include your website in your bio, like this:
This way, if readers like your content and want to contact you, it’s easy for them to do so.
If one of your strategies is to comment on other websites and blogs, be sure to link back to your website. You never know where a potential client may be exposed to your expert opinion! I recommend using Gravatar to make this easier.
Using other strategies or websites to get noticed?
Just remember, the most important website in your strategy should be your own, and everything you do online should point back to your hub.
Otherwise, the people — like potential clients — who find you through one of your spokes won’t know where to go to learn more about you and your services.
Does your online strategy involve spokes pointing to your hub? If so, which spokes bring you the best results?