Growing Your Online Footprint as an Author
Part of establishing your brand as an author is broadening your internet footprint. This helps to ensure that if someone is looking for you, perhaps because they're considering buying your book on Amazon, you're easy to find. I have a fairly common name, but if someone does a Google search using the terms "Ashley Peterson mental health", I want the majority of the hits that come up to be related to me, since my book is about mental health. A website/blog is one good way to establish a presence, but to really take charge of your personal brand, you need to get around a bit. This is especially true if the words in your blog name are fairly generic, as is the case with my blog Mental Health @ Home. Social media can be a big part of establishing your brand, but in this post we're going to focus on some options that may be a little less obvious.
Writing on the site Vocal.media is a good way to show up in Google search results. They have a number of different platforms, and as long as your post is 600 words long and meets quality standards, they will publish pretty much anything you submit. You will also have an author page created on each of the different platforms, which gives you a broader presence than a single combined author page would. Your author pages can include multiple links, including a link to your book. My various Vocal author pages rank quite high when I do a Google search for myself. Vocal pays a very small amount per view of your posts, but for me it's much more about the web presence than the little bit of money.
Medium.com is another great place to publish content that will do well in search results. You can publish whatever content you wish, whether it's original or imported from your blog, and you have the option of publishing it behind their pay wall so you get paid based on the extent that paying Medium members interact with your post. There's also a wide variety of publications on Medium that you can submit work to. I've published on Invisible Illness and The Writing Cooperative, and those posts do quite well in search rankings.
Quora is a site where you can ask or answer questions about topics that you're interested in. In your Quora profile, which will rank reasonably high in Google search results, you can include links to your website and your book. Unlike profiles on a lot of other sites, Quora allows you to include multiple links in your profile.
There are a variety of social bookmarking sites that allow you to "curate" (apparently that is the hot term) content from around the web, including your own. Mix is one such site. Another is Scoop, although you're somewhat limited in what you can do without a paid plan. Flipboard allows you to create "magazines" with articles that you collect from around the web. You can request to be a "publisher" so that the RSS feed from your blog is automatically posted into a magazine you've created. These all offer new ways that people can potentially find you online, and you can focus on spreading the word for posts that support your book.
List.ly is a list creation app. Your first three lists that you create have access to all of the premium features. Make these three count, because List.ly is more likely to share these on their social media, and they're also likely to do better in Google search rankings. Use these lists to slip in content that relates to your blog, your book, or any other projects you've got going on. Your profile includes a link to your website.
Contently has articles on freelancing and opportunities to apply for freelance work, but even if you're not interested in freelancing, Contently allows you to put together a portfolio of your written work that you can show when you're pitching your work to publishing platforms. The portfolio tool is free to use.
Even if you don't have the time to devote to being particularly active outside of your main writing focus, taking a bit of time to set things up across a few different platforms will broaden your internet footprint, which can in turn can give you a bit of a boost in moving ahead with your writing.
Adapted from an article that originally appeared on the Best Life Collaborative.