By Guest Blogger Robbi Hess
Every morning when I wake up, I grab my Smartphone and surf the 'Net, check Facebook and monitor emails -- all before my feet hit the ground. I know that there are times when I get distracted from my work by the lure of the internet. You know how it goes, you start researching one thing and it leads you down a cobwebb-y path of intriguing information and topics and voila -- you've wasted an hour!
Today I want to give you a primer on how to use the internet and mainly social media to your benefit when it comes to building your blog platform:
1. It won't happen overnight. Keep in mind that setting up social network sites such as Facebook or Twitter or any of the myriad other social networking sites take time to gain a following. You also need to offer the readers information they want to know. If you're a writer, they're probably following you because they want writing tips, not to read about what you're having for lunch or how your date went the night before. Relevance is key.
2. Facebook: This is a great way to gather information, share fun hints and tips with others in your field of expertise. Facebook and other social media sites are great playgrounds for informative topics and intruiging article ideas.
3. Google alerts: If you write in a particular niche, go to Google and set up alerts in that topic area. For example, if you write about tea, in the alert section you can flag internet articles as they relate to all-things tea, from tea leaves, to china, to tea sandwiches. Simply plug in keywords and Google does the work for you by sending information directly to your inbox.
4. Ning about it: In the Ning platform you can create a "community" around your specific platform. Choose your platform and you can create dialogue and build a following around your favorite topic whether it's Poodles, state parks, or phone apps.
5. Tweet about it: While Twitter is a face-paced social media site, it is a great way for you to spread the word about your area of expertise in easy to manage 140 character sound bites. Follow fellow Tweeters who write about topics in which you're interested.
Believe me, there are many, many more social media platforms in which you can spread the word about who you are and what you do. Remember though, when you're writing -- it's about the reader and how you can help them -- it's not all about you. (There is no "I" in blog)
If, like me, you find yourself bogged down in searching and researching topics (in addition to using Google alerts) consider archiving the sites you visit regularly and consider signing up for Google Reader. The Reader gives you easy access to blogs in your area of interest and lets you sort them into folders. You can also Tweet from the Reader.
The internet has certainly made my life easier when I am researching topics that I am writing about but it can also lead to distraction and feed into ADD -- especially if you're prone to procrastination!