Planning

Writer Tech Tip: Twitter Exposure & Hashtags

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Hashtags are one of the most commonly used tactics to improve exposure on Twitter. You simply add # and the term so that your tweet targets other Twitter users who visit that hashtag as a common interest to yours. It’s a great way to promote anything you have to share whether it’s just an opinion or an actual product. But is it as simple as it seems? Do your tweets actually reach as many people as you think? Let’s take a deeper look at this Twitter usage.

Last week I wrote a post about getting more out of Twitter using several sites to analyze how and what you tweet for more strategic exposure. One of the sites listed in that post was Hashtags.org which provides a number of metrics and information about a hashtag including whether it even exists. Among the analytics available for free is the hourly trends for the hashtag over the last 24 hours. Why is this important? Most people agree that 2 or 3 hashtags should be enough for a tweet. Suppose you have more hashtags in mind to use than this. How do you decide which ones to use? Answer: check hashtags.org for activity trends as well as current engagement for the terms you want to use. Here’s an example:

Let’s say I wanted to tweet something and had #fantasy, #scifi & #wordpress in mind to use but I only wanted to have two in the tweet. I would look-up #fantasy and at the time of this writing here’s the results:

Fantasy Hashtag

There’s been a recent jump in activity so I may want to use this hashtag. Let’s see the trend for #scifi:

Scifi Hashtag

Hmmm, while #scifi is ticking upward too it isn’t as high in engagement as #fantasy. Let’s take a look at #wordpress:

Wordpress Hashtag

While #wordpress is trending down it is still much higher in engagement than #scifi at this time. For now, I would choose #fantasy and #wordpress.

So, this is a quick way to decide how to choose your hashtags to best promote your tweets and possibly gain more exposure. You may experience more re-tweets, follows and favorites than otherwise. I hope this helps with your Twitter engagements.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Have you used hashtag.org yet? What other ways could you put this tool to use in your tweeting? I’d love to hear from you so won’t you leave a question, idea or strategy in the comment section? I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading!

PHS

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Note: no logos have been used – only screenshots for instruction.

Clip art licensed via Microsoft Office

 

Back View of Man Running on Stairs

Writing is Long Distance Running

Running ShoeI was out running the other day and came to a downhill grade. It was nice to cruise along feeling comfortable – much easier than going up hill. I wished my writing was this easy on a regular basis. I also wished I was running writing the NaNoWriMo in November.

Then it hit me, running isn’t constantly easy and neither is writing. Like running, writing has uphill challenges as well as other. With running you might face rain, heat, snow, wind or any combination of these conditions. When writing I face any number of difficulties that challenge what I’m doing from distractions of various forms to keeping up with the business of writing to discouragement over what I’m doing.

So if writing and running are similar in that challenges constantly abound, how should I approach writing in regard to running? For those who reading and are runners you already get this. Running is simple but requires both some planning and positive mindset. Runners often plan the schedule, mileage, pace, type of training and many other details.

Back View of Man Running on StairsCompetitive runners (and even those of us who run races for our own benefit otherwise) also plan their race strategy. Yes, there is a strategy to running a distance race. Check out the first American 10,000 meter Olympic champion Billy Mills in the 1964 Olympics. He ran behind for much of the race and then edged up later before finishing with incredible burst. When it came to the last push he was ready and finished with an amazing final kick to the finish. He had a strategy that he executed to perfection. Interestingly, no American even medaled in the event until Galen Rupp finished second to his training partner, Mo Farah of Great Britain, by only hundredths of a second. Both men had similar race plans and beat heavy favorites from other countries.

Writing is the same way. As a writer on a long project you must have a plan to accomplish your goal of finishing the book and publication. Overall, you must be willing to meet constant challenges and retain your morale through these to finish this “race”.

I’m not taking part in NaNoWriMo this year since I’m working on other projects but I have written the largest part of a novel’s first draft in a month. It is a marathon that is challenging. When next I attempt this I will have a plan that is more than how many words I intend to write per day. I will plan ahead with an outline, character sketches, plot lines (and write to them) and many other details.

My hat’s off to those who are starting the writing marathon in just a few days. I wish you all well. Get your sleep, plan for it and stretch for the goal and then enjoy the accomplishment. Run strong, far and finish with strength, speed and determination.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? What do you anticipate will be your biggest challenges? I’d love to hear from you so won’t you leave a question, idea or strategy in the comment section? I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading!

PHS

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Cover art image licensed from iStockPhoto.com

Clip art licensed via Microsoft Office

Back View of Man Running on Stairs — Image by © Royalty-

4 Free Photo Sites – More Tips for the Fund Challenged Writer

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

This is a follow-up to my blog post last week regarding inexpensive tips to the fund-challenged writer. If you’re like me you need access to resources but have little in the way of paying for what you need. The final tip from last week’s blog dealt with using a free source of clip art for your blogs. Here are more sources of visual media that offer free photos to use for your blog.

  1.  Flickr - Yes, it’s a well-known site already but you can search for photos with various kinds of creative commons licensing. Be sure to read about attributions licensing to understand what you must do to cite your sources.
  2. Dreamstime.com - This service offers both free and fee-based illustrations and photos. When you search make sure to choose the “Free” radio button.
  3. morgueFile - Again, there are many free images to use on this site. As always read the licensing language and be aware you may be required by the content owners to contact them by email before using their work.
  4. FreeFoto.com - Search this site for free content. Here’s their current license information.

For more discussions about free artwork see this blog posts:

Savvy Writers & e-Books Online: Where Can You Find FREE Photos and Illustrations?

Computer Hope: Where can I find free public domain images and pictures?

Articulate Network: How to Find Free Stock Photos and Clip Art for PowerPoint

Businessman Speaking Through MegaphoneThanks for visiting the site and reading. Share your photo resources in the comments section. Please visit the News page regularly for updates. I’m planning a sale for The Black Bag during October but you can receive a free coupon for the e-book for download by signing up follow this site via email. Just submit your information above and I’ll send you the coupon.

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

PHS