Promoting your services does not have to be so hard. You can very quickly gain a readership by taking a little time and effort and paying attention to current events in your chosen field.
Michael and I have both harped on about creating a portfolio of work, even if you have not been commissioned to produce it or sold it. The issue is, what should you write about that will immediately get you readers?
If you are using an email account such as Yahoo!, AOL or Hotmail, every time you sign in you get news features listed on your sign in screen. I signed in to my Yahoo! account and was confronted with pictures of Britney Spears on a stretcher surrounded by paramedics trying to help her find a hairgrip or a grip on reality. The singer is embroiled in a custody battle with her ex over the children and “something” happened over the weekend. As sure as Gordon Brown is scared of calling a General Election, if you wrote something about custody issues and cited Britney, you are going to get some attention over the next couple of days at least because people are going to be interested in it and not just sad Britney fans either.
Take another example; one of the heroes in the Glasgow Airport terrorist attack has collapsed with a brain aneurism which in part has been attributed to stress. At the same time, over 200 servicemen diverted to Birmingham International Airport on the way home for Christmas leave from Afghanistan, were forced to change from uniform to civilian dress before being allowed to enter the terminal from the aircraft. How about writing an article on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or a piece on how we treat our “heroes” in the UK? Either way, you are guaranteed a readership on a very controverisal issue that holds widespread interest in the population at large.
For those of you who believe this smacks of opportunistic voyeurism for selfish interests; you’re absolutely correct!
The question that really needs to be answered is whether you wish to write something that will be read and stands a chance of circulating or whether you are happy for your “Ode to a lump of dried skin in my armpit” be written purely for your own creative pleasure without thought of furthering your career or prospects. Personally I take the Jeffrey Archer approach everytime; write crap and get paid, not least because it allows me to continue writing. As Ernest Hemingway said, “I may write one page of genius but there are ninety-nine pages of mediocrity that go with it.”
You can write a short 500 word piece on whatever the news of the day happens to be; give it a twist if you can and then publish it to the plethora of article sites available.
Here is a practical example of this technique in action: Angelina Jolie
Anjelina Jolie, superbabe, Hollywood star, married to Brad Pitt; has been involved in discussions to play the role of Melissa Hawach from Canada.
Melissa Hawach had two children kidnapped from Canada by her ex husband, they were taken to Australia and then disappeared to the Lebanon. After exhausting the legal process and with her kids in a war zone, Melissa hired a couple of mercenaries and kidnapped the kids back, fleeing through Syria and eventually back to Europe and flew home to Canada. The mercenaries were arrested and spent a few months on a Lebanese prison diet.
I knew of Melissa’s story because I write on international child abduction matters and have a deep interest in the topic. No matter how compelling Melissa’s story though, it was just another story of a type we have all heard before, filed away and dismissed as “old news”.
I wrote a blog post and by accident, used Angelina Jolie’s involvement as a possible to play Melissa in a film.
The traffic to the blog spiked, with that post generating over 3,000 hits in one month – more than the entire blog generated in 3 months. Analysing the traffic it became apparent why – one of the main search terms was “Anjelina Jolie”. Nothing to do with child kidnapping, or the Hawachs, or anything else – simply people looking for news and information on the superbabe.
“So what?” you may say, “It didn’t attract the right readers or achieve anything did it?”
Actually it did – donations topped over $1,000 to a charity the blog promotes and several readers started subscribing simply because they found the blog interesting and wanted to stay current with events.
The moral of this tale is simply this; do not try to reinvent the wheel when there is nothing stopping you from jumping on a bandwagon!