Book Summary: The Art and Business of Online Writing

Why do you have to read The Art and Business of Online Writing book summary?


This piece of content is for you if you wish to pursue professional writing on your own terms.

Whether you’re an author, freelancer, speaker, entrepreneur, executive, investor, consultant, or anyone else, you’ll gain insights into how writing can elevate your career and open doors to new opportunities.

This book’s author received 100 million views on their articles.
Read the entire post if you’ve never made money or if you’d like to make more.


This post will show you how to excel in online writing, regardless of your background. Learn how to attract views, build a loyal audience, establish credibility, connect with influencers, and write for top publications.

Mastering these concepts will exceed your expectations, enabling you to achieve significant milestones like gaining thousands of views, growing a devoted following, earning credibility, networking with influential figures, speaking at events, publishing in prestigious journals, and landing major opportunities such as book deals or consulting gigs.

Want to know how?

Let’s get started.

I have thoughtfully covered every chapter’s lesson.

Are you excited like me?

So, stay tuned till the end.

Favorite quote:

“The number of hours I spend consuming should never equal or exceed the number of hours I spend creating.”

Chapter 1: Want To Start Writing Online? Don’t Start A Blog.

1. Blogging Isn’t the Only Option: According to popular belief, beginning a blog on one’s own website isn’t always the initial step towards online writing. There are other forms of online writing besides blogging, even if it can be a useful tool for sharing ideas and experiences.

2. Websites and Blogs Have Different Uses: While blogs act as online diaries where users express their ideas, websites primarily serve as business cards that briefly outline your identity and areas of expertise. Professionals like authors and speakers frequently utilize websites to promote their work and establish credibility.

3. Writing on the Internet Can Have Various Results: There are various routes you can pursue, depending on whether your goal is to share your ideas with others or earn money from your writing. It’s not always the ideal idea to start a blog, especially if the aim is to develop your personal brand or drive traffic to your website.

The definition of Online Writing.

One characteristic, and one factor only, is used by the author to describe online writing: sharing ideas, stories, opinions, and insights on a platform that already has an engaged community.

Blogging is the practice of posting on your own platform in the hopes that readers will find you.
Online writing is when you provide your voice to a platform where readers are already present.

Chapter 2: The New Way To Think About Being A Writer In The Digital Age

There are 2 types of writers today: those who use data to inform and improve their writing, and those who fail.

According to the author: In today’s digital age, being a writer means turning your writing into a data-mining machine. Most people think they know what to write about, who their audience is, and what book they should write. But the truth is, they often lack data to confirm their assumptions. Many make the mistake of rushing to create their own website and start a blog without gathering this crucial information first.

Whether you’re an aspiring author or a CEO, it’s essential to start by writing online before doing anything else. This allows you to gather data about your audience, what resonates with them, and what topics they’re interested in. By writing online, you can refine your message, understand your audience better, and ultimately position yourself more effectively.


It’s like building a solid foundation for your writing career to write online first. It’s a wise decision because it lowers your risk by assisting you in determining what readers find appealing and objectionable without requiring any financial outlay.

It’s also a great approach to finding your own writing style. You can see how your writing style changes over time when you look at the statistics.

Writing on the internet from the beginning also has the major advantage of helping you develop your audience from the first. You can start interacting with readers right away, without having to wait until you have a large project finished. Writing online will also give you important insight into what readers are interested in reading.

Just like Mark Manson did with his book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck,” you can use data from your blog to shape your future projects, making them even more appealing to your audience.

When the author started writing every day on Quora, he noticed a significant difference in his learning and growth. He received instant feedback from readers, both positive and negative, as well as data like views and comments.

Without realizing it, he began using this feedback to improve his writing. HE focused more on topics that attracted more readers and adjusted His writing style based on what worked best.

Instead of guessing what people wanted to read, he listened to their audience and let him guide his writing decisions.

Before he was even a teenager, Justin Bieber was singing loudly while playing a guitar on sidewalks.
For years, Ed Sheeran performed in subways before a record label signed him.
Before they became incredibly famous, The Beatles performed six nights a week at a strip club in Hamburg, Germany.
Taylor Swift performed at county fairs and Rotary Club events in Nashville before to becoming one of the most well-known musicians worldwide.

Chapter 3: How The Online Writing Game Works: 7 Levels Of Success

Level 1: Conscious vs Unconscious

Successful writers play the game of Online Writing consciously. Unsuccessful writers play the game unconsciously—and then wonder why they aren’t succeeding.

If you’re writing just for yourself, as a personal hobby, and have no ambitions of becoming a professional writer, then go ahead and write whatever you want and share it wherever you like, like on your own blog.

Life is about enjoying yourself, learning, exploring, and expressing your creativity. But here’s the catch: if you’re okay with only getting a few people to appreciate your writing, then that’s fine. You can’t complain if you don’t get a lot of attention.

