Best way to Grow on Steemit
My assumption is that you want to grow here on Steemit, and I use grow with more than one meaning:
- Some of you might want to write their soul out and also read well-written, beautiful and informative articles.
- A significant number want (or "also want", this is not exclusive) to "make money" while writing or reading good content.
I believe this platform has great potential and I know I want pretty much both, too.
This article is an upgraded follow-up (in English) of an article I've written 3 weeks ago in French, "Communauté d'intérêts sur Steemit". Here is the plan:
- Upvoting can bring both "soft" (community building) and financial benefits and offer a compelling benefits / effort ratio.
- Despite what people might think, amateurish upvoting doesn't "pay" very well while considerate upvoting is very profitable.
- Getting good benefits from upvoting ("curation") requires the cooperation of the author.
- I commit to behave like a caring author who not only produces good content but also strives to reward the people who read and upvote his content.
- I explain and invite you to join a win-win "symbiosis" and take advantage of the SBD I'll spend promoting the content I create in order to optimize your gains from curation, grow the "good content" community on Steemit as well as your Steem Power.
image "burrowed" from @lishu, follow him!
There are a lot of articles about how to make money on Steemit by posting. I pretty much enjoy reading for instance @yallapapi, who is brutal and irreverent. However there are several things that I disagree with in his arguments:
- One has to do with an explicit focus on "getting on the Trending page". I think that is not sustainable (but I might be naive). Basically if everybody learns how to abuse the system in order to get on the Trending page with shitty posts, all this will accomplish is ... devalue the Trending page itself and make it worthless. People with significant SP will stop checking it up (if they haven't done so already). The whole effort would have been worthless, because the most one will be able to achieve is to capture $0.00 upvotes from Plankton.
- Another one is somewhat subtler: a significant part of the value of Steemit is the community, I am convinced of that. If everybody focuses on posting and maximizing author rewards it turns the whole discourse from conversations to parallel monologues; it gradually empties the place of its soul and makes it wither (and possibly even turn into yet another Fb/Instagram/etc.).
My first thesis is that curating - i.e. upvoting good posts has a better "growth / effort" ratio than authoring posts.
Of course one can earn more, in absolute terms, by authoring ("root") posts (not comments). If you can write, if you spend a fair amount of effort in the process and if the posts get voted by a whale (quite a bunch of ifs).
But when used well, there is also significant value in upvoting good content for the rewards. And, while warmly recommended, reading ability is in this case not even mandatory. And the effort required is practically nil!
Thus my first thesis is that there's not only "community building" but also reasonable money (with respect to the effort required) to be made by upvoting as I explain below
Most Steemians are by now aware that the steem blockchain produces STEEM which goes into a "reward pool". By upvoting, we all help distribute 75% of the content of that pool (another 15% go to those holding VESTS, and 10% to witnesses who produce blocks).
When a post "pays" (after 7 days), 75% of the sum accumulated thanks to voting goes to the author and 25% (in theory) to those who have upvoted (to reward them for having signaled to the community the value of the post).
This is at least grosso modo the theory. For those who have bothered to research further, the devil is in the details.
In this article, @themarkymark, a steem witness and author of a pretty successful bot pulls the curtain on the actual curation rewards. In reality, curators very often get much less than 25% of a post's rewards.
Actually, what you should understand (read the post linked above if you must) is that getting a lot less than 25% when being among the upvoters is the default behaviour.
Why that is so has to do with the specific rules implemented in the steem engine and are better explained by Juliàn Gonzalez, alias @jga, a great guy, in this pretty involved article full of square roots.
I explain the "TL;DR" of it in the article in French I referenced earlier. Here is the worst you should expect:
- If you upvote a post right after it's been published, you get 0 (zero, nada, zilch). Every cent of voting power (VP) you spent voting that article goes to the author.
- If you upvote more than 30' after a post has been published, you should generally expect to get about 1/8th (one eighth) as "$" (also called STU or "Steem Token Units" sometimes) of the VP you have used. Let's say your upvote awarded $0.40 to the article, you should expect $0.05 for yourself. But since you'll get this as SP, if STEEM trades at, say, $1.6 then you are actually credited with (0.05 / 1.6) = 0.03 SP.
- If you upvote posts in between their 0 minute and their 30th minute, you get something in-between (linear).
At best, though, you can get A WHOLE LOT more than that! As a "picture is worth a thousand words", have a look at the curation rewards for my previous post "Small Worlds"
click on the picture to see the data in @penguinpablo 's steemblockexplorer
Here you can see that my first voter, @rbm, has probably voted right after publication, has awarded me $0.004 and is going to get ... 0.000 SP (nothing) for his trouble. In contrast, my second voter, @luciancovaci has probably voted after the 30 minute mark, has awarded $0.003 but is going to get ... 0.019 SP for it !
