Trending Articles – 4 Quick Helpful Lessons

quick helpful lessons from this week's 4 trending articles

There’s more than one way to get to the top.

Do you ever look at the top trending articles and ask yourself, “what the actual fuck?” From the outside, it appears random–sports, tech, pop culture. Considering top writer Sean Kernan even said he thinks the editors may plop some “chosen ones” in feature spots. But that’s not it.

Last week, I looked at five articles that got massive engagement, including Governor Cuomo’s story that showed up on Saturday Night Live the next day and on CNN earlier this week. Then, what is it that makes trending articles?

Considering all factors, the number one thing that drives people to read–AND SHARE–articles is human interest. But don’t assume you know what drives human interest. People don’t just click on sex, listicles, and cat gifs. 

Vibing White Cat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Of course, the biggest trending article on Medium this week is President Joe Biden’s article South Carolina. You can’t out-trend the President. Even if you’re BTS.

Speaking of BTS, last week’s article is still trending. Summarizing that lesson:

  • The author has 42 followers
  • The article self-published
  • They only used 2 tags
  • It currently has 9,200 shares on Twitter!!

If you’re interested in something, it’s not too late

After last week’s news regarding BTS and anti-Asian racism, plenty more articles showed up. This trending article got over 5,000 shares on Twitter. Additionally, the writer of that article has under 1,000 followers and also self-published.

If you are interested in something, it’s very likely many other people are interested, too. 

Ryan DeJonghe,

Write what you are personally interested in because other people are interested, too. Then those people will share your writing and talk about it. That’s how articles become trending.

Andy Dinh has 18 followers and posted one article that has 197 claps and 12 comments. But don’t let vanity metrics fool you! Andy’s trending article has 5,000 people talking about it on Reddit. 

What is Andy’s article about? His thoughts on LCS. But what does LSC mean? I had to Google it because he didn’t spell it out in his article or headline. Also, he included other acronyms without reference. If you’re curious: LCS is the League of Legends (LoL) Championship Series.

In other words, a big championship of a popular video game, and Andy felt like talking about it. Then he got 5,000 folks talking about it on Reddit.

Content matters more than headlines

I know, I know–I said that making a headline that readers can find on Google is the most important thing. However, as far as trending articles go, the content of the article is most important thing. 

The longevity of an article relies on headlines that attract readers from Google. Trending articles rely on content people are talking about today.

Ryan DeJonghe,

Right now, everyone (nevermind my hyperbole) is talking about sharing digital content through crytpo-exchanges. It’s like bitcoin, but for music, writing, and art. Essentially, artists can secure their content and avoid the publisher’s greedy hands. 

screenshot of trending articles

Kings of Leon recently released an album as an NFT (non-fungible token). But not all digital artists are on board with this. For instance, this digital artist with 2k followers wrote his opinion. Now, his article is trending.

Granted, that artist has over 18,000 followers on Twitter. But it wasn’t they that shared and got the article trending. Other artists were also interested and shared the story (herehere, and here).

In conclusion, don’t be deceived by vanity metrics. Followers and likes don’t equal views and engagement. If you want to write an article for longevity, know how to write a headline. But if your goal is to get a trending article, talk about things that interest you. Because what you are interested in, other people are, too.

Ask me questions and stay in touch

I want to stay in touch with you. Every week I send out five helpful articles and open myself up for questions. I’m not selling anything, just looking to connect and grow together. Find out more and drop your email here or connect on social media here.

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