As a writer you are completely ecstatic after completing a written piece of work. You no longer have to cuss out that blinking cursor on a blank Word document. Instead, you can spring out of that chair and do the happy dance around your obscenely cluttered workspace—just don’t spill over the morning’s bowl of soggy cereal. You have a great work of art that is concise and probably deserves the Edgar Allen Poe Award, but so what? No one is going to read it until you spread it like wildfire.
1. Write articles that make people cry
Before imagining your name on the New York Times Bestseller List, you need to write something that people want to read. An article that has the potential to go viral should peak interest with surprising details.
So let’s talk wine. Yeah it’s made from grapes, yeah if you love it you’re labeled a “wine-o” (own that title), but don’t write about things that people already know. Marissa A. Ross, my wine writer role model, is a queen. Ross magnificently wrote an article for MUNCHIES that compared rosé wine to Drake. She doesn’t just teach the reader about rosé wine; she unconventionally compares it to an overly emotional Canadian rapper. When I first read that beautiful article I had to excuse myself from my class. That was an emotional day.
2. Timing is everything
When was the last time you read a “10 Sexiest Beach Bars,” article in the polar temperatures of a teeth-chattering winter? That’s just depressing. Write your beach bar guide when everyone is obsessing about sporting a tanned, oil-clad bikini body while showing off multiple neon colored paper umbrellas in overly spiked Piña coladas. The more relevant an article, the more likely it will go viral.
3. Recruit the fam
My number one fan is my wrinkly great-grandma, Pam, whose terrible eyesight forces her to pester Grandpa Jack to read my weekly article aloud. She believes I’m the Charles Dickens of this generation. My reply, “But Grandma, Dickens never wrote the word ‘shit!’” From an illegible mother’s day poem in first grade to internet sensation (Hey, a girl can dream.), my family has always supported my writing.
Almost all of your relatives are probably equipped with their own Facebook profiles; even Max the Golden Retriever is posting statuses. Encouraging your family and friends to promote and support your work should be the easiest part of promotion, because we all know those proud mother posts that read, “LOOK HOW AMAZING MY DAUGHTER IS!!!” always get at least 200 likes. Talk about free publicity.
4. Thank your sources
I want to thank my lovely team of editors, my smart brain, my sources, my sources… oh yes and my sources. After giving you the awesome quotes that made your article, sources can be a huge promotional boost after publication. I always send my published work to people who gave me quotes. They get all excited and then email that article to 50 friends with subject line: “Look, I’m famous!” Not Beyoncé famous, just like Amber Rose famous. By thanking your sources, you’re acting with professional courtesy and promoting your article at the same time.
5. Facebook spam like Farmville
The work is tedious but the outcome is delicious— just like making a homemade pizza from scratch. Spam the walls of organizations you mention in the article, and either post your article to groups who might like to read about, “5 Ways to Not Suck at Life” or on your wall to encourage friends to read, share and like. The list is endless; every post will elicit that annoying red notification number that some Facebook user will have to click. Just like those annoying Farmville requests you still seem to be receiving from five years ago. The difference is: people will be more apt to click and share because you’re a damn good writer, maybe even this generation’s William Shakespeare.