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Using Tumblr: A Complementary Platform For Your Blog

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.

Image by Mullenkedheim (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en".CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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.

Tumblr

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.

Edwin Turner, the “master book thief” behind Biblioklept, has set up a Tumblr as well (and like Sarah, uses the same name as his blog, which helps to build his personal brand).

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?

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  1. I’m thinking about expanding my blog to another platform, but I’m more keen on Twitter, just because I already have a personal Twitter account and know how it works and am familiar with the audience. My question is, do I create a Twitter account just for my blog, or use only my personal account to advertise it? Choices, choices…

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      1. @michelle w. (Also, @hollyp0p, I’m sorry to intrude on this comment. I’m relatively new at this so forgive me.) I just read this post about separating you and blog, and I had a question but the comments on that post are closed. You (michelle) seem to be the person to help me out here.
        I have two blogs on the same username/gravatar. One is directed at my family and people I know, while the other is intended to be loosely anonymous. Is it obvious to people who see my first blog that I have another? If so, is there any way I can keep them clearly separated while using the same account? Anything you have on this would be very helpful.
        Thanks so much!

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    1. I created a personal twitter account for my blog, I think it has the possibility to generate more followers and traffic as it is has a larger amount of users than blogging platforms! For now, I am going to stick with just that, so I would say go for it with the twitter account! :)

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  2. I read this with much interest, thanks!

    I didn’t realise Tumbler can post articles too, I was so ignorant as to think that it’s solely a visual medium. In the light of this article, though, I think I made a good choice in not deciding for Tumbler but rather for Flickr as a photographic extension of my blog.

    Are you planning more articles on WP and other social networks? Like WP + Twitter, WP + Pininterest etc.? I do realise there have been recent write ups on social networks in general, but I was thinking maybe a more in-depth article like this one? I’d surely be interested!

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      1. Well, the “Publicize Crash Course” consisted of two articles, I believe, and each of them dealt with three social networks (and I learned a lot from these!). The article above and another article – http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/pinterest/ – are different in that they focus solely on ONE of the networks and how to utilise it in combination with WP. I’d love more examples and tips.

        In my case, I’m considering Twitter but I don’t want to just repost what I publish on WP – I’m wondering what kind of content is best for Twitter? Surely something short, but should it be quotes, comments, short poems, something else? At the same time, it should be an addition rather than a separate channel from my blog. Of course, it all depends, but I’m looking for suggestions and other bloggers’ experience…

        Sorry for being so wordy :-(

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    1. In addition to the two-part Publicize crash course series, here are some older posts:

      Twitter: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/twitter/
      Facebook: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/facebook-fan-page/
      LinkedIn: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/blog-linkedin-profile/
      Instagram: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/using-instagram-to-grow-your-blog-or-personal-brand/

      People have different ways of using Twitter, and it succeeds as a space for conversations rather than just another network to promote/broadcast your latest posts on WP.com. (You’d want to do more than, say, promoting links to your posts there.) People who use it successfully use it to share ideas or follow people they’re interested in — a two-way street of exchanging ideas and information — rather than a space to send out links and content and expect feedback/response automatically in return.

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  3. I have recently started using Tumblr. I am taking advantage of the WordPress feature that posts my most recent blog to Tumblr. I only use it to reach more customers for my site. The jury still out on the whole “Expanding my Audience”, but then again it could be my content. I blog mostly to educate people about my site and explain what my business can do for them.

    http://www.endorsebug.com

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  4. I add tiny mini plays on Tumblr that are based on snippets of conversations I have heard so three or four lines I use. I then link to my home page of my website that has lists of my full length plays. Hopefully if people have enjoyed my snippets of dialogue they will like the longer pieces too!

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  5. This is such a delightful post, because I do post snippets / photos from my WP blog posts on Tumblr. It requires a little creativity, but I think it is definitely a good medium.

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  6. I find that the majority of my friends use Tumblr, which has always baffled me… you gave great examples of tying the two together, which is a perfect way to expand your blog to gain a whole new audience. Thanks!

