Straightforward advice on how to thrive as a Medium contributor, or as a writer anywhere else in today’s media environment.
Know Your Audience
Prospering as a public wordsmith is astonishingly easy if you cater your message to a pre-selected audience. Knowing who you will be writing for will help you overcome the uncertainty of original ideas, and allow you to focus on affirming what people already agree with. Telling people exactly what they want to hear is a surefire method of creating consensus for your written message. If you aren’t preaching to a choir, you may as well be standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign blowing chunks of Flaming Cheetos out of your mouth while sputtering some alien religion.
The key to deciphering which target audience best fits your style is to recognize whatever dichotomy acts as gatekeeper to any given subject, and taking the side that best fits your own beliefs and opinions. For instance, if you decide to write about American-built automobiles, you will want to pick either Ford or Chevrolet to stand behind. Authors who indulge in Dodge talk, or try to get obscure with valid or interesting observations about late-model AMC or Saturn vehicles might as well be writing for 27th century martians. No matter the subject, only two opinions matter, so pick one and write to the people who would agree no matter what.
Making your audience feel important just for reading what you write requires that you give them ample reason to believe they are better than everyone who disagrees. People do not just want to believe that they are right, they want to believe that being right also makes them better than anyone who has the culturally recognized opposing set of opinions.
The goal here is not to make you and your ideas look good, but to make the other sides ideas look bad, and probably evil. Writing hand candy necklaces will make pearl-clutching the only obvious choice.
Titles Before Content
You might write the most impressive, coherent screed on any given subject, but if your outraged audience is not gratified by the title before ever even opening the link, you might as well be giving away Christmas gifts wrapped in rancid goat entrails. The title is EVERYTHING.
There is a general misconception that content actually matters, but given the statistics of success, it becomes clear that you could become a top author if you just posted the same meme 1,000 times so long as you had a bias-confirming headline every time you posted it.
Appeal to the Experts
Until you gain a strong, massive following, nothing you say will ever matter to anyone. Your word alone is as good as silence. What readers really want to know is that you are basing your work on the prior works of successful authors and experts in whatever field you are writing about.
As limiting as this may sound, you are not necessarily bound to integrity here. You can summon partial quotes, statistics and the works of other writers who have manufactured validation and consent by appealing to experts who came before you. When in doubt just repeat the word ‘facts’ as often as possible, and then link to whatever articles support your thesis.
Those who stick to their guns might as well stick those guns to their stats and blow them clean into obscurity. You are not writing to share deeply personal thoughts or difficult ideas. You are writing to become a successful author. Put your silly pride to the side and add your voice to the echo chamber of pre-approved opinion, or get buried in the swamp of losers who cling to integrity and originality like a trench coat in a Colorado high school.