When I first started writing on the internet, one of the biggest concerns and questions both I (and others in my personal life) had was: Who is really going to read this?
At the start, the answer was no one. But as my following grew and I started sharing more intimate pieces of myself online, that question started to be a little more concerning.
Who was going to find my content? What would they think? Was it bad to share personal things? And most of all, what does internet writing mean for future jobs, family members, future children, and if/when my perspectives eventually changed?
The internet is powerful. With a simple Google search you can learn a lot about a person—and even more if they’ve electronically published this information! As I went through my own writing experiences (on my personal blog and for webs/companies), I learned that the most important things are to:
A) Think about what you’re sharing and why you’re sharing it.
B) Stay consistent with who you are and what you believe.
If you’re thinking about being a social media influencer, internet writer, blogger etc., it’s important to know what this truly entails. It’s also equally as important to learn what not to do, as well as strategies for being authentic online.
Here are some of my biggest tips for sharing your writing on the internet.
1. Find your voice and stick to it.
Above all else, authenticity is key. Not only does authenticity directly correlate to your readership or engagement, but it’s also what’s going to set you apart.
If you try to write like someone else, your content is going to be too reminiscent to be distinguished as yours. This will hurt your overall reach!
People browse different websites and social profiles to connect with different types of people. If you’re too worried about keeping up with everyone else, you’ll never discover what YOUR brand is.
PS: For tips on finding your own creative voice, click here.
2. Don’t be afraid to find something new.
It’s important to determine what makes you, you. Whether that’s the female CEO who loves using naturally-based products and sharing her recommendations, or the witty stay-at-home-dad who injects humor into his blog posts—you create and own your online identity.
But that doesn’t mean you have to feel stuck.
In fact, some of your greatest success in sharing your writing on the internet will come from stepping outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new thing. Just be sure to stay authentic to you and what you believe!
3. Stop overdoing it.
You don’t have to be everything. (I need this reminder on the daily!) Although it’s exciting to share new posts and content, you want to take your time.
There’s no rush! If you’ve just finished a trip, don’t hurry into the next blog post before polishing up the first. If you’re a good photographer, don’t feel the pressure to be a travel blogger and a social media influencer if you’re not there yet.
Sure, there are people doing so many things out there, but someone else’s passions and jobs don’t determine your worth. Go at your own pace and do what feels right! And don’t over-do things for the sake of follows, reads, or likes!
4. Give yourself emotional time and space before sharing something vulnerable.
This is probably one of the most useful (and difficult) lessons I’ve learned in writing on the internet. After a painful breakup three years ago, I took to the page. I used my blogs as my journal and I poured my heart out.
While I’m not necessarily discouraging this, I’m advocating for being smart. There’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable online. But there is an issue of over-sharing if you don’t give yourself time and space before putting your words on the page.
When we go through emotional things, our feelings are all out of sorts. Sometimes this leads to amazing content. And sometimes it leads to pity-parties, whiny rants, or sad poetry that you might regret posting later.
Give yourself time and space before sharing something that’s just happened. From heartbreak, to death of loved one, to depression—sometimes you need that extra room between raw emotion and words. Time is your safe barrier.
5. Draft in the moment, revise later.
If you’re really looking to write in-the-moment but are struggling with how (or you want to be safe in terms of time/space) then draft in the present, but revise later.
This is a simple strategy to allow yourself to get raw and vulnerable when you’re experiencing that fresh emotion. But you still give yourself distance between the first write and future edits. These edits will help you see where you were too much and give you that healthy distance that allows for true healing.
6. Think about what your grandma might read.
Someone gave me this advice when I first started writing professionally: Never write something you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.
Always think about who will read your work (especially your emotionally-tied work). Will the ex you’re heartbroken over read this? (Yes.) Do you want him to? What about your mom? Younger sister? Future child?
It’s invaluable to think about the ‘consequences’ or potential backlash you might receive from people depending on what you write, or if it contains them. Also, if you’re writing about people it’s important to think about how this can affect them. (Or whether you should write this as nonfiction vs. fiction, or even write it at all.
To protect the people in your life, always use pseudonyms. (You can even note that names were changed for anonymity purposes if you want to be transparent to your readers.)
7. Stay consistent.
Once you start to write online, you will build a following of readers and loyal subscribers. The best way to continue to build yourself, your company, or your brand is to stay consistent.
For social media especially, pages that share frequent content are prioritized. Invest your time into creating relevant and frequent content so that your readers know what to expect and know they can trust you and your voice.
Featured Image Credit: Andrea Vehige