This is a special guest post written by Hilary Smith, a recent graduate of Medill School of Journalism. Always one to help young writers, I’m pleased to offer this on her behalf.
As we approach the holiday season, we also come to the end of another amazing year of technology and the continued growth of social media. The year 2014 brought us the iPhone 6, but more importantly gave us new technological advances in brain mapping, better mobile collaboration and more agile robots.
Entering 2015, we need to pay closer attention to the hottest new trends that are forecasted to affect the Internet, especially authors, bloggers and other online writers. The death of Google Authorship can mean the rebirth of other new social media strategies that we can embrace to pump up our readership.
￼Here are five important trends that wordsmiths should follow for 2015:
1. Go Mobile or Go Home
Long ago, author and famed environmentalist Roger Tory Peterson wrote: “Birds have wings, they’re free, they can fly where they want, when they want, they have the kind of mobility many people envy.”
Today we have mobility that can surpass our feathered friends when we can circumnavigate the globe in mere seconds with our hand-held mobile devices. Practically everyone today is carrying a tablet or smartphone so make sure all of your material is mobile friendly.
2. Million Dollar Eye Candy
Okay, I just made this one up but I’ve also seen it paraphrased online, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video offers a million more.”
All of your posts should include a visually stunning, attention grabbing picture or embedded video to capture your audience’s attention. Social media traffic is heavy and it always seems like rush hour, so to get your reader to stop at your piece by giving them something appealing to look a first. If anyone still uses the Yellow Pages or reads a newspaper, it is the difference between trying to find a small amount of text or viewing a full page advertisement.
3. Don’t Be a Show-Off
French Philosopher Henri Bergson stated, “The only cure for vanity is laughter and the only fault that is laughable is vanity.”
Don’t over-promote yourself or your material. Sure, it’s okay to be excited when your book first launches, but then you need to back off. Learn to become a teacher and advisor rather than a salesperson by giving free webinars and chatting it up in HangOuts.
4. Respond – But Stay Positive or Stay Silent
This one comes from my Dad and perhaps one of your parents, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
The same goes for social media, don’t show anger and resentment or respond to nastiness in any way. If someone blasts your work with something negative, ignore them. If they attack you a second time, block them. On the other hand, when someone leaves a positive comment, respond to it. Remember, you’re not delivering a sermon, you’re opening a dialogue.
5. Greater Integration of Messaging
“Our tools are not improvement to modern society, they are a challenge to it.” — Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
Platforms like Twitter and Facebook naturally serve as great messaging tools, but when integrated with an event promotion strategy, social media can amplify your message and encourage attendee posts before, during, and after the event to create anticipation and buzz.
Another way to help boost your readership is through the use an “Influencer.” This is where focus is placed on key individuals rather than the target audience as a whole. By identifying those individuals who can influence your potential readers, we gain even further exposure by “piggybacking” on their popularity and exposure.
Much in the same way that Father Time gives way to the New Year’s Baby, stone tablets were replaced long ago with social media just as our bound and printed books are now available online. Don’t be a prehistoric penpal, engage with your readers successfully online through social media.
About the author:
Hilary Smith is a graduate of Medill School of Journalism, and specializes in telecommunications. She also covers social media, VoIP technology and globalization. You can find her on Twitter at @HilaryS33.