Editor’s Note: Yusuff Busayo is one writer I respect a lot and he has spared no efforts in dishing out his knowledge about how you can as a new writer make your entire living writing for individuals and organizations. Make sure to spend the next 10-minutes in consuming this piece and the next 3-days in applying the lessons taught in Yusuff’s “How New Writers Can Start To Make Their Entire living Writing“. I will see you at the top!
Let’s face it: you’re a writer.
But there is a clause.
You are not just a writer who writes when you feel like; when the food tastes nice, or when your sweethearts break your heart.
Instead, you write professionally. You practice your writing deliberately. To make money. To build your blog. To build your business. Or simply spread your message.
You tell people you’re a writer who makes money writing. And you even raise your hands when online entrepreneurs are called.
But the truth is: you don’t make a as a writer.
You struggle all you can, put in all the effort you know to. But somehow, all your efforts seem to be crawling down a bottomless hole.
So these days, you’re quietly telling yourself it’s impossible to really make money writing.
It’s impossible for anyone to make their entire living writing and in this piece I have spared no efforts in sharing with you some of the strategies involved in making that happen.
Of course, you can make money writing books. But besides that, no one makes money any other way, you think.
Is that really true?
The Story That’ll Change Your Life
Mine may not be a revolutionary story, but it is somewhat like yours.
I jumped into the online world in the year 2013; determined to create businesses around writing.
I studied all I could about blogging and making money online. I practised all I could and even wrote tons of blog posts on different topics that never succeeded.
I mastered nearly all the tricks of making money writing, but I was so darn broke my poverty scared the willies out of me.
The table did not turn so quickly, because I fell for the ruse new online entrepreneurs believe: if you can’t beat them, join them.
I gave up trying to make money writing, forgot that dream, and instead began to read blogs for fun. Soon, I took a high school teaching job that was more frustrating than if I had just been without employment.
Long story short, frustration and zeal drove me to find an Email Marketing blog in May, 2016. The author was a no-nonsense email marketing specialist who taught me (and his numerous subscribers) how to set up an email copywriting business.
The result is that, almost 60 days after I launched into the business, I was making the exact income I couldn’t make in the last three years struggling online.
Over the next few months, I made over N500, 000 just writing short, snappy sales emails for mine and clients’ businesses.
And these emails are usually written under 20 minutes per day.
First Things First: How You Can Succeed As A Newbie Web Writer
How did I grow my email writing business to such a fairly massive success?
I could tell you I was lucky. And that would be true.
I could tell you I worked hard to get there. And that would also be true
But instead, I will hand you the most important lesson I learned, that saved me from toiling ever again to make money as a writer. This lesson was staring me in the face all along (as it is with you, now) but I never saw it.
What’s the lesson?
I chose a single writing niche and specialised in it.
Listen, that means instead of trying to be a freelance writer, a copywriter, a social media expert, a direct response copywriter, etc…all of those at the same time (like most new writers always want to do)…
I chose only Email Copywriting and stuck with it.
I studied all I could, practiced as many times as I could (daily), and the results started to come in less than 60 days.
I’ll confess that I practised the advice of popular Freelance Copywriter and author of over 70 books, Bob Bly, “New freelance writers should specialise; not generalise.”
In other words, in lieu of trying to be everything to everyone, be one thing to a specific crowd.
Write for people who need you. Not people who don’t.
More elaborately: choose a specific writing niche you’ll write for. Ignore all other niches. Then develop your chosen niche until you’re so good you’re the go-to person.
But how you do make money specialising your writing?
How Do You Make Money Writing In Your Specific Niche
Seriously, I cannot decide this for you. Each niche comes with their capabilities; which all can be harnessed if you’ve studied your market well.
When you stop trying to do everything and start to put all your proverbial eggs in one basket, you will realise what financial opportunities there are in your niche.
For example, I did not know I could set up other associated businesses with my email copywriting skill.
Studying that niche showed me the needs I could meet with only that writing skill.
I realised I could write for clients.
I could create reports on Email Copywriting.
I could start an Email Copywriting newsletter.
I could launch video and audio trainings on Email Copywriting.
98% of which I have started to do, and earn from.
If you choose to become a social media expert, there is much money to be had there also. Companies are constantly requiring the help of social media experts to manage their accounts. And most companies do pay well.
Delving into the social media is even more tasking; requiring a skillset that demands extreme focus. The social media world is a constantly evolving medium that demands you to keep abreast of it changes.
So the lesson still stands true that: you should become the Jill of one trade instead of being Jack of all trades and master of none.
The better you are at one thing, the more effective you become…and the more money you make.
Closing: Change Your Finances By Becoming A Go-To Writer
Look, will you pay for a doctor who specialises in treating a particular disease or one who treats all kinds of diseases?
The story is told of Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers. To increase his business advantage, he searches for a person who was the best in his field and hire him; no matter the price.
Legendary Copywriter and Direct Response Marketer, late Gary Halbert charged his clients as much $15,000 for his service, plus 5% on each product sale…because he was a legend at writing highly-converting copies.
Maya Angelou made a great deal of her income just writing poems and short stories.
This is a contrarian attitude. The world (and its pressures) wants you to do more. But successful people do less to achieve more.
The more you do more of one thing every day, the more you grow your skill in that area, and the more you increase your chances to earn more money.
As Brent Jones of BrentJonesonline.com once told me, “You’ll be paid what you’re worth.” And what you’re worth is determined by what you can do.
If you can do a bit of everything, you’ll only earn a bit from everything. But if you can do much of one thing – and you can do it well – you up your chances to create a greatly successful life.
About The Author
Yusuff Busayo is an Email Copywriter who teaches newbies and struggling entrepreneurs how to DOUBLE their sales using only emails. Learn how to set up an email copywriting business that makes money in its first month…just like he did. Click here to get his FREE 84-page eBook to help. (Time-sensitive offer).
You know what it feels like to be ignored?
It’s like sweating a bucketful of blood, splitting your head in bits trying to write your best, drooling long hours over the laptop keyboard…and no one even noticed it.
That hardboiled, dogged work got you nothing but potatoes.
Better be “little ole dweeb” living in a cave than to bear such silence to your online effort.
I mean, who doesn’t want it?
To have a metric ton of eyeballs frolicking to your new blog post. To have oodles of visitors tooting the love on social media. To have a dollop of thank-you emails flooding your inbox.
Who the heck doesn’t want it?
But you see, on this web space, where this readers are always right, you’ve got to dance to their tunes, not play your tune and hope anyone would come running to dance.
Not getting the picture?
Taken, you pick some ideas off the top of nowhere (most likely a rejected pile of outdated web ideas), you slap together 500 to 750 words, mixed that with a blog image you ripped off Google, and published that piece….
Rubbing your palm. Licking your fingers. Salivating and watching how the crowd would troop to that little middling crap you just threw on there.
They never showed.
The last person who mistakenly landed on your blog thought your writing reeked of fart.
When you refreshed and saw 1 comment, you’re quick to check who’s found you.
It was just some stupid little trackback from an old post you linked to. Better be dead than watch your writings be ignored this way.
Anyway your blog and your dream can be salvaged?
Well, no one can promise absolute triumph for you (the grave truth, mehn), but you can wade through that water just fine if you learn a few writing tricks that work.
But first, what are you doing wrong? What’s making your writing disgust your blog readers?
Your Cheat Sheet For Writing Compelling Content
Do you know why thousands of readers flock to blogs like Boost Blog Traffic, Copyblogger, Goinswriter, Be A Better Blogger, drown their comments section with reams of comments, flood their subscriber list, shout their content on social media?
No, it’s not really because they have big names. Though that counts much.
It’s because you couldn’t not drool over every content they publish.
If you clicked back and not read their content, it’s for one of these reasons:
- It’s not exactly the information you’re looking for.
- You’re in a rush and would certainly get back to it.
- You’re darn too lazy to read.
All in all, you couldn’t not love the content those blogs produce.
Their writing is darn so good you think you’re before a nicely made dish, cutting them steak up and chucking them down your throat. Yummy thing.
Their writings taste (yes, taste) like a hot chocolate laced with a metric ton vanilla ice cream.
And so, besides their ability to simplify difficult topics, you can’t ignore the fact their writings draw you in, grab you hard on the butt, and lead you to change or cry out, “OMG, grandma’s got to see this!”
Think your writings can be like that, too? Think it’s no fat chance anyone would even pay attention to what you have written?
As I mentioned earlier, no one can outright promise absolute victory for you, but if you knew what made your writings akin to a toddler’s poop, you’ll be better off fixing the glitches and getting some flaring number of eyeballs on your writings.
Ready to quit publishing content that gets you squat? Let’s dig in:
1. You Don’t Story-Tell
Look at me, did I mention that you didn’t slap some good old-fashioned anecdotes to your posts introductions because you read it works wonder for drawing readers in?
Did I say you didn’t attempt to string some made up claptrap in the hope that someone would just appreciate you for it?
