"Why the heck did this guy get a thousand dollars for THAT?"
Who does he think he is? You're infuriated. You decide to show him.
After 1 hour of hard work you've managed to write something on that cool subject you keep seeing in Hot posts. You think your article is quite clever if not ingenious. No way you won't be getting those thousands of $ am I right? You finally get to press the blue button.
Oh no! In all your excitement you forgot to proof-read and split your text into sane paragraphs. Are you sure about that picture? What's with the capitalization? Your post looks something like this:
You press F5. "$0.00" says the counter on the bottom of the page. You press F5 again, again and again. The counter won't budge no matter how hard you stare at it. No, not even the Magnum look will change it.
Now, this could be pure luck. Maybe your post is nothing of the sort, you're not 10 years old anymore after all.
As the post rate keeps increasing, Steemit can occasionally feel like a slot machine. Instead of coins you're inserting words into the machine. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. Hard work pays off, however. The chances of you striking gold when you're actually trying are much greater than when you're spewing out low grade posts.
Call me naive but I truly believe you will be noticed for constant effort. Focus on building a following while keeping up your quality.
There's more to writing an article than just putting another word after a word. You have to consider the whole.
"But @cutie, why would I listen to you? You've barely posted anything here? Who the **** do you think you are?"
Fair point. Here, I'm a nobody, just some person who goes by the nick @cutie. (My momma tells me I have quite a knack for writing though.)
While I do mostly have to agree with the sentiment I don't think it should invalidate everything I say. These are my observations on what the successful writers here and elsewhere are doing. I am merely trying to learn from the best and teach you what I've learned on my journey.
1. Everything begins from an idea
What you do NOT want to do is copy what everyone else is doing. No one wants to read the thousandth article about the "Rise and fall of Bitcoin" (Bitcoin's fallen a few hundred times by now I think).
Ironically, this might be the hundredth article about writing articles here. This quite expected fact only occurred to me now after having written everything and making last fixes. In case you're reading this and the reward is something like "$0.04" you know damn well why.
It might've been pure luck but I think one of the reasons my first post succeeded was because no one else had made an effortful article on lucid dreaming.
Write about your passions. Pick a topic you know and care about. I've had an interest in lucid dreaming since I learned the word for it in my early teens. If writing truly doesn't feel like your thing why not try making a video? Do what you do best whether it's creating poems or drawings. Do you have extensive knowledge on some subject? Write about it!
Don't have a passion? Chances are, you do. What do you spend a lot of time on? What encompasses your life? Still think you don't have a passion? Stop avoiding your passion, it's right there. It's not lesser just because you think no one would find it cool enough. Screw that.
Get creative, explore new topics, find something no-one has written about. Write something controversial. Original content, not copy-paste waste. The latter will get you nowhere. Quality content is key, trickery and a clickbait-y preface will not close the deal. If anything that'd make someone even less likely to upvote your post. Be genuine about it.
2. A good title
We humans can be quite superficial. "What are you? An IMAX projector?"
What I mean is that we make quick calculations and run on assumptions for our brain's sake. It's simple science (for your information I'm no expert on anything and you shouldn't take anything online for granted just because it has the word science in it). First impressions do matter. Not just at your job interview but here on Steemit too. Think of it as a firm handshake. It's not all that matters but it can go a long way so it only makes sense to give it a little thought.
When you're scrolling through hundreds of posts I highly doubt you're opening most of them. When you do open one of them you probably did it because it caught your attention. Either that or it was by @dan or some other famous Steemer whose curator rewards you're after.
Now you're not Dan, are you? (In case you somehow are, all I mean is that you can write and you are a well-known person here.)
3. A good introduction and story
Your introduction is supposed to sell your content and steer the reader towards your main point.
When you're writing try to place yourself in the reader's shoes.
Ask yourself, why would someone read this? What are they in for? Try to prepare the reader for the topic with an anecdote or a question directed at them. Why not both? People love stories. Personal experiences make your article more relatable, the readers are human like you after all.
"Ruff ruff, whatever you say man."
4. Pictures are worth a big amount of words
In the digital age most people won't be arsed to read paragraphs after paragraphs, it's sad but true. I'm willing to bet you have more than 8 tabs open right now. What's that, 40 tabs you say? How many times have you opened several articles only to watch a series of funny videos on Youtube?
Apart from gaining the audience of those with short attention spans (there are many on the internet), pictures can give your post a unique touch. They can direct the reader's thoughts and change the mood of the subject.
How many pictures should your post have then? I'd say it comes down to your subject, the length of the post and the style you're going for. A more "sophisticated" post would be fine with less pictures. A post more like what I'm writing right now could have several, as it does. A post about photography might only contain photos! Who's to say you can't tell a story with pictures only.
5. Good language and formatting
When it comes to commercial articles the usual rules of paragraphs are thrown to the bin. Keep your paragraphs about 3-5 lines long unless your post calls for it and it's a high quality short story way beyond my puny attempts at "writing" (pretentious laughing ensues).
When it comes to a post like this though, keep them short and sweet. Direct the reader's focus. Use sensible headers. Use bold text for emphasis, it can help the reader find what they could be looking for easier. Don't emphasize too much though. If everything is important, nothing is.
Use good language. No 'u's instead of 'you's, this isn't your Whatsapp group or Youtube comment section. Ignore this advice if you're writing a modern poem about internet or something of the sort.
Bend the rules. They're all more like guidelines anyways. Experimentation leads to discovery. The more you've written the clearer it gets what works and what doesn't. When experimenting it's still wise to keep good practice in mind. No One WaNTs To Read Hundreds Of WoRds Written Like ThiS.
6. Put in the effort
There are a lot of users on Steemit and a constant stream of new content. What makes yours stand out? Why would the whales and dolphins upvote your post? Why not the post of 'that one guy you deeply hate because he doesn't deserve as much as he gets for that'?
If you got 1-6 under control it all comes down to how much effort you're willing to put in. In sane limits though, I'm not saying you must go on a year-long getaway and polish an article forever. A polished turd would still be a polished turd. Keep that in mind. It's fine until a point, achieving perfection is impossible.
When I do something I don't stop until it's done. I wrote my last article till 2am. I'm not saying that's a good thing necessarily. That most definitely wasn't. The payout can be round down to a zero. I won't let it discourage me and I'm going to keep making regular posts here on Steemit whether or not I get noticed for it.
If you're writing solely for the pursuit of money you won't get far. Innate motivation is key but motivation is worthless in long term unless you have the willpower too.
If you're wondering, no it's not too late to get started on Steemit. No matter when you're reading this. People make it big on Youtube regularly, it's hUGE and it's been up for years. Is it easy? No. It's never easy. If anyone tells you otherwise they're lying. So get to it.
Thanks for reading, Steem on!