Please, don’t make the same silly mistakes I did. I wasn’t ready for my second article to get 85,000 views and I had no idea what I was doing.
Most writing journeys start with a crawl. I’m one of the lucky ones who started with a 100-meter sprint. I’m nothing special, so you must believe your breakout moment could come at any time. The problem is that I was preparing to crawl for months so I hadn’t done my basic stretches. If I did these simple tasks first, I would have been able to go even further!
I’m not going to ask you to do anything crazy. All these tasks can be done within an hour and I should have done them before writing a single article. I can’t go back in time but you can do everything today. Don’t be like me, be ready so you can get the greatest boost if and when you go viral.
Fill out your bio
You and I are two out of millions of content creators. We are unique but how will our readers know this?
Filling out your profile could make a massive difference. When I see an article I like and I will scroll down to check out the author. If they don’t have a bio, it feels amateur and I tend not to click through.
I hate writing bios. Based on how rushed most bios come across, I think most people do. You’ve got a tiny window to show off who you are, use it! To gain a follower, you’ve got to show the reader you can add value to them. I see writers try to fit in rather than stand out.
Many want to blend in and seem normal but why would we bother to follow someone normal? “Loves wine” seems to be quite common. That’s cool but so do lots of people why should I follow you?
I wonder how many followers I missed out on by not having a semi-decent bio when I had 10k views in one day. Use top writers for inspiration and craft your bio so you aren’t left wondering like me.
Sign up to Twitter
Did you know Twitter is full of great writers? I didn’t.
My viral story was tweeted many times but I wasn’t even on the platform to connect with people who enjoyed my work! It can be hard to keep track of comments and likes on a viral post but Twitter makes a conversation much easier. It gives the chance for a private conversation too.
People who share your work are promoting for you for free! They could become new friends and you can help each other. Twitter is often integrated into blogging sites like Medium so a follower there is a follower here!
The power of Twitter is you can get a message out to people who like your work quickly. I don’t like signing up to many email newsletters because it clogs up my inbox. I don’t have this worry on Twitter so it’s a great stepping stone.
Take Brian Pennie who has several viral articles. After reading one I followed him on Twitter and saw he was hosting a free webinar. After watching I became a loyal fan! I follow his newsletter and have bought his book. If he didn’t have Twitter, I wouldn’t have done either.
I currently have under 50 Twitter followers and need to work hard to grow my audience. How many followers did I lose out on by not being in the game?
Create an email list
I have 12 email subscribers from over 250,000 views! Can you hear my facepalm across the web?
This is my biggest newbie mistake. It seemed like effort so I thought I’d do it if I got big. I don’t need to tell you to be smarter than I was when you look at my numbers.
Email lists are great because people will definitely see it. Your name still pops up even if they decide not to open. We need to scroll through their emails to make sure we don’t miss anything important which is not true for social media. Emails have much higher click-through rates than tweets.
If 1% of my viral story’s readers had signed up, I’d have 850 subscribers! It’s not hard to see how a connection with this many people could help a new writer’s growth. Even titans, such as Niklas Göke, who have 50,000 subscribers had to start from 0. If you want any hope of catching up, you can’t waste the views from a thriving story.
The logic is simple, spend 5 minutes creating a mailing list today because every day you don’t, you’re missing out on subscribers!
Be ready to write more
Lots of people found my evergreen article and probably went to see what else I’d written. Damn, they would have been disappointed.
I had nothing else relevant. It took me 25 days to post my next semi-related article. It took 48 days to publish my next related post.
I was an article, not a writer or a brand. Readers had no reason to think I was worth following because I hadn’t shown them I was ever going to post something similar again.
You don’t need to have a master plan but you need to be able to seize your momentum. This doesn’t mean to stick to one niche but create content the showstopper readers will find valuable too.
I focus now on practical self-help and writing. Anyone who finds me will likely find other articles that interest them. This makes them more likely to follow and join my mailing list.
The sad thing is I spent so much time checking my stats. The time I could have used writing more articles and been far more productive!
All you need to know
When you start, writing an article is a bit like buying a lottery ticket. You never know which article will hit the jackpot. Nobody does so you should always prepare for the best.
I wasn’t prepared and with the value of hindsight, I can see 4 clear things I should have done. Learn from my mistakes and please share with me when you are successful!
To recap, here’s what you should do today:
- Fill out your profile — Make a lasting impression
- Sign up to Twitter — Allow connection to readers
- Create an email list — Potential for lifelong fans
- Be ready to write more — Allow readers to get lost amongst your work
Thank you for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day!