1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    How do you get something to go viral?

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by deadrats, Apr 24, 2019.

    So, I have this piece coming out and I want it to get lots of clicks and reads so the publisher thinks it's worth publishing more from me. This is a pretty big deal for me. Other than posting on Facebook, what can I do to make my work seem popular and draw in readers? This is already an established place with a built-in readership. However, my piece seems a little different than what they tend to publish so I'm not sure how that will go. The editor and publisher both liked it enough to include it and pay me for it. But it would be great if I could also impress them with the web traffic my story brings in. I want it to go viral. Is there any way to make something like that happen?
     
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  2. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    There is no way to 'make' something go viral, or everyone would be doing it, the internetz likes what it likes.
    There are however, a few different ways to attempt to drive traffic to your piece:

    Organically
    The quality of your work will bring in readers.
    Linking to your piece from other high quality (and relevant) web sites will cause the google bots to rank it higher on searches, thus potentially gaining more views.
    These obviously take a lot of time.

    Courting Controversy
    Depending on what your piece is about, you can attempt to create an argument or controversy around it, thus increasing publicity and (curious) web traffic.

    Advertising
    You can pay to advertise your piece (of course its totally dependent on its subject) on social media or other relevant sites.

    Recommendations
    Getting a Re-Tweet from a highly influential person can be effective, if the piece is relevant to them in some way.
    Having your piece reviewed by other websites is another way to create publicity, as is being linked to by these big, influential websites.

    Just remember, relevancy (to your piece) is key, if the link isn't a relevant one it will simply disappear into the black hole of the internet.

    I assume you have your own writing blog already? If not, get one.

    That's all off the top of my head, will post more if I think of it.
     
  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks for the tips. This is for a piece that was published by an reputable place. I wouldn't mind it getting some love from the world. I put it on Facebook and it was shared a few times and then shared from a few people on their pages that I don't know. I just got twitter and put it up there. Lucked out a little that there is a conversation in the comments section of a super famous person on the same topic my piece is about. So, I commented and posted a link to my piece also mentioning (tagging) the place that published it. We'll see if anything happens from that. I've only been on twitter an hour. I'm going to put up links on other social media over the weekend.

    I think the piece I wrote will and is bringing readers because of where it was published. But I'm hoping it does well. I know publishers can see how many times a piece is clicked on and that sort of thing. I would like to continue working with this publication and want to prove my value. Sure, the writing and subject are what counts. That's what gets you published. But I'd like to see how far out there I my reach really is and how much I can control this. What sort of things are in my control?

    I've never wanted to have a blog. I have other writing things going on that bring in money and call for my time and attention. Plus, then I would have to find readers for my blog and that's what I want to do for my published works. It just seems like it would be pulling me in another direction.

    This is the first time I've made any kind of attempts to do something like this with a piece I've had published. Any other tips and advice welcome. Thanks.
     
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  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    Try and get a ton of reviews on Goodreads (and other platforms
    that are linked to bigger commercial interests like Amazon, B&N,
    and or possibly the Ireader crowd).

    Though the hardest part is simply getting those revs, and marketing
    is a big key to drawing in the eyeballs. Got a lot of friends, or can pay
    a good group of people that will get the ball rolling then great.
    Pretty sure the bigger players are looking at the numbers, not the quality
    of what is doing well. Granted it is a plus if you happen to actually
    have quality work, but that isn't a pre-requisite. It is all a numbers
    game, the bigger the number the better the odds someone will take
    notice and go from there.

    As for going viral, IDK. Kinda a rare thing in the book market, and we
    have seen the kinda craftsmanship that goes viral. :p
     
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  5. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    Just include like a taster intro story about people jumping around with no clothes on, and writhing in arousal, and bubbling and juicing and copulating and more, more. I always read those ones to the end to confirm my disappointment. Anything with a spaceship captain drinking coffee gets melted off my screen. I hate them, I hate them interplanetary explorers can fakk off.
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Going viral is so hard. I only have 30 followers on twitter. I really want to be literary famous and win prizes. :)
     
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  7. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    That made me figuratively roll around in mirth :D Don't we all; welcome to the club! :D
     
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  8. MarcT

    MarcT Active Member

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    Word of mouth and reviews?
     
  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I am losing followers on twitter. How is this happening? Why is social media so hard for a writer? It's hard for me at least.
     
  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    My Twitter followers seem to go up and down randomly. I sometimes see a correlation to a political comment or something like that, at other times I will gain or lose them for no reason I can perceive.
     
  11. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    James Joyce, Earnest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allan Poe had a collective total of 0 Twitter followers, so I don't think that's a prerequisite to being famous and winning prizes.
     
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  12. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    It's hard for every profession! Unless you're already famous, controversial or super-sexy, getting those followers and retweets is gonna be a long uphill battle. 'Only' being interesting barely cuts the mustard these days. Just gotta keep at it...
     
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  13. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Hey, two out of three ain't bad.
     
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  14. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    Here's one idea straight from the copywriting handbook : People like lists. Post something random on twitter about 'The top ten reasons writers are the sexiest people alive'. Give them 5 and direct them to your blog for the rest.
     
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  15. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    Thar be Click Baity, Matey. :D
     
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  16. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    Click Bait is such a misunderstood term. It got appropriated for unsuitable links and is now forever regarded as 'bad'. The truth is, its often nothing of the sort.
    If you want clicks, you need a way of getting them and that is through enticing the reader to follow through -on your promise of content they are interested in (as above)- or by offering something that solves a problem for them. The biggest mistake is only writing posts about yourself or your writing/job and expecting anyone to care. People want things that matter to THEM.
     
