Publishous Writers are Expected to Deliver More
Publishous expects more from its Writers.
Okay. It’s time we address the elephant in the room.
We have been feeling the tension between writers and editors here at Publishous and we know you have too. Since our inception, Publishous has been all about you, the writers.
It’s right there in our name.
Depending on where you put the emphasis, you could pronounce it like “Publish Us”. That was intentional from the outset of this little venture of ours. We wanted to publish delicious reads (“Pub Licious”) and we wanted to help out the writers wanting to share their words with a broader audience (“Publish Us”).
So, if the goal is to help writers get published, why is it that we’re rejecting so many stories lately?
There’s the rub.
As our audience has expanded we’re getting more attention. And, like all professional media outlets, Medium is looking to endorse only the best, most professional works — which it does through curation.
When Publishous publishes works that get curated by Medium, we all look better. You, as a writer, get more eyes on your work, which, in turn, earns you more money and helps you grow your individual follower base. It also raises our profile as a publication and helps us grow our fanbase.
Publishous needs to look more like a traditional publication than a blog
Here’s where it gets tricky. Traditional publications — think newspapers and magazines — have subscribers who support them directly (i.e. subscriptions and newsstands), so they don’t need to make you read an article, they need you to want to read an article.
Blogs, on the other hand, provide information freely but need to make readers choose their articles over the millions of articles on the vastness of the Internet. Thus, the term “clickbait”. When readers are not committed to any one source, like they are when they have a subscription, writers (bloggers) need to bait them into clicking on an article by creating an “itch” that can only be “scratched” by reading the article. It’s when the bloggers get the click, that they can earn revenue from the ads, affiliate links, etc. on their blog.
It’s much the same for independent articles on Medium. When you publish an article independently (i.e. not with a publication), you have to create a need for the reader to choose your article over the many other choices out there. However, when you send your article to a publication, the pub has followers (i.e. subscribers) who have chosen that publication over others. Since they have already chosen where they will get their information, it's important that we don’t make them regret choosing us by trying to keep selling them once they’re here. Therefore, our titles need to look more like those in newspapers and magazines that are informative rather than provocative. That way, if the reader wants more detail on the information provided in the title, they will want to click the link and read the article.
Here’s a real-life example that those of you who belong to membership clubs will understand (I’m thinking Costco and Sam’s Club in the US): How much do you appreciate the DirecTV sales person heckling you as you walk down the aisle, looking at your shopping list? Not very much, right! You’ve paid for a membership and here’s someone who is trying to sell you something as you’re trying to figure out where that delicious smell is coming from. Ah, and there’s the other side of the coin! Those delicious smells are coming from the sample kiosks (or at least they were before COVID), and you don’t mind at all when the vendor tells you exactly where you can find your very own box of delicious yummies if you like what you’ve just eaten.
The samples folks make you glad you have your membership. Sure, you may have spent a little more to try this new variety of treat, but you don’t regret it (at least not until you step on the scale, but that’s outside the scope of this article). Meanwhile, the DirecTV folks make you wonder if you can get a discount on your membership for having to listen to their sales pitches as you walk the aisles.
Clickbait “performs” for bloggers, but not for curated content
The subscribers at Medium pay for their memberships and when Medium curates a piece, it’s as if they’re publishing it in their “newspaper” (for lack of a better analogy). Therefore, they don’t want to oversell it to their members. They want titles that provide information, not provocation. So, if you want to appear among the curated, you’ve got to ditch the clickbait. Granted, this is a recent change, so you’ll still see some clickbait titles getting curated here and there.
But, you won’t see them on Publishous.
That’s right, we are going clickbait free from this point forward. So, when you send us something, save everyone some time and make sure your titles are informative and not provocative. It’s OK to give away the premise of your piece (the “lede” in journo-jargon), as long as you don’t use the same words in the title as you do when you reveal the lede in your work (Roget’s is your friend).
Personal anecdotes are fine, but they don’t count as research or information
Everyone loves a good story. Stories speak to the heart, and they are great ways to make information memorable. However, they are not information in and of themselves. Frame the “I” story as “you” so it relates to the reader and she feels like she is part of the story.
Publishous is looking for articles that provide the reader with information — information that is applicable to the reader, not just to the writer. So, if you’re going to tell a personal story, make sure to back it up with external research and information that shows a wider-reaching, almost universal, application. And make sure to link to those sources.
That’s what we’re looking for: evergreen (vs. dated or event-driven) content, supported by (i.e. linked to) external sources, that is applicable to the lives of a broad population.
What works for you may not work for us and vice-versa
There’s no doubt that clickbait titles perform… for bloggers and independent writers.
We’re just not interested in them.
Just because we’ve published it in the past, doesn’t mean we want it going forward.
We want your best, most informational, evergreen content to share with our growing fanbase, because when you get curated, we all look good.
Do you know what clickbait is? If so, good for you. I bet the definition is broader than you think. See this to make sure we’re on the same page.