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Beyond the Blog: Developing Your Online Presence as a Writer

We recently highlighted ways that some of you integrate Tumblr into your online routine and use this platform to complement your…

We recently highlighted ways that some of you integrate Tumblr into your online routine and use this platform to complement your work on WordPress.com, which is your online hub. Since the internet is a very big playground, let’s talk about other ways to develop your web presence and personal brand strategically, as well as use WordPress.com to promote your writing in a way that makes sense for you.

Look for submission guidelines on your favorite sites

If you’re an active writer and blogger, you’re probably an avid reader, too. Pay attention to the menus, footers, and About pages of your favorite blogs and websites — it’s here where you’ll find details on submission policies for publications that accept the work of writers like you.

Think you’ve got what it takes to publish on Thought Catalog? Check out its Submissions page. Interested in contributing one great image or one 1,000-word piece to 1:1000? Read the Submit page. Got an excellent piece of narrative nonfiction? Read the Submission Guidelines for Vela.

These are just a few examples — there are many, many more opportunities out there, so check the submission details for the blogs, websites, and publications you read and respect. A number of collaborative sites within our WordPress.com community also accept guest posts, from Broken Light to A Manic World — these are great ways to test the waters, too.

Test new, extra, or unrelated material elsewhere

What about using other platforms to experiment with material? Maybe you’re a travel blogger interested in writing quick-style musings on the many landmarks you visit in a country, but don’t want to write longer posts about each place.

Enter Hi, a platform for real-time storytelling around the world. Here, you can publish a sketch: a 20-word snippet of text and an image connected to a location, which is a quick way to share a thought or idea from wherever you may be. While great for people interested in travel, place, personal musings, and photography, Hi could be used in a way that’s appropriate for you.

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How about a publishing space like Medium? Medium is a place for writing, brought to you by the makers of Twitter. If you primarily write about K-12 education on your blog but have other interests, for example, Medium might be an outlet to try new ideas and explore topics you normally don’t write about, but also to find new readers and invite them back to your home at WordPress.com. (On Medium, there’s a tool called Further Reading, through which you can link back to your blog and related posts.)

Many of you ask if it’s better to maintain separate blogs for different interests — a blog for your food recipes and a second blog for your parenting posts, for instance. Similarly, some of you ask about how to better differentiate your personal musings from more professional work. We know how much work it takes to create and build a new blog; why not consider publishing one-off pieces on a platform like Medium to experiment with material — and promote your blog and gain new readers in the process?

For the photographers out there, Exposure is a platform to create photo narratives. From displaying single images to dragging-and-dropping to create image galleries, there are tools here for image-heavy posts with bits of text.

Let’s say you took more than a hundred pictures from your recent trip to Spain; do you have a bunch of unused takes that aren’t fitting for your blog post but are still worth sharing? Create a complementary post on Exposure to promote your work — and gain new followers from a different network. On these other platforms, you create a user profile, on which you’ll link back to your primary blog, here on WordPress.com.

One thing we’d like to emphasize: you don’t have to branch out; you might be fine crafting and honing your online presence right here. But the internet is huge, and as online publishers, we face many options. We think it’s important to introduce different tools out there to ensure you get the most out of your experience on the web.

Use WordPress.com to compile your best writing

We’ve all launched blogs for different reasons, so you’ll see fellow bloggers using WordPress.com in ways that fit their needs. Some writers use WordPress.com as a space to showcase their greatest hits elsewhere. Cody Delistraty, a writer, researcher, and historian based in New York and Paris, contributes to Pacific Standard, The TODAY Show, and other publications.

On his personal blog, Cody publishes original pieces mixed with reposts and revised versions of articles elsewhere, like this post on the modern expatriate (published on Peregrine) and this piece on big philosophical questions (which appeared in different form on Thought Catalog). On WordPress.com, he compiles the work he’s proud of across the internet, so his readers can follow along in one place and read work they wouldn’t otherwise see. In addition, he includes a link in his menu to his Contently profile, a space for freelancers and journalists to compile professional work.

Likewise, Emily at Rosie Says writes at numerous publications, including Jezebel, the Huffington Post, and XOJane. She uses her blog to publish original work (like this piece on white feminism) as well as share writing at Role/Reboot, adding context and directing readers to related posts, too (see the post “Solo in the City”).

If you share writing that lives elsewhere on the web, you can approach it in different ways:

  • Publish excerpts in your posts, and then link to the rest.
  • Offer backstory or research about the article.
  • Provide an anecdote about the piece, which supplements your professional work with more of a personal angle.
  • Publish additional information that might have been cut from the original.

General tips on organizing and presenting your work on your WordPress.com blog or website:

What about you? Are you a freelance writer or blogger publishing on multiple platforms? We’d love to hear your methods.

