• Optimistic Thom

How I Wrote My Top-Performing Blog Posts

Updated: May 15

When deconstructing success, you should always look at it through an analytical lens. When I see a win, I will regularly break it apart to figure out what in the hell they did to make it happen. For instance, if you’re working my dream job, you can bet I’ve stalked your LinkedIn page to see how you got there.

Success in any creative field is not the product of luck, it’s the product of getting something right through experimentation and consistency. If we want to learn from it, we have to first figure out what was done to achieve said success.

In this piece, I want to share with you how I wrote my most successful articles. All of the articles linked have made over $100 on this platform, one making as much as $1,000.

There are three unique ways I have told these stories, each of which I believe has its place in the blog-writing world. I now use these templates as my foundation whenever brainstorming a new article, and they provide not only a consistent voice but also my inspiration. Hopefully, this analysis will help you as much as it helped me.


1. Vulnerable Personal Experiences

Writing from personal experience continues to be the pinnacle of blog writing. When it’s genuine and real, no other form of writing holds the reader’s attention quite like a personal experience.

Just look at any number of famous writers on Medium like Tom Kuegler or Niklas Göke. Their articles are commonly written from their experience, and frankly, it just works. Personal experience offers a window into the creator’s life through humor, vulnerability, humility, and that can be compelling. These articles will give you followers for life if done right.

My most successful article, making over $1,000 on this platform, was pulled straight from personal experience. Long story short, I had just started dating someone and was getting pelted with remarks about how the relationship wouldn’t last because of my casual dating history.

I got frustrated, so I wrote about it to vent — while making over $1,000 in the process. Oh, also as a quick aside, it’s been six months, and I’m still crazy about her.

The problem with personal experience, however, is that it’s a finite resource. Do yourself a favor, and don’t fake this type of writing. You won’t sound genuine, and you might just come off as misinformed. Either way, you’re going to waste everyone’s time.

Write from personal experience when you can, but don’t force it. It’s valuable and practical, but not the only way you can write.


2. Well-Founded Research Pieces

More complicated than just writing from experience, these articles can open a lot of doors if you learn how to do them properly. Basically, you are taking a popular trend in today’s society and applying a human concept based on social science to create some sort of commentary on said trend.

Again, these articles are more work than just writing a personal story. It usually starts with multiple tabs open with supporting studies, along with a unique perspective that’s simple enough to follow but unique enough to be engaging.

The good news is these stories won’t lead to just one article. If done correctly, you can produce ten of thousands of words about your concept and build on it as you continue down your writing career.

For one article, I took the concept of the paradox of choice and applied it to something we commonly talk about: online dating. With my sources cited and my conclusions sound, this article continues to pull in consistent readership several months after publishing.

These articles are time-consuming and therefore can be a more significant risk in the long run. Because of that, it’s essential to be confident in your idea. If you start seeing holes midway through your research, don’t force the article. Take a step back and think about a different angle you can take.

Once one of these articles lands, you’ll have a consistent pool of research to reference for future blogs on the subject.


3. Hot Takes

If personal experience is manageable but finite, and research articles are complex but endless, then hot takes are somewhere in the middle. They’re a gentle balance of your personal experience and enough sources sprinkled throughout to give your claim a legitimate backing.

When giving your opinion, you need to speak to the views of your audience without pandering to them. Like personal stories, people won’t listen to you if you aren’t honest. Because of this, you need to genuinely have the same opinion.

Personally, I hate influencers on Instagram. I cringe at a lot of their content while finding the urge to roll my eyes at their privileged views. Luckily, I’m not alone in this sentiment, and so when I wanted to roast them in an opinion piece, people listened.

Back up your hot take, base it on genuine opinion and preach to the masses. Also, don’t hold back with your views. Go on and get personal with how you feel. Centrist views are for family dinners, whereas here, you are taking a stand.

I didn’t invent these types of blogs, and I certainly have yet to perfect their style. When reviewing this advice, take it as a general framework and build with your own unique techniques.

Once you get the hang of using different storytelling styles, you’ll become so much closer to the creative success we’re all chasing.

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©2020 by Optimistic Thom