Getting Discovered on HubPages

I’ve noticed a common pattern amongst HubPages users- they typically join with one motive in mind (e.g. earning money or finding a creative outlet), but find that HubPages is full of hidden surprises.  Many comment on the unexpected value of the HubPages community, and others have been surprised by how HubPages has allowed them to hone their writing and develop a voice they never thought they had.  Hubber cjv123 found something altogether different- press coverage!

Not too long ago, a producer from Fox News found cjv123’s writing on HubPages and emailed her about doing an interview.  cjv123 was kind enough to share her interview process (My Fox News Interview and HubPages) as well as her thoughts on the interview itself (My Fox News Interview Video).  Lucky for us, she was also willing to answer some questions on her overall experience of being discovered on HubPags!

Check out the Q & A below to glean cjv123’s thoughts about the unexpected adventure, as well as her suggestions to Hubbers who might also want to be discovered online:

1. Now that some days have passed since the interview and your initial reactions, what are your thoughts of the whole experience?

As a writer, you’re always hoping someone, somewhere out there is reading what you write on-line. I’m still tickled when someone does read what I write and very grateful when they take the time to read my Hubs and no less leave comments. I never (honestly) dreamed Fox News or any producer from any news organization would be reading my Hubs. Despite the fact that I know Hubpages turns up on most all the major searches if you use the proper tags.

2. What originally inspired you to join HubPages? What did you hope to get out of the experience?

What originally inspired me was – I wanted to find a forum where people would actually have the opportunity to read “the fruits of my labor.” I was on another blog – which shall remain nameless – and no one was reading it. I also blogged on a Christian website and while my blogs were in the top ten there, I felt it was time to stretch my creative muscles and write about other topics not necessarily associated directly with Christianity. I searched and what I liked about Hubpages was your content had to be unique to Hubpages. I also liked the fact when I did do random searches to test the Hubpages claims – I saw Hubs pop up in the results. What I hoped to gain was a following (if my Hubs deserved such), so that when my novel-in-waiting was published – whether by a publisher or if I self-published, I could hope to sell a few copies. I also confess – it was to hopefully show the publisher who has agreed to view my entire manuscript “Lookie, see — people actually read my writing!”

3. When you started writing on HubPages, did you ever anticipate hearing from the media or get any particular attention?

Absolutely not. I honestly looked at others who had achieved Hubpages success and was happy for them never dreaming it would or could happen to me. However, if it ultimately will help sell my book(s) then I’m all about getting my Hubs noticed!

4. Why do you think that the producers at Fox News chose you as an interview subject?

Thanks to Hubpages – I had written about the right topic at the right time regarding the War on Terror and because of my Hubs turning up on search engines – a Fox news producer stumbled on them. I make it clear in my “about me” page who I am and what I’m about and they just happened to be looking for a point of view from both a military wife and military mom.

5. Would you like to get more media coverage in the future?

Honestly? Not really – however – if the publisher who has my manuscript publishes the book, you betcha! Part of the obligation you go into when you publish a book is – as an author, I promise I will try my absolute best to make sure my book sells. You give your word so of course in that case, yes, I’d seek the media attention. Otherwise – I honestly do not wish for it. I work for a celebrity and I can not tell you how many times, standing in the sidelines I’ve watched all the attention he gets and think, “Thank God that’s him and not me.” Not that I’m shy, but it truly is a lot of work to be “on” and all the demands made upon you and your life. So I do not envy nor covet that attention.

6. What advice would you give to other Hubbers who would like to be ‘discovered’ on HubPages- for news interviews, perhaps, but also for networking, finding a job, getting published, etc.?

Well, I would say read all that you can about how to get your Hubs noticed. Read other Hubs about this very thing as well. That’s how I started. One key thing I can’t say enough is TAG WORDS. That is so important if one wishes to be read beyond their own Hubpages social circle. Plus, really think through your titles. Don’t just slap some words up there. Try to think of something in your subject matter that would make you notice an article if you did a search and think, “Hmmm, now that one sounds intriguing.” Your title is important. Another important thing is be careful about your grammar and punctuation. Check and recheck your spelling. These key elements seem to be a lost art these days, but an incoherent, poorly written Hub won’t get the attention it deserves even if the content is amazing. If an agent is perusing the internet and they come upon two Hubs, one with proper spelling and grammar usage, and one on the same topic sloppily written, it’s no contest. Take the time to check and recheck your work for mistakes. I think this really goes a long way no matter who you wish would notice your writing. Then Tweet, link your Hubs on Facebook etc. and keep on Hubbing!