46 Comments

  1. It all began with pics on Webshots, then geo-tagging the pics on Panaramio & Google Earth making maps. Blogger platform first back in 2006, to raise awareness of an issue. Wrote as Detroit Kayaking Examiner on Examiner.Com platform for a year as well. Now using WordPress for another topic. After a few years an “internet-brand” of sorts developed via Gravatar. Pictures, photographs, snapshots, call it what you will, ALL have a story behind them – tell it !

  2. A while ago, WordPress published an e-book with a bunch of tips. It recommended creating a “best of” page, which I proceeded to do. It’s helped a great deal, because people are eager to read what other people found interesting. However, I haven’t expanded to writing to other places on the internet yet. When I turn 18 (2 months!) I’ll start submitting to Thought Catalog. :)

  3. I’ve been on twitter for quite some time; but just few days old on WordPress. Yeah; you can call me an avid writer, I love to pen down whatever amuses me. And thanks for the information :)

  4. I do lots of guest writing on other blogs. They’re called comments. ;)

    Seriously, though, I did do a guest post on another wordpress blog very early on. It was a blog I liked but its audience was sufficiently different from mine that it wasn’t a match made in heaven. I got 90 likes but very few followers from that one.

    However, I’m weird enough that there aren’t a lot of places I’d fit in. I guess that means someone will just have to publish my blog as a book someday, right?

  5. Writing for someone else or simply doing a collaboration on another blog or site give me something new to learn. I don’t know about everything in the world and collaborative blogging helps me learn about other cultures and parts of the world.
    Thanks for your thoughts, it gave me a second look :)

  6. This tips are really helpful thank you!

    I think my major downfall is not blogging enough or regularly. My page views are always higher when I’ve blogged once a week as oppose to once a month.

    My blog is mixed topics i.e. feminism, travel, culture etc. To anyone – do you think that it is better to pick just one topic as the focus of your blog?

    : )

    1. Again, it depends on you and the blog, and I’m pretty sure others have their own opinions and ideas. Personally, I’ve enjoyed focusing on several topics on my own blog, which naturally feel related because of how I approach my posts. I think oftentimes readers won’t mind so much if you jump from topic A to topic B if there’s an organic thread — meaning YOU are there to make that connection for them, and to write about disparate topics with your own perspective and views.

      Others approach blogging differently, too, and maintain multiple blogs.

  7. Thanks for this! This is exactly the reason I started my blog in the first place– as a means of establishing more “presence” as a writer. One thing I did do was to create a “publications” page, which is essential a CV of anything I’ve written that has been published. Where possible, I incorporated a hyperlink to the actual publication.

  8. Great read, I have only been on wordpress for a few months so it is all a bit new to me. If you get a chance to read any of my blogs please comment and let me know what you think. My blog gives an insight into my life as a professional sportsman. I hope you enjoy.
    Cheers

  9. I have written for other blogs (some which I helped launch) and websites. Other blogs where my posts live are listed under About page. But I also have search string links that automatically pull together blog posts I’ve authored on other sites. Then user can click and get a listing of the posts /articles I’ve done for another blog.

    But I like the “Best” of All time across the Internet. Problem is definition of “best” varies according to subject or focus. Or time pleasurably spent on crafting the blog post or one that gives good memories + has reader feedback.

      1. My Favourite Posts is probably a cosy term, like curling up in a chair and reading a book.

        Unbelievably my “About” Page is one of the top 10 read pages/posts, in the past 3 years. On one hand it’s flattering people are motivated to figure out a blog, but slight creepy that all sorts of people want to know abit about me, etc. I certainly would not be adding that to “My Favourite Posts”.

  10. There is a lot of great information here. Thanks. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to set up some way of linking to other places. Now I see there are even better ways to expand, organize, and travel. Looking forward to checking out some of these sights.

  11. I published my first article on Lifehack.org last year after going through a submission process. Their topic-pitching, vetting, and editing processes are easy to follow.
    I just finished up two rough drafts yesterday for submission that will hopefully be posted on their website in mid-March.
    I hadn’t considered posting an excerpt and link from my articles or making a page thereof on my blog, but I certainly will now.

  12. This is pretty timely for me, as I’ve just created a new wordpress site where all of my virtual identities can live, work and play together in one spot. I called it http://JannAlexander.com (in order to put own my name to all the writing, photography, art and curating I have floating around out there under other names. Nice to see additional ideas on how to handle this—I just posted recently on how easy it was to become a publisher, but to just be careful what you wish for! Here’s that one: http://austindetails.me/2014/02/14/be-a-publisher/

  13. Great piece! Personally my hits increase the more frequently I blog but this is very insightful in terms of getting different platforms and people aware of your work.

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