Donald Richard. Here’s a longer response to one of your tweets:
People are going to say contribute to publications, post to Reddit/HN, etc. I think that’s fine.
But I want to talk about another strategy that I’ve been thinking about and using, which is to find and influence bigger influencers.
So, like, right now, would it even matter if you doubled your number of followers on Medium? Not really. What would matter is if you had five bigger names who followed you and recommended many of your posts.
(I only skimmed one of your posts enough to agree with you about quality. You’re a good writer who goes in depth — which is appreciated.)
Back to the influence the influencers — that Twitter thread you were in is filled with people who do the best job of helping me get my best work seen. But it’s hard for me to tell you how to find people like that because they’re mostly people I connected with back in 2005. Like, Chris Messina is personally responsible for getting me to the top of Product Hunt twice (he’s really influential there) but we’re friends from me stopping in to his coworking space 10 years ago.
However, in the last year I have twice tried to break into networks where I’m not already established, so that’s what I want to talk about.
The first was Warriors basketball beat writers. I made a Twitter list of my favorite writers and then checked that list religiously during games. First I faved and retweeted a ton. Then I got the courage to chime in and make my own observations/jokes. It wasn’t that hard to get them to start retweeting me. Suddenly I was part of the conversation. Of course, that’s not a topic that I’m committed to taking any further.
More recently, I got obsessed with pushing a new story line about Hillary, essentially “Damn, we all got it wrong! She is impressive as hell!”
For the rest of this story it doesn’t matter if you agree with my politics. Just know that I have zero standing in political circles.
But I did have time to write and put together a pretty good case for why that story line would work. I tested and refined it on my friends. And then I started trying to get it passed to people who know people who know media people. And those media people read it.
Now, it’s hard to know if I directly inspired someone. But I do know two things. I got my political pieces in front of national writers with less than a month’s worth of work.
And, the narrative I was shooting for hit the mainstream press (helped by a strong HRC debate performance). For instance, here’s a Paul Krugman quote from today:
“But meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans saw the candidates in action, directly, without a media filter. For many, the revelation wasn’t Mr. Trump’s performance, but Mrs. Clinton’s: The woman they saw bore little resemblance to the cold, joyless drone they’d been told to expect.”
Not sure if any of this made sense exactly — for me the above is a partially formed thought. And essentially it boils down to targeting influencers as followers is more fruitful than targeting number of followers. You find those influencers by talking to them. Usually that means you have to find people who have time to talk back, i.e. don’t start with Oprah.