So, with the end of the Publish0x Contest in sight, I figure that I'd throw my hat in the ring for a portion of the COVETED PRIZES! Ah, Sweet Sweet Crypto. I hope you enjoy, and learn a thing or six from a "Professional" Internet A**hole, just like me.
Ginger Man, Who The Heck Are You and Why Are You Pontificating About Successful Blogging, You Jackwagon?
Please Mind The Fridge...
Good question, my readers. My name is Richard. I'm a guy that lives in a rural town where the cows outnumber the people. I have a nearly unhealthy love of everything related to a blockchain or Magic Internet Money (If you're a regular here, you know I don't mean that in a derogatory way). I went to college for a few years, studying everything from programming to mathematics and physics. No, I didn't finish my degree, but I did skip College Town with a few good lessons and a whole lot of book smarts to boot. I have been a writer for as long as I can remember, and it isn't until recently that I actually decided to try and throw myself into it more regularly. I have about 20,000 words of a Sci-Fi Novel finished, several personal blog posts on a Blogger site, and heck, a whole lot of Redditing. I am an advocate of Futurism, and I believe the Future is Crypto. It wasn't flying cars, no, but I'll settle. My Day Job? While I wish it was gallivanting about with my opinion for you fine people, it is actually something pretty interesting; I'm a CAD draftsman. Fun stuff. Lots of computers. I totally DO NOT run Folding@Home on my office PC for some sweet BANANO.
Any case, I found Publish0x through the Brave Browser, and after say, a month or two of procrastinating, I decided to take a step and begin the journey. I applied to become a contributor. The process was actually really fast, I am surprised. I am frankly surprised that my style has been as well received as it has.
Any case, I wanted to tell you this because I'm just some Average Joe. I fully believe if I can do this, you can do it too. Hell, I fully believe you can do this better than me. So, Here's my secret sauce. Don't go spilling it on anybody.
Step 1: Actually Be Yourself
Great, another cliche line on how you should simply "just be yourself" and you'll build a wonderful connection with your audience blah, blah, blah. Okay, it's been said time and time again. It's been conveyed as Golden Advice to damn near everybody. Whether you're some sixteen year old kid trying to muster up the courage to beat your hormones down with a newspaper to talk to a girl you like, or stepping foot into a job interview, people are always gonna be like, "Hey man, just like, do you and don't be a poser maaaaan!"
First thing I'm gonna tell you is that generally speaking, the advice on its surface is shit. Sorry Publish0x admin, I say it like I mean it. You start thinking about what it means to be yourself, then you second guess yourself and then you try and reinvent yourself in order to make yourself into a "Yourself" that you believe most everyone will like, if you simply get it in front of them. It's a slippery slope that makes you self conscious (at least it did for me) and it ends up taking you down as you try to be some weird facsimile of you that is more akin to an awkward robot than an actual human being with feelings and desires.
STOP LOOKING AT ME.
HAVING SAID THAT, what I am going to tell you is that the spirit of the advice is dead true. Don't think. Act. Whatever spews forth without proper filtration is what you are. It might leave a bad taste in some people's mouths, but that's just the name of the game, isn't it? Apparently, life isn't about trying to make everyone happy. It makes you look "flip-floppity" and it covers up the "true you". Yes-Men/Women are for Narcissistic CEOs and Presidents. For everyone else, they want an actual person. After all, the Hero's Journey begins with an "Everyman" for good reason; If you're gonna introduce your reader to some fantastical alien world with weird rules, you need someone who is a close approximation to the reader who knows somewhere in the neighborhood of dick about this world. What's a more fantastical world with weird rules than the Crypto Space?
No matter who you are, you are the Everyman/woman/whatever. Spew forth. Don't smile at that. You know what I mean.
Step 2: Write A Lot. Write Some More.
I've done a line or two of writing in my day. I'm at least doing something, even if it's just commenting on Reddit (You might not think it, but it helps). Most of the time, it isn't glorious stuff. It can be a damn grind from time to time. However, once you're ready to finally write that piece that you know people are gonna see, you have the words and the... "Flow" that will help you get some ideas across in an intelligible manner. Writing is a skill, and I would be completely wrong to suggest that somehow, I have mastered it. I have a long way to go. Everybody has a long way to go. It's a journey on foot, bent over, running backwards through a cornfield. Nobody is finished, and sometimes it takes a while to get the kernels out.
