A lot of people who have come to know me see me as a writer, yet it’s not a label I associate myself with.
And nothing against my writer friends here.
I’m part of a few groups of writers and given how most think, I don’t think like a writer. I guess it’s not surprising since I come from a Software Engineering background.
But enough about me!
Here’s a popular trap I see people consistently fall into:
Writing for any of the following stats: View, Reads, Read Ratio, Fans, Clap Count, and Revenues.
Are you guilty of doing that?
Here’s why it’s wrong
After writing about 330 articles on Medium.com in the past 12 months, I’ve come to realize that there is one thing that rules everything else:
Write with authenticity.
Now, I’m not saying you cannot write with authenticity if you aim for the above strategy, but it makes it much harder.
When you think about the above stats, you train your brain to think about numbers, as opposed to what writing really is about:
Provide value to your reader.
This applies both to fiction and non-fiction writing.
Having great stats is a side-effect to making an impact on your reader’s life.
When I stopped caring for these stats and focused on value, here’s what happened (to prove the above point on the side-effect):
And in case you’re thinking it’s just luck, here’s another one:
I have other examples, but you get the idea.
Why does that work?
The simple answer lies in this article:
Medium is actively looking for:
- Content of (very) high quality;
- Article that are not promotional;
- Writers who take their time crafting stories;
- And more (read the article).
It works because that’s part of Medium’s mission statement.
How can I best provide value?
Here is a quick mindset shift for you. The next time you write an article you’d like to make an impact with, ask yourself this:
“What do I want my readers to say about the article in the comments?”
Once you know what subject you are going to write about, think about the above immediately.
This humanizes your readers. They’re not just a statistic for you anymore. You have a personal connection. You want your article to answer that comment as best as possible.
When you work backward from that, you can write from a point of authenticity and only think about what really matters.
And really, if your reader says whatever you aim for them to say, chances are your stats will increase too.
Or you could go the Michael Simmons approach and ask yourself this question:
“Is it the best ever written article on the subject?”
No? Change the topic or make it better.
Avoid writing for numbers. Write with authenticity and provide value to your reader. Do that by understanding what they should get out of the article or by writing the best ever article on the subject.
You can do this!
Thanks for reading, and sharing! :)
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