How to turn a viral article into work?
December 29, 2016 11:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm a writer. I don't have a steady job and things are looking a little grim. Yet I recently hit the viral jackpot with an article linked on the blue and BoingBoing and all over the place, and it's sprinting toward 40,000 hits since I posted it Tuesday night. Much of it was timing; it was a way to tie up some surprising (to me) feelings I had about Carrie Fisher. Nevertheless, anybody know how you're supposed to use these things for work/job purposes?

As per above: I'm a freelance writer who mostly does tabletop game and genre fiction stuff. But this thing will probably be read more widely than anything I've written in a decade. I have no experience writing anything with this kind of reach, and have no idea how to use it for me own betterment.
posted by mobunited to Work & Money (7 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
1. Quick, add a link telling people how to follow you on social media (twitter/fb) at the bottom so that you gain audience you can reach over and over. This is the big one - that becomes your platform, and as people retweet you etc. editors may take note.

2. You can add this to your brief bio, but IME as a former mag/website editor, it won't be the critical difference in a query/pitch. It won't hurt as long as it's super short.

posted by warriorqueen at 11:38 AM on December 29, 2016 [13 favorites]

Don't know if this will help, but I remembered seeing this article: How to Sell Your Viral News. And while looking for it I came across this one, which might be better: How to Capitalize on Your Article Going Viral.
And also this this one: How I Handled My Personal Story Going Viral. Good luck!
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:55 PM on December 29, 2016

One more note: I don't think your site has any contact information! Some chase producers/editors will leave a comment but a lot won't.
posted by warriorqueen at 1:20 PM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm a writer and when I see other folks pick up my stuff I will sometimes write a friendly email along the lines of "Thanks for the awesome piece you wrote about X, I typically cover topics X, Y, Z so if you ever need help tracking down a source/research/contacts on this please feel free to shoot me an email."

Occasionally people do follow up and I've made some good contacts this way.
posted by forkisbetter at 2:38 PM on December 29, 2016 [6 favorites]

I think you probably have enough fans here on MF alone that you could start thinking about a Patreon page.
posted by seasparrow at 4:03 PM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

You need contact info and it needs to be prominent -- ie something obvious and hard to miss. You could add a page indicating you do freelance work, you are for hire, contact me HERE! type thing.

But at a minimum, you need contact info. I got hired for a piece from one of my blogs merely because a) I blog and b) there was an email address on it so they could contact me. I wasn't even trying to promote myself as a freelancer.
posted by Michele in California at 4:20 PM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Don't doubt your own talent. I'm not even remotely a Star Wars fan, was barely aware of Carrie Fisher, and I found your piece totally engaging and beautifully written.
posted by spitbull at 6:55 PM on December 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

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