I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Benefits of Twitter for Writers

I signed up for Twitter about eight months ago and like most people, I didn’t really understand it at first. I heard about a software client called Twhirl that organizes “tweets” (the name used for the micro-posts people send to Twitter) and that’s when I started to see how Twitter could work for me. Twitter can serve different purposes for each user, and that’s the beauty of it.

As a writer, I determined that I want to follow several groups of people beyond the people I actually know or are interested in for various reasons. Here’s the list of people I came up with: other writers, editors, agents, publishers, and anybody else with industry knowledge. By putting a plan in place regarding who I would follow, it kept me from following everybody who followed me (and thus being overwhelmed with Tweets that don’t fall in line with my purpose for using Twitter), and it kept me from simply following large numbers of people hoping for a reciprocal follow. It’s not about numbers for me; it’s about being connected to the people in my industry.

With that in mind, here are 10 ways Twitter can benefit a freelance writer:

1. Access to Industry insiders (and their knowledge). I wasn’t able to attend the Christian Book Expo in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, but I was following the Tweets of many industry experts who were there. It gave me a sense of what was happening. I could have went to their blog instead, assuming that they have a blog, but having all of that information in one place was so much easier.

Recently I learned about about something called editorchat on Twitter that includes editors from the New York Times, Advertising Age, the Orlando Sentinel, and other publications. Writers are invited to join the conversation. Why would a writer not take advantage of this?

2. Expanded network. Knowing the niche markets I want to break into, I am following editors and other writers to position myself to get more work. I’ve been placed into Twitter directories as a working journalist and that has led to more follows. And not long ago, I had a conversation via Twitter with an editor I met several years ago at a writer’s conference. It ended up leading to an assignment.

3. Living encyclopedia. If you want an answer to a question, there’s a good chance that one of your followers on Twitter knows it—especially if you’ve been strategic in following the right people.

4. Sources. Rather than just following editors, writers, and industry insiders, I also follow people who are on the inside of the sports world since I am a sports writer. Just the other day I saw a racing insider looking for funding for a driver. If I do a story about how the economy is impacting NASCAR, he’ll be the first guy I contact to use as a source. I’m guessing that he’d jump at the chance since it would give his driver some media exposure which might lead to funding.

5. Branding. As I link to sports stories I write, and as I engage in dialogue with followers about sports, my sports writing brand benefits. In fact, I have multiple brands and they all benefit from Twitter.

6. Breaking news. I used to be a lot better about keeping up with breaking news, but in the past few years I’m finding it harder to concentrate with the television or radio on in the background. With Twitter I receive links to breaking news from people I’m following and that helps to keep me current—which is always a good thing for a writer.

7. Trends. Keeping up with trends is not easy for me, but I know it is necessary for me as a writer. With TweetStats, I’m able to check on current trends whenever I want or need to.

8. Article Ideas. Everybody has a cause. With Twitter, I learn about new ones that people I’m following are passionate about and that always prompts me to think about new writing topics.

9. The social aspect. Most of my writer and editor friends are scattered all over the country and I only get to see them once a year at a writer’s conference or an industry trade show. So, I love seeing them on Twitter and being able to interact with them more regularly. Yeah, we could do it via email, but you know how that goes. Out of sight, out of mind.

10. Opportunities to serve. I love to be able to provide a bite-sized answer to a follower looking for help. I’ve answered techie questions, provided links to websites with info that people are looking for, and offered opinions when they are sought.

Are you convinced yet? If so, set up an account with Twitter, and then follow me.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...