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My 9 Month Overnight Success on Medium

This isn’t a “how to” about going viral. Or how to dominate Medium.com. What it is, though, is a story of what I learned after one of my articles got a lot of attention there overnight (literally).

I wrote an article for my blog back several months ago about challenging the conventional wisdom surrounding social media. It was a polite rant, something I needed to say for no other reason than to get the ideas out of my head and onto paper.

I was proud of the piece when I published it because it defined what I believed social media should be — a way to personally connect with people. More social, less media (in the advertising/promotional sense anyway).

As an experiment, I also uploaded the blog post to Medium.com, tweeted it and then got back to writing.

Over the course of 9 months, my article was viewed a couple hundred times. It would go in spurts, occasionally having days where a dozen people would see it, then would go weeks, even months without a single view.

My 9 Month Overnight Success

Last week, a few people started tweeting and recommending my article. Then Medium tweeted it and it blew up. Between the hours of 12-5a local time.

In a matter of hours, my post went from hundreds to thousands of views.

My article became an overnight success…literally.

A lot of people shared and retweeted my piece. That was nice. I made some new friends on Twitter. That was better. Best of all, people signed up for my email list (thank YOU!).

I’m happy the message has resonated with so many people. And the validation has been a boost.

But a week later, things are pretty quiet again. And I’m back to writing.

Why? Because…

The Internet is unpredictable.

Who would have thought that my article would be an overnight success, 9 months after I published it? Not me.

The truth is, it’s hard to manufacture viral content, regardless of what the “gurus” will tell you. I can’t control who reads what I write or if it will be popular but I can control this — the actual writing part.

So I keep writing.

Everyone has an opinion.

A lot of people said nice things about my article. Some didn’t. My favorite was “5 year old suggestions, similar advice from other sources. Score: 0.”

The thing about the Internet is everyone has an opinion (often in ALL CAPS).

But I don’t write for everyone. I write for me. And I write for you.

I keep writing.

Most people move on.

Think about the way we consume content online. We read an article or watch a video, maybe share it with our friends and then we move on. That’s the reality of the Internet.

So appreciate the people who stick around, who comment on your article, connect with you on Twitter, or sign up for your email list.

That’s a gift. Remember that and love on those people. Your people.

That’s what this is all about for me. I’m here to help make the online world a more human place. I really believe in an age of more technology, more blogs, more social media…that being more HUMAN is the answer (that’s my all caps opinion anyway).

I’ll keep writing. I hope you’ll keep reading.

*Thanks to Paul Jarvis, one of my favorite writers, for inspiring this piece. You can get his newest book, Everything I Know, on Amazon.
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  • Thanks for sharing your experience, Sarah. I didn’t realize your article was so old when I heard about it! So crazy how the internet works, isn’t it?

    I had a somewhat similar experience when a guest post of mine went pretty viral. It got shared a few thousand times and made it on the AllTop blog. It was a fun day or two of getting lots of Twitter mentions, but after that, then what?

    “Going viral” is fleeting. And, as you said, most of those people aren’t the ones who are going to stick. Sure, you’ll pick up a few new people who will discover you. But, most won’t stay. You have to focus on the ones to do. Good reminder! And, I’m glad to be one of your loyal and faithful community members! 🙂

    • Thanks, Laura. I’m happy to be on your team too. We go “way back” in Internet years, don’t we? 🙂

  • And here I was thinking that you were a big deal … 🙂

    • Ha! Just lucky with this one. Thanks for hanging around, Irene. 🙂