30 Ways to Build Your Writer Platform

on January 25, 2010 in Freelance Writing, Marketing & PR

We already talked about what a writer platform is, but what does (or can) a writer platform actually consist of?

Your writer platform probably won't look exactly like mine, and it won't look like those of your colleagues necessarily. There are no tools or tactics that you must use, although there are some that are used more commonly than others. It's up to you to choose the things you're most comfortable with, which will also appeal to your own target market.

30 Ways to Build a Writer Platform

Here are 30 ways to build your writer platform, starting today:

  1. Setup a professional website and public portfolio
  2. Start a blog where you can demonstrate your authority in your niche or industry
  3. Conduct original research and publish the results (to again convey authority status)
  4. Give speeches at industry events or organizations
  5. Conduct seminars and / or webinars
  6. Offer a course or e-course (free or paid)
  7. Get published in trade or niche publications read by members of your target market
  8. Write and release e-books and / or reports
  9. Write a book (again related to your specialty area)
  10. Have op-eds or letters to the editor published in newspapers, magazines, or Web publications
  11. Take part in article marketing
  12. Comment on blogs or websites in your niche or industry
  13. Write guest posts for other blogs in your niche or industry (the more visibility the better)
  14. Setup your own virtual publicity tour (combining reviews, guest posts, interviews, etc. over a week or so)
  15. Write for a larger site, blog, or network regularly within your niche (by-lined work, and often paid)
  16. Solicit or make yourself available for interviews
  17. Release a white paper
  18. Start your own podcast series
  19. Create a video series or video blog (can be good for tutorials)
  20. Guest lecture at an educational institution
  21. Send pitch letters to targeted journalists, pitching a story concept and offering yourself as a source
  22. Actively take part in forums, social networks, or other online communities in your niche or industry
  23. Take part in joint promotions with others
  24. Publish (or allow others to publish) excerpts of longer books or e-books you've written
  25. Join professional organizations
  26. Create your own networking group or professional organization
  27. Build a following on microblogging services like Twitter
  28. Offer a print or email newsletter
  29. Offer related products (if you're a health and fitness writer, for example, you may publish and sell--or give away--your own fitness calendar or training plan)
  30. Give away free stuff (freebies are a great way to give people a taste of your expertise and style, and they attract links and buzz)

Like I said, you don't have to take on all of these 30 ways to build a writer platform. Everything in the list isn't appropriate for every freelance writer out there. But there sure are a lot of options, aren't there? How many do you currently use to your advantage? I find that even experienced freelance writers often don't make use of many of the tools available to them. Are you doing enough? At a bare minimum, pick one thing from the list this week and start pursuing it. Yes, there's some market planning to do (which we'll cover also), but for now just narrow down your options and lay the framework (always keeping your target client base in mind of course).

Thanks for sharing!
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. Through her company, 3 Beat Media, she operates All Indie Writers, NakedPR.com, BizAmmo.com, and numerous other blogs.

Jenn has over 15 years experience writing for others, over 11 years experience in blogging, and 9 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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  1. Stephen Morgan May 25, 2009 Reply

    Awesome post. Big fan of allfreelancewriting.com. I can’t wait to read more of your tips. Also, kudos to your web designer. I like the look.

  2. Tim Burns May 27, 2009 Reply

    Found you via Twitter. Thanks for your presence and resources.


  3. Celeste Stewart January 26, 2010 Reply

    I love this list (bookmarked it)! I’m doing some of these things currently and intend to do many others. Plus, you have some ideas that I haven’t even considered yet. Thanks!

  4. Veronica March 11, 2010 Reply

    Great tips. I sure wish I could find time to get a blog going. I have a file on my desktop that I throw ideas into for everything from the design to content. I just don’t have time to do it right now. The guest blogging is very nice. I contacted someone for that and actually ended up as a contributor there now (http://www.noobpreneur.com)

  5. Terez Howard March 14, 2010 Reply

    This is one of my favorite posts. It has helped me to get on track and stay focused. This entire blog is such a valuable resource!

  6. Leah Zitter September 5, 2014 Reply

    Yes, I found your post! Helpful like the other.
    Jennifer, I would appreciate your take: Which specialty do you think would be more profitable for me to focus on:
    1. Terrorism/ religious fundamentalism – I come from a terrorist-conditioning background so I have an insider’s insight into phenomena. Take ISIS (for instance), it is certainly current.
    2. Enhanced decision making in all areas of life (don’t know how to brand this) – I have Masters in advanced logic, some academic background (and great interest) in neurospychology, ethnopsychology, general semantics, and JDM (*amongst others) – all subjects to help person gain insight and make smarter decisions in every are of our lives. Have used this in counseling to help person see their reality more objectively. (I have also been physically isolated in childhood because of using my mind and forced to think creatively – could I integrate this in bio appeal?)

    I have been cycling back & forth, so I would appreciate(!) your advice : do you think either would be interesting to corporations in peak profitable fields (such as business or health)? Which do you suggest I choose?

    Thank you again.

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern September 5, 2014 Reply

      Unfortunately I don’t know enough about those two areas to determine which is likely to be more profitable. But if I were to make a guess, I’d say the second.

      The first seems more like a topic that leans toward journalistic markets rather than the corporate markets it sounds like you want to pursue. The second could lend itself well to a self help book / speaker career path. I’d probably narrow it down beyond “… in every area of our lives” though. For example, if you want to target corporate clients in the sense of writing for their employees and being asked to give presentations or seminars, I’d focus it on decision-making in a typical corporate environment. If you wanted to target entrepreneurs, you could focus on decision-making issues unique to that group. And you could certainly do the same with consumer markets.

      For typical freelance jobs, your first specialty might not be ideal for more profitable markets (corporate clients), but you could probably find gigs. The second area strikes me as having more profit potential. But it feels more like a niche where you would sell your own books and other information products and eventually go from writing to a writing / speaking career. But like I said, I don’t know these niches on a personal level, so I could be completely wrong. Maybe companies do have a need for writers in the first specialty area, and maybe you could find plenty of freelance gigs with the second rather than focusing on books. 🙂

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