Platform Challenge Day 12: Create a Call to Action

The Platform Challenge should be completed in a month, but for some reason it’s taking me a whole lot longer. Oh well. What’s important is finishing with a stronger platform as a blogger and writer. By the way, this challenge originated over at My Name’s Not Bob’s blog. Now let’s get to today’s task.

Day 12 of the Challenge

Create a Call to Action

Write a new blog post and include a call to action at the end. A call to action is a prompt for your readers to engage with your blog’s content. Some calls to action are:

Profile Links

Links to your social media profiles at the end of your blog posts gives readers a way to connect with you. I have my profile links under my blog’s search feature on the right, because I’m also using related posts and share buttons.

Related Posts

Having related articles under your posts helps readers find your other interesting content. A few widgets and plugins I recommend are:

LinkWithin
If you want related posts with thumbnails for Blogger, WordPress (self-hosted), Typepad, and websites then LinkWithin’s for you. The only con I think of is it’s not super relevant. LinkWithin seems to display whatever new posts are on your blog randomly.

Zemanta
A browser plugin with a funky name for Blogger or WordPress blogs. You can add related articles with or without thumbnails, in-text links, and photos all based on your post’s content. The downside is it only focuses on your recent posts, so your much older ones don’t show up as related content.

Blogger Related Post Widget
This is my favorite widget hands down. You can adjust the number of posts you want to feature and, best of all, the related content is based on your blog’s labels. So, more relevant material shows up including new and old posts. The downside is it’s a manual install, which can be a bit tricky. But as long as you carefully follow the instructions, you’ll be fine.

Share Buttons

Lastly, share buttons invite readers to, guess what, share your posts with others, and increase your reach/audience by gaining followers. Check out Day 7 of the Challenge about adding share buttons to your blog posts.

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Platform Challenge Day 11: Social Network Sharing

Platform Challenge Day 11: Social Network Sharing

The Platform Challenge Day 11 has returned. Now, it’s time to show some love to your fellow writers. Let’s look at Bob’s instructions for today.

Platform Challenge Day 11

Share an informative article with your social network.

All you have to do is find an interesting article online and share it with your social network: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and any other social media sites you’re using. What’s important is for the article to be related to your platform.

For instance, if you’re a writer then the article you share should have something to do with writing. I’m sharing an article titled:

Most Common Mistakes Series: Are Your Verbs Showing or Telling?

It’s a great article. By sharing helpful resources on social networks, you can draw attention to your platform and earn more followers, a larger audience. You’ll also help out a fellow author by sharing his or her article online. Remember, sharing is caring.

For Day 12 of the Challenge we’ll focus on a call to action.

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Platform Challenge Day 10: How Do You Appear Online?

Google How Do You Appear Online?

Today’s task should be fun. You’re going to conduct a search on yourself. Building a better platform online should make it easier for other people to get in contact with you. No, I’m not talking stalker status.

You’ll want people like potential readers and your soon-to-be loving fans to search online and easily find your books, blog, website, and contact you on social media sites or through email.

Bob’s instructions for today are:

Day 10 of the Challenge

Do a search for your name online.

Conduct a search for your name or pen name to see what results show up. Try using each of the top search engines:

You’ll want to take a look at the images that are linked to your name too. You may be surprised by the results. Bob also listed some additional search engines you can use:

The results show what others will find when they search for you, your books, or your blog. The goal is to have your blog at the very top of the search results, and next will probably be the links to your social media profiles.

When I searched for my name, Google showed my blog as the third result. That’s not great. The top result for Lanise Brown yielded a Facebook profile for another gal with my name. Ok, I guess I have competition, lol. The second result was for the white pages.

So, I have some work to do to get my blog to the top spot. I found it interesting how many other women share my name, and the image results were pretty surprising too.

If your blog and sites don’t show up at the top of the first page of results, then you’ll have some work to do too. But we’ll work on using SEO on our blogs later in the challenge.

Tomorrow’s task involves finding some enlightening reading on Day 10.

