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How to be a TOP writer WITHOUT going VIRAL

Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily IMPROVE your writing.

How to be a TOP writer WITHOUT going VIRAL

Thursday August 31, 2017,

6 min Read


Let me reveal a dirty, little secret of mine.

I do not write for “Creative satisfaction” or any of its related terms.

Because If only pure “Creative satisfaction” would have been my aim, I would have been writing in a dog-eared note book hidden deep within the recesses of my bedroom drawer. I would not be writing and vying for space on a social media platform.

But I love to put on that “appearance” occasionally as it gives me that fake mental victory of being on “higher ground” and “doing my bit” for the world (Whatever that means!!). After all, a true writer also needs to be philosophical also at times in line with the profession.

I only write for the unforgiving, relentless audience.

I only write for their claps, applauds, recommends and some money (if it comes !!). It is the mood of this audience that decides my next writing topic. My entire writing journey revolves exclusively around the whims and fancies of the ever finicky audience.

And I believe, my writing journey of last 4 years had been quite worthwhile so far.

My readership has steadily increased to a respectable figure. My posts have found their way into some leading publications. Some great insightful comments from the audience had made my day. I have also made some money and learned a lot from great mentors in the process.

So far so good.

But none of my articles have gone viral so far in spite of my best efforts.

And I will admit, it hurts like hell. After all, it is every writer’s dream and I am no different.

But even then, I don’t lose my sleep over it or get unhappy fretting over it.

You know why?

Because I believe a VIRAL article cannot be the benchmark of my writing prowess. It is nothing more than a “good-to-have” feature in my arsenal and it can never dictate my long standing relationship with my audience.

Here is Why.

Myth- A viral article spawns another viral article

Reality- A viral article is just a blip on the radar.

One of my friends used to tell me, “Ravi, you just ensure one article goes viral. Your every article subsequently, however, crap it may be, is bound to go viral. Trust me.”

I am sorry to break your dream, but the audience is not a fool.

Any article goes viral due to a combination of several factors-compelling headline, prevalent audience mood, awesome marketing, timing and of course great content. All these factors striking gold at the same time creates extraordinary traction across the social media. In most of the cases, it is often impossible to replicate the same set of conditions for every article. That is why not all articles go Viral, even for the best writers.

So my point is simple. Don’t run after the elusive pot of gold. Instead concentrate on areas which are well within your control like your writing quality, exciting concepts and building a loyal readership base. Slow and steady wins the race is the only way to go for any writer wanting to conquer this brutal field. If your article goes viral, take it with a pinch of salt and keep improving away steadily.

Myth- A viral article places you among the “GREAT” writers

Reality- GREAT writers are not one-trick ponies

Your article goes viral. It climbs up the chart steadily every hour and soon you find that your writing is placed along with GREAT writers. You are elated beyond words. You are in seventh heaven and soon you began to visualize yourself as one of the GREAT writers. A steady stream of audience applauds further inflates your ego and you believe “I have arrived finally.”

Let us come back to earth.

GREAT writers are never great just because one of their articles became viral. They become great by perseverance and continuous improvement of their skills using every possible opportunity. They might have accomplished a lot in their life, but even then their every writing assignment is a fresh saga of ideas, imagination, and reinvention. And this process goes on and on and on.

So if you truly want to be among the greats, just keep improving and inventing yourself at every opportunity. Continuously chip away at your deficiencies till they become negligible. Sooner or later your stature will rise and with that your greatness also. There are no shortcuts to success.

Myth- A viral article needs extraordinary marketing

Reality- Extraordinary marketing cannot save an ordinary article

Marketing is the buzzword in today’s disruptive world and there is no denying the fact. Writing also requires its share of marketing to propagate and enhance its visibility. Every writer nowadays not only needs to write but also ensure that he appropriately markets his creation throughout the length and breadth of social media. 

Marketing campaigns are no unheard of and getting the article into the audience’s coveted “feed” is one of the cornerstones for success in today’s era.

But marketing has one serious limitation.

It can influence a reader to “read” your article but it can never convince the reader to “appreciate” it.

The “appreciation” only comes by writing great stirring content. Quality is the only buzzword for sustaining the audience’s interest and if your article is crap, no amount of marketing can save it. So invest in marketing by all means but invest even more in quality for your efforts to get positive results.

Bringing it all together

Imagine! There are more than 100 million blogs on the internet with a new blog comes online every 1.4 seconds. In such a competitive world of blogging, how do you ensure you stand tall among the crowd? What do you do to impress your readers?

Just be truthful to yourself. That is, it!!

Before you hit the ‘publish’ button, read the preview and ask yourself, “does it impress me?”.

Usually, a sure sign that you have written an impressive copy is when you are overly excited to let the world see it and optimistically wait for the comments to flow in. And once you are able to deliver impressive copy consistently, you will then be able to lift your blog out of the ocean of blog mediocrity.

With of course, an occasional blog going VIRAL as an icing on the cake.

As Beautifully told by Ryan Lilly:

“For any creative thought to be contagious, it must first be worthy of a sneeze.”