Two Days Ago, I Had A Post Kind Of Go Viral And Here’s What I Learned
Two days ago, a post I wrote had a brief, mini-explosion in popularity. It wasn’t a particularly amazing post. It was probably a little more topical than some of the other stuff I write. But it was the closest I’ve come (yet!) to what I would consider going viral. So, I thought it was worth doing some analyzing to see if I could repeat the phenomenon. So far, nothing, but the experiment continues!
In the meantime, here’s some research notes from what I have found about my little mini-viral moment:
1. It was quotable
My post had some pretty good one-liners in it, I must admit. That kind of thing makes for great social media fodder. Readers love being able to share a line or two from your work on their favorite platform. I got most of my hits from Twitter (and here you thought Twitter was all bots and spam these days!)
2. It was timed right
Ok, full disclosure, my post was written over a week ago, and sat without doing much for a WHILE. But, what I didn’t know was that Medium was going to feature stories in my niche on the front page for a few hours Monday afternoon. And when they did, there was my little post, just waiting for their algorithm to snatch and briefly make famousish. True, you as the writer can’t do much about what your platform decides to feature, but you CAN control the variety and scope of content you put out. Write as broadly as you can when you’re writing for a broad platform like Medium. You never know what they may be looking to feature.
3. It was thorough and well-written
No, I’m not just patting myself on the back here. If you want your content to shine, you have to put effort into it. Trust me, my back catalog on Medium has some posts in it that are still looking like this:
Those posts are never going to go anywhere and I should probably just delete them. Why? Because they are NOT GOOD WRITING. Topics were fine, ideas were great, but the writing was poor quality. Content may be king, but crappy content will get you nowhere. Edit, refine, and rewrite. The better your work, the more likely you’ll get noticed.
4. It helped people
This, for me, is a big one. We hear it all the time in design, and product development: design for your customer, not for you. Same thing goes with writing: I know I’m totally guilty of writing way too much stuff that I want to read, and not enough stuff that other people want to read. I think a major reason for my blip of virality the other day was because I finally wrote something that resonated with somebody besides This Author. And that’s huge.
If I can get a couple hours of viral content, anybody can! For me, it was unexpected and I wasn’t probably as prepared for it as I should have been (next time I’m going to have more stuff ready and waiting for my newfound followers to LOVE!) but it also proves that even in this age of information overload and massive overcrowding in the online-writing space, if you have something quotable, relatable, and timely, people will still spread the word and support your work.
Best of luck to you in your writing!!