Hey, fellow Steemaniacs!
I took a brief hiatus to work on my writing skills. I want to step it up a notch. So I’ve been working with a few Discord communities to pump up my skills. I haven’t posted in about two weeks, but rest assured, it was for good reason. Now without further adieu…
I’ve been posting on Steemit for about a month now and I finally feel like I’m starting to settle in here. I’ve learned a lot in that time and I’d like to pass along my knowledge, experiences, and impressions from one newcomer to another. Steemit is a platform unlike any other and adjusting can take time.
I want to assure you that climbing that steep learning curve is absolutely worth it. Being an active participant in the Steemit community not only brings financial benefits, but it sticks you smack dab into a community of like-minded people that will challenge you to improve.
I consider the community here to be the best feature of Steemit. No matter where you look, there’s always a community willing to adopt you and offer support. Don’t worry if you aren’t the best writer/blogger/artist right now, there’s plenty of opportunity to improve your craft here. If you already have a talent or following, then it’ll be that much easier to take off on Steemit.
I’m going to break this article down into three parts: An introduction to Steemit, advice on improving your posts, and advice on joining communities.
Introduction: What exactly is Steemit?
To be honest, I don’t have a complete picture of that yet, but I won’t let that stop me from talking about it anyway! Seriously though, my incomplete view of the platform may be worth more to the total newbie than the view from a vet that’s heard and seen it all before. Let’s start off with the basic elevator pitch: Steemit is a decentralized social media platform that places its financial rewards directly in the hands of the content creators and viewers.
What does that mean?
Unlike current social media platforms that make money by selling ads and offering a small portion to content creators, Steemit gives the money generated from posts directly to the content creators and viewers. That’s right, you get a portion just for upvoting/commenting on posts. I would compare this payment model to Patreon, except your vote is free; you don’t have to take money out of pocket or watch ads to support your favorite content creators here.
How does Steemit pay its users?
There are three types of currency on the Steemit platform: Steem Backed Dollars (SBD), STEEM tokens, and STEEM Power (SP). Money generated from posts is paid out in SBD. The value of your upvote is based on your account’s SP. STEEM is a tradable token and can be used to power-up your SP.
Here are the important takeaway points: SBD=post payout, SP=vote value, and STEEM=power-up points. STEEM tokens are in the top 30 on Coinmarketcap right now, and have been since the beginning of 2018, which is a great sign for the platform. Just to clarify, SBD and STEEM can be traded on exchanges, SP cannot. STEEM used to be the only tradable token, but you can trade SBD too now (Upbit and Bittrex). SP does not fluctuate in value like the other two, it is more a representation of your influence. However, you can power down to slowly convert your SP to STEEM. I think STEEM was intended to be on the open market and SBD the intra community currency, but that changed over the years.
I recommend converting SBD to STEEM to power up your account until your vote is worth something (at least a nickel). Wait until SBD>STEEM for maximum payout. Hodl that SP as long as possible. If you stick with Steemit for the long haul, and it takes off like Bitcoin, you’ll be happy you did.
Who can succeed on Steemit?
Get ready for a cheesy cliche answer: Anyone can! (Given enough time.)
In my experience here, there are two factors you will need to succeed on Steemit: Passion, Drive, and Networking. The rest is all a matter of time. My most successful posts weren’t the most informative or entertaining. When I throw myself into my posts by describing why I like the topic, how it impacts me personally and emotionally, and offer direct experiences, the post is more successful. Your audience wants to hear why they should be excited about what you have to say. Basic facts are best saved for Wikipedia.
Successful Steemians post about cryptocurrency, food, travel, science, literature, art, gaming, memes--anything, really! If you love it and want to tell people how much you love it, you can find a place here. If you want a quick payout, stick with buying/selling/mining cryptocurrency. Steemit is a place for people who want to share.
Starting off on Steemit
When I first started creating content on Steemit, I felt like I was just hired as a freelance writer for a magazine (not that I’ve ever had such a job). I could get paid for my contributions, I was surrounded by helpful people all in my boat, and I realized sticking to a schedule was the path to success. The best part was I had no boss, no set deadlines, and the freedom to write about anything. I was and am free to write about science, post works of fiction, post artwork, create memes--the sky's the limit at Steemit.
Let me digress, just in case some of you share my first impressions when I found Steemit. I was a little turned off. I had read up on what Steemit could be and got excited. Steemit looked like Reddit, but with much more thoughtful posts and the chance to get paid. When I started looking through the posts on the trending and hot pages, all I could find were posts about cryptocurrency and how to get rich on Steemit. It didn’t seem to have much to offer and had the slight hint of a pyramid scheme. I put it in the back of my mind and moved on with my life.
