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Buzzsumo on What Goes Viral

What helps a piece of content go viral?

Via Buzzsumo:

1) Long form content gets more social shares than short form content

2) Having at least one image in your post leads to more Facebook shares

3) Having at least one image in your post leads to more Twitter shares

4) Invoke awe, laughter, or amusement. Appeal to people’s narcissistic side.

5) People love to share lists and infographics

6) 10 is the magic number for lists

7) People tend to share content that looks trustworthy

8) Getting one extra influencer to share your article has a multiplier effect

9) Re-promote your old content on a regular basis

10) The best day overall to publish content for social shares is Tuesday

And now, because this post needs a photo if it’s going to go viral, here are some presidents playing cards.

republican-presidents-playing-cards

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The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead by Charles Murray

curmudgeonThe Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life is a wonderful primer on how to transition from college life to the adult world of work and responsibility. A quick read, the book started out as a series of tips for interns and new hires on the American Enterprise Institute intranet. Lucky for us, author Charles’s Murray’s wisdom didn’t stay there.

From the intro:

Technically, a curmudgeon is an ill-tempered old man. I use the term more broadly to describe highly successful people of both genders who are inwardly grumpy about many aspects of contemporary culture, make quick and pitiless judgments about your behavior in the workplace, and don’t hesitate to act on those judgments in deciding who gets promoted and who gets fired.

My wife calls me a curmudgeon all the time, so of course I ripped through the pages like this book was written specifically for me. I wasn’t disappointed. When you live in California long enough, you forget that there are still people — very successful people — who live by a code that isn’t totally self-indulgent. Murray did young people everywhere a service by putting that code down on paper. (Or tablet, in my case.)

In addition to practical advice about writing and thinking and career, Murray offers slices of wisdom about living well. This was one of my favorite selections:

A life well-lived has transcendent value, whether that transcendence is defined in religious or secular terms. Putting aside specific doctrinal differences, a core aspect of the Western view of transcendence, whether Judeo-Christian or Aristotelian, is that there are excellences associated with the state of being human.

That’s what this book is really about — striving for excellence instead of settling for mediocrity.

The author assumes a readership in its teens and 20s, but I recommend it to all ages.

- @joedonatelli

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What to Charge Freelance Clients

money

I’m in the freelance writing game. Other writers occasionally ask me what I charge clients. What follows is my method. It may not be the best possible solution, but it works for me.

1. Figure out how much you want to make per year. Be realistic.

2. Working backwards from your yearly rate, figure out how much you should charge per hour. So, if you want to make $100,000 a year, divide that by 50 work weeks per year ($2,000 a week), and divide that number by five work days ($400 per day) and divide that number by work hours per day. You’ll be tempted to go with eight hours here, but it’s very, very hard to work–actually, work, with no phone calls, errands or Facebook–for eight hours a day. So let’s make it six. That comes to $66 an hour. If you work six hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year (two weeks for vacation) at $66 an hour, you will make $100,000.

3. That $66/hour should represent your average. It’s OK to take on some projects that pay less as long as you have other projects that pay more.

4. Track all of your hours each month on an Excel spreadsheet. This way you can see which clients pay above your rate and which pay less. If you don’t like a client, and it’s paying you less, look for a new client. If you have a client that pays you more, then I advise you to constantly over-deliver.

5. Avoid being paid by the word if you can. As I’ve stated before, it’s a ridiculous payment scheme.

What I prefer doing—and some publications are open to this—is simply quoting a rate. I calculate how many hours the story will take and multiply that number times my hourly fee. This is what other professionals do. They give an estimate and a rate. As far as I know, freelance writers are the only professionals who charge for their services so arbitrarily. It’s like paying a carpenter by the nail.

If you have another method, I’d like to hear about it, and I bet a lot of other writers would, too.

- @joedonatelli

Photo by Philip Taylor

 

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