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Thanks cjv123!!  If you’d like to keep tabs on cjv123’s latest Hubs and HubPages activitiy, follow her~

The “Dark & Stormy Night” Rages On…

…and only you have the power to bring a brighter dawn!

Ok, that’s a little dramatic, and yes, it even rhymes.  You might even call it a great example of bad writing, which is precisely why it’s a perfect way to direct your attention to the Dark And Stormy Night Finalists in need of your votes!

For those of you who missed the submissions round, this blog post will give you an idea of exactly what the contest is.   In a nutshell, the idea is to try to write the worst opening line to a novel that you can imagine.  We got a lot of amazingly bad entries, which made sorting through and picking the finalists a very difficult (but hilarious) job.  In the end, the HubTeam narrowed it down to just ten, and now it’s up to you to pick the over all winner!

Some of the entries had to be disqualified, due to the fact that they were not actually one sentence, prompting this delicious diatribe by the contest’s host, the lovely lmmartin:

  • “Dark and stormy night, dark and stormy night,” the poor, tortured woman was heard to whimper plaintively as she tossed and turned on her sweat sodden mattress, unconsciously ripping out shocks of hair by the roots with hands showing badly chewed nails and bleeding cuticles, trembling and jerking in nervous tremors as they wiped at a face tear-stained and swollen, and indeed, so piteous was her state that he reached forward to comfort the miserable wretch, only to pull back, startled, as she suddenly and abruptly sat straight up and screamed, “ONLY ONE SENTENCE!”

So head on over to the official voting hub and cast your ballots.  We want lmmartin to keep her hair… or at least have pulled it out for a reason.

Article-Based Web Sites and the Future of Print Media Companies

I remember when I first started using the web in the early 90’s.  Web sites were quite ugly with blinking text, slapped together images, and unstyled text. But in those days, we weren’t too bothered by that.  There was an excitement about the possibilities of all the information that could soon be available on the web.  With the slowness of modem connections at the time, I thought that article-based web sites (or online magazines as I would have said then) was where the action was going to be.

I guess looking back, I was pretty naive not to see that broadband was inevitable and the web was not going to be a great repository of articles but an active social network.  I had thought that urls were too nerdy and would prevent nontechnical folks from using the internet directly rather than going through a more user-friendly website such as AOL or at the time, Prodigy.

I wasn’t completely wrong about the impact of article-based web sites.  The print media today seems close to extinction unless it can reinvent itself online.

I thought that Clay Shirky wrote a very interesting essay about the future of TV and I think that his observations apply equally well to the print media:

The most watched minute of video made in the last five years shows baby Charlie biting his brother’s finger. (Twice!)  That minute has been watched by more people than the viewership of American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, and the Superbowl combined.  (174 million views and counting.)

Some video still has to be complex to be valuable, but the logic of the old media ecosystem, where video had to be complex simply to be video, is broken.  Expensive bits of video made in complex ways now compete with cheap bits made in simple ways.  “Charlie Bit My Finger” was made by amateurs, in one take, with a lousy camera.  No professionals were involved in selecting or editing or distributing it.  Not one dime changed hands anywhere between creator, host, and viewers.  A world where that is the kind of thing that just happens from time to time is a world where complexity is neither an absolute requirement nor an automatic advantage.

Wikipedia has demonstrated the force that article-based web sites can have. It has also demonstrated the power of crowdsourcing as an important source of content creation. Recently, Huffington Post has been attracting lots of attention as it has risen rapidly in traffic and readership.

Nothing to my mind speaks better to the changing state of the print media than a list of the top article-based sites.  The list below is based on US unique visitors as estimated by Quantcast. I am also excluding sites that do not focus primarily on articles such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, AOL, and Microsoft.