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  7. Thanks for the information! I had never considered Tumblr as a potential platform. I’m intrigued. I hate FB, and Pinterest scares me, but Tumblr might be a good fit. Now if I could just have a few more hours in the day to explore.

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  8. Actually, I find it kind of strange that WordPress is encouraging us users to start using a competitor (Tumblr).

    Or is it that you guys don’t consider Tumblr a competitor to WordPress ??

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    1. Hi — our ultimate goal here is to educate users, period. We’ve talked about various social tools (mentioned in the post) that people use to express and promote themselves, and Tumblr is another one of those tools. We offer a way to connect your blog to Tumblr through Publicize, though users have asked us to talk about it more, and we think it’s important to offer samples of how fellow bloggers use it, not necessarily to promote a competitor but to show how you can incorporate it in a way that complements your work. We want users to think critically and strategically about how they present their work and presence online. Hope that helps.

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  9. I know the post did not recommend duplicating content but some might take that away as a point. Your blogs standing with Google might suffer if you start duplicating content all over the web so make sure the content is complimentary and not redundant.

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  10. I agree with your suggestions. My tumblr is also my brand name and I use it to share my drafts, in-between art or more personal photos, quotes or updates that I don’t want in my permanent portfolio. Aside from this I have another tumblr for stuff I like.

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  11. Ooo, I just don’t know! I tried out G+ purely because I accidentally had one set up (thanks, Youtube) and it seems like no one is on there. I’m sort of loathe, but at the same time intrigued, to use Tumblr instead/as well. Still allergic to Twitter. Maybe I’m just not a social media person, ha.

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    1. You’re cautious, and that’s a good thing. We want people to think carefully about the tools they use. You don’t want to spread yourself thin. But I think seeing what other bloggers are doing might be helpful for those who aren’t sure.

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  12. Thanks for this post. I was interested in having a tumblr blog as many bloggers I follow are on there. But thankfully I don’t have to choose between wordpress and tumblr as I can have both at the same time :)

    I’m wondering if Tumblr bloggers also have a function to post on their wordpress site?…

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  13. this was incredibly useful, thanks. I’d taken a look at tumblr before and couldn’t figure out it’s value-add. Have now linked it to my blog, and realised quite a few people I’ve found on instagram also have tumblr sites rather than blogs. So totally works as a cross-platform approach. and while I was at it, also discovered how to watermark instagram image from one of your previous articles. yay!

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  14. I admit, I don’t understand how Tumblr and my blog would fit together. My experience with Tumblr is that it is a place for funny quips and witticisms and memes – I enjoy it for that reason! – but I’ve yet to see serious, professional use of it. Maybe it’s just the niche that I’ve seen. Regardless, I like that WordPress is willing to promote other venues, and it’s definitely food for thought. Thanks!

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  15. I’ve been on Tumblr nearly two years as mostly a photography blog and my blog has been pretty popular in terms of followers and notes and making the radar a few times. I’m new on WP and trying to create a blog that is more for writing. The content between my two blogs doesn’t really overlap, but I like the idea of having an extension of my WP blog on Tumblr (like a second Tumblr). I want to use the automatic sharing feature, but if your Tumblr doesn’t already have a lots of followers then you’ve got to use Tags (lots of tags) to get noticed. Is there any way to get your WP tags shared along with the content? With just a few followers and no tags and so much stuff on Tumblr, your posts will go unnoticed unless people have a way to find them. Going on to Tumblr and manually tagging the posts is too time consuming and makes the sharing option less attractive. Anyone have any ideas?

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  16. I have a Tumblr page for my blog and I absolutely love it. I get more out of Tumblr than I do Twitter, that much is certain. I do what Edwin Turner does, which is use Tumblr as a gateway to my WordPress blog. I also write things on my Tumblr page that I feel are best on there than on my main blog (I call them “Tumblr Exclusives”). Along with that, I share articles by other writers which I feel are worth sharing with other people. Granted, I don’t have as many readers on Tumblr as I do on WordPress but, strangely, I have received more responses from people on Tumblr than on WordPress. Plus, I think Tumblr is a great way to connect with blogs who are of a similar kind and a wonderful way to share ideas. I urge anyone to sign up for it.

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