You can’t blame the internet, the algorithm, or anyone else for not recognizing your writing brilliance. You’ve chosen to play the game casually, without paying attention to how readers react, so you’ll likely get minimal recognition.

However, if you want to improve and grow as a writer, you need to play the game consciously.

you will find and magnify your most authentic writing voice ten times faster if you play the game with intention and pay attention to the statistics.

Level 2: Choose A Category.

Understanding the category of your writing is crucial. Just like in a bookstore, categories help readers know where to find your work. Online, websites and algorithms organize content into categories too. Knowing your category helps you understand the rules of the game and who your competitors are.

It’s like playing a strategy game—study your category, and know its language, formats, and dominant writers, so you can succeed.

Level 3: Define Your “Style” (Where Do You Sit On The Writing Spectrum?)

Writing exists on a spectrum between educating and entertaining. On one end, you have informative writing like textbooks, news, and nonfiction.

On the other end, there’s entertaining writing like fiction stories and pop culture blogs. You need to decide where you want to be: educating or entertaining. The goal is to find a unique style that stands out in your chosen category. It’s about being unexpected. For example, if everyone’s writing formal restaurant reviews, try writing comedic reviews from a funny character’s perspective.

As you write and gather feedback, your style will evolve, and you’ll find what works best for you. It’s all about experimenting and learning from the data.

Level 4: Optimize Your Writing Style For Speed

The internet favors what’s fast.

When people read online, they usually skim through the content instead of reading every word. They quickly glance over the text and stop only if something catches their interest. To keep readers engaged, it’s essential to maintain a high rate of revealing new information.

 This means getting straight to the point and avoiding unnecessary details. Slow-paced writing can lose the reader’s attention, so it’s crucial to keep the momentum going.

By delivering concise and impactful information, writers can better capture and retain their audience’s interest, especially in the fast-paced world of the internet.

Level 5: Specificity Is The Secret

“The Broader You Are, the More Confusing You Are” is the converse rule of “Specificity is the Secret.”
Writing about sports is something I enjoy doing. To be more precise, “I enjoy writing about basketball and the characteristics that all great players have in common.”
“Every day he saved his money” is too general. To be more precise, “He saved his money by putting a single dollar bill in a bucket under his bed every night before bed.”

It’s better if you ask yourself, “Could this be more specific?” constantly. Because you are more likely to connect with your target reader than your competitors the more particular you can be.
Begin in a specific specialty and work your way out from there.

Level 6: Engineering Credibility

It’s not necessary to be credible to become a well-known writer.

The first layer is Implied Credibility.

Online content’s implied trustworthiness is assessed based on its quality, production value, bio, picture, language, organization, and specificity. Regardless of your background or experience, greater credibility is implied by superior content. You can build credibility and make a name for yourself in your chosen field by creating interesting, top-notch material.

The second layer is Perceived Credibility.

The layer of perceived credibility is what many aspire to achieve, seeking validation from prestigious sources, high-profile endorsements, and impressive achievements. However, relying solely on these signals can often disappoint readers if the content fails to match the expectations set by these credentials. While these signals can initially capture attention, sustaining engagement requires genuine substance and quality in the content itself.

The third layer is Earned Credibility.

What really grabs our attention isn’t fancy titles or press logos, but a combination of Implied Credibility (quality content) and Earned Credibility (proof of consistent effort).

Earned Credibility comes from factors like longevity, frequency, and impact of content creation, which can’t be bought. Leveraging these badges of credibility, like being named a Top Writer on Quora, involves proudly displaying them in bios and platforms, influencing others to recognize their value and credibility.

Level 7: Create Your Own Category

Competing within established categories can be daunting, especially when trying to outshine renowned figures like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.

Instead, successful writers carve out their own niche by creating entirely new categories.

For instance, Malcolm Gladwell pioneered “Pop Science,” appealing to non-academic readers with his accessible yet research-based approach.

Similarly, J.K. Rowling revolutionized the fantasy genre with “Wizardry For Kids,” targeting a younger audience with her magical world of Hogwarts.

This strategy allows writers to distinguish themselves and avoid direct competition with established icons.

Chapter 4: Where You Should Be Writing Online—And Where You Should Not

Online writing platforms change, so focus on where you write rather than temporary tips. Writing for major publications like Forbes might seem prestigious, but it’s not the ultimate goal as it doesn’t always provide as much exposure as assumed.

Writing for (or being featured in) a major publication does not automatically guarantee “millions of views.”

Nicolas Cole shares data from his Inc Magazine columns, revealing low view counts.

