By: Marilyn L. Davis
“Being on Facebook as an Author and listing your books is like being a tiny single word in a giant dictionary! If people don’t search for you they don’t find you. They don’t take notice of you. They don’t even know you exist! That’s the hard reality of Social media!” ― Lily Amis
Networking is a word that people are growing tired of; all that reaching out, commenting, sharing, following, and wondering when they’re supposed to write. I know the feelings.
But, and it’s a huge but, if we don’t brand our writing, generate followers and engage with our readers, all we’ll have is time to write – mostly posts that no one reads. And if no one reads them, maybe just journaling or keeping a diary is where our writing should be.
I know I’m usually the encouraging one – find your voice, do it now, send us a submission. Rah-rah. While I still support other writers and do hope you submit, there are times that I have to narrow the focus and emphasis and concentrate on the Two Drops of Ink site.
Which brings me to practicing what I preach. Scott and I discussed our lack of a tag line and decided that we wanted our readers to know that we are passionate about all things literary, that we know how quality writers enhance the site, and that we need to adopt a tag line that reflects those goals.
Why Are Tag Lines Even Important?
Sometimes you’ve got a tag line in place when you first start your blog – if that’s the case, good for you. Other times, as your site develops and evolves, you realize that you are becoming something more than you imagined, and may need to adjust or adopt a tag line because they are an important part of social media sharing.
Tag lines are a way to alert people to your purpose.
- Got Milk?
- Just Do It
- Have It Your Way
- Diamonds are Forever
- I’m Lovin’ It
I guarantee that all of you reading know exactly which brand those tag lines reference. That’s the power of an effective tag line. These five were created to encapsulate or summarize the essence of the business, using the fewest words possible.
But the concept has application for your blog as well. You’ll want to:
- Attract your target audience
- Create identifiers for your services, products or posts
- Identify your blog’s purpose
- Let people know who you are
What Do I Want Them To Know?
The key to writing a descriptive tag line is difficult for some writers. It’s a distillation of all those words you’ve been writing in the content down to a few well-thought out words that explain the essence of your blog.
Rather than the kitchen sink approach to writing, it is condensed and gets to the heart of your blog’s purpose.
I struggled with a tag line for my other blog, From Addict 2 Advocate. I knew that I had fundamental beliefs about addiction and recovery – that healing from addiction is more than just not using drugs or alcohol. It’s heart-healing, forgiving ourselves and others, and finding ways to become a better person in our recovery. I believe that we have to thoroughly review our past, preferably in writing, to understand our self-destructive patterns. I believe that people need support and encouragement to heal from their addictions, also.
While all of that is true, it’s too long for a tag line, so I spent some time and reflected on what were my core beliefs, and realized I could sum it up in six words.
Recovery and Writing Heals the Heart
Now, readers have a fairly good idea of what they will find on my blog – recovering and writing. Is it the most original? Maybe not, but it does sum up my philosophy, and frankly, it works. So if you’re struggling to find your tag line, ask yourself:
- How can I set the blog apart from similar sites?
- What are my beliefs or ideas about my content and blog?
- What five words exemplify the blog?
- What message do I want to promote?
- Who is most likely to read the blog?
- Why is this blog better than comparable sites?
When you’ve answered those questions, you’ll have a better idea of the most important words to use, helping you see your key elements. Then you develop or polish your tag line.
A great tag line stays with your readers because it gets their attention, and if you’ve sent the message well, they will return the next time they need information, because you’re writing or advice is sound, but also because they remember the tag line.
So, for those seeking heart healing in recovery, they know something will be written about that topic that may help them in their struggles.
If Two Drops of Ink adopts, “The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing”, then when the readers need advice or a how-to on better writing, composition, grammar, syntax, or structure, they’ll remember that we provide all of those. They’ll understand it’s literary and therefore, might be open to all genres. They will visit the site to see if we offer:
- Short stories
- Book critique
- Literary Agent news
They’ll also notice collaborative and understand it’s open to others.
That means that both tag lines create a memorable slogan that readers responded to and can easily remember.
If They Don’t Remember You, They’re Not Coming Back
Once you’ve developed and polished your tag line, promote it. You know you need to get your posts, “out there.” Sure, we all know that, however, most bloggers face the same problem, which social media sites are best for a particular type of blog?
First, you have to determine whether to invest in tracking applications, use what’s available on your WordPress site, or use the shotgun approach and just post it everywhere.
The problem with the everywhere approach is that if you spend time on the top 15 top social media sites – when do you write?
Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Twitter generate the most views for From Addict 2 Advocate, so I concentrate my sharing on those four sites. Expanding on that, I’ve joined numerous FB, Google Plus and LinkedIn groups and communities solely devoted to recovery.
With this strategy, I’ve increased views without additional social media sites.
If you have isolated your target reader, developed a tag line, and want to expand your draw, use features on Facebook to find like-minded individuals and see if you don’t increase your viewing numbers. Participate in discussions about topics that interest you, and share or retweet other people on Twitter. LinkedIn offers more international experts, again, with discussion groups that you can participate in and gain followers.
However, like most things in life, you’re going to have to be persistent and consistent in this. Most of us don’t build a following overnight, but if people like your posts on FB, Twitter, Google Plus or LinkedIn, they’ll share the information and that will increase your views.
There are also people who are influential in your field. Befriend them and create a relationships with them. Share their blogs if they are authentic for you. Retweet them. Comment on other people’s posts. In many cases, this is how they got noticed, and helped them build a following.
Want to know where you can find people who are considered experts in their field?
One social media barometer is Klout, where a score is assigned that reflects the individual or brand’s social media influence. Find your field’s categories and see who is listed. If you click on their name, it will give you all of their social media sites and access to their posts.
So for those interested in addiction, when they click on experts, I’m ranked number 2.
Does that get me a free coffee at Starbucks? No, but it means that people looking for posts on addiction might stumble upon my site that I don’t engage otherwise.
Get ‘Er Done
Spend some time on a tag line. Get it out there. And before you get too famous, we’ve got room for your guest post, too. Then I can say, “So and so is a friend and follower of mine, so be nice to me.”
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing