Okay, I lied. There are no secrets to writing good shit that goes viral.
So there’s no need to read any further.
Unless you want to know the one thing every good writer does well and often to get their work read and shared.
Don’t write with the intention of making your work go viral.
But if it’s that simple, why do we continue to see people all over the Interwebs selling strategies on “How to write ‘How-to’ headlines that get clicked” or “7 ways to overnight SEO success”?
It really is that simple.
But many of us choose the easy route. We take short cuts.
I mean why should we produce our own epic stuff when we can regurgitate content that already sells?
Why risk being unique when conforming has a greater track record of success?
Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for marketing and writing strategies so I am not discounting the value in learning some of those best practices. However, best practices aren’t the key to your writing success. They are simply tools to help you amplify your work.
I have no clue how traffic-driving strategies work. To be honest, I don’t really care. And yet, after publishing four articles within a 60-day span, three of them went viral.
What astounded me more than the vanity metrics was something Google could not capture. I was getting a ton of feedback from strangers who were thanking me for writing articles that went against the grain. People were telling me I WAS MAKING AN IMPACT by standing up for a shared belief they didn’t have the courage to speak out on.
Whether you’re selling a product, service, or simply unleashing the brand of YOU, when you do good shit—pardon my French—good shit will follow.
So if impact really does matter, why can’t we measure it on any kind of analytics report?
I gave up asking that question because I don’t believe impact should be another checkbox in our vanity metrics.
I revealed the truth on my weekly web show about how my post went viral and why I believe I had such freakish success with my writing.
I didn’t follow any 7 Highly Effective Steps to Writing Good Shit manual of sorts. I don’t have a strategy or blueprint for making articles go viral. That wasn’t even my intention. Everything I did was organic in nature.
That’s exactly what I told my newsletter community after deconstructing my entire writing process for them. One subscriber immediately replied to that email and corrected me, “I think you just created The Shin Kicking Guide to Writing Good Shit in this email. Just saying.”
The Shin Kicking Guide to Writing Good Shit
Before delivering any kind of content in the world, ask yourself: “Is this good shit that can make a positive impact?”
If so, follow this framework to help you channel compelling content worth writing about.
Start with a rant. What emotional issue fuels you? Write about it. Is it a problem you’d like to see fixed? Is it a gap that exists in the world? Let your emotions flow. Do not censor. Do not edit. Write until you have nothing left to say about the topic.
Share one thing. One thing will stand out in your writing. That often becomes the underlying message. If the one thing is not obvious to you, think about what can happen if the problem goes unresolved, and what that means for the reader.
Stand for something that matters. Think about that one thing you really want to say, especially if it means you’re going to put your neck out on the line. Fear can really sink in here if you’re afraid of being rejected by the masses. You’ll know the risk is worth it if regretting you never took the stance scares you more than being unpopular for saying it.
Shut your head up and write from your heart. Stop thinking about writing something to impress others or strategizing how to make a post go viral. Write from the heart like you’re teaching the younger version of yourself—who doesn’t know better—how it can positively and negatively affect them if they don’t read what you have to say. This is how you relate to your readers: Tell them, “You’re not alone.”
Show compassion. Come from a place of “How can I help others improve?” or “How can I help bring others together?” if you’re concerned about going off on a counterproductive rant. This is the BS meter I use to gauge whether I’m being constructive or destructive with my message.
Scrub your work. When you edit and refine your writing, don’t be afraid to move sections around to make sure your message is cohesive, methodical, and clear. Step away from your writing if you become overwhelmed. If you know and trust other writers, ask for their feedback. Then edit a lot and, when in doubt, edit some more.
Ship that baby. If you’ve done all your writing and editing and you’re still afraid to hit publish, that’s the moment you should push the button. We often fear failing at the things that matter most to us. Be more worried if you’re not afraid.
There are no secrets. There’s no magic pill. There’s no shortcut to success. Do good shit. Write good shit. Help a lot of people and you will make an impact. Only then, good shit will follow. (And maybe, just maybe, your work might go viral.)
But don’t ever believe anything I tell you. Try it on for size yourself and you be the judge.
Berni Xiong is Chief Kicker of Shins at BerniXiong.com and Chief Shut Up'er of Making Shit Happen at TheShutUpShow.com. As a coach, strategy consultant, speaker, show host and writer, she helps Solopreneurs unleash their voice and dominate in their corner of the world.