While in absolute that's not a lot, it still is more than 6 times more than the VP he "spent" ! The pattern holds for the third upvoter, @marketstack who awarded $0.025 and gets 0.133 SP for himself (from the reward pool), not bad for a simple upvote. For an even bigger value, the fourth voter in this picture, @cristi, awards $0.112 to me and earns 0.279 SP, four times more than the VP spent (with a STEEM at USD 1.6)
How is that possible? If that is not the default situation (quite the contrary, as @themarkymark makes clear), then what has happened in the specific situation I illustrate above ?
For the moment, note that by default, UNLESS the AUTHOR goes to some length in order to ensure that her/his curators get fairly rewarded, simply upvoting "trending" posts is far from maximizing the return on your upvote. Hence my third thesis.
Upvoting specific authors, that behave in a certain way, maximize the reward of the curators. And as the rewards do not come from the author directly but from the reward pool, this is not a "zero-sum game" but rather a case of "win - win" symbiosis, where the curators help the author and, more unusual, the author helps her/his curators !
Let's begin by illustrating this with a snapshot of the same article but taken BEFORE I, the author, had engaged in the behaviour I'm talking about
In this picture, from which the first vote from @rbm is absent, you can easily note that the votes and the VP awarded to the author are the same for @luciancovaci ($0.003), @marketstack ($0.025) and @cristi ($0.112). Yet at the moment of this snapshot, their expected curation rewards are A LOT smaller!
A good observer might also note that I didn't self-vote my post at publication and only upvoted it one day after publication. Why ?
Because I wanted to let my curators benefit and, as @jga explains in the post I've mentioned above, the curation rewards for a given upvote depend on the INCREASE in the post payout AFTER that upvote.
In other words, if you vote a post when the reward is, say, $0.5 with a VP of, say, $0.04 and at payout time the reward on that post is, say again, $140, you curation reward will be multiplied several times. For the actual formula, it will approach 1/4 * square_root(140) * (square_root(0.54) - square_root(0.5)) = 1/4 * 12 * 0.028 =~ $0.084, more than double the VP employed (rather than the default 1/8th of the VP used to upvote).
Of course the question is: how can the voter foresee that the final payout on the post is going to be so high (something like $140)?
Well, I can only speak about my posts here: those who choose to read and upvote my posts can do so knowing that they will reach high payouts ... because I'll promote them with bots after the first or second day (depending on my available SBD and time to use steembottracker). Hence my fourth thesis ...
Have a looked at my previous posts and decide whether you might want to upvote my future posts. If the answer is "yes", then as long as you are voting, let's focus on maximizing your curation reward!
I'll start by showing that I "have form" for quite a while in trying to maximize the curation rewards of my upvoters (at least since I made sense of this rather complex mechanic). Here are some snapshots of my previous posts, look how close my curators come to getting 25% of the post's rewards (and compare that with what you saw in the article by @themarkymark)
(if these images render correctly, you'll see that my posts average 24% of curation rewards, within a whisker of the theoretical maximum of 25%)
In order to achieve this percentage I'm using bots to promote my posts. I try to keep a reasonable relationship between the sum I use for promotion and how important I perceive each one of my posts to be.
Thus I spend more on posts I deem important and less on posts I deem more mundane (or when I lack SBD), but you can see that during the last month I've authored 12 posts for a total reward of $656 or about $54.65 per post on average (despite the fact that only 10 posts were promoted). I plan to gradually increase this sum in the future (at least as long as STEEM stays cheap)
I use bots more than 24 hours after publishing (and sometimes up to 3 days after publication) to let some time to my readers to make an informed decision whether a post is worthy of their vote or not.
I self-vote my posts as late as possible, right before the bots cast their upvote, to leave as much curation rewards to "human curators".
Synthesis and conclusion
If you care for good content on Steemit AND for your Steem Power and curation rewards then this proposal should appeal to you. In order to be sure that you upvote my posts as soon as the first 30 minutes have passed, use an external service such as Streemian.com or Steemauto.com. With the latter, go to "Fanbase", enter "sorin.cristescu" in the text box and click "follow". Once "@sorin.cristescu" appears underneath in the "You are following" list, do not forget to click "Settings" and modify the "Wait time" to 30'.
As you can see in the picture above, I am "eating my own dogfood" and started (this after-noon) following people I think are adding value to steemit AND are using bots to promote their content, @yallapapi and @friendly-fenix. If I find more such people, I'll add them to the list too (and keep an eye on what they publish anyway). This way I am satisfied that I am not only upvoting (thus promoting) good content, but also optimizing my gains from curation.
Thus, if you appreciate my content, I invite you to "become a fan" of mine on Streemian.com or Steemauto.com and ... let's grow together!