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  17. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    A lot of the most popular channels on YT are top 5-10-15 channels.
    People like numbers in 5 unit increments for some weird reason. o_O
     
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  18. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    People like lists! Its absolutely true!
     
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  19. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    Yeah I know, even if they are absolutely pointless. :p
     
  20. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    I'm sure there's more to it than (only) this but with a psychology hat on I think at least part of the reason is the curiosity to know what's at 'number one' on the list - so they can either disagree fiercely giving them a target for their anger, or agree, which affirms their own opinion "Oh yes, he's absolutely right. Dexterous hands IS the number one reason writers are so sexy". (My god that's a bad example!)

    Edit: apologies for hijacking the thread somewhat.
     
  21. RobinLC

    RobinLC New Member

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    I get where you're going here, and you're absolutely right; people do like lists. It's almost a compulsion to click on these list posts. But then people hate themselves for wasting 10 minutes of their lives. I think anyone considering doing this need to ask themselves if they want their name associated with this type of content. I'd rather have fewer followers and keep my integrity.
     
  22. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    My example was a bad one. A list can be anything, it can be 10 very useful bits of information or tips...literally anything. It doesn't necessarily mean bad content.
    The point wasn't the content so much as the method of enticement.

    All the best!
    NC
     
  23. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not really interested in lists. It's my published work that I want to draw more attention to. I've come to realize it's all about the hashtags. At first I would jest post links and sort of see what happens. With twitter you can see how many people click or share your work, also the likes. That's sort of a challenge. But when certain publications that put your work out start to follow you, it can lead to more people taking notice of that piece and other pieces. I'm not sure how something really goes viral especially when it comes to literary work. A story in The New Yorker sure would help, but I'm not quite there at this time. It's also hard because publishers don't really tell you how popular a piece is or how many people are clicking on it and reading it. I think publishing is hard enough, but now there are so many other things to think about. And some of my work isn't available online so that causes a whole new set of challenges. I still believe I have the best luck on Instagram. Images seem to grab more attention than the written word. I'm trying, but it's not easy. I think the most likes I've ever gotten has been in the 20s. Twitter I get like four likes. Special thanks goes out to those of you who have shared links to my stuff. It does help spread the word that I'm a writer, desperate with something important to say. And social media does allow us to reach a larger audience, but going viral without cute kittens paying fetch or bear cubs swimming in a backyard pool is super hard. One of my publishers has shared letter written to him about my work and that's always nice to hear. But most of the time I have to wonder what sort of reach my writing has and if anyone cares. It's tough. I'm not looking to be famous, but I am hoping to get the right people to take notice. Hoping that can still happen for those of us with published work that just isn't viral material perhaps.
     
  24. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    Making something "go viral" is a pretty difficult thing to do on purpose, but driving traffic in a way that will increase over time is more achievable. It takes some internet know-how, as well as an understanding of the different ways social media sites are designed.

    A site I use called Minds allows me to pay for views at a cost far lower than, say, Facebook. It's called "Boosting". I don't know what the exact rates are anymore-- it used to be $1 per 1000 views but now users need to use a cryptocurrency, which has become a big turn-off for people as it adds a layer of complexity that people don't have the time or desire to figure out.

    I've actually had a surprising amount of success (over 1k subscribers). It turns out there are plenty of people there who are seeking to consume the written word, whether it's short stories or poetry or opinion pieces. There are plenty of fellow writers and creators on there as well.

    Because of this boost feature, traditional ways of driving traffic such as hashtags aren't as primary. They become more supplemental.

    The other price one pays, though, is that "Boosting" content does not target any specific audience. It randomly targets the Minds user-base in general. But to be honest I find this to be more organic in the end.

    Another thing to note is that even though people may have a lot of subscribers, not all of them are active. Many people subscribe but then stop using the site, or don't really follow you or your work, or subscribe with the hope that you'll subscribe back "sub-for-sub" style.

    I would say out of the 1200 or so people who are subscribed to me, a little under 100 I see on a regular basis. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that even if you get things to go viral by means of paid advertising, getting 1000s of views and even hundreds of likes and dozens of shares, the chance that somebody will subscribe is slim, and the chance that that subscriber will be a hardcore dedicated fan is even slimmer.

    There really is no shortcut, as it ultimately comes down to a slow-grind every time.

    All that being said, the way I use Minds is very different compared to the way I use Medium. Since there is no mega-phone feature like "Boost" on Medium, I instead have to slog through the hashtags and the regular uploading of one article a week. To successfully play the "Medium Game", I had to choose a niche, similar to choosing a class or a role in a video game. I'm writing about my experience in writing and reading. The things I learn, and would like to share with others. My works of fiction or poetry. Opinion pieces related to what I read, or reviews. It's specified enough that people will have a good idea of what to expect from me, and accordingly I can attract an audience, but gives me enough room to breathe that I don't lose my sanity. I can write about writing, I can share my actual writing, I can write about what I read, and some 'personal development' content as well.

    The "Medium game" is very different from the "Twitter game", both are different from the "Minds game", etc.

    I've found Twitter to be the worst for writing; at least anything of significant length. The character limit changes how the game is played. Necessarily the vast majority of people are looking for sound-bites and snide comments and snarky jests and memes or something to be outraged about. From what I know, it seems the most effective Twitter strategy is learning the art of click-bait and becoming Le Provocateur.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019 at 9:31 PM
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  25. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Member

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    This is interesting @Foxxx. Paid web traffic generally has a bad rep, just like click-bait. Your paid views are coming from unique, relevant, targeted visitors and not bots or the far east? What/who is contained on the Minds database?
    If the answers are yes and one has money to spare, then it is a potential shortcut to building an audience, but one that I remain very wary of.
     

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