Of the 409 columns I wrote exclusively for Inc Magazine, only 44 exceeded 10,000 views in 2017:

– 28 had 10,000 to 19,000 views

– 5 had 20,000 to 29,000 views

– 4 had 30,000 to 39,000 views

– 2 had 40,000 to 49,000 views

– 2 had 50,000 to 59,000 views

– 1 had 90,017 views

– 1 had 128,041 views

– 1 had 133,000 views

So, despite Inc Magazine’s 30 million monthly views, individual articles may not receive significant exposure.

Despite Inc Magazine’s high overall traffic, individual articles often receive minimal views.

Major publications prioritize quick clicks over prolonged reading, making exposure from a single article uncertain. Writers mainly rely on their social media to drive traffic to their articles, with limited organic engagement from publication platforms.

When you write for a major publication, you don’t have the freedom to write whatever it is you want to write about.

Think of yourself as an employee.

When major publications seek writers, they’re often looking to fill gaps in specific topics. Even if you’re a great writer, they prioritize filling those gaps.

For instance, Nicolas got his column in Inc Magazine not just for his writing skills, but because they needed more content on creativity.

Even successful business leaders face restrictions on what they can write about when they have columns in publications.

Writing for a major publication does not mean you get to promote yourself all day long.

Don’t bother writing for an online publication if your main objective is to write about the topics you want to write about.

On major publications, most columns get fewer than 1,000 views, with viral articles typically falling into specific categories: stories about wildly successful companies like Apple, unexpected viewpoints on trending topics, or personal development/life advice.

In 2017, Nicolas Cole found that 9 out of his top 10 performing columns for Inc Magazine were about personal development, emphasizing that readers are drawn to content that helps them grow or learn.

Social platforms will always exceed major publications in terms of reach.

Major publications can have viral moments, but they’re rare and often favor sensational topics over thoughtful content. Social platforms like Medium and Quora tend to offer broader exposure.

Despite Inc Magazine’s 30 million monthly page views, Nicolas Cole found his articles on Quora and Medium consistently outperformed his column, with views ranging from 500,000 to 1,000,000 per month, highlighting the limited reach of traditional publications compared to social platforms.

On major publications, you don’t “own” your own audience.

Writing for major publications can offer perceived credibility, SEO benefits, social exposure, and potential earnings, but it comes with limitations on content control and uncertain pay based on page views.

Despite the attraction, the primary benefit is often the credibility associated with the publication’s name. However, for fiction, fitness, and other writers, these rules apply across various genres, with social media platforms offering a more flexible and potentially rewarding starting point for online writing endeavors.

Your responsibility as a contributing writer is to increase the publication’s page views. As compensation, you can use the publication’s name to support your own perception of credibility.

Chapter 5: How Writing On Social Platforms Works (And How To Not Give Up)

Deciding to begin writing online is one thing.
Another thing totally is not giving up.

By reading other writers’ work, you cannot become a writer.
Writing a lot of writing is how you become a writer.

Writing online demands patience and consistency; overnight success is a myth. It requires resilience in the face of criticism and unpredictable outcomes. Yet, mastering online writing brings immense rewards, offering leverage and freedom.

To succeed, prioritize creation over consumption, dedicating more time to writing than reading.

The journey involves embracing feedback, refining your voice, and persistently honing your craft. Understand the stages of growth: accumulating data, improving skills, and gradually climbing the ladder of success through continuous practice and adaptation.

Stage 1: Just Start Writing

You will experience anxiousness when you write and post something online for the first time.

Writing online can make you feel nervous. You might worry about what people will think or if you’re doing it right.

But underneath those worries is a deeper fear: the fear of regret. We’re scared to share who we are now because we think we’ll be better in the future.

But that’s not helpful. It’s okay if your first writings aren’t perfect. Everyone starts somewhere, and the more you write, the better you’ll get.

Stage 2: Write Consistently For 6 Months And Then Make A Decision

Not all writers with the greatest talent end up being successful writers.
The writers who become successful are the most consistent writers.

If you don’t give yourself six months to figure out whether you have something worthwhile to say or if a platform is worth writing on, it’s impossible to know.

Goal #1 emphasizes the importance of consistency in writing online. Posting regularly increases your chances of getting noticed, builds trust with your audience, and maximizes opportunities for success.

Goal #2 advises exploring various topics and gathering data on audience engagement to refine your focus while staying true to your interests and values.

Goal #3 suggests studying successful writers on social platforms, understanding their strategies, and incorporating similar practices into your own approach to develop your unique style and niche.

Stage 3: Once You’ve Proven You Can Be Consistent, Pour Some Gasoline On Your Fire And Go KABOOM!

If you can stick with writing consistently for six months, you’re on the right track as a writer. But if you struggle to stay consistent, it’s time to face the reality: you might not be cut out for it.

Being a writer isn’t a title you earn; it’s about taking action and consistently producing content. If you can’t commit to writing regularly, reconsider if it’s truly your passion.

If you’ve stumbled in consistency, don’t give up. Analyze your mistakes, confront your fears, and get back to writing today.

