Who could've seen this coming - definitely not me. I was just trying to meet a deadline to get my monthly Inc. Technology column turned in the next morning. And quite honestly it sort of felt like I was mailing it in... well, you know what I mean. It was late at night and I was tired, so I really didn't think this was going to be all that great a read.
I guess I was wrong, because I found out that the article, Social Media - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Unexpected, ended up hitting Digg's front page garnering over 360 diggs. Now I've written a lot of stuff over the last five years, with certain articles causing a good number of folks to digg, stumble, mixx and bookmark. One of my posts was stumbled so hard that it literally moved me to the top of Google's search result for the term social crm. But nothing like this.
And this happened without my asking people to digg the article. I didn't use any "black hat" SEO tactics - mainly because I don't know any. And I didn't do extensive keyword or trend analysis to see what's hot. So why now... after five years? Why??? Especially since I was tired, pressed for time, and preoccupied with other stuff. Maybe the folks at Inc.com did something differently then they have over the past 12 months I've been writing for them. Could be, but all I can do is look at what I did - or didn't do - the night I wrote this particular article.
- I tweeted this, putting myself on notice:
I don't usually tweet random thoughts, but I was tired and knew I had to get this article done because I had other stuff to do the next morning. So I just had to put it out there, not for anyone else to see really, but for me to see. But with Twitter you usually get responses to what you put out there. And after telling a few folks that I will be up all night writing I got this reply from @prospertiygirl:
I took @prosperitygirl's advice
This tweet got me to thinking about how I used to get amped up for big exams in college - by listening to certain songs right before taking a test. So I did just that and cranked up Eric B & Rakim's Follow the Leader and Public Enemy's Rebel Without a Pause. That's right, nothing like a little old school to get me ready for a long night. But there was one song that I pulled out when I really needed a big score - Morris Day's Color of Success:
- I gave myself a deadline
OK now that I was sufficiently pumped up, I knew that I only had a short amount of time to write something. So I gave myself a 2 hour deadline to get this done. This was good because it caused me to focus and not go fishing for stuff that was out of my area of focus. Fishing is ok if you've got time, but can get you in trouble if you don't.
I stuck with what I knew and was interested in
One thing that helps is that I do a lot of reading on what's going on in CRM, social media, SaaS and other things I'm interested in. And luckily for me just as I was getting going a commercial for Clint Eastwood's new movie Grand Torino came on the tv. Clint Eastwood is one of my favorite actors, with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly being one of my favorite movies. And just like that I started thinking about some of my recent experiences with social media - some were very good, others were very bad, and then there was a very ugly episode that was still on my mind. So I decided to just pull from the things the make laugh, make me mad and make me interested, which made it easier for me to write under my deadline.
I didn't try to do too much with it
Because I didn't have much time, I didn't have a chance to try to make the article all things to all people. It was written with a certain audience in mind - folks who were trying to get on board with social media. It wasn't written to make me out to be some sort of social media expert (because I'm not one - see Chris Brogan for that), just to help those interested in the subject pick up a few things.
I got lucky
I think it might something to do with me writing it on January 15th (Martin Luther King Jr's birthday). And maybe it had something to do with it being published on January 20th (Inauguration Day). Or maybe it was a slow day on Digg's site.
Whatever the case, it happened and it was kind of cool. Now do I think the next time I write something under the same circumstances I'll be able to hit Digg again by doing the above? Nope. But it did make me take a look back at some things that actually may help me improve my writing some. And anything that improves the quality of the content I create can only be a good thing. Plus it also got me back to listening to Morris Day...which I'm listening to right now, by the way...after watching a little Clint.