Members of non-English communities, I give you permission to translate and publish any part of this post in your native language on Steemit or elsewhere (the tips are in the last part). You may post it from your own blog and keep all the rewards that you earn. (By the way, I often write “Steemit”, but I also mean that to include eSteem, Busy, ChainBB, and any other Steem-powered applications that allow you to post good content and earn rewards from it.)
How I began working with international communities on Steemit
10 months ago, @clayop contacted me for a chat conversation. We had known each other online for a while, both having been active members of the BitShares community before Steemit. Clayop had some voting power that he wanted to share with a curation project that I had helped start called Project Curie (which has evolved since then into the more decentralized Curie).
In addition to Clayop helping with the under-rewarded posts that Curie discovered, we discussed the idea of making some combined votes to support Korean language posts. At that time, there were only a handful of non-English language posts on Steemit. They had not received many votes. So the very small Korean community held an election and chose two curators who would select and review the best Korean posts to be voted upon by staff members from Curie (and later Steem Guild, when the Korean project moved under that initiative).
Within two weeks of this discussion with Clayop, @gargon and I had a similar conversation. He had not been sleeping well because he was so excited about Steemit, posting and commenting at all hours and bringing his talented family members to the platform. He and his brother @pgarcgo wanted to start supporting some Spanish language posts and asked if we could share some voting power for this.
Again, the staff members and whale supporters of these initiatives had the foresight to see that this support could help fuel greater growth in the future. They agreed that they would be glad to support both Korean and Spanish language posts; we later expanded to include German, Turkish, Japanese, and Chinese as well.
“Spreading Like a Virus”
These were my first experiences working with non-English communities on Steemit. In the months that have followed, several of these international communities have grown exponentially from where they first began. That growth is due to the hard work of the people within those communities. Confident from the votes they received and with a strong understanding of how to make high quality posts, they went forth and brought many of their friends onto Steemit, duplicating that work many times over.
As my friends in the Nigerian community like to say, Steemit then starts spreading like a virus.
A few months ago, I met two extraordinary Indonesian community members, @aiqabrago and @levycore. That began what has been one of my most enjoyable periods on Steemit, helping to support the incredible growth that had already begun there in the Aceh province. Getting to know these guys and their broadening circle of friends, in addition to longtime Aceh-based members like @teukumukhlis and @vannour, has been wonderful. Well before I started helping, these community members were already sharing Steemit the right way, growing the community there organically by introducing friends, meeting to discuss it at local coffee shops, giving “Steem” and “Steemit” good name recognition in the region.
During the period when large whale accounts were not voting this spring, @kevinwong and I realized that our votes could make a difference in distributing meaningful rewards on good posts in Indonesia. So @aiqabrago and @levycore began bringing in posts for us to vote on. And more posts. And more posts. And more and more and more. We and several others, plus @aiqabrago with a Steem Power delegation from @bhuz, have voted on thousands of Indonesian language posts that they have brought in. Even during a period of low STEEM prices, there were dozens and dozens of new members coming in each week in Indonesia.
Curating posts. Bringing in friends and acquaintances. Running a channel for the community. Posting contests and fundraising for weekly rewards. Recruiting for and holding meet-ups to train members and emphasize proper posting techniques. Creating a website and book. I don’t even know half of the work they do. To say that @levycore, @aiqabrago and their base team have worked hard over these last few months is an understatement. If you have not seen @levycore ‘s post from last week, you may have missed the fact that they just…
…broke the Guinness Book record for the largest (non SteemFest) Steemit Meet-Up: ~ 120 people last week! (Note to Steemit members anywhere in the world: I will gladly help sponsor your writing contests also if you can bring in new members and posts at a rate anything like what these guys have been doing!)
They have earned my trust so much that I gave them a posting key for my account and have moved on to focus on other work. In addition to helping with Italy along with @thenightflyer and @bhuz, my newest area of focus is Africa, particularly Nigeria. Recently, several other members and I have begun voting on the best Nigerian posts that several community leaders from there are helping to select.
Nigeria is both easier and more challenging than some other communities, because English is widely spoken. That opens up the posts to more potential voters (most of whom read English), but it also spreads out the community and gives it less of a cohesive identity. The same has been true of the Indian community, but that one is coming together very nicely also. Additionally, Africa has other unique challenges, but with challenges also come opportunities to help more people.
Fortunately, Nigerian community leaders like @fisteganos and @ehiboss have been bringing members together and emphasizing that they should use #nigeria as a common tag for all of their posts. Steemit’s Nigerian members are some of the warmest and most humble people I have met yet on here. As @gavvet mentioned in a recent post, Steem (the cryptocurrency) could go viral and challenge Bitcoin in West Africa before it happens anywhere else. I look forward to continuing to work with the Nigerian members to help them reach many more people.
Based on these experiences, here are my Top 5 Tips for International Members & Growth Communities
(1) Please vote and comment on one another’s posts.
People within a community such as #nigeria can help one another by voting on the good posts that come from others in your region. Also, making comments on others’ posts is essential to creating engaging conversations. The more engagement your community can show (via voting and commenting on each other’s posts), the more likely your community is to get support via voting power and donations for events/activities like meet-ups or contests.
Some people neglect commenting because it generally does not pay as well as posting. But by commenting on others’ posts, you gain followers and future voters for your own blog. And you help others who will help you also, bringing more conversation and more community to Steemit.
(2) Please encourage women to join and post.