I came back about a month later, after hearing lots of stories about it from @davidpakman and @pressfortruth on YouTube. This time around, I found the option to explore other categories and moved away from the trending pages entirely. I started exploring the science, art, and technology tabs. I found an article by @suesa about Plants vs Pharmaceuticals and I was sold. I realized there was great content to be found here and set off to find more. I signed up for an account and spent the first two weeks simply exploring my favorite tags and commenting on interesting posts.
"Nothing will work unless you do," Maya Angelou
Find what interests you
I found that by following other Steemians that posted content I liked, my feed was suddenly much more interesting. Funny how that works! When you look past the trending/hot pages, you will find something that will reel you into the site.
My advice to you as a newbie: follow and comment on anything you find interesting. Don’t worry about holding back that vote. If you really liked an article, then write out a comment and ask a question. Everyone wants to see those comments in their posts (except the one-liner comments). Start a conversation. Get to know people. Network before you even start posting; it will help you find your niche and give you an idea of what people want to read or watch.
Join a contest
Contests are a great way to get familiar with the communities that interest you and make a few bucks for your poor account. Many new to Steemit get their feet wet by joining a contest, myself included. Dozens of contests take place each week, some with greater payouts than others. Don’t worry about the payout though, think of this as an opportunity to get involved while having fun. Having fun is the best way to succeed on Steemit. Personally, my first post was a Photoshop art piece I created for a contest hosted by @geekpowered. I created a scene with the character Julia, from his scifi story, “My Vacation on the Exotic Shores of a Black Hole.” It’s a solid read. The main character, John, comes off as a cross between Han Solo and Guybrush Threepwood from “Monkey Island” IMO.
You can keep tabs on current contests from the explore tab link or through the contest channel on PAL, mentioned below.
Find a community
Diving into a community is the best thing you can do for yourself starting off on Steemit. The platform is not hard-coded to hold your hand. Joining Steemit is more akin to starting off fresh in high school after moving across the country. It can be a cold, confusing, even scary place on your own. Fear not! There are tons of people out there that feel the exact same way.
Joining Steemit communities will help you adjust. You can’t take any old Facebook or Reddit post and expect it to succeed here. Steemit friends will help push you in the right direction and challenge you to improve. Discord chat rooms also offer a great way to blow off some steam as you write.
Steemians offer a wide variety of communities where you can participate. These communities were created by groups of like-minded individuals looking to create a home on the Steemit platform. Communities offer a great way to find help as a newbie. Most communities have channels on Discord where you can text chat or live chat with other content creators.
Every Steemit newbie should join the Minnow Support Project. They offer a wealth of support, valuable to any minnow. All types of content creators are welcome. MSP Discord (AKA Peace, Abundance, Liberty or PAL) is a great place to ask questions about Steemit: from simple technical support, to brainstorming post ideas, to finding niche communities. You can tune into MSP Waves from PAL and catch a live radio broadcast from a fellow Steemian. They also offer channels for post promotion, upvoting, and contests. There are even channels specific to many nations around the globe, helping members connect world-wide. I will list my other favorite communities at the end of this post.
Other communities, like The Writer’s Block offer assistance to writers of any type. The Writer’s Block is a group of professional writers and editors willing to help you improve in a variety of topics like fiction, poetry, blogs, and technical non-fiction. TWB helped me out with this very post. Now, TWB (like many groups), looks down on plagiarism. I’ll talk more about plagiarism later.
- Follow creators you like: it’ll fill your feed with cool stuff
- Write meaningful comments: it’ll catch people’s attention and earn curation rewards
- Join a contest; have some fun in the shallow end
4.1. Join a community, make some friends
Growing your account
Find your voice
Once you’ve gotten your feet wet, finding your voice is the best way to attract attention. Starting off, it might be tempting to focus on trends to get those eyes on your posts. If you run around writing about topics you barely care about, readers will be able to sniff it out. You’ll be seen as insincere or worse, boring! Picking topics you understand through experience and get you fired up will result in higher quality posts that will help build a following.
Audiences don’t want to read a boring news or technical report when they go to a social media platform. The Internet is full of information and most of it is really dry. So don’t try to serve up a slice of plain toast. Add some cheese and butter to make that post a tasty grilled cheese. Most people are interested in news, science, or politics of some sort. Most sources are pretty dry, simply reporting the facts. Adding your own comments to a news article will not only make it more entertaining, but it makes it your own. You’re not copy/pasting something you read or heard, you’re giving your own opinion! If it excites you, even better! Let that passion shine.
