Whether the writer’s work is published in print or online, having a presence online is rapidly becoming not just an asset, but a necessary tool for success. Freelance writers and novelists are expected to have a website, often before they are even published!

For some, designing a website, or paying for one, is not possible. However, there are many easy (and free) options for writers to start building their online presence.

Social Networking for Writers

Social networking and news websites are designed to give an individual their own space online and make it easy to connect with millions of others. From travel writers to sci-fi novelists, there are websites and forums dedicated to helping like-minded writers meet and provide help and support.

Before joining any organization, writers should spend some time researching and asking questions to find the network most suited to them. A few examples of social networking sites and what they have to offer include:

  • Free access social networking sites– These include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, all of which allow users to create a free professional-looking profile as a launching point to connect with others. While many people use these sites for personal use, writers can also use them to meet others in the industry and to promote their work to readers.
  • Social news sites– This Reddit, which allows users to create a free profile. The difference between this site and sites like Facebook is that these are specifically designed, in their own ways, to help users share and promote online content, be it articles, audio, or video. Content can be categorized with all social news sites, so it’s much easier for writers to find a specific audience for their work.
  • Forums– A forum is a place where members with similar interests can congregate to talk about specific topics. There are forums for anything related to writing, from children’s picture books to fashion writers. Registration with most forums is free, and users can create an anonymous profile if they wish. Participating in forum chats is an excellent way to meet professional writers and learn valuable information about the industry.

Blogging to Promote a Freelance Writing Career

Even writers without a single published article can benefit from keeping a blog. Many are unsure of what to write about, or what to focus on. It is easier to promote yourself if you’re are part of a particular community. Some freelancers are sure that being productive aspired by the coworkers is a key to success. Here are a few tips on blogging that will help freelance writers find a target audience, build readership, and network with others in the writing community.

Make it a Professional Blog

Many people keep blogs as a personal journal, or as a way to let friends and family know what is happening in their daily lives. While there is a place for this, freelance writers should create a blog specifically for their writing career, and keep it as professional as possible.

This doesn’t mean they can’t express themselves, or provide personal tidbits or a funny anecdote. In fact, this is encouraged, as it will give the readers a chance to connect with the writer. However, the writer should always keep in mind that members of the publishing and writing community will have the opportunity to read their blog.

Blog Ideas for Freelance Writers

Here are a few things to think about when creating and maintaining a blog.

  • Use a clean, professional template and include a nice headshot. Keep the inappropriate or goofy pictures (and stories) for other types of social media, as long as they are private.
  • Create a separate page (easy to do with WordPress and Blogger) with a personal bio that details experience in the niche area.
  • The writer should focus his blog on his niche– the topic he can claim expertise in. A blog is the writer’s chance to write about what he wants in the style he wants. A travel writer who has a particular interest in South America, for example, should focus his blog on the travel experience and advice relevant to those countries.
  • Aspiring novelists in particular should save the inappropriate or goofy pictures for Facebook and make sure the photo on their blog is a nice headshot. Personal information is fine – it helps readers connect with their favorite authors – but writers should also include a “sticky” post or a separate, permanent page with information about their book, like a blurb, the cover image, and/or a few sample pages.
  • Writers should stay active on other blogs and forums that share an interest in their niche, and link back to them frequently. If the South American travel writer reads an interesting blog post on mountain climbing in Chile, he can write a post with his own thoughts on the topic and provide a link to the original post. Blog surfing is one of the best ways to get inspired!

Be Active in the Blogging Community

Without question, the best way to attract readers is to comment on other blogs. Writers should be active and comment on blogs, forums, and websites that interest them, as doing so automatically leaves a link back to their own blog. This is a natural, not “spammy” way to increase blog traffic and reach readers with similar interests.

It is also recommended for writers to follow the comments on their blog, and interact with their readers. This will help the relationship develop and encourage a regular readership.

Use a Blog to Promote Freelance Writing

Blogs are fun and easy to maintain. All it takes is a few short posts every week to join the blogging community and start growing a readership.