But I’m saying that if you did pull off storytelling well, you probably should be worried about your blog crashing due to traffic spike.
Because good storytelling gets the nasties, baby.
Or why do you think this post got over one million views?
Why do you think it’s sister post got over 493 comments and the comment had to be closed, meanwhile?
It’s because of good storytelling.
And the truth is, it is quite difficult to pull off an awe-inspiring story that would draw tears from your readers’ eyes.
If your stories aren’t doing that, making your readers want to beat down your comment sections, or if you aren’t using storytelling at all, it is time to learn this hard truth:
The web loves storytelling. And you better be giving it to them.
If you’re a greenhorn and you can’t shell out sensational, highly emotional, and lesson-packed stories in your blog posts, your fat chance is to read great stories.
Yes, great writers steal, that’s what.
John Keats gained mastery over poetry by reading and imitating the style of great poets in his time.
Zora Neale Hurston became a mind-boggling black writer by studying the works of other and writing exactly in their own style.
And here’s what Robert Greene says about gaining mastery over anything, especially storytelling in this case:
“As you continue to observe and follow the lead of others, you gain clarity, learning the rules and seeing how things work and fit together. Soon, you bring your own style and individuality into play.” [Emphasis mine]
Simply, the more you read (and practice) great storytelling by pro bloggers or classic writers, the better you get at it. And the more you’ll be able to infuse your style and individuality into it.
At least, that’s how I pulled off this compelling post without scratching my rear on spikes.
Read great storytelling, practice some and you’ll get better.
And if you think learning to storytell in your writing isn’t worth it, wonder how this post has gotten over a million view and over 5000 social shares.
Get your lazy arse to work.
2. You Don’t Use Analogies
Even Jesus’s best stories used tons of analogies. Duh! It was His favourite strategy for simplifying tough topics for the less-informed crowd.
Think the story of the good Samaritan to illustrate the need to love your neighbour. Think the story of the prodigal son to prove God’s love for a repentant sinner. And think “the Kingdom of God is like a man who went to obtain a kingdom for himself”.
What is analogy? Drawing comparison between your point and a relevant situation in order to foster clarity and deepen readers’ understanding.
You want your audience to get your point, so you compare a relatable instance.
In Jon Morrow’s description of the futility of publishing great content on your blog, he wrote: it is like teaching your best course to an empty classroom.
You can picture the frustration when you trot around in a classroom, giving your best lecture, only the classroom is empty.
And that’s exactly the foolishness of publishing remarkable content on an obscure blog.
What about comparing your writing to a toddler’s poop? Or marketing your business in a desert?
That means your writing is worthless (sorry, but true) and you’re giving your best on your blog; only no one is paying attention.
How do you get this little ole Sammy done?
Think of an event, situation, or life occurrence that relate to the point you’re trying to make. Then compare that to your point.
You’ll pull off engaging analogies if you learn to use humorous analogies.
It gets difficult and pretty nasty when your example isn’t known to your audience or it is totally off point.
For example, “Delaying to start your online business is like wishing a bowl of eba will make itself, ” is a less perfect example if your readers aren’t Nigerians. Most online readers don’t even know what garri is (just saying).
Make sure both comparisons fit.
Here are examples to stir your imagination:
Writing boring content is like stringing poop together and hoping your readers will pay attention.
Depending on Google alone for traffic is like waiting for the US President to find your blog soon.
Waiting for blog readers to find your blog by themselves is like arsing around a river and hoping a crab will blink its eyes. You’ll wait a lifetime.
As Glen Long wrote, “If you can get your reader to buy into your analogy, it can be hugely persuasive.”
What’s the power of analogy, you ask?
How did I pull you into this post in the introduction?
3. You Don’t Create Cliffhangers
What’s the lifeblood of a thrilling thriller novel?
Those small surprises that engage your curiosity and drag you on to open to the next page. They stir you to think “so what’s next”. And the only way to find that out is to flip on to the next pages.
See, web readers have the attention span of a fly. And getting them to read your masterly content, bond with it, and still comment is what you want.
You can’t get that done if you don’t their minuscule attention with entertaining details and breathtaking cliffhangers; giving them a reason to keep scrolling.
Jon Morrow is a master at doing this.
See jaw-dropping cliffhangers in these pieces:
- On Dying, Mothers, And Fighting For Your Ideas.
- How to be Unforgettable.
- How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers.
- On Fear, Guts, and Finding The Courage To Launch Your Digital Business.
Cliffhangers are common in movies and novels. But are they common in blog posts? You bet.