What if you just want to blog about life? Even better! You’re living life doing what you love, so the passion is already there. Like to travel? Who doesn’t? Let us know what’s so great about everywhere you go. Like to cook? I wish I could cook better. Share those great recipes. You like to fix cars? Everyone needs to work on their car sometime. Show us how it’s done. You like to punk random strangers and generally harass your neighbors? Well cut that shit out, there’s too many Logan Pauls in the world. Seriously.
Practice makes perfect
Don’t hold yourself back just because you don’t have much experience writing. Everyone has to start somewhere. It can take time to get the hang of creating quality posts, finding communities on Discord, and dealing with post promotion/upvoting. Commit to posting for a full year and you will absolutely get your account where you want it to be. The Steemit community is very open and welcoming; someone out there is willing to help you improve. Strive to make those quality posts and you will get there. Patience is the key. It takes time to learn the ropes, get recognized, and show your commitment to the community.
That leads to an important point I want to make. The Steemit platform is run by its communities. Decentralized social media at its finest. Gaming the system isn’t welcome here and people will actively try to stop it. Accounts like cheetah bot weed out plagiarists. Communities like steemSTEM won’t upvote your science posts if you don’t properly cite your sources/images. Curations spammers will get called out too, so don’t spam “great post!” on every post on the trending page. Don’t beg for upvotes/resteems either. It comes off as desperate. We are all looking to make Steemit a great place, but there’s no centralized authority to put those kind of hard-coded rules in place. We watch each other’s backs out here in the Wild West.
If you do stick to creating quality, original, entertaining posts you can get recognized by whales who want to pay it forward to the minnows. Likewise, your posts can be nominated for awards, like the Curie.It is possible to make a living on Steemit with the right dedication. Compared to getting started on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube now, I’d say it’s easier to do it on Steemit.
We all stand on the shoulders of giants. But you got here early, so most of the giants are minnows right now.
Pay it forward
Steemit is still a young platform, waddling around like a toddler that just spoke its first words. Steemit needs support just like you do. You can provide support for the platform by advertising to friends/family/followers through your current social networks. If you’re reading this, you are jumping in at a great time. Steemit is on the launchpad, prepping for the moon. You can get a first class seat, while sipping a drink as you watch others climb aboard. Don’t be afraid of growth on here, it’ll just make your small stake worth more once the ship blasts off. The more people hop aboard, the faster the countdown sequence will begin.
In the meantime, pay it forward to friends and other content creators by upvoting and commenting. You can even send them a tip of 0.1 SBD if you like their posts; it’s worth more than your upvote at this point. As community interaction grows, so will the hype. Steemit will gain credibility and grow in value.
You can also start your own contests once you’ve had a few payouts. Get people involved, especially the minnows that just popped out of the egg, and the community will grow. Steemit isn’t relying on a team of programmers, marketers, and businessmen to succeed. Steemit is relying on its community to succeed.
Speaking of which I decided last minute to host a small contest as part of this post. I would like some ideas for the next post like this one. Just post in the comments another topic that might interest Steemit newbies. Upvoting and resteeming will encourage me to give larger payouts in the future. I will give 2 SBD to my favorite suggestion, once this post has paid out. Aren’t you glad you read the whole post? ;) Pay it forward!
This bulb is getting heavy! Can someone help me, please?!
Pay it forward: treat others how you want to be treated
Find your voice: show your passion, don’t go trend hunting
Stick with it!
Don’t plagiarize, vote beg, or cheat the system!
I hope you enjoyed my little write-up about my first month here at Steemit. These are just my opinions, so take it with a grain of salt. There’s so much more to Steemit I haven’t mentioned simply because I don’t have the experience to talk about it yet. I will leave you with some links to Discord communities I enjoy and some of the Steemit sideprojects, like Dtube. Take care all you Steemaniacs!
Dtube - Decentralized video platform
Dlive - Decentralized live streaming platform
Dmania - Viva la Meme Nation!
Utopian.io - Decentralized Github (correct me if I'm wrong)
eSteem - Steemit mobile app + more
Minnow Support Project - Best place to start
The Writer’s Block - Power up your writing skills here
Steemit Ramble - Ramble on and Pimp Your Post Thursdays
Geopolis - Geoscience centric
SteemSTEM - Calling all scientists
The STEEM Engine - When you’re ready to step it up
Steemit Blogger’s Central - Rewarding awesome posts
Keep calm and rock on!
Special thanks go out to @Lenadr and @Yekrats for editing this post. Many thanks to the crew at @thewritersblock for helping me step up my game.