Don’t Blow Off the New School – Social media

As much as I love old school – old school hip-hop, pen and paper interviewing, in-person interviewing, library research, etc., I have to admit, the new school is pretty darn fun too. Everyday there’s a new blog on how writers/freelancers can maximize their efforts to get work, get noticed and build a reputation through social media. AND everyday there’s another writer who is quick to say, “Bah! I don’t use all that stuff. I’ve got a website, a solid client list and I’m good.”

Those poor souls are wrong.

They are also likely the same people who wanted to hang on to their typewriter. Then their word processor, then their 486 IBM and finally that laptop that weighed 300 pounds. If being a great writer is about growth, why can’t technology be a part of that growth?

Social media enhances the article writing experience.

Where else can you hop on your little pedestal and say, “Have you ever tried [insert random product or therapy for depression]? How did it work for you? I’m writing an article on coping with depression,” and people instantly contact you with their stories and sources? Social media tools allow for writers to reach out to the lady in California, the guy in Idaho and the professor at Carnegie Melon without leaving their homes. Why is this important?

Access.

Access to real and diverse folks. Access to a homogeneous pool of sources – the choice is yours. Social media allows you to pull sources and resources from your audience making the articles you write more insightful, richer and more appealing.

Diversify Your Social Media

I know, I should slow down. I just got you interested in how it can actually help you in your work and now I want to get all crazy with it. Yeah well..So anyway, diversifying! Even if you aren’t a social media maven, you know about Twitter and Facebook, the two biggies. They are great, fabulous and…crowded. Don’t abandon them, they are still the hotspot for the social media community, but also look at other tools in the social media belt.

Like LinkedIn. Mainly a hang out for business types, meaning you’ll find less pictures of someone’s cats, LinkedIn still provides a wealth of information and connections to sources. Join groups that not only interest you but impact your particular niche. If you don’t have a niche, it’s still important to keep your ear to the ground with what’s going on in that world. Like in social media groups.

YouTube is not the wasteland of old Michael Jackson videos and dramatic squirrels most people think it is. In fact, it can be a wealth of knowledge for a writer. Video blogs and tutorials are rich sources of information and contacting those who produced them is a great way to get off the beaten path for sources.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed in this Tweeting, linking, YouTubing, Facebooking time, but it’s better to embrace it than being the last known user of dial-up. Take a look around, focus on your niche and see what connections you can make. It’s a big social media world out there, but the key is to scoot into an area that feels like home for you!

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