The D.N.A. of a $1,400 Story
This is how it’s done
This is how it’s done
My first post on Medium made me $1.36 in the 3 years since it’s been posted— enough to buy half a tuna sandwich if we lived in such a glorious world.
However, on June 1st I published a post that has, to date, earned me over $1,400. This is excluding all other earnings from my other 100+ stories here on Medium.
When I first began writing, I would have sold my neighbors firstborn (Jack) in order to achieve such glory. 63,000 views on one post. Wow. As a marketing professional myself, I became obsessed with exactly why it caught on and I wanted to share that with you.
*Cough* I have no idea
Like seriously, none.
Okay, maybe some idea…
By the point I published this post, I’d been blogging sporadically for 3 years, but consistently on Medium for just over 1 year.
My post count was probably approaching 100 and I’m not a daily blogger who writes ironically about the struggle of coming up with new content.
I can make a few guesses and they’re vague on the surface, but it’s only while delving into it, that they become profound. Keep reading after these 4 points:
There are a lot of things I did in my first (serious) 6 months on Medium that avoided curation. The odd f**k in a sentence, for comedic effect, to name but one. Another was not working with a publication.
“Why aren’t I getting curated?” I said to my girlfriend, 9,000 times.
The truth about well-read, high-earning content is it’s the product of wider distribution. Learning how to write and where to post it is half the battle. The other half is picking a subject matter that’s attractive to a broader audience.
I spent years writing a blog for magicians before writing about marketing on Medium. The difference in the popularity of content is the popularity of subject matter.
There’s a much bigger audience for what I write about now. Giving me a much greater chance of reaching more people. I’m playing the numbers game by writing about broad subjects and the $1,400 post was one about IKEA. Somewhere we all know about and have some opinion of.
Since writing this post, in particular, I’ve gone back to my older posts and was disgusted with the shoddy workmanship. On the journey to 100+ posts, I’ve learned a lot and my writing style has changed. It’s more mature.
I hate vague advice, I’m all for practical tips, but success isn’t always copy/paste. I have no control over the variables of distribution or the algorithms that seem to tease us here.
What I can tell you is writing quality pieces often and about broader subjects, that not just you, but lots of people care about, is the surefire way to a high-earning post.
One day you’ll be glugging down a tepid almond latte and your phone goes nuts. That post you banged off in 20 minutes is taking on a life of its own — and it’s worse than the one before it.
You’re playing the lottery each time you post and your stake is your creativity. You can’t force readership without paying for advertising, so your only choice is consistent high-quality output.
So I can’t guarantee that you’ll get a $1,400 post tomorrow, but I can guarantee that if you keep at it, leveraging the readership of strong publications, with broad stories, that it’s not a matter of if, but when.