NOTE (2023-04-19): I honestly don’t recognize the person who wrote this essay, and this was written less than two years ago. I think I must have a hidden inner suceptibility to cultic religious groups/movements when I don’t first recognize them as such. Because this is literally me preaching the Gospel of Ship 30 for 30. Ewwww.
About a month ago, I decided to give myself a firm kick in the ass to get back into writing.
I needed some skin in the game, so serendipity sent me Ship 30 for 30. I was so impressed I made two big bets: money and time. For those keeping score:
- Publishing an atomic essay on 30 consecutive days.
15 days in, that $450 is becoming one of my best cash investments. But more importantly, those 15 consecutive days of publishing have taught me more about writing than any previous time investment.
Here are six critical lessons I’ve learned:
#1: Your Headline Writes Your Piece
Your headline communicates your WHAT, WHO, and WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME. It’s the only thing stopping your reader from scrolling onward. Iterate on your headline until it nails those answers, and only then start writing.
#2: Go to Your Audience
Social media has changed everything about communicating effectively online. Starting a blog and waiting for people to come is a dead strategy (Ironic, finding this on a blog. Yeah?). Twitter, LinkedIn, and Medium have become my go-to publishing platforms because the audience is already there.
#3: Engagement is Key
Publishing on social media is only half the battle. You also need engagement. But the algorithms operate on a quid pro quo basis: you get what you give. If you want your content to show up in feeds, you need to show up also. Reply to your readers. Engage with other creator’s audiences.
#4: Keep it Simple Stupid
Your topics may be complex, but your writing shouldn’t be. The best writers use basic vocabulary, write conversationally, and minimize the use of clever language. The purpose of your piece is to deliver value to your reader. It’s not about you. It’s about them.
#5: Write for Internet Readers
The days of continuous mountains of text are over. You’re lucky if someone reads only your subheadings. Don’t have subheadings? You’re lucky if someone reads your piece at all. Format for quick scanning. Highlight important bits. Reveal information at a quick and steady pace.
#6: Show Up Every Day
This is the most important lesson. Make publishing a habit. Good habits performed daily pay compounding dividends. Writing is like working out. You won’t see noticeable changes every day. There will be days you want to give up. But writing every day will put you on a trajectory. After months of investment, you won’t recognize yourself or your audience.
You’ll just be that good.