How I Started Averaging Over $2000 a Month Writing on Vocal

by Jonathan Sim about a year ago in tips and guides

There's no one "write" way to do it...

Are you a creator? Of course you are; I assume that's why you're reading this. If you're not a creator, then become one, because it's super fun. But the point is if you're reading this, you saw the title of this story, and you decided that you want to make a truckload of money by writing for Vocal.

Listen. Or, in this case, read. Making $2,000 a month on Vocal is not an easy task. I achieved it recently, but if you want to achieve it, you're going to have to put in a lot of work. I can't guarantee you the same level of success, or even any success at all—but I can tell you the strategies that I implemented into my writing to attract readers from around the globe.

Create What People Want to Read

I've been writing online for almost five years now, and from what I've gathered, I can tell you that unless you're writing news articles for some national newspaper, your read count for your stories won't be consistent. Sometimes, your story will get a million reads, and other times, you'll barely reach five.

So how do you maximize your read count and get as many people as possible to check out your story? Put yourself in the shoes of a reader—that is, forget that you love creating. I know it isn't easy, but when you think the way the general population thinks, it allows you to be wiser about what looks and doesn't look good in a story.

The story that got me to $2,000 a month? It was a story called "The Perfect Order to Watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Movies." I was able to get nearly two million reads on this story because the MCU has a vast following.

If you're a Marvel fan, you may have clicked on the story to see the best order to rewatch the MCU in anticipation of the release of Avengers: Endgame. If you're not a Marvel fan, you may have clicked on it to figure out the perfect order for your first-time watch.

Given the increased popularity of the MCU in recent years, many people generally want to know the order they should watch the movies so that they can jump on board the hype train and check out the best order to view them.

The Title

A reader’s first impression of your story is the title—the giant, boldfaced words they see at the very top. These are the words that will stop them from mindlessly scrolling through Twitter and get them to tap on your story. If you want to get them to stop, your title needs to stand out.

My Marvel story is my most popular because of a strategy I use called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Essentially, your title should have specific keywords that people are likely to type into their search engines so that your story can potentially appear higher up in the search results.

Let me explain—the title of the watch order I created for the MCU is the Spaghetti Order. I gave my order a title so that people could talk about the watch order using a title instead of merely sending around a screenshot.

However, I didn't entitle the story, "The Spaghetti Order," because nobody Googles "spaghetti order" unless they're trying to invent an idiotic way to get some entrees from Olive Garden. I called it "The Perfect Order to Watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Movies" because this is what people type into the search bar.

I called it "the perfect order" to distinguish it from the numerous articles online advertising "the best order." Furthermore, I included both "Marvel Cinematic Universe" and "MCU" to attract people who typed it both ways.

The lesson? Make your titles appealing and fill them with eye-catching keywords that users are likely to be searching for.

Self-Promotion

Okay, this one is a bit tricky. When you think of people who shamelessly promote themselves, you probably get annoyed by the idea of these little trolls who comment on Ariana Grande's Instagram pics telling you to click on the link in their bio to check out their Soundcloud.

That's not necessarily how self-promotion needs to work. The annoyingness of your self-promotion will depend on how useful your story is and the language you use when you're promoting it.

While you can tweet your story and pray that it will go viral, the most surefire way to get people to read your work is by replying to people directly. It would be best if you didn't do it on Instagram because you can't click on links in Instagram comments, and not everyone will be willing to go to your profile to click your link.

How do you do it? Twitter and Facebook comments. Keep everything relevant; you don't want to advertise your PSA about chronic depression under tweets from the Sesame Street Twitter account. People will not care, and if they do, they will hate you for it. And I'm not speaking from experience, I swear.

Whenever I see tweets or Facebook posts wondering what the best order is to watch the Marvel movies, I respond with a link to the story and a quick summary of how the order works so that people can click on it to see what it is.

I never state the story is mine; I make it seem like I'm just a satisfied reader who also loved the story. The more you sell how good your story is, the more likely it is that the person you're sending it to will click on it. Make it seem as if you're recommending it for their benefit and their benefit only.

More Tips & Tricks

Now, you don't just want people to click on your story, and that’s for a few reasons. First, you don’t earn on Vocal unless someone actually reads through your story—spends time on the page, scrolls down. Just a click or a pageview won’t earn you a read. More importantly, though, you don't write so that people can press a button and skim through your story. You write so that people can read what you create. So how do you ensure that happens?

What I do is I make my stories easy to read. In our current day and age, most people prefer watching videos for information, but we're creators. And my passion for writing can sometimes make it difficult to imagine how a person could not read everything I write.

But this is the modern world, and if you want people to read what you create, you need to use some strategies. What you should do is you should break up your text with engaging media, because nobody wants to see gigantic 30-line paragraphs of endless sentences.

I tend to break my paragraphs into 3-6 lines each. But paragraphs aren't the only way to separate your text; I would also recommend embedding images, videos, or GIFS between every couple of paragraphs to add some color to your story.

Final Words

And that is how I did it. Now, as I said in the beginning, I can't guarantee you'll hit $2,000 a month, but if you implement these strategies, you should be able to increase your read count and get more people to check out your stories.

Now, as awesome as it is to make money from writing on Vocal, money is just a part of it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: we're creators. I didn't write my Marvel article because I needed some cash; I wrote it because I love Marvel movies, and I wanted to share something I created with people.

My primary goal is never money. But the idea that I've been able to give people a new perspective on Marvel and the fact that people have tweeted at me complimenting my work is what keeps me inspired and makes me want to create, whether I'm getting a million reads or if I barely reach five.

tips and guides
Jonathan Sim
Jonathan Sim
Read next: If You Can't Fly...
Jonathan Sim

Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings.

For business inquiries: [email protected]

See all posts by Jonathan Sim

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links