Working in and with Digital Media II – What I have learned about Self-Publishing

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Portrait of a Woman detail, ca. 1787
Image source: https://78.media.tumblr.com/e8f7359068283fe3a3b6a16a4fe1db0d/tumblr_p2jwdjXFU31rpbpcio1_1280.jpg

1. The Digital News Industry is in Crisis!

  • “These days I find that I’m getting paid more for a sponsored tweet or Instagram post that takes less than a minute, than I do for actual journalism,” repeat many digital media journalists each year as social media platforms take over the traditional news outlets, thus forcing many people to change the initial route of the careers in the journalistic field (Spike 2017). Freelance journalists often have to deal with a “slow response rate from the editors and delayed payments,” so they have to take up other writing projects for additional income (Spike 2017).

2. However, you can still be successful!

  • According to Dr. Nichols (2021), self-publishing can be quite successful if you follow several simple rules: 
    • Stay up-to-date and always post fresh content relevant to your audience.
    • Interact with readers who comment on your posts and do so consistently, trying to reply within twenty-four hours.
    • Point out to other good content on the Web and collaborate with the similarly-oriented content creators. 
    • Think about what kind of an online persona you want to have, stick with this choice, and promote it!

3. Tailor the Visual Aspects of Your Blog to Attract Attention!

  • Dr. Nichols argues that visual aspects are fundamental when it comes to digital media, and you should enhance the visuals of your blog to get more subscribers (2021).
  • Create a memorable logo! A simple yet appealing image can attract attention of many new followers.
  • Tailor your blog’s aesthetics so that the theme you are writing about reflects in the visual aspects of the blog. For instance, this website uses ocean-themed imagery to reflect its original inspiration, a novel “The Waves.”
  • Connect your Instagram to the blog not only to provide more visual appeal but also to gain more followers! 
  • Create distinct sections, such as the main menu, the “about” page, and the “contact me” page.
  • Avoid a wall of text – separate it into smaller bits with bullet points or images to create diversity (Nichols 2021).

4. Practice Lateral Reporting Techniques!

  • To expand the previous point, Stovall suggests that exploring various techniques of presenting information can help you gain more views! For instance, use:
  • Links! They are very powerful and allow to cross-reference various sources, instantly connecting the user to multiple web pages. They help to keep track of sources and create a “map” of all the valuable articles about a particular topic (Stovall 2012)
  • Background, Details, and Lists! If you are reporting, keep track of the significant information by writing the names of your subjects in lists.
  • Pictures and Graphics! As mentioned earlier, the use of the camera is essential for modern journalism and content creation.

5. Get used to rejection!

  • The freelance writing industry is harsh and unforgiving! Many times, you will have to face rejection of your texts, no matter how creative and clever they are, and that’s okay! No freelance writers start with huge success – it is a gradual journey.
  • You can begin by writing for people in your networks or a smaller company with no Web presence (Nichols 2021). Don’t be afraid to start writing & publishing!

Sources:

  • Nichols, L.D. (2021). Working in and with Digital Media – Part 2. Lecture. WRI227.
  • Spike, Carlett (February 1, 2017). “Two dozen freelance journalists told CJR the best outlets to pitch.” Retrieved October 1, 2021, from https://www.cjr.org/business_of_news/freelance-journalists-best-gigs.php.
  • Stovall, J.G. (2012). Writing for the mass media 8th ed. (pp. 201-213). Boston, MA: Pearson. 

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