I was a journalism major in college, with the ultimate goal to write for magazines. In those days, there were very few things published exclusively as online content. In fact, when I interned at Texas Monthly my senior year, I worked in what was called the “new media” department, which basically involved taking copy from the last month’s issue and retyping it for this crazy new thing they were rolling out called a website. Oh! How times have changed!
Now the whole world’s online, and getting published is easier than ever–especially if you abide by the following ten rules.
1. Make a list.
It doesn’t really matter what’s on it; lists are today’s greatest literary device. Websites really like publishing them, and readers adore skimming them because we all have the attention span of an avocado. Try starting your post/article with a digit and watch the numbers climb! Here are some examples:
10 ways to Lose Weight While Main-lining Cool Ranch Doritos and Vodka Cocktails
My 8 All-Time Favorite Varieties of Hard Cheese
The 6.5 Best Places to Clip Your Toenails in Public without Getting Caught
2. Write about S.E.X.
You didn’t hear it here first– but sex DOES sell. People are nosy freaks and they want to know what you’re doing between, on top of and under your sheets. Write a funny little story about shopping for a vibrator, your first threesome, or the time things got so out of hand the neighbors called the cops. Don’t worry about your personal life– it won’t affect it at all!
3. Reveal your Darkest Secret
The inter webs are the new Maury Povich show. If you have something you’ve been holding close to your chest (i.e.: you have three boobs, you reuse dental floss, you’re really a giant cat living as a human) it’s time to clear the air and find a public forum to spill the beans to.
4. Discuss, in great detail, your most painful memory.
There are plenty of websites that really want you to relive your trauma so other people can read about it. It doesn’t have to be well-written, or provide a message of caution, hope or encouragement to others. Just go there, because it makes for a compelling story and we are all very curious to know more about your misfortune.
5. Teach us Something
Put on a hat and call yourself an expert in one of the following areas, because this is what we really want to learn right now. Start your headline with HOW TO and then add any one, or a combination of the following:
make money, save money, find more time, waste less time, get clear skin, lose weight, gain social media followers, grow your blog, shrink your belly, save the planet, destroy your enemies, find your life’s purpose, lose your bad habits, stop craving sugar, raise polite geniuses, go vegan without dreaming of bacon, stop comparing yourself to others, find more joy, organize all your crap, stop farting in fancy places, keep your teeth from falling out, and make this year your greatest year EVER.
6. Write about Simplifying
We are all burdened by our over-scheduled, over-crowded, over-stuffed lives. If you really want to please the masses, give us a multi-step, super-complicated instructional online guidebook on simplifying every aspect of daily living. We want pictures of how you threw away everything you owned and started from scratch, starting with your wardrobe and ending with your kitchen utensils. Readers love a clean slate. Writers love a project.
7. Tackle Controversial Subjects
Please share your personal insights and colorful opinions about ISIS, abortion, sexual harassment, medical marijuana, Obamacare, vaccinations for children, concealed handguns, gay marriage, physician-assisted suicide, affirmative action, animal testing, climate change, evolution versus creationism, and racial profiling. Do as little research as possible, and if you really want it to go viral, write completely out of your ass and have a blast reading the comments section. As an alternative, you can address one of those “open letters” to someone who’s made waves recently in the media.
8. Document Your Detox
Give up something vital–whether it’s food, booze, technology, or The Real Housewives franchise. Remember: Show, don’t tell. We all need to feel the withdrawal.
9. Let us Inside
Take us somewhere we’ve never been before, and give us something salacious to peek at. I can think of a few places that pique my curiosity, and I’d give an eye-tooth to take a tour through a monastery, a jail, a nudist colony, the dressing room of a strip club, a dominatrix’s den, Bellevue Hospital, and the man cave in the basement of the White House.
10. Write about Motherhood
Nothing makes waves faster on the internet than an article about motherhood. People live for stories like “1,000 things I want my daughter to know by age 3″ and “If you don’t breast-feed your children they will grow horns and become a blight on your community”.
Ask these questions to an audience: Should I become a mother? When should I become a mother? What if I don’t want to be a mother? What if I’m turning into my mother? Am I the right kind of mother? Should I work? Should I home-school? Should they cry it out? Should I cry it out? Can I name a girl Sephora, or will people automatically think of the makeup store?
Parenting is no easy task, and people like to share their every thought and feeling about it by reaching out to people they don’t know via computer.
And there you have it! Now go out there and break the internet with naked pictures of your butt.