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Platform Challenge Day 9: Respond to Tweets

Platform Challenge Day 9 Tweets

We’re back on Twitter and showing some love to our fellow tweeters. Everyone should have a Twitter account since Day 4 of the Challenge.

Now we’re learning another important feature on the social media site, responding to tweets.

Bob’s instructions are:

Day 9 of the Challenge

Respond to 3 tweets.

You’re going to respond, comment, on 3 tweets today. Your responses can be short simple notes about how much you appreciated the link someone shared. You can thank your new followers or just say hi to someone. Responding to tweets shows you’re:

  • An active part of the twitter community.
  • You care.

You don’t have to write out a long response. Twitter has a limit of 140 characters for a reason. It’s also important to retweet the awesome posts you find on twitter. Re-tweets are like sending shout outs about how much you appreciate your twitter friends.

Above all, your tweets should fit your platform. That means if you’re a writer, you’ll want to focus on tweets related to your message, like writing tips, word count updates, great info and links that can help other writers, and share the books you love.

However, you probably shouldn’t tweet things that can harm or turn people away from your platform. Your goal is to improve your image online and not tear it down. So, be a conscientious tweeter.

Next, Day 10 of the challenge involves Google, your name, and probably a few surprises.

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Platform Challenge Day 8: Create a LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn

For the Platform Challenge Day 8, you’re going to create a LinkedIn profile just like you did for Twitter and Facebook. LinkedIn is more of a professional platform and is geared towards networking with people interested in making business connections. Bob’s instructions for:

Day 8 of the Challenge

Signup at LinkedIn.com

Creating a profile on LinkedIn takes a little more effort than the previous social media sites we’ve looked at. LinkedIn claims to have the world’s largest professional network, and your profile showcase your skills as a writer.

If you already have a profile, then that’s great. You should work on improving your page. And if you’re new to LinkedIn, here are a few tips from those in the know:

Profile Building

Writing Jobs (Freelance)

Writer’s Groups

I already have a LinkedIn profile from a year or so ago. To be honest, I don’t use it often or keep it updated. I suppose that will have to change.

For Day 9 of the challenge, we’ll show some love on Twitter.

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Platform Challenge Day 7: Advantages of Share Buttons

Day 7 involves another round with social media. You have a blog and now you need an efficient way for others to share your posts. The best way to achieve fast and effective sharing is by adding social media buttons to your blog. Bob’s instructions for:

Day 7 of the Challenge

Take advantage of share buttons.

I use WordPress*, as you can see, and I don’t need to add share buttons to my blog since they’re already incorporated in this site. If you have a WordPress blog and want to learn more about these sharing features, here’s the Sharing support page.

*Note: I used to use WordPress. I’m now a Blogger girl.

If you need to add share buttons to another blog platform, you can use:

It only takes 3 steps to add these buttons to your blog. And these buttons are a fast and simple way for your blog visitors to share your posts with their social network.

If you’re looking for a specific button then here are few more:

I’ve added the AddThis widget to my Tumblog today and they work great. There’s even a way to check how often visitors are using your share buttons if you connect AddThis or ShareThis to your Google Analytics account.

Speaking of connecting, for Day 8 we’ll visit LinkedIn.

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Platform Challenge Day 6: Leave a Comment

In the last few days, you’ve defined yourself, set your goals, created Facebook and Twitter accounts, and started blogging like a boss. Today’s Challenge is slightly different. You’re going to shift your focus outward and spend time on another blog. Bob’s instructions are simple:

Day 6 of the Challenge

Leave a comment.

Your goal for today is to find an interesting blog post and comment on it. Write something funny, ask a question, voice your opinion, and if you disagree with that blogger’s views then do so courteously.

There are two things you want to avoid when commenting online:

  • Being a troll.
  • Being a spammer.

Trolls leave comments just for the sake of upsetting other people. Spammers post advertisements but a spammer can also be someone who leaves irrelevant comments. So, please remember to be thoughtful and give the type of comments you’d like to receive.

It’s also important to link your comments back to your blog. Most sites have a comment form that allows you to enter your blog’s URL. It’s a great feature to take advantage of, because when someone reads your comment and clicks on your name, your name will link back to your blog.

