“There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.”
- Brendan F. Behan
Skyword, as you know by reading the tagline above, is the leading content production platform. It was only a matter of time before employees got in on the action. Tasked with coming up with something interesting for people to read on behalf of my company, I wrote about a common part of my job: fixing keywords in articles. You can read my blog post here. After writing, I shared my expertly noncommittal work with the masses. Turns out, article promotion is a fantastic way to jump-start a writing career.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I have always thought that most editors are, in some way, failed writers. To put a spin on the old chestnut, those who can, write, and those who can’t, edit. After my blog post went live, I reluctantly went to work promoting it, knowing that the more people who read my middling work, the better it was for my company. In actuality, though, I did not want to open myself up to inevitable criticism. You write like that? And you call yourself an editor?
Like seemingly everyone nowadays, I have a lot of “friends” on Facebook, the bulk of which I either went to high school with or met at some random party in college. Regardless, I figured that, if ever there was a good place to start article promotion, Facebook was it. A few thousand people are still a few thousand people.
Next, I went to Twitter and scripted a rare original tweet to promote my post. Ordinarily, I’m one of those precious re-tweeters that refuses, on principle, to say anything original because, in my eyes, it’s all already been said. But, I’m nothing if not a good soldier, and I was willing to try anything to increase my traffic for Skyword.
Finally, I constructed a G-chat away status message with a link to my article, hoping that, if nothing else, a couple of other friends would accidentally click on it. In the world of article promotion, I assumed that any kind of publicity was fair game, provided I wasn’t spamming people or doing something else that constituted being a pain in the butt.
One of the cool things about Skyword’s platform is that you can follow your article views. To my utter surprise, my article had been read 198 times by the end of the second day. It was about at this point that my ego, already quite healthy in the best of times, began to swell even further, engulfing my corner of the office. 198 views? People love me. I need to keep writing!
Article promotion doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Every once in a while, someone surprises you by not only liking your work, but sharing it with their own high-school and college-party friends. Sort of like how a bunch of planetesimals will swirl around more and more rapidly, coming together to create a planet, a decent article that has something original to say will suddenly acquire its own gravity. Article promotion is the energy force. If you create something high-quality and put enough energy into it, it will eventually form something greater than you ever imagined.
Funny things also start to happen. When I first searched for my keyword on Google, my article appeared on the fifth page. Right now, it’s on the second page. Even more funny? My fear of harsh criticism was unfounded. Granted, a few honest friends told me that what I wrote was obviously scripted without high art in mind, but they also begrudgingly admitted that it didn’t completely put them to sleep.
In the end, all of my article-promotion efforts transformed me from a recalcitrant employee into an eager contributor. Now, I’m also more interested in reading what other people have written. By actively courting an audience–even in the most meager and misguided sense–I’ve jump-started a legitimate career opportunity.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, my views have significantly leveled off, as was to be expected. I’m at 305 right now. . . .
Daniel Vela is a die-hard sports fan, a history buff, and a music lover. He works as an editor at Skyword.