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As part of building a better online presence (defining my brand and getting it noticed), I decided to look into more ways to grow my blog’s readership. I realised then that I should share what I know.

I might’ve mentioned in August that I was hosting a platform challenge over on Writer to Writers.

I devised a challenge for authors consisting of 20 tasks which guides writers to create a great author platform. Each task gives tips and advice on how to best complete the challenge.

Though I did set it up and let it run live during August, there’s no reason it cannot be used at any other time too. The Basics of Author Online Presence Challenge is exactly that: the basics. But I do believe that sometimes we can only truly succeed when we get the basics right. So drawing on my own experience, I created the challenge and helped a few writers in the process.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the challenge:

Day 1: Set Up Your Author Blog

Not only does this day’s task show exactly why authors should have a blog – an online home – but it also shows how to set one up.

Day 2: Define Yourself as a Writer

The second task is all about figuring out your author brand so you can share it online. And how do you figure out your author brand? By defining yourself, figuring out who you are right now as a writer and who you’d like to be.

Check out the questions in the linked post – you might be surprised at your own answers.

Day 3: Set Your Writing Goals

I believe that one can only measure success by seeing the path ahead as well as the path travelled. By having goals, that path has milestones.

Check out the exercise in the linked post and share your goals.

Day 4: Join Twitter

This task is all about why authors should join Twitter, with all the benefits one can reap (and, of course, how to set it up). There’s even a list of Twitter dos and don’ts.

Day 5: Join Google+

This task explains why having a Google+ account is beneficial for your blog and for networking. It has tips to optimise your account.

Day 6: Join Facebook

This post explains the pros and cons of having a Facebook account with a few tips on navigating the platform. (I didn’t write this one, I have no idea how Facebook works, so the founder of Writer to Writers wrote it.)

Day 7: Join a Visual Social Media Platform

This task encourages writers to join a platform that’s all about the visual. Whether it’s Pinterest, Instagram or Tumblr, the point is having this in your toolbox to promote your online presence.

Day 8: Interact on Twitter

This task encourages authors to interact on Twitter with like-minded individuals. Not only does it give tips on how to do it, but also why it’s important to have real connections.

Day 9: Find and Share a Helpful Article

This task is all about where and how to find helpful articles that will promote your author brand (as defined during task 2) and will actually help people too.

Day 10: Add Pictures to Your Blog Posts

This task explains the importance of a great image as part of your blog post plus where and how to find it.

Day 11: Take Part in a Flash Fiction Challenge

This task encourages authors to take part in a writing competition, get to know other writers doing it, learn to share their writing and thus grow as writers.

Day 12: Create To-Do Lists

This task is all about learning how to manage your time: for your online presence and to do what really matters (writing).

Day 13: Join Wattpad

This task is to encourage authors to have a writing platform to share their writing on. It’s full of tips on how to do it properly.

Day 14: Think SEO

This post (written by the founder of Writer to Writers) explains how SEO works and how it can benefit your online presence.

Day 15: Write a Blog Post and Include a Call to Action

This task encourages authors to write regularly on their blog, what they should blog about and how to build a community.

Day 16: Read a Blog Post and Comment

This task shows the importance of commenting on blog posts and how to do it right.

Day 17: Publicise Your Blog Post

This task teaches how to publicise a blog post across different platforms.

Day 18: Join Goodreads

This task encourages writers to share their favourite books online (and, of course, to read more).

Day 19: The Value of Guest Posts and Interviews

This task gives tips on how to approach others for guest posts or interviews and why it’s important for your own online presence to do so.

Day 20: Make New Connections

This task is all about building your online community.

Reason I did this.

Authors know that they need a proper online presence: their author platform. Yet, not everyone knows how to go about setting up a proper online presence. That’s why this challenge was created. I hope it will help writers at all levels to get a better grip on their author platform.

Results.

Though only a few writers actually took part, I did get positive feedback on the challenge where people thanked me for pointing out things they’d overlooked. (Told you the basics are important.) I also gained more followers on my blog and other social media accounts. I really feel like I’ve made a contribution to the writing community.

I hope you’ve gained something from this post. Don’t be shy to check out the challenge – you never know when a slight adjustment can make all the difference. I’d love to hear about. Do you take part in writing/blogging/social media challenges?

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