“How to Build an Online Following”:A Writer’s Guide to Recognition and Influence

Eric G Reid
5 min readNov 13, 2023

In the world of writing, being recognized as an expert in your field is essential for success. Whether you’re a novelist, a journalist, or a content creator, expanding your online following can open doors to new opportunities, greater exposure, and increased name recognition. In this guide, we’ll explore strategies to help you build a substantial online following as a writer.

1. Elevate Your Content Strategy

Audit Your Content

Before diving into the strategies to grow your online following, it’s crucial to assess your existing content. Your content should be well-balanced among three categories:

1. You-Driven Content: This type of content draws from your personal experiences, journey, perspective, intellectual property, and resources. It includes evergreen content where you educate your audience, personal anecdotes that help readers connect with you, and content that shares your life lessons relevant to your industry.

2. News-Driven Content: Stay up-to-date with current events and trends in your field. Create timely content that resonates with your target audience. This not only adds value but also maintains the attention of your readers and potentially opens doors for PR opportunities.

3. Relationship-Driven Content: Collaborate with other writers and experts in your niche. By featuring their perspectives in your content, you not only build relationships but also tap into their networks. This can take various forms, such as conducting interviews, quoting experts, or hosting a podcast with special guests.

Optimize Your Website Content

Your personal website is your digital home and should serve as your primary platform for showcasing your writing prowess. Ensure that:

- Your website’s content is comprehensive, including essential pages like a contact form, services offered, and an informative “about” page.
- Each page follows SEO best practices, making your content easily discoverable on search engines. Conduct keyword research to identify relevant terms.
- Your website complies with accessibility standards to cater to a broader audience.

2. Craft Thought Leadership Articles

To establish yourself as an expert writer, you need a portfolio of thought leadership articles. These can be published on your blog, in-depth case studies, or insightful whitepapers. The key here is to go beyond the commonplace and offer unique perspectives and insights.

In today’s skeptical consumer culture, where trust in businesses is eroding, readers are searching for authorities they can rely on. By producing thought leadership articles and sharing them freely, you expedite the process of earning your audience’s trust. Your unique insights and knowledge showcase you as a trustworthy source.

Here are some tips for creating thought leadership articles:

- Maintain a consistent publishing schedule to keep your audience engaged.
- Diversify your content by balancing it among you-driven, news-driven, and relationship-driven topics.
- Share your articles on your blog and also on professional networks like LinkedIn.
- Consider creating a “learning center” on your website where readers can access your articles, videos, and other thought leadership materials.

3. Leverage Syndicated Content

Syndicated content is a timeless method for generating interest and views. Instead of publishing everything at once, create a series of interconnected content pieces and release them on a schedule. When executed correctly, this approach can engage a loyal readership and build your reputation as a writer.

For instance, Forbes Books refers to this as the “Dickens content service.” It involves strategically releasing related content pieces over time to captivate your audience and showcase your expertise.

4. Expand Your Digital Presence

In order to reach a broader audience, writers must leverage “rented” forms of media. This includes social media and online platforms you don’t own.

Enhance Your Social Presence

Social media is a powerful tool for attracting and engaging your audience. Boost your social media game by:

- Posting regularly to keep your audience informed and engaged.
- Connecting with fellow writers and professionals in your field.
- Responding to comments and messages to foster recognition among your peers.

Refresh Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a platform designed for professionals, making it an optimal space for forging connections. Even if someone is already aware of your writing services, they may check your LinkedIn profile for validation.

To stand out on LinkedIn:

- Conduct a profile audit, including a competitor analysis, to identify areas for improvement.
- Update your profile image with something unique to you.
- Ensure your content is up to date and includes a clear call to action.
- Activate Creator mode to showcase your expertise.
- Request and provide recommendations to build credibility.

5. Run Engagement Campaigns

While the previous tips focus on organic growth, engagement campaigns are designed to actively seek potential clients and followers. These multi-step campaigns nurture your audience and create awareness that translates into action.

6. Boost Your Media Assets

To build a strong online presence, you need to have a diverse set of media assets at your disposal.

Personal Website Assets

Your website is a platform to showcase your work and expertise. Consider adding a “Resources” section where visitors can access downloadable content like whitepapers, case studies, or your published work. Enhance the user experience with visual aids, personal photos, infographics, and video content.

Create a Podcast Series

Hosting your own podcast series is an excellent way to expand your digital portfolio as a writer. It allows you to demonstrate your expertise, gain followers, and promote your website or services. Additionally, distributing your podcast on popular platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts can expand your reach significantly.

The benefits of hosting a podcast include:

- Earning the trust of your audience by sharing unique insights.
- Gaining access to the networks of your podcast guests.
- Establishing yourself as an industry thought leader.
- Becoming a go-to resource for your audience.
- Developing a dedicated group of followers and listeners.

In summary, building an online following as a writer requires a multi-faceted approach. By enhancing your content strategy, expanding your digital presence, and creating valuable media assets, you can position yourself as an authority in your niche. Consistency, authenticity, and a commitment to offering unique insights are key to gaining recognition and influence in the competitive world of writing. Start implementing these strategies today and watch your online following grow. If you need help connecting as a writer to community contact SkinnyBrownDogMedia.com

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Eric G Reid

I'm Eric G. Reid, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Skinny Brown Dog Media. My mission: transform aspiring writers into authors, and help them create an impact