This article originally appeared on Two Kilos of Bread.
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You just wish you could be as successful as a ferret.
These titles populate Twitter feeds and Google search results like mites on eyelashes. Recently, I started teaching a course on Social Media and felt like I should actually do some research on the subject. And by research, I mean start actively using Twitter (by the way, you should totally follow me; my Tweets are twawesome /groan). On Twitter, I follow a number of publishers, editors, agents, and 'writers' (scare quotes because most of them are actually bloggers with maybe a couple of print credits to their names. And we all agree that bloggers are gross and not worthy of our pity.) I followed them in the youthful hope of getting insights into the writing industry, like what are publishers looking for these days or what kind of coffee Audrey Niffenegger gets at Starbucks. (Can we just take a second, you and I, to agree that, whatever you think of The Time Traveler's Wife or Her Fearful Symmetry, she has a funny name? Agreed? Good meeting, gang.) Instead, a lot of their tweets were links to those kinds of articles.
And she has a monkey on her head.
Here's a sample set of articles from my Twitter feed:
And now, dear reader, I will share with you valuable insights I have gleaned from such articles. Try to contain your glee and not orgasm all over those snazzy sweatpants you're wearing.
1. Think of a Field That People Want to Get Into
Whatever field you pick, it should be one that uses a computer; that has been 'democratized' by the internet, i.e. the barriers to entry have been lowered or destroyed; and there should be a lot of 'white noise', i.e. a lot of people are producing low quality work in that field.
2. Pick an Aspect of that Field
You will need to select some activity or facet or topic within the choose field. For example, if you picked Photography, then you could write an article about getting the perfect shot, getting the perfect action shot, getting the perfect outdoor shot, getting the perfect nose hair shot, selecting the right number of megapixels for you, habits of successful photographers, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam.
What you decide to right about should be something that a relative novice would want to know, and probably something you already know about or that you can research easily.
3. Gather the Material
Do a search for the topic you selected and read the Wikipedia entry for it, then the first few blog posts about it. That should do it. Bookmark some links; readers love links.
4. Pick a Number
Pick a more-or-less arbitrary number. Maybe your topic divides easily into 5 easily digested sound bites. Maybe 7. Odd numbers, I feel, sound more precise, and 3/5/7 are kind of special for us. Once you have the number, divide your research into them and give them easy-to-grasp subtitles. The subtitles should basically explain the whole thing. No one ever reads any of the stuff under the headings, so you can say whatever you like in the explanation text. Like, I could totally tell you that I heard from Corrine that Stacy saw Millie at the mall on Saturday, but she wasn't with Tyrrel, she was holding hands with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg! I know, can you believe it?
Ugh, I know. But you chose to do this. Just take the stuff from Wikipedia and the blogs you read, reword them and throw in some stock photos. Spell check it, please, for Skrillex's sake!
I don't know what a Skrillex is; I just said it to sound cool.
6. Publish It
Use your site's publishing tool. You do have a site, right? You don't? What the crap, dude? Why are you even reading this? How is this going to help you? Just book mark this and read it again after you get a damn site set-up. Jeez!
7. Tweet It
You don't know how to do this? Do I have to hold your hand at every step? /sigh
Open Twitter. Type the article's title in the little "Compose new tweet" box. Open a URL shrinker site, like Tiny URL and follow the site's instructions for turning your blog post's URL into a shorter one. Paste that shortened URL into the Twitter box after the title. Hit tweet. There, done.
8. Get Other People to Tweet and Like It
Yeah, this one's hard. To learn how to do this, you should attend one of my workshops or one-to-one video training courses. Prices range for $100 to $5000.