WRITING | READERSHIP
How TikTok Can Teach You About Writing on Online Platforms
These 3 points made content creators popular and can do the same for your writing.
As a TikTok user myself, I noticed several similarities with writing for online platforms. Both platforms are full of content and competitive. Observing what makes a TikTok video successful can help us do the same for our writing.
If you have not heard about TikTok, here is a brief.
It is a social media based on short videos created by users. Other users will watch these videos if they like what they are seeing or swipe up to move on to the next.
Be mindful of the readers’ attention span
We live in a hyper-competitive world for our attention. The abundance of easily accessible information spoils us and allows us to be selective.
TikTok content creators know this and optimize their videos to capture and retain viewers. Popular videos have unique elements straight from the start. Often, the viewer is stoked, with the creator promising a reveal in the later part of the video. For example, “Your boyfriend can never do this.”
I am sure you agree it doesn’t matter if you are the girlfriend or boyfriend, you will be keen to see what’s that about.
As a writer, make the best use of your title, subtitle, and first paragraph.
If you do not arouse the interest of the reader by then, consider the opportunity lost.
These 3 elements must give the reader a reason to continue reading. Let us look at these examples.
Title: The Worst Day of My Life
Subtitle: I felt so disappointed and cried like crazy.
First paragraph: Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes you laugh and sometimes you cry. I am sure you experienced it before.
This writer failed to present the unique subject matter by the end of the first paragraph. Getting disappointed and crying like crazy is unfortunately very common. It is nothing special.
I saw videos on TikTok that started with the person idling around and seemingly waiting for a music cue. I had no idea what was happening, and I simply swiped up.
There are many more videos available, so I simply move on to not waste my time. The same goes for stories and articles.
Title: The Worst Day of My Life
Subtitle: I almost lost my pants. Not a joke.
First paragraph: I have a gambling problem. I bet on anything and everything. On that fateful day, nothing could have prepared me for the crazy stakes at play.
This writer revealed the subject to be a gambling problem. I know this is not uncommon, but wait. The funnel continued, and we got a teaser that the stakes were crazy. The fact that nothing could have prepared the writer served as a hook and challenge. I would be keen to read what exactly were they gambling on that seemed so risky.
Deliver on your promises
It’s pointless to attract a reader if you have nothing substantial to offer them. You may know this as clickbait.
In the era of hyper-competition, only one thing makes a difference. Relationship.
On TikTok, popular content creators did not become big overnight. Usually, they started off just like anyone. But because of their engaging videos, viewers followed them and returned for more. This increased their reach and further propelled their viewership.
Similarly, if your readers know you, they are more likely to choose your story among several strangers because that's the reason they follow you in the first place. They want to read more of your work.
Therefore, you must not squander a good start with a bad ending.
Your aim when writing is to educate, entertain, or invoke emotions. Make sure you achieve that by the end of your story. If you don’t, the reader will feel it was a waste of time and will probably ignore your work in the future.
If you satisfy your readers’ expectations, they will follow you for more.
Write for your readers
Popular content creators enjoy a massive following on TikTok. They release new videos that quickly rise up the ranks. Did they achieve this success simply by ensuring that their videos were unique and meeting expectations?
No. There is one more crucial factor.
Besides making videos that are interesting and fulfilling, popular content creators produce with their viewers in mind. They smile at the viewers or engage in a quick conversation with them. Basically, they acknowledge them.
This has the magical effect of making the content a personal space between the creator and viewer.
Likewise, doing this for your writing will increase the retention rate. This is great for both readers and writers as it is no longer a lonely affair but a heartfelt conversation. Consider the following.
The weather is bad these days. Humidity is 98% and it feels terrible. Sleep becomes a problem as I sweat profusely.
The weather is bad these days. I hope it is ok at your side. Humidity is 98% and it feels terrible. Sleep becomes a problem as I sweat profusely. This makes me a zombie the next day. I definitely hope you wake up feeling rested!
Which writer do you feel a connection with?
What to do next?
A wise person observes the success of others and learns.
In the world of online writing platforms, you will need to differentiate yourself from the masses in order to build up your following.
This is the key to your success, and the 3 points will help.
It will take a while to build up a huge following. Your ability to be consistent and patient will increase your chances of success.
If you have questions, leave a comment and I’ll be there.
You are not alone; we are in this together!
I write full-time for you as it gives me purpose in life.
Your support helps me to worry less about putting food on the table.
Find out why.