Everyday, thousands of posts are annexed into Medium. You and I are subject to an unlimited amount of stories with only a limited amount of time.
How do you actually decide what to read? (Feel free to respond!)
I know what it is
Just kidding. I don’t. After much thought, I’ve come to the conclusion there is no singular, protruding reason for our decision to read something.
We’ve got a classic “it depends” kind of scenario on our hands.
For me to sit here and pretend I know why you read the things you read would be foolish of me; it’s different for everyone.
However, I do have some solid theories — I’ve narrowed down 5 reasons why people generally read a post. I’d love to share them with you.
What’s in it for you
Guess what? If you understand why people read, you can apply those principles to your writing! Who doesn’t want to create more compelling content?
Here we go, 5 reasons we read:
Not to patronize you, but people only read what interests them. Before you say “DUH,” let me finish.
The key is to spark interest. I don’t care if you write the most intriguing, convincing article, if it doesn’t appeal to me at the outset, I ain’t reading.
You’ve got to draw people in and foster some curiosity. A large part of this comes from your title. Here’s an old, but effective article about titles.
Or, choose a topic that people have passion for — sports, music, and poetry come to mind. Go for areas of prevalent interest! If you just published a 500-word post about squirrels, I’m sorry, but don’t expect much.
Ask yourself “Do people care about what I’m saying?”
Some read because they like or trust the person writing. If people purely enjoy you as an author, they’ll come back again and again, regardless of what you write about.
Important: People are assessing and judging you at all times — it’s human nature. Every time you post or respond, you are contributing to your reputation as a writer.
With that in mind, readers grade you on tone, writing style, and how you interact. In my opinion, the most effective way to build rapport is to communicate proactively with your readers.
Every time you add words to Medium, it’s an opportunity to enhance (or hurt) your persona. Leave a nasty comment? People will remember that and associate it to your writer profile. Always be conscious!
It takes time to establish yourself as a distinguished writer, but once you do, your work becomes highly appealing to those who respect you.
Visuals — we love visuals! Enticing pictures and designs are probably the easiest way to reel people in.
I don’t know about you, but when I see a really awesome graphic, I click it; sometimes with no mind to the headings or author. That’s just how persuading they can be.
Images are the quickest way to instill a feeling. The picture you display should convey a message behind your article, in some way. It should relay a sense or emotion.
Always look to include a juicy photo. We’ve got an appetite for ‘em.
People only do things for the benefit they receive. I repeat:
People only do things for the benefit they receive.
Tangible or not, we expect a benefit from EVERYTHING we do in life. I challenge you to provide a scenario where this doesn’t hold true. (Try me)
You’ve got to provide readers with some kind of welfare. You must give something. Here are some give-take scenarios for example:
- An eloquent story = excitement and satisfaction
- A how-to = knowledge on a skill or technique
- A personal experience = a lesson learned
- A recommendation = a point in the right direction
Your readers should come out with more than they went in with; add value. Always consider the gift your article gives to the audience.
This last quality is cumbersome to achieve, but effective.
Sometimes, people read a post simply because it’s got 10K claps. When we see thousands of our fellow Members praising something, we typically trust that applause and have a look ourselves.
So, how do you get an article to trend? I’m not the guy to ask.
My guess: It’s a combination of all the things I just mentioned. You’ve got to do a little bit of everything and then some in order to hit a homer.
But understand there’s no surefire way to “go viral.” No formula or recipe exists. It’s a mixture of timing, preparation, and opportunity — in other words, luck.
However, don’t let this become the objective of everything you write. Don’t become an “appeal to the crowd” fallacy.
Never aim to fulfill trends. Look to create your own.
You got it
Those are my 5 reasons why we read Medium posts. Now go write something people can’t resist!
I hope you enjoyed these words. Did I miss anything?