How to Parlay Your Medium and Social Media Stats into a Lucrative Writing Career
Sharing your content from sites like Medium and Vocal can determine what subjects and styles work best for you as a writer. If successful, implementing your results as an author or screenwriter is a no-brainer.
I earn my living in the television industry as a writer-producer, but that does not mean the attainment of my work, or the work itself, is easy.
I have written numerous articles on Medium about the struggles to attain my dream career, and by the time all is said and done I will likely write many more.
Due primarily to four specific Medium articles I have published over the past year I was determined to be “uniquely qualified” to co-write, with Bill Herndon, a three-episode miniseries entitled “7 Hills.”
The Nexus of Art and Addiction: “7 Hills” Begins Its Television Journey
It’s been a long road from idea to page for the most important project this writer has ever worked on.
The miniseries will shoot later this year, centering on a group of creatively gifted young adults wrestling with sobriety while navigating their often wrenching paths as working creative artists.
The articles referenced above are as follows:
And Then He Died: Depression in the Arts
Depression can be well-hidden. I didn’t understand the extent of my friend’s suffering until it was too late.
Dying For His Dream
My TV actor friend was in his prime when life and drugs usurped him and suddenly, this shit didn’t just happen to…
Blazing a Trail: My Week in a Native American Suicide Capital
My first exposure to Pine Ridge, upon arriving on the main road. I had asked Brian, my companion on the trip, to pull…
Pardon the cliche, but the paths to becoming a working actor, writer, performer, model, et. al. is no walk in the park. “7 Hills” will represent and show the hope that such artistic careers can inspire in both artist and audience, but we will not shy away from the reality of the substance abuse that too-frequently accompanies the paths to such success.
Not always by any stretch, but frequently. I was able to duck that seduction. Friends of mine were not so fortunate.
Due to my experiences as a former special education teacher working with gang kids and substance abusers, and that of the last decade years working in the entertainment industry full-time, I’ve seen it all and I’ve written about those experiences.
In fact, I’ve posted a great many of those stories here, on Medium.
I made sure Bill, whose work the upcoming show has been based on, read some of those stories.
I was hired, but more importantly I am now — he and I are now — in a position to make a major difference with this program, which we hope will become an ongoing series.
As for the above articles, “His Name Was Daniel” has received well over 10,000 reads on this platform, with the others also having performed well above average for me.
My Medium statistics tell that tale, and helped me attain a television writing project I damn near would have killed for. I began to pay closer attention to them.
Incidentally, “7 Hills” was not the first project I had attained based in part on my Medium writing. Literary journal “Rosebud” — which since 1993 has published writing by Alice Walker, Norman Mailer, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. Le Guin, among others — solicited a piece of mine, via a referral by writer Mort Castle, based on the following:
John Steinbeck and Me
Copy of an unpublished John Steinbeck short, from the private archives of Ernest Martin.
Though having been a writer for decades, my work has never before appeared in a literary journal.
It has now.
Since November of last year, I have been variously considered a “Top Writer” here, on Medium, in the categories of Movies, Television, Books, Art, Finance and Politics. My status, which changes based on personal breaks, results from stories curated in each area, those picked up for publication and readership.
I elected to cull from categories within my “Top Writer” status, and check which stories received the most attention.
By so doing, I am being more cognizant of what pieces are attracting a readership, and what pieces are not.
Those that are I tend to write more on (within the same topic). Those that are not I may still write based on my frame of mind, but for those I have no expectations.
Same with Facebook, Twitter and my other social media accounts. When certain posts go viral or otherwise achieve a high readership, regardless of pro or con feedback, I will make it a point to return to that realm and write more.
I look at platforms such as Medium, and my social media accounts, as akin to testing a new film in front of an audience.
I see what is working, and what is not.
And, I received another offer just yesterday ... based on the literary journal reprint of my Steinbeck Medium article.
A follow-up of sorts may be forthcoming. Would pay well too.
I’ll make it known if I accept the offer, and announce it here first. For me, it’s a question of time.
The following are 10 methods that you too can utilize to best leverage your Medium-type freelance web content and social media into a viable writing career:
- Review your Medium and other web statistics once-weekly. Let’s face it, many of us are Medium (or Vocal, or related pages) statistic junkies, and we check our hits several times daily. This is a habit I’ve only recently broken myself. You will learn little by checking your hits every hour on the hour. Put aside time once a week, or twice, to check stats for which of your stories are hitting most frequently. In the assumption you are linking your stories throughout your social media — which should become a habit but use common sense so as not to spam — which sites are most receptive? Start jotting down from where most of your readers are coming, and what types of stories are proving most popular for you.
- Observe and list trends based on your statistics. Are any particular types of stories gaining you a large audience? Are any certain types bringing you negative feedback? Observe the trends, then follow with the below points.
- Write another article on the same topic as the one with which you had garnered an above-average (for you) audience. See #4, below.
- Compare the views and reads, and feedback, of the new article with the one(s) you had completed previously on the same subject. If you are receiving comparable statistics, you are on to something. If not, keep writing, and keep checking. Eventually, you will begin seeing connections which will help you determine what readers find most appealing about your writing.
- If your articles on a specific topic repeatedly garner substantial views, keep writing on that topic. For example, most of my articles on Film, curated on Medium or not, tend to receive views and/or reads in the thousands. I will promote them strongly on my social media pages by linking the stories, and though many are considered “external” views — and not paid as well — they still count towards building a loyal audience.
- If you receive Top Writer status on Medium, promote said status throughout your social media, including within related groups. For some groups, not all, this will enhance your credibility.
- Subscribe to www.absolutewrite.com, which lists numerous writing opportunities, primarily in publishing. The subscription is free … and the competition is strong. However, regardless of your Medium status, many listed outlets simply want to see samples of your writing, while many others want to see quantity in addition to quality. Combined, you are putting your best foot forward for a possible assignment, or acceptance of a story idea.
- Brand yourself in part based on your specialty areas of writing. Branding is an oft-overlooked aspect of writing, as it is a widely-misunderstood concept. Branding does not mean you write exclusively in one field, or one subject matter. It means that you are exploiting yourself positively as an expert in a given field. Once done, Part Two: Check web search engines regularly by searching for your name alongside a particular topic. If you are placing prominently in search engines with your writing, your odds of being discovered elsewhere exponentially increase. There is no guarantee of being discovered, of course, but increased odds in your favor are rarely a bad thing.
- Join Facebook groups that list writing assignments. When applying, list your Medium Top Writer status (I will stand by that it does matter, despite some arguments to the contrary) and, if sending your resume electronically, link your Medium page so prospective employers (or clients) can get an idea of your writing.
10. Delve into personal matters in your content writing. Honesty goes a long way, and writing about issues that are personally meaningful to you, if even somewhat biographical, tend to create bonds with certain readers who will identify with your victories as well as your travails.
That’s what I have to offer this time out.
Note: I have experimented with and enacted each and every point listed above, and I attribute some of my recent screenwriting and authoring success to exactly these practices.
Content platforms such as Medium, and social media, can be among a writer’s best friends. Those who ignore these platforms due to an assumption that they either do not pay or do not pay well are missing the point. Medium, Vocal, Hubpages and others pay, but you need to market yourself.
Once you do, parlaying your content writing may well get you discovered, or otherwise lead to lucrative writing projects.
You never know, so stop making excuses and keep writing.
I wish you the very best of luck in your endeavors moving forward.
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