Using Tumblr: A Complementary Platform For Your Blog
So, you’ve worked hard to build your blog, have established a posting rhythm, and are comfy in your digs. Then, we tell you about ways to promote your work and get yourself out there: Facebook pages! Twitter and LinkedIn accounts! Pinterest boards!
Must you create more? Must you do All The Things?
The short answer? No. While we offer advice and resources on how to blog more and better, you don’t have to do, well, anything. But we want to lay out all these tools and possibilities, and you can pick and choose what’s right for you. Today, let’s talk about how you can use another platform — Tumblr — as a complementary space for your blog, and to expand your online presence and reach.
Where, oh where, does your writing live?
We’ve introduced social platforms to promote your work online, but we haven’t talked much about where your writing lives, which writer Miranda Ward muses on eloquently:
I keep imagining a kind of perfect online mobility: not having a website or a singular blog and trying to keep this one plot of web-land mine, but taking all of my content, all of my stuff, with me wherever I go. Finding a way of being on the internet that better respects the fluidity of self.
In other words, how do you, as a writer online, present yourself and organize your work on this labyrinthine web? You’ve likely built your blog on WordPress.com as your hub — your own cozy corner of the internet. People visit your blog to get a dose of you.
But with today’s publishing platforms, your writing can appear in multiple places at once. You might have occasional opportunities for posting elsewhere, like guest blogging on a fellow writer’s site, but what about writing on a platform like Tumblr to complement your blog? For some, it may not be necessary (and in some cases, might create a fragmented experience for your readers). But for others, it might be just what you need to take your work to the next level. If this option is right for you, what could it look like?
WordPress.com and Tumblr
It’s worth noting there’s a difference between simply creating more accounts on the web and posting mindlessly and duplicating content on each, versus carefully considering your options and using a few.
So, enter Tumblr. I’m on Tumblr, although I don’t really publish much original content there. I keep my writing on WordPress.com, and on Tumblr, I compile quotes from favorite posts I’ve read, and publish sporadic short musings, which relate to the themes I explore on my blog. Call it an outlet for inspiration and brainstorming. The setup might not make sense for everyone, but it works for me.
Ilustrator Sarah Goodreau uses Tumblr to share her art beyond her WordPress.com readership. Tumblr is a rich community for visual artists, so Sarah takes advantage of that extra boost. I like how she unifies her personal brand: her Tumblr and WordPress.com sites are visually cohesive, with matching headers and backgrounds, which you can see above.
On Tumblr, Edwin shares brief excerpts from his posts, and links to the originals on his blog. Think of this approach as a simple way to lure new readers to your doorstep. While this method is similar to connecting your blog to Tumblr with the Publicize feature in Settings → Sharing, you do have more control over the published content and can add more context or introductory text for Tumblr readers, if needed.
Other bloggers use Tumblr to share ideas and interests beyond their blog’s focus. Miss Anderson at The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh! uses her Tumblr as a companion to her blog of book reviews. She identifies her Tumblr as a more visual space to share stuff on books, feminism, and other passions, and her approach there is different yet complementary.
Journalist Kira Bindrim, who blogs about books at Sorry Television, uses Tumblr similarly: it’s an extra space to compile links, quotes, and GIFS galore. Scroll down the page, and you’ll see it’s a lighter approach to engaging in topics that matter to her, but wouldn’t be appropriate on her blog, where she focuses on book reviews and other prose, like her recent piece on Duck Dynasty.
Finally, Stan Carey writes about the evolution of the English language at his blog, Sentence First. On his Tumblr, Rumble Tumble, he has the freedom to share things beyond linguistics, and the format of Tumblr is ideal for sharing quick bursts on words, poetry, foreign languages, and more. Stan’s Tumblr compiles different content from his blog posts, and offers another dimension to his work.
So, is setting up a Tumblr right for you? Things to consider:
- Use Tumblr as a way to attract a new set of readers to your blog.
- Experiment with different content that you’re not sure fits on your blog.
- Create a secondary space for sharing ideas on your favorite topics.
- Use Tumblr for brainstorming and quick thoughts.
These are just several examples of how to incorporate Tumblr into your blogging routine. Are you on Tumblr? If so, how do you use it?