On March 24, I hadn’t written since January 27. My Medium profile needed emergency CPR or at least a little TLC.
The experiment was simple: post once a day for 5 days to see the effect: # of reads, followers, comments, claps, and most importantly, if posting everyday made more people visit my profile in general due to consistency.
Here’s what I said in my first post:
“If I want to get paid for my writing — and I do, I must — I need to find a way to up my numbers, engage a wider readership, and maybe, my experiment whispers, let go of the need for each post to be perfect and pursue a more salient goal — discovering what it is that builds a truly significant audience.”
In the interest of full disclosure, you should probably know that I dropped my only Statistics class in college because it made me feel sweaty, stupid, and frantic. Plus, it met before 10 AM. Mathematician I am not. This experiment may not be ironclad in methodology, but that said, it did surprise me.
Of course the first thing one must note is that I’m a liar. As the above visual suggests, I did NOT post in 5 consecutive days as promised, but rather over a period of 10 days. Whoops! Sorry!
Day One, March 24, I posted “GET MORE FREAKING FOLLOWERS ON MEDIUM!” which was eventually published in “Change Becomes You.” Though this post did well over time, on the first day, I only had 8 views.
A little nerdy data for ya:
SO WHAT STICKS OUT FROM DATA?
- The day I had the most views was on March 28th, 59 views right smack in the middle of the 10-day period. On either side of this day, reading was lower, but not by even 10 viewers. Which leads me to believe that…
- It takes people a day or two to read, especially if it takes a day to get accepted into a publication, or to get curated, should one be so lucky.
- Therefore, probably not such a biggie if a day or two between posts, BUT go more, you risk losing would be readers. Don’t be that guy. Momentum, y’all.
BE AWARE OF WHICH TOPICS WORK BEST FOR YOU
Even for a not so number-ish writer-person such as myself, this data is quite helpful. Namely because it makes clear which topics captured the most audience attention. And the answer wasn’t always what I would guess.
This sounds obvious, but bears repeating: It matters what you write about — not just click bait or what you think people want to hear, but rather a topic you know in some way, that you want to write about, that you have a particular POV over, where you have something real and vital to give the reader. It could be a piece of helpful knowledge or advice, what it cannot be is a rant over something you don’t give a rat’s ass about so you can post everyday.
Because how well readers connect to you and what you are writing is what keeps them from clicking three seconds later to another post, such as “I Lost My Booty Call, Y’all!”
It makes intuitive sense that my post “Is Writing About Your Kids Fair Game?” would rate high with a site full of writers. The next highest rated post, though, was “I’m Glad I Got that Idiot Tattoo When I was 21,” which surprised me. Sure, lots of people have tattoos, but the mom with a tattoo she maybe isn’t always thrilled over angle I wasn’t sure about. But apparently it struck a chord.
The 3rd highest viewed piece was a short story, “Confessional.” This would seem to fly in the face of my sister’s assertion that writers only write short stories for other writers and that “real people” find them a snooze-fest. Not so, apparently!
Another shocker, the 2nd piece to be curated had the least views and was a POEM. A POEM, you guys! With an exceedingly vague title! A Mother Prepares. Go figure.
For what it’s worth — each of the 5 posts were eventually accepted by a publication.
SPEAKING OF WHICH, WHAT’S CURATION GOT TO DO WITH IT?
Not much necessarily. It’s a little confusing, honestly.
Out of 26 total posts since I first began in March 2020, I have only been curated 5 times.
But interestingly, 2 out of the 5 times I have been curated were within this 10-day period!
And the LAST 2 posts were the two that achieved curation.
Coincidence? Who knows? But I do wonder if posting pretty regularly (5 posts within a 10-day period) didn’t have something to do with being on the radar of the powers that be.
Also, curation doesn’t necessarily have much to do with what an audience seems to find readable and/or fan worthy. For instance, the 2nd curated piece was middle of the road in terms of actual views (35).
- The key to good writing is authenticity. If a writer’s focus is on how many hours since his or her last Medium post and not the quality and purpose of the writing, he or she is missing the forest for the trees. However: THIS IS TRUE ONLY TO A POINT.
- A writer cannot wait to be struck by inspiration to follow the most important writing directive: ‘ass in chair.’ First drafts suck, lots of second drafts suck, and it takes a while to pen anything read-worthy.
- You don’t need to post EVERY DAY, but if you wait TWO MONTHS in between posts to be struck by the best idea ever, you will be communicating with crickets your opus. Which makes no sense.
- My intuition makes me think 2-3 x a week posting WELL-WRITTEN pieces that audiences actually care about is probably effective.
- My new hypothesis, then, is that a day or two on either side of a post is okay, especially if the post you do write does pretty well.
- STILL, THIS STUFF IS NOT SCIENCE: “Is Writing About Your Kids Fair Game?” got the highest number of reads (59), claps (396), which did not surprise me. That said, my very first post, OVER TIME, garnered the most unique followers (18) and the highest reading ratio (62%)! So what does that mean? Hell if I know! I hadn’t posted in 2 months, but a person did need to read that first post to understand the parameters of my little experiment, so maybe they went back to read the original?The world may never know.
I’m just happy to have 20 new followers and some direction on topics.
And the confidence to realize that using the form that drives me — poetry, short story, article, whatever — will grab the reader’s attention if it comes from a place of authenticity for me.
Writing, after all, is talking, connecting, communicating, over the page. So, see ya in three days or so!