How do you pull them off without sounding like a broken record?
As a web writer, you could:
- Leverage Curiosity: Who wants to be in the dark about a vital information? Nobody. If you were bedeviled by an obnoxious body mass, and you see this headline, “how would you like to lose 50 pounds in 5 minutes?” Seriously, that draws you in and you want to read on. So, sate your readers’ curiosity with an intriguing question. Like this: Why do some bloggers succeed while others fail? Trust me, you’d want to know.
- Use depressing segue: We fall for empathy because we humans are highly emotional creatures. Keep your readers scrolling by employing a depressing segue in your sentences. Like this post: You drown your dreams with junk food or booze or shopping sprees, all the while telling yourself you’re doing the right thing.
But are you?
“No,” a little voice whispers inside of you. “No, this is all very, very wrong.”
Oh God… (then it leads on to the next sub-head)
- Yell Exclamation: “What tha heck!”, “What?”, “Heck”. Yelling at your readers (smartly) stops them in their tracks, itches their curiosity gland and sets them scrolling to read your reason for yelling in the first place. Mind you, you had better have a good reason for yelling. Just saying.
Examples of common cliffhangers:
- For example,
- Sound silly, uhn?
- Here’s my point
- Think it’s never possible?
- Let me tell you a story,
- She didn’t believe me. But I pulled it off. Here’s how I did it.
- What? You think you’re any better? Let’s see then.
Internal cliffhangers are made of suspense. You want your readers to transit from one sentence, one paragraph, one sub-head to the next and have fun doing it.
Tie a juicy carrot to the end of the rope, drag and twitch, then watch the bunny rabbit follow your bait.
But that rabbit has got to be rewarded real good. Know what I mean?
4. You Don’t Scream At Your Readers
Ever wanted a kid to poop in his pant or knock him out of hurting himself?
You scream his name.
How do you stop a toddler from playing into a Rottweiler’s mouth? You sing his name? Hell, no!
You shout the heck out of his name.
See, web readers are like kids, sometimes you have to knock them out of their delirium to get them to notice your point and take it to heart.
How do you do that?
Here’s Derek Halpern correcting the web’s stupidity with a daring yell. (He uses not a word, but a sentence instead: “If you’re not building an email list, you’re an idiot.”)
If you aren’t interjecting your writings with those staccato bursts, you’re like a mom who watches her kid dancing towards a beehive unprotected, and all she’s drawling is,”don’t go there, baby”.
Want to make a dog pull its tail between its legs and scram? You shout “Get!”
Want to snap your readers out of their doldrum? Sprinkle these interjections.
However, do it too often and you’ll come off as a swayback or a confused moron.
Or imagine the effect screaming often at a child has on him later. Nothing.
You don’t want that, see. But you’ll know when it’s time to use any of those.
Heck! You’ll know when it’s important to use them to emphasise a point.
5. You Don’t Laden Your Writings With Emotions
There’s no way this post could have gotten over 5092 comments and 1.8 million shares on Facebook without fretting people’s emotions.
There’s no way this post could’ve gotten mighty Tony Robbins to grant the writer free access to his exclusive “Unleash The Power Within” event if it hadn’t toyed with readers’ emotions.
There’s no way that same post could have beat the heck out of this mother post without really kicking up readers’ emotional spine.
There’s no way in the world your posts will ever move a fly or scare the brain off those crickets if they don’t stir readers’ emotions like wildfire.
Why did Martin Luther King Jr’s greatest speech, I Have A Dream, go viral?
Why did Winston Churchill’s speech against the Nazi’s barbarity cause a stir?
How do great men win the hearts of their listeners and get them to act against their own self-will?
They fret their emotions. They tickle the heck out of that sensitive gland. They poop a bucketful of empathetic words on their brains. And you see men running to do their bidding like they’re on coke.
Empathy still remains a way to grow into your audience’s heart, touch their heart raw, and get them to leave you comments like this:
And how do you pull off emotion-laden posts?
I could tell you to call the devil out of you the next time you sit to write.
I could tell you to smash your head against the wall till it hurts so bad you’re banging out hot, touching words out of pain and anger.
I could tell you to look on your past and find out what truly, truly hurt you and fix that into your next post and that’s sure to go viral.
But you see, I’ll be letting loose a lot of hell on the web that way. The post could go viral but you’ll likely go bonkers afterward.
So? Skip those routes.
These are better options though:
- Use power words.
- Understand your audience’s pain point and describe their problems in their exact language.
- Tell a truly touching story that’s packed with emotions.
