Wow, if I had to be smart to achieve anything in life, then I may as well have just started to dig my grave years ago.
Smart? What’s that?
It definitely doesn’t describe the type of person who goes out of his way to fail continually, over and over in life. Nor does it describe the type of person who stays in love for a decade with the same woman, even though he was only with her for a year. It doesn’t describe someone who has been working at an entry level job for two years with zero life skills either.
So, smart, is that a necessary part of this equation, or even any equation?
I surely hope not, because if it is… I failed before I even started.
Now, what it does take to be popular, without being smart, or having any clue at all to what you’re doing is to be scared. Fear is going to be your biggest motivator to accomplish what you want to.
When I write, I pour my heart and soul onto the page. I type my life up and put every single detail I can possibly remember on the page. Then, when I look at the submit button, I start to wonder… Should I put this up on the internet? Will people look at me differently? Isn’t this stuff embarrassing? How would I feel if I read something that sounded like this?
Oh no, I’m going to get judged! People are going to hate me and think I’m weird! I don’t know if I should do this…
Then, I slowly remember that I have nothing to lose, because I already lost everything that had any value in my life. I slowly begin to think of what is worse: sharing something that someone might be able to learn from or keeping my experiences to myself? Could I possibly cheer someone up, or make someone’s day better? I want people to read my posts and realize that life really isn’t that bad.
So, what I do on the internet is mostly make people feel better about themselves. They look at me and go, “haha, what a total loser. This guy totally screwed that up, like he does everything else in life. Now I don’t feel so bad about my girlfriend leaving me, because this guy had a girl buy a love kit and kick him out his hotel room. My life just ain’t that bad! I’m gonna follow this guy so I can feel better about myself!”
I hardly ever edit my posts. I start typing and wherever I finish, that’s just where it is. I bring a type of rawness to what I write, and it seems people like raw. I tried writing some heavily edited posts on here, like the type you would see in a major publication, but no one cares about those at all. Be true and raw. Those are the first two steps.
Then three, I am myself. I have no filter. People will come by and talk dirty on my page. I wonder if I should just ignore. But instead, I talk dirty back. Someone will comment with an attack or try to defame me. I respond. No matter what the comment or interaction is, I always try my best to respond as I would in real life. So, there’s step three. Communicate frequently.
What to do next? Hmm. That’s a good question. If someone sends me a direct message asking for advice, I respond. I try to just help people. I’m kind of selfless about it and don’t expect anything in return. Some people are thankful, while others aren’t. But at least they wanted to talk to me, so I talk to them.
On your writing, make it easy to read. Keep your paragraphs to three to five sentences each. Don’t make them too big or they look intimidating to read. Use bullet points. Bold. Italics. All those special characters. Anything to ease the viewership of your readers. This will help your content to actually be read instead of skipped.
Personally, I’m probably the only person who does this, but I follow everyone who upvotes what I write. Why? Because if they’re upvoting my writing, chances are we see the world the same way. Chances are we have similar interests. Chances are we’ll get along. It used to be 1 out of every 4 people would follow me back, but now it’s more like 1 out of 3. So, be friendly and engage with others.
I also am quite liberal with how I upvote. I upvote a lot of random stuff from various areas, even if I only like one sentence out of a whole story. Why? Because it makes the other person feel good. Sometimes, I get messages in my inbox thanking me for upvoting what I did. People here are gracious, so be generous.
Another thing I do to increase my visibility on the site is I promote my own posts. The ones that others tell me bring value. When I promote the posts, I do increments of 20 people every thirty minutes. Why? I don’t know. I just saw other influencers do it. Monkey see, monkey do, but it works for me. Somehow it helped me get 2 million views from May 15 to the end of the year.
Other times, in the business topic, I would share material that would cost $5-20k with an attorney or a professional to create. Since I own the intellectual property on this stuff, I just stuck it up on the web for everyone to see for free. Since I gave away what people have always been searching for, which many people couldn’t afford, people value it more. So, I think I said this before, but be generous.
Then make friends. Friends will want to read more about you, talk about you to their friends, share your content, promote your stuff, and even help support you when you’re sad. Also do the same things back for them. But the power of friendship is insane. Only due to Varsha’s help was I able to hit 2 million views for the year of 2013. If it weren’t for her, I would’ve ended the year with about 1.96 million views. So friendship can push you over the edge and help you accomplish what is absolutely impossible.
I think this is everything I did. Am I missing anything? Oh yeah, make people laugh too. That always helps build relationships. Everyone loves someone who has a sense of humor.
Will this work for you?
I’m not sure, but it helped me go from 3 followers on May 15, 2013 to 354 followers on August 30, 2013 to 4,000 followers on Jan 4, 2014.
Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Toodles!
Oh yeah! I forgot something. Share stories. Stories are more engaging than just a factual response. Make sure your story answers the question though. 😀
Oh I probably have to share proof that I’m not smart either. In high school, I got C’s in all my English classes. I also got either D’s or F’s on all my accounting and psychology tests at community college this last semester. Community college is supposed to be easy too!
P.S. I was going to ask Ellen, Jane, Bianca and Xu to answer this question, but I just remembered that they’re smart…
Originally posted on Quora.
Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.