Blogging is not just about writing your own posts. It’s also about:

  • Networking.
  • Building friendships.
  • Connecting with other writers and bloggers.
  • Growing an audience online.

So don’t forget to blog, read, comment, and repeat the process regularly.

Tomorrow we’ll get to play with buttons on Day 7.

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Platform Challenge Day 5: Create a Blog

I hope you brought your magnifying glass. On the Platform Challenge Day 5, we’re taking a closer look at blogging. If you don’t have a blog then you’ll want to make one. A blog can be a writer’s best friend. Bob’s instructions for today are:

Day 5 of the Challenge

Create a blog.

You can use WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, or Live Journal, whichever blogging platform you prefer is just fine. The point of today’s task is to:

  • Start a blog.
  • Write a post.
  • Share your blog.

You can share your blog on Twitter and Facebook, tell your friends, send an email, add your blog and social media links to your email and forum signatures. Your job is to get the word out.

But don’t spam people, just kindly inform them that you have a presence online as a writer who blogs. And if you already have a blog, it doesn’t hurt to take a closer look at your practices, like:

  • What needs improving on you blog?
  • Are you blogging on a regular basis?
  • Are you actively commenting on other blogs?
  • Most of all, do you enjoy blogging? If not, can anything change your opinion?

Blogging is a great way to share your thoughts about the craft. You’ll have a chance to connect with other writers and use your blog to promote your work. What’s not to love?

I’m sure you’ll have fun sharing tomorrow. I’ll see you on Day 6.

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Platform Challenge Day 4: Open a Twitter Account

Twitter logo

Twitter

Today’s task is super easy. Now that you’re on Facebook, you’re going to need another blue buddy. Yes, I’m talking about Twitter. It seems like the two social media sites are inseparable these days, and if you’re a writer you should have at least one. Here are Bob’s instructions for:

Day 4 of the Challenge

Open a Twitter account.

It takes less than 5 minutes to sign up, so have it: Twitter.com. If you already have a Twitter account then kudos to you. But if you’re new to tweeting, like me, the site’s features can be a bit confusing.

So, here are a few of the basics for anyone just signing up to Twitter:

  • Make your profile appealing (pick a nice background).
  • Add a nice bio and photo.
  • Write your first Tweet.
  • Follow a few interesting people.
  • Learn about hashtags, re-tweets, and direct messages (see the links below).

As a newbie, I also found these how-to articles helpful:

It’s important to keep your account alive by tweeting at least a few times a week. Twitter is a great way to build a network, make friends, self-promote, and stay up to date on just about any subject. Having an account will come in handy as you continue to build your platform.

Get ready for Day 5. You’re going to need a magnifying glass.

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Platform Challenge Day 3: Create a Facebook Profile

facebook like
Facebook like

Day 2 is over and so far, you have an image and purpose for your platform. Now you need to get the word out. To be honest, today’s Challenge is something I’ve avoided for some time. It’s Facebook. Yes, I’m not a fan of the social media giant.

I’m not fond of Twitter either but these sites are necessary for making yourself known and easy to contact online. So, I’m sucking it up and creating a profile. Bob’s instructions for today are:

Day 3 of the Challenge

Create a Facebook profile.

You can sign up for your very own page at Facebook.com.

If you already have a Facebook page then kudos, you’ve already completed today’s challenge. If not, it only takes a few minutes to sign up and create your profile. I’ve made my new page for the Timekeeper’s Journal.

I’d appreciate it if you could like me: Book Reviews by Lanise Brown.

The important things to consider when creating your Facebook profile:

  • Keep your page active.
  • Communicate with your fans/followers/friends.
  • Remember, social media helps to put your name out there.

In my case, I have a fan page and a personal profile. Now that I have an account, I’ve set up my WordPress blog to autopost to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Autoposting will save me a lot of time and effort.

It’s important to take advantage of social media to reach a wider audience. You may be surprised by how many people are interested in what you have to say. And that’s all for today.

For tomorrow, I think we’ll pay a visit to a little birdie – Day 4.

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