The internet is a portal to an abyss of creative work. Bloggers can host their own site, authors can publish their own books and writers can have their stories and articles published via substantial online publications.
There’s a plethora of competition out there conforming to the masses of what they believe consumers want to read. For the nonconformist it’s a challenge to receive recognition and acknowledgement for our voices and preferred genre.
Most days when I’m struggling, panic stricken and too horrified to step outside my front door my only social interaction or outlet to the outside world is the internet. Left to my own devices, this has provided me with insight on how to stand out and get noticed.
Visuals are important for grabbing attention. You have a better chance of standing out in the crowd by using your own original photography.
The thing about using free stock photos is that so is everyone else. The photo is the first thing readers notice and if you’re using a photo that’s been used a hundred times before you’re risking the possibility of your story being scrolled past by potentially every reader who has ever clicked on a story with the same photo before.
Not to mention, the more photographs you’re taking the more story ideas you’re generating. Win + Win = Score.
Keep it Real
You can search for and read anything on the internet nowadays. It’s never ending. This is both positive and negative. The good news is that there are a bazillion (rough guesstimate) people cracked out on and addicted to the internet all craving information based on their own opinions and learning through the perspective of other’s opinions.
Let’s be clear, however. An example would be John Gorman and Benjamin Hardy.
Gorman never writes about “how-to” do anything. He writes about his personal experience and his own outcome. What makes him even more powerful of a writer is that his style is to give (by sharing his experiences publicly and honestly) while asking for nothing in return. His ability to connect with readers has enhanced his ability to stand out.
Hardy gives generic advice to a general public, and usually by republishing the same information over and over again. His absurdly large following may be in part of our current societal desire for quick fixes and instant gratification solutions people are jonesing for. I’ve come to this conclusion by reading an extensive amount of responses to his articles.
We stand out when we connect with readers. We stand out when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. I write personal essays, literary journalism and opinion pieces all based on my own personal experience. My approach is, yeah this sucks, but I can make it better.
I have no idea why but in my experience if you use profanity to emphasize a situation, topic or expression people eat that shit up. I attribute this to our current culture of being obsessed with negativity.
However, use these words sparingly and only when genuinely needed to make a point. To gain respect you must earn respect and being a potty mouth isn’t respectful. Neither is ranting and raving.
Okay, so reality is you will receive hate comments. People can be cruel, especially when what you write does not meet their expectations or opinions. And there are those who are douche bags and those who are never happy. I’m merely stating the facts.
I know for myself, I’m feisty as all get out and always up for a heated debate. This is what my punching bag is for, to release my animosity.
As a writer, I’m a professional and will not engage in a derogatory discussion. Instead, I thank the commenter for reading my piece and sharing their opinion, and then let it go and move on.
You will have readers who will leave positive comments, share their opinions and their own experiences. Take the time to acknowledge them. Make the time to acknowledge them. Quality over quantity, I always say! Building a rapport with readers is equal to, if not more important than that next piece you’re going to start writing.
Your readers, your following are a powerful tool to guide you through your writing career. They stick with you so listen to what they have to say.
I know for myself, when I leave a response on a story or article I read and I’m not acknowledged by the writer I’m done reading their work. Call me judgmental, whatever. The interaction is huge for me. It’s part of the gain I walk away with from reading your work.
Do you ever wonder why shit sucks sometimes? Do you have thoughts on a specific topic but aren’t really sure how you feel about it? Are you curious about unanswered questions on life?
Chances are, so are your readers. Think pieces are integral to keeping the discussion open. In order to stand out and get noticed, I want to be the guy who keeps the conversation rolling.
When writing think pieces, just be sure to offer two sides of the story. It could be pros and cons, this or that, researched facts or opinion. Whatever, be creative and think outside the box. You can write about the same topic twenty times by using twenty different angles to keep it spicy.
Content and Branding
If you truly want your writing to stand out and get noticed remove the words content and branding from your vocabulary. Leave the content and branding to the writers who write click bait and fluff pieces. (Such as this one. Not my forte, BTW. I’m just a girl writing about what I’ve learned during bouts of depression while riddled with agoraphobic anxiety).
Be a person, an actual human with feelings, thoughts, opinions and ideas. Share your experiences. Humans are not content machines. The word brand has a few not so pleasant definitions associated with it such as to mark an animal, or a former criminal or slave. Mark indelibly and to describe something bad or shameful. I mean, I know it’s most likely related to the definition of branding a name to a product, but still.
In order to shine above all of the noise out there on the inter-web, write from your heart. Inspire others. Choose topics that interest you and get creative with it. Share you story. Connect with your readers. Be chill AF.
You got this, I know you do.
©️ 2018, Erika Sauter. All Rights Reserved.