If this trick doesn’t work, I wonder what else will.
*Okay, ideas are never used up. Totally forgot.*
Get Off Your Sulky Butt and Write To Win Your Readers’ Hearts
You know it.
That your writing deserves the attention you crave for it.
That you can write the next big thing that gets the worldbeats to stomp down your door.
That your readers should be flocking to your blog because you’ve got this talent made from heaven.
Now, that’s possible.
It is possible to write your way to your readers’ heart.
It is possible to set the entire web on fire with your next blog post.
It is possible to quit the mutt and start to enjoy grand result for your online efforts.
So, start to use the points exposed here. They work like hot burritos on an empty stomach. No doubt.
Because, you see, loads of posts go viral every now and then…but soon fade away into obscurity.
But a post that’s laden with great storytelling, laced with cliffhangers, peppered with analogies, and packed with emotions…will grow on to become one of web’s evergreen masterpieces.
I can betcha.
Go kick some butts.
Yes, starting NOW.
Image source: Attitudes4Innovation
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
is a freelance writer, blogger and a nerdy chatterbox. Once a confused, witless and dead-broke writer himself, he now delivers beginners from their blogging stupidities and helps clients to cure ‘online obscurity syndrome’.
Find out how he can rid your writing skill of fluff here
and how helps small businesses to double their income here.
Going viral is not just about videos, it is also about images, text, infographics, social media posts, blog posts, full articles, pod casts, audio–well, you get the idea. If something is able to pass on information, then it may go viral. Making something go viral is very difficult, and many people misunderstand what makes a piece go viral. This article may help to clear things up to the point where it may not help you create a viral piece, but it will help you identify what is not going to go viral.
There are no set rules for what goes viral
They say that marketing has rules, and that even though you can change and pervert the rules–they still exist. The same is not true of viral marketing. For example, with regular marketing, there always has to be an offer. You can cover it up, twist and sugar coat it as much as possible, but the fact is that there is an offer. With viral marketing there is no offer. It is to your advantage if you can install an offer, but something that goes viral does not need to host an offer. It does not even need to promise to be funny, enlightening, moving, sad or thought provoking.
The fact is that if you are trying to work your viral marketing around an idea or a rule, then you are going to fail more often than you succeed. As illogical as it sounds, your instincts may provide a better hit rate than working to a viral marketing rule.
It always involves a number of factors
There is never one defining rule or factor that makes a piece go viral. Some people think that the piece has to be funny or shocking, but it can be neither and both. For example, the short GIF showing two people rescue baby bears from a large dumpster whilst only feet away from a frantic mother bear was not funny or shocking, but it still went viral.
The viral video with the black woman being interviewed by the reporter and saying “Ain’t nobody got time for that” went viral on a massive scale. Sure, it was a little bit funny because of the way she said it, and the context and setting made it funny too. But, those were not the only factors at play. It was at a time when the global economy was still in a free-fall, and people literally had bigger things to worry about than trivial news-filler items, and she encapsulated that idea perfectly. Some people think that it was the news topic that also made the piece more important, but years later it is the comment she made, and the way she said it that is remembered, and not the topic she was saying it about.
As a rule, it is the stuff that makes you smile
Take a look at all the things that have gone viral, and most of them will make you smile. But, again, there are no rules, which is why the video of the allied forces in Iraq playing with a puppy shortly before drop kicking it off a cliff went viral but made few people smile.
But, on the whole, if it makes you smile then it is likely to go viral. If you watch a video with a counter that counts every time Charlie Sheen says “Winning” and a smile creeps across your face, then there is a chance that it is going to go viral. If you are looking at an Infographic of the slow decline of M. Night Shyamalan’s career and it makes you smile, then it is probably going viral.
Just because it interests you does not make it viral material
This is a very important point, because some people think that just because a piece thrills them that it is going to go viral. A comic strip showing cartoon characters of Captain Janeway slapping Seven of Nine and telling her to cheer her ass up, may make you smile, but it may not go viral (even in the Star Trek Voyager crowd, especially when you consider the “ahem“ fan art already available).
Does it really thrill you? Or, are you still on a creation high?
When we create something, we tend to enjoy it. This creates what is known as a creation high, which often makes things such as proofreading, continuity checking and bug hunting a lot harder. Does what you created really thrill you as much as you are telling yourself? Come back to it in a few days or weeks and see if you can improve it further.
Kate Funk is a guest contributor here and she works as a freelance writer at getanycontent.com, where everybody can control and coordinate content writing process, from choosing your own writer to accepting or rejecting the final work result.