Key lessons from 100+ viral articles

A screenshot of the feedback on two viral articles.
Those claps are certainly not for my articles (Source: Author via Canva)

Michael Thompson only needed one viral article to launch his writing career. And indirectly, pay his mortgage for 23 months.

One viral article was all it took. But don’t get it twisted. You could spend long months or years before scoring any viral article. But that one article could change everything.

You never know what article you write will go viral. But you can do your best to increase your articles’ virality.

This could be why you’re failing

Image of broken pencil
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Most aspiring writers fail to make a living because they refuse to become marketers.

That’s not my statement. I haven’t been doing this long enough to make such a bold claim. But I can’t disagree.

This claim belongs to Ayodeji Awosika. Ayo has been writing online for several years. He has well over 80,000 followers on this platform and a couple of books published. He even coaches aspiring writers. So the guy knows what he’s, well, writing about.

In a post he published about the secrets to consistently make $10,000 per month writing, Ayo wrote:

“If you don’t study marketing…

Your readers’ lives could be on the line

Image by via Freepik

I pray to warn as many writers as I can with this article and save as many readers’ lives as possible.

If you think I’m being overdramatic, perhaps you’re too quick to judge. While reading Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Influence, I came across a story that shocked me and changed the way I see writing ever since.

It’s the story of a German author named Johann von Goethe and his deadly novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. After its publication in 1774, the novel took off and rose the young lawyer to fame. …

And apply these six lessons for better chances of going viral.

A laptop illustration with a small rocket brusting from its screen.

Welcome to the second edition of The Essence!

For this edition, I’m bringing you valuable lessons that you can use to grow your email list from top writer Sinem Günel. And six lessons that writer Eve Arnold learned from her article that got +132,000 views in a week!

7 to-Do’s with Your Email List

Sinem managed to grow her email list, which she started along with Philip in March of 2020, to over 10,000 subscribers in less than ten months.

“We started at zero, didn’t spend a penny on paid ads, and didn’t have any experience in email marketing.”

That should be a lesson to those…

How to escape the Medium writers’ rat race

A writer on his laptop, hustling.
Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

This article won’t likely attract many writers. Not because of my style, the piece’s quality, or because Medium doesn’t like to promote meta-articles. But because many writers here may not like to hear this tough truth.

Had I showed how much I made with my stories, I’m confident it would have attracted many more dreamy eyeballs.

But truth be told, it wouldn’t have probably attracted many writers too. No, I haven’t made thousands from Medium. This is not a Medium success story. It’s more like a Medium failure story.

We need more of those to get the whole picture. Most…

How many times have you had such a thought?

The stats page of my recent semi-viral article.
Screenshot by the Author

I joined this platform almost a year ago to test how it can help me as a new writer.

One of the most crucial questions was could I earn a living writing here? I realized I must produce viral hits consistently to do that. At the very least, one viral article a month.

Every piece I published carried with it many of my hopes and aspirations. I waited for my viral article… and waited… and waited… and was disappointed.

I didn’t have one viral article, only two semi-viral ones. …

Hasty articles keep readers away

A person on his laptop, writing an article.
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

As a writer, I write a lot of pieces. And as an editor, I edit many articles. But I don’t need my writing or editing lens to spot a hastily put-together article.

Guess what I usually do when I come across a rushed-up article? I click away. Quick.

I’m not alone. From my research, I found that rushed-up articles are usually the least read. It seems most readers click away when they see a hasty article. It’s not hard to spot one, after all.

If your articles are often not well-received by readers, perhaps you should rethink your approach. You…

How to work hard without killing yourself in the process.

A writer on his laptop, hustling.
Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Not so long ago, I avoided any article or research which exposes the dangers of overworking. I was your typical workaholic, consuming many motivational clips each day and prioritizing the hustle over relationships, sleep, health, and everything else.

I couldn’t tell the difference between hard work and overworking. It’s why I avoided content exposing overworking. I didn’t want to be discouraged from working hard. But I was forced outside my bubble after repeatedly getting sick due to overworking and leading a disastrous lifestyle.

Don’t get it twisted as I did. Working hard is one thing: Overworking is another. Hard work…

Common attributes I noticed in world-class books and articles

Three bestselling books from Amazon Charts.
Source: Author via Amazon Charts

There are good books. And there are really good books. Then, there are books that can only be described as world-class.

I’m always fascinated by the latter.

Many good books have become quite popular. But usually, the most popular books are the world-class type. The same thing goes for articles. And world-class articles have many attributes in common with world-class books. I often see six, to be exact.

1. Popular books and articles center around desirable topics

Popular books usually center around desirable topics. There are many bestselling marketing books because marketing is a desirable topic. It interests a large number of people.

A quick skim of Amazon Charts

The short answer is: Very

Two stacks of paper money.
Illustration from manypixels

Since you’re reading this, if I had to guess, you’re a writer. You might be taking the craft as just a hobby or a side hustle. Or you might be a professional writer who’s already making big bucks from your writing business. But are you a six-figure writer yet?

I’m not. I’ve gone pro not so long ago, and I’m pretty far from catching the six-figure writing dream. A question that popped in my head from the get-go was how feasible the six-figure writing dream really is? Is it truly as easy as many of those bloggers tell us? …

Mohammed Nadir

A writer | The Startup, Better Marketing, The Writing Cooperative, Thrive Global | Contact:

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