There is a gender divide in many countries. I understand that there are traditional gender roles in some societies, but please do not neglect the opportunity that women around the world have to post, comment, vote, and earn money just like men do on Steemit. Please invite sisters, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, and other women in your life to join Steemit as well.
From @sykochica to @stellabelle to @sweetsssj, the women of this community have helped put Steemit on the map. Steemit has a higher proportion of female members than some online sites do, yet the platform remains predominantly male. Both Steemit (the social media site) and Steem (the currency) can help a lot of people around the world. Women in many countries lack the opportunity to get good jobs or start businesses. Steemit gives people the opportunity to earn from posting and interacting. Steem (the cryptocurrency) provides people with a way to send monetary value to people anywhere in the world that is free, instant, and secure.
People may not know that @sweetsssj once was a humble curator for Chinese posts with Steem Guild, before she became one of Steemit’s brightest stars! That was when I first met her online and we began working together on curation. Even then, no one on Steemit worked harder on a blog than she did. Her tremendous success is a testament to her hard work and to the care with which she crafts each of her posts. She definitely deserves a regular spot on the trending page; there is no post on Steemit that I would rather new members see than one of hers.
We should empower more female members of Steemit all around the world like @jumaidafajar (Indonesia), @gloglo and @ogoowinner (Nigeria), and @aishwarya and @travel-cuisine (India). Each of them has made the platform better with their blogs and with the other people they have encouraged to join us. So please feel free to refer Steemit to your male friends & relatives, but don’t forget the women also!
(3) What do English language readers and viewers want from your posts?
Many international community members have a desire to reach English-speaking readers. This is understandable, since it can translate to more votes and rewards. Some translate posts via Google Translate. Others have friends who translate the posts. And other members try to translate the posts themselves, either posting in English or in both languages.
And in other countries, from the Netherlands to Nigeria and from Israel to India, English is widely spoken. Therefore, most members from those countries post in English.
However, using a universal language like English does not guarantee that all readers will relate to your topic or your post. So what are readers and viewers in majority English-speaking countries looking for from your posts?
Original content generally earns much more in rewards than summarized or re-posted content. It could be a poem, a story, or a picture you took or drew. It could be a long article or a short description of what you ate for lunch.
Some people like the reflective, self-help posts (e.g. “How to Keep Trying and Stay Motivated”). That is one possible areas for topics, but please realize that we have seen a lot of posts in that genre already. Unless it is a particularly well-rewarded topic area such as photos or travel posts, it is possible that readers/viewers will reach some saturation point and not want to vote as much on such posts. That is not to discourage you from making good posts in that area (please do), but also try some different things and see what works best.
(4) Some Ideas for Posts
I would like to know more about your life and what makes it unique or interesting. You mind find yourself boring. After seeing posts about others’ colorful round-the-world adventures, you might think that you have not done anything as interesting. But you ARE interesting.
I want to learn more about your country, your city, your culture, your holidays, your family, your parents and siblings and relatives, and your spouse or significant other, plus your children if you have any.
Also, I would love to read posts about your favorite teacher or one thing you learned in school that you will never forget.
What do you eat for breakfast and how is it different from what I eat? Where does the food come from? Are there interesting markets or farms nearby?
After breakfast, what do you do next? If you go to a job or a school, what kind of transportation do you take to get there? What do you see along the way? What does the land look like and what do the buildings look like near your home? If you have a camera on your phone, take a picture along the way and tell us about it. Or draw one. Or describe it in words.
Do you like music? What kind? What are your hobbies? Have you read a book or watched a movie or played a game or eaten at a restaurant that you liked and can tell us about?
If there is one person you could introduce to Steemit, who would it be? If there is one business you would like to accept Steem or Steem Dollars, which one and why?
If you earn lots of Steem, what would you like to do with it in the future? What will you do to make the world better? What fun items would you like to buy for yourself? Would you like to take a trip somewhere – where and why?
If you have the ability to take a few pictures, even simple ones that are not good quality, they can help readers visualize your subject in the post. Posts with original photos (or drawings or paintings!) generally get more votes and rewards than posts without them. But if you cannot use pictures, then show us with your words.
(5) Write, edit, and then proof-read your posts.
In many developing countries, people are posting from phones on eSteem. It may seem difficult to edit the text of your post before putting it on the site. But please take the extra time to edit and proofread. It is better to write one good post that has no errors than to push out two or three lesser quality ones in that same period of time. One well-written post can get more votes and earn more rewards.
One of the most common mistakes is that people often do not capitalize their sentences or capitalize the word “I”. This makes your post difficult to read. (for example, this is what i think those sentences look like.) They look unprofessional. Your blog is your brand, so make sure it shows your very best effort.
@sweetsssj has never posted an unprofessional looking blog post. People think it’s her original ideas, great blogging, amazing travel experiences, and beautiful looks that get her so many votes, all of which are true. But every one of her posts looks extremely professional, from the structure to the photos to the editing. If you want good results also, take the time to edit and proofread before posting. If these skills are difficult for you, find a friend who can help you proofread it.
A Bold Prediction
In the coming months, we need to continue sharing Steem/it with as many people as possible. Steem will surpass Bitcoin (and M-Pesa and other payment systems) in the developing world before it happens elsewhere. These growing communities are the key. I hope that many other Steemit members who have Steem Power will consider using some votes (no, INVESTING some votes) to help distribute rewards on worthy posts in regions where this growth is taking place.
And I hope all of you from countries around the world will continue posting great content that makes Steem and Steemit that much better. When you do, you certainly deserve my votes!