How to Reach 300K Views on a Single Piece of Writing
Based on three stories I wrote recently that did exactly that
Okay, okay, everyone, calm down. This is not an article dedicated to my ego.
In the last few months, I have published three articles that have reached 300K views. It happened all of a sudden. I didn’t predict it and it’s a moment to be grateful for, not entitled.
So why did it happen?
The cynics will tell you this:
- You need lots of followers.
- You need to have been writing for ten years.
- You need to be lucky.
- You need to be a brilliant writer.
- You need outside help.
- You need to market the heck out of your work.
These are a list of excuses and have zero to do with writing something people find helpful and share with their friends, thus producing 300K views.
Here’s my analysis of what happened. I’m sharing it because I believe we rise by lifting others. I want to see more writers win because writers help me so much and inspire me to keep going with their stories. Let’s get into it.
The First 24 Hours
Not much happens in the first 24 hours after you hit publish. From my experience, it takes about four days for your writing to start properly reaching readers and for the views to accumulate.
Don’t sit there watching the views — instead, keep writing. What happened to me was when one story started going over 100K views, the new articles I was publishing got boosted as a result. If a reader enjoys your work, you want to have a drip-feed of fresh content to continue serving them.
The number one mistake I have made was getting romantic about a particular blog post and thinking it had to “do something” incredible.
You’re entitled to nothing as a writer. Keep feeding your readers content — that’s what you can control.
This Is What Helps Your Story Reach 300K Views
There are a few things I have learned from these highly-shareable stories. Many other writers I know have recently sent me messages with similar observations about these three stories that reached over 300K views. I wrote these observations down for you and added a few of my own.
Write for the reader
It’s not about you and your personal essay to nowhere.
Pretend the reader is your friend and you’re guiding them through a crisis after they lost their family due to a global health crisis. Show the reader empath, be obsessed with their needs, talk to them on an equal level.
The reader needs you. Will you be there for them or are you too focused on buying a Lambo with your writing royalties?
Niklas Göke says I have no filter and that’s helped certain stories.
I *don’t* filter stories to keep the critics happy.
The real story needs no filter. That might mean you offend a few people or occasionally say the wrong thing. But filtering everything you say for a boss that would never hire you regardless of what you write on the internet is pointless.
On LinkedIn for example, people filter their stories to please their boss. They give pointless career advice and share cliche career stories because they’ve filtered out all the goodness.
Remove your filter from your writing and watch it explode.
“Write to express, not impress .”— Ali Mese
There is so much content that repeats the same thing. Meditation, habits, personality traits — it has all been said before.
There is an AI Bot learning how to write self-help right now. They will take your job if you don’t focus on being interesting.
Share your point of view. Pick strangers and people who are not Elon Musk to back up your points.
Find quirky angles to deliver your point.
Share stories we can’t google.
Share what you like and how you feel about a topic.
Being interesting is about being yourself.
Each story that exceeded 300K views made readers curious. They flipped ideas about money, life, and business on their head. The headline made you curious. Michael Thompson, for example, writes about shy people being popular. Hold on. What the?
That idea right there makes us curious. Can shy people be confident? Can a guy that has a speech impediment be amazing at public speaking? Of course they can. Show us these stories by using curiosity.
Write how you speak
I’m an Aussie with a strong accent who can’t stop saying mate. Again, other writers tell me this has been key to these three stories that have reached 300K views.
When you write how you speak, you avoid using big words and trying to sound smart. People feel like they know when you write how you speak.
Keep the slang in your writing. Drop those one-liners you say to friends over a socially distanced beer at the pub on Friday Night.
When we read your writing, does it feel like a phone conversation with you?
Have an edge to it
An edge to your writing means having a clear point that you know not everybody will agree with.
Instead of being Perfect Sam that sits in the middle of every debatable topic, have an edge and stick to it.
I think saving money in a bank account is ridiculous and will destroy everything you’ve worked for. People who have come from a family of savers and never studied inflation think I’m an idiot with big ears, yellow teeth, and a skinny body shape (they’re probably right).
I said Jesus committed sins to communicate the idea that nobody is perfect. Not everybody liked that idea and they didn’t get the underlying meaning — but it’s an edge.
When you have an edge to your writing, you wake people up. Awakened readers are more likely to listen and learn from your words.
Give people advice in a rational way
Some how-to articles are way too scary to implement.
The advice I try and give is rational and practical. You don’t need to be smart or be a millionaire to find some of what I say useful. The end takeaway is usually something you can implement before needing any kind of permission slip.
Blog posts that are highly shareable are practical. They teach, inspire, or move you through emotion, and then provide a next step that seems logical.
Some of the advice I read online is so out-there and the process is so complicated that it feels like you’re about to study a Ph.D. — this advice rarely helps many people.
Give advice on a subject that is important
Go to any content platform and look at the popular list.
You’ll notice that the best-performing articles are on topics that matter to people. The high-performing blog posts are not weird, esoteric, odd articles with cryptic headlines.
Pick a topic to write about that is actually important to people.
My recent articles that people have found helpful are about the mindset, health, family, money, relationships, work, and the meaning of life. They’re not about some weird experience no one can relate to.
There’s no need to take yourself so seriously
The personal branding revolution spread the myth that you need to be serious and treat yourself like a brand. The truth is that it’s okay to have a laugh in your writing and poke a little fun at yourself.
“Why so serious?” says the Joker. He’s right, you know. Take a chill pill and don’t treat everything you write like it’s going to be read by the first human that lands on Mars. Allow your reader to enjoy themselves.
Do something unpredictable
Tell a cookie-cutter story that looks as though it’s going to have a Cinderella ending. Then right at the end, throw a spanner in the works. Add in something unexpected like a further problem the reader hasn’t thought of. Or tell us you broke your own rule that you just wrote about.
The Only Thing You Have to Do…
Don’t be a dick.
It has taken me years to learn this four-word lesson as a writer. Don’t be a dick about your writing. Talk to people nicely regardless of whether they agree with you. Treat people like they are smart, not like you’re smarter than them. Get off your high horse and write. You are good enough to write an article that gets 300K views.
The level of helpfulness you can provide is what helps you progress as a writer. When I feel dumb or unhelpful, I go read a book by someone who can teach me something. Then I take the lessons from that book, add my experience, experiment with the advice, and distill it into something that has an intro, body, and conclusion.
If you can intentionally not be a dick, you’ll go a lot further than 300K views. Admittedly, sometimes, I fall back into dick territory. Thankfully, there are writers and readers who lift me back up again. Because no writer is perfect.
Focus on these core writing elements
- Make us feel (emotion).
- Simple and concise.
- Use words and phrases most people understand.
- Have a clear point at the end.
That’s How to Get 300K Views on a Single Story
There’s no magic formula to 300K views but there is a list of tried and tested tools you can use to find your way there. It might happen on your 10th blog post or your 1,000th.
Views won’t give your life meaning — that comes from helping readers and seeing them win.
Readers give your life meaning by reminding you that you’re helpful.
If a quiet Aussie, living in a student apartment, who reads too much Tony Robbins can do it, I’m certain you can. Back yourself and be helpful.