Here’s the top 20 list for June 18, 2010:

  1. Wikipedia (75M)
  2. Blogspot (58M)
  3. Blogger.com (52M)
  4. Answers.Com (47M)
  5. About.Com (45M)
  6. eHow (44M)
  7. WordPress (30M)
  8. Huffington Post (26M)
  9. imdb (21M)
  10. cnn.com (20M)
  11. webmd (18M)
  12. Associated Content (16M)
  13. NYTimes.com (15M)
  14. cnet.com (15M)
  15. bbc.co.uk (15M)
  16. tmz.com (15M)
  17. people.com (14M)
  18. HubPages (13M)
  19. WashingtonPost.com (13M)
  20. examiner.com (13M)

 

A list like this is a bit deceiving.  NYT owns about.com, Associated Content is owned by Yahoo, and Blogger consists of both Blogspot (for readers) and Blogger (for writers). It also doesn’t tell you which sites are on the rise, on the decline, or staying roughly in the same spot. Still, it is very interesting to note the new names that are appearing along side the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, People, and CNN.

I think it is appropriate to end this blog post with one more quote from Clay Shirky in the same article that I quoted before:

When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to.  It’s easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old.  But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.

The New HubPages iPhone App: A Walk Through of Its Features

Last week, we introduced the new HubPages mobile app for the iPhone.  We had announced that this was coming 4 months ago so it was very nice to see it made available.  I thought that it would be useful to provide a walk through of the current features and list out what’s coming next.

To use the application, you will either need to have a HubPages account or you will need to sign up for one.  The application is free.  To sign up from the application, just click the “join” button at the top right.

The 0.1 version of the application includes three features which each appear as tab buttons:

  • Feed:  a mobile version of the HubFeed.
  • My Account: stats and ability to moderate comments, fan mail, and requests.
  • Hopper: a mobile version of Hub Hopper.

To switch between any of these features, just click on the tab button.

Mobile Feed

The application  starts up displaying the mobile feed.

It has the “What’s on your mind” tab at the top which allows you to Create a Status Update, Ask a Question, or Post to Forum.  If you click on “What’s on your mind”, you will see the following:

For each feed item, if you click on the plus-sign at the right of the feed item, you will see more choices.

Depending on the item, the menu allows you to add comments, view the existing comments for the feed item, report an issue to the HubPages staff, share the item with those following you on the feed, or indicate that you like an item.

For example, if you would like to participate in a forum.  You could select “View Posts” and then you get to the following feed item page:

In the above example, you can reply to the post by clicking on “Write a reply…”

Mobile My Account

When you click the “My Account” tab, you are presented with a menu that will look something like this:

You can quickly tell if you have any comments or fan mail to moderate or any requests.  A red number on the tab tells you how many items that have not yet been reviewed.

For example, here’s what it looks like if after you have decided to approve a fan mail received:

For requests, you can provide a short answer from your phone.  For comments, you can reply with a new comment:

The “Hubs” menu item allows you to see the latest stats on your published hubs.  You can sort by score, title, and views and you can  filter the list by rising or falling traffic.

If you click on the hub’s title, you go to a Hub Detail Page that allows you to see the daily, weekly, monthly, total stats, and a graph.

Hub Hopper

The Hub Hopper allows you check out recently published hubs.  The hopper will automatically focus on categories and hubbers that you are following.

To see another hub, click the blue “Hop!” button.  To go back to a hub you just saw, click the “Previous” button.  You can rate the hub by clicking “up” or “down”.  If you prefer to use adjectives, click on the “more” button for additional rating options:

Future Features Planned

We are now in the process of planning of the next release of our iPhone application.

Here are the features that are currently planned:

  • Android Support: We are planning a HubPages mobile app for Android.
  • Photos: it should be easy to upload photos from your phone to HubPages
  • Hub Tool Lite: it should be easy to write simple hubs that conist of text and images only.
  • Search: It should be easy to do a search from the application
  • More Notifications: Notifications when a user responds to a forum post or a question asked, etc.

If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see, please let us know.  Feel free to request a feature here or to provide a comment to this blog post.

Eat, Drink, and Be Hubbalicious: the June contest!


Hope you’re hungry this month. Food is the topic of this month’s contest—the Eat, Drink, and Be Hubbalicious Contest—and we hope talented participants’ Hubs on the world of cooking techniques and ingredients, and the cuisines of the world and their recipes, will get visitors’ mouths watering and stomachs rumbling for years to come!

Come one, come all, to the Food category page for details on the contest. There’s over $3,000 in prizes still up for grabs, and people from over 100 countries are eligible.