Write about your day in a journal, if that's your kind of thing. Write about something you have an opinion on that you would normally tell someone verbally. Find ways to analyze, use logic, and hell, throw in a little humor. I like doing that. It makes me feel happy. This is another piece of "obvious" advice, but this is advice that has no witty roundabout explanation. Practice writing. Like, right now. Stop reading and go practice.
No, keep reading. We're not done yet.
Step 3. DO YOUR RESEARCH. FOR REAL.
This is a big one. It is a big thing in Internet writing and I personally believe this separates the Hacks and Sensationalists from the Journalists. Know you topic. Love your topic. And for Chrissakes, read and report as correctly as you can. If you're looking into a new altcoin, read its whitepaper front to back. Read their website. See what people are saying about it. Don't make stuff up. Unless it's for obvious comedic value. Did you know that Justin Sun has a Tron logo tattooed on his ass?
I Spent WAY Too Much Time On This.
But seriously, I have come across Crypto "News-Sites" and even good ol' fashioned Pop-Tech sites that go into the surface detail and barely get a thing right. Or misrepresent it completely. And they damn near NEVER cite sources. This makes you look incompetent, and maybe that you just don't care. Now, don't get it twisted: we ALL get this or that wrong in our research, or have to recant or revise when new information comes out. There's a big difference between turning some sensational article from Forbes into a crappy Copypasta and doing a legitimate deep dive into a topic to really get a proper understanding. This, like writing, takes practice and you need to both know where to find original sources and how to sharpen up on your "Google-Fu".
Show people you care about what you're writing. And spend an hour photoshopping a picture of Henry Winkler's ass. It's the little things. Speaking of photoshop...
STEP 4. Make A Memorable, Eye Catching Cover Image.
This is important, and simultaneously my ABSOLUTE favorite part of writing a new post. When you're scrolling through the articles, what are the two things that demand your attention? For me, the cover image is first, VERY closely followed by the title (which we will get to in a second). If you don't know about photoshop, learn a thing or twenty. I spent an hour on a cheap joke for Step 3, and I learned about plug-ins and thresholds. I'm now gonna use these in the future.
Don't have the money for photoshop? That's okay. Use GIMP, it's free and it is one hell of a program. If you can learn your way around it, you can then use different photos, memes, your own drawings, whatever, to create a stand-out cover image. For example:
They're Dumb, They're Silly, but they're related to the topic and they catch your attention. Or, at least I hope they do. If you want sources for royalty free stuff and things you can use with changes, There are many places like Pixabay to find fun stuff to work with. Google is your best friend in the Universe.
Remember about being yourself? Spew forth onto the canvas. Have fun doing it. It's art!
STEP 5. Make Your Title Slap Your Reader In The Face With Interest.
This is another big one. In order to get someone's attention, you gotta make it personal. The title is the introduction, and I believe that the best titles are the ones that make the tacit promise to teach your reader something new through your own experience. Look at it these two titles:
5 Steps to Developing a Better Blockchain.
I Tried to Find A Better Way to Develop My Blockchain. Here's What I Discovered.
Which one of those pop out to you? Which one are you more likely to click? Remember, you're the "Everyman/woman/whatever". You're bringing the reader with you on your arc of self discovery. I know that sounds really "new-agey" and a bit "business-buzzwordy", but it is absolutely true. You're making this a personal adventure for you and your reader. Trust me when I say it brings them in.
The Final Word.
I love writing, and if you do too, you deserve to have your work out there and have your best foot forward. I'm no wizard of blogging. I'm just some dude that lives in a town of 700 people. Publish0x is a great platform to start your journey, and it's even better because you have an incentive to keep writing when you get tipped. I see the tips and it motivates me to do more and to do better. I manage to write at least one post a day, and I have been regularly active for a little less than 3 weeks. I have gained 600 followers over this time frame. I am not special. Go forth and do likewise, folks.
Until next time, keep your eye on the market, and spew out some good stuff. I'll be reading.