Everything you need to know about writing a winning article on Medium
Everyone dreams of going viral. Why not? It’s the modern day equivalent of hitting the lottery. You get instant and widespread recognition for something you wrote and created.
One day you are sitting in solitary, writing something original and the next day the world all agrees you wrote something outstanding.
What a feeling?
But most writers NEVER experience that feeling.
Going Viral with Words
There is a much different strategy going viral with words than there is with video. It’s easier to go viral with a video. If you study filmmaking techniques, and story structure, you can make a compelling video that captures people’s attention.
But you can’t apply any of that knowledge to a written article, blog or story.
Going viral with words requires a different set of skills.
If you are new to my account, welcome. My name is D. Scott Schwartz, M.Ed., I am a K12 insider and expert educator with over 20 years of experience in both K12 schools and also educational research.
So I like to write articles that help people understand schools, teaching and also 21st century skills.
One of those skills is — communications.
The Research Behind Going Viral
As an educator, I like to use research to prove my theories and also so others know that I am not just making up my ideas out of thin air. Thus the research I am using is from the University of Chicago writing program.
At the University, they ran into a huge problem they wanted to help solve for their research graduates and their tenured faculty. The University wanted to be considered an elite academic institution, but it could not accomplish that goal unless their Professors and graduate research students were being published and people were using that research to do other research.
Having your research cited in other publications is a sign of true academic prowess. The problem their professors were running into was no one cared about the research they were doing.
The issue wasn’t that the research wasn’t sound or even groundbreaking. The problem was that the Professors didn’t know how to communicate their research in writing, in a way that other people could understand the value of the research.
So the University began the writing program to teach University level professors how to write and later offered it to all students who wanted to know how to write for the general public.
Your Teachers are Paid to Care
One of the key learning turning points in this writing program is when the students understand that every teacher they have ever had — was paid to care about what they wrote.
Think about it. Every writing assignment you have ever done was for a teacher. And your teacher is paid to read what you write.
That’s not reality. If you write an article, blog or story — no one cares, unless you write something that has value.
And that’s the secret to writing words that go viral.
Why Should People Care?
You should always ask yourself this question, after you finish writing your article, blog or story. What does this piece of writing say? Is this valuable to a reader?
If it’s an article, does it make a solid point and will this help someone?
If it’s a blog, is it short, concise and give answers to a specific question?
If it’s a story, does it have structure? Does it make a point? Or do I have incredible juxtaposition of words? What is the value of your story?
Don’t Write For You
I know that most of what we write is for ourselves. A writer writes.
But if you want something to go viral, you need to write for an audience. So who is your audience? What do they care about? What would be valuable for them to read?
The audience for this article are writers who want to go viral. You want to get your stories, blogs and articles in front of many eyeballs. That won’t happen unless you write something that people NEED to read.
If you wanted to learn how to write something that goes viral — that’s why you read this story. This has value for you. Now that you read this article, it pushes you that much closer to writing your first viral story.
I really hope someone writes a viral piece because of this article, and if you do, please make a comment back on this article. Save it, clap for it and follow me, so I can get the feedback from you.
It’s great to receive positive feedback from something you’ve written. But writers tend to be shy and reticent people. I hope that you will be brave and make a comment and let me know what stood out for you in this piece that helped you get over that edge.
Good luck and keep writing!