Consistent output is key to growing your audience online. Once you’ve established this foundation, you can explore strategies to further grow your presence. Here are some effective strategies that work across different platforms:

Chapter 6: How To Always Write Something People Will Want To Read: 5 Forms Of Proven Writing

There are five types of writing on the internet.

Form #1: Actionable Guide

Form #2: Opinion

Form #3: Curated List

Form #4: Story

Form #5: Credible Talking Head

The way you “win” the game of online writing is by creating the single best possible version of whatever form of writing you’re using in your chosen category.

Actionable Guide

When crafting an Actionable Guide, aim to create something readers will want to bookmark for future reference. If your guide is bookmark-worthy, it means you’ve created a resource that readers find valuable and want to return to.

Here’s how you can make your Actionable Guide stand out from the competition:

1. **Better Quality**: Provide in-depth, insightful content that goes beyond what others offer. If most guides are short and lacking detail, go for longer, comprehensive guides. Conversely, if others are overly long and boring, condense your content into more digestible chunks.

2. **Better Voice**: Inject personality and a conversational tone into your guide. Stand out by being engaging and approachable, or if the field is overly casual, opt for a more professional tone.

3. **Better Organization**: Ensure your guide is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Break up content with subheadings, bullet points, and clear formatting for better readability.

4. **Better Positioning**: Take a unique angle on a common topic to differentiate yourself. Reframe the problem or offer a different perspective to capture attention.

5. **Better for the Audience**: Tailor your guide to the specific needs and interests of your audience. Use language and terminology that resonate with them, whether it’s highly technical or more general.

6. **Better Experience**: Avoid hard-selling tactics and instead focus on providing valuable information for free. Give readers what they need without holding back, building trust and loyalty in the process.


Opinion pieces are hugely popular online, but they’re also easily overlooked because everyone has an opinion. Just having an opinion isn’t enough to stand out. Like with Actionable Guides, there are specific techniques you can use to make your opinions more impactful:

1. **Better Data**: Provide solid evidence to support your opinions. If others’ opinions lack substance, bring in facts and data to back up your arguments. Conversely, if opinions are overloaded with stats, simplify by focusing on one key fact.

2. **Better Quotes**: Enhance your opinions by including quotes from credible sources. While others may rely solely on their own views, adding insightful quotes can strengthen your argument.

3. **Better Insight**: Expand the conversation by offering insights from outside the industry norms. Bring in perspectives from diverse sources to appeal to broader audiences. Conversely, if opinions are too broad, focus on one key insight to add depth to the discussion.

4. **Better Stories**: Instead of just stating opinions, weave them into compelling stories. Share anecdotes or historical examples that illustrate your point, adding richness to your arguments.

5. **Better Clarity**: Make your opinions clear and concise. Cut through the noise by straightforwardly presenting your views. Focus on what truly matters and why it’s important, avoiding unnecessary complexity.

By employing these techniques, you can make your opinion pieces more engaging and memorable, standing out in a sea of voices on the internet.

Curated List

Lists on the internet often get a bad rap for being clickbait, but they can be valuable if done right. To make your list meaningful and valuable to readers, focus on two things: Specificity and Speed.

1. **Specificity**: Ensure the examples you use in your list are relevant to the reader. If your list promises productivity hacks but includes unrelated content like time management techniques, readers will feel misled. Keep your list focused on its topic to deliver what readers expect.

2. **Speed**: Pack valuable information into your list quickly. Readers are looking for concise, relevant details. Don’t bog them down with unnecessary information. Stick to what matters most and deliver it efficiently.

Writers often make the mistake of prioritizing one over the other. They may focus on speed but sacrifice substance, or they may optimize for substance but lose reader interest due to a lack of speed.

In addition to Specificity and Speed, here are some techniques to make your Curated Lists stand out:

– **Better Examples**: Differentiate your list by using unconventional examples from seemingly irrelevant categories, instead of cliché ones.

– **Better Structure**: Organize your list in a clean, concise way. Use single-sentence descriptions under each subhead for quick comprehension.

– **Better Subheads**: Make your subheads informative and engaging. Instead of single words, use full sentences to provide more context.

– **Better Introduction**: Set your list apart by adding a thoughtful introduction. Share your perspective as a writer and explain why your list is valuable to the reader.

By incorporating these techniques, you can create curated lists that are both informative and engaging, standing out from the crowd of clickbait.


Stories are a powerful tool for engaging readers, whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction. They draw readers in quickly, capturing their attention from the start. To make your stories stand out, focus on several key techniques:

1. **Better Openers**: Start your story at the most gripping moment, skipping past unnecessary buildup. Grab the reader’s attention immediately to keep them hooked.

2. **Better Transitions**: Keep your story concise and to the point. Use short, impactful sentences and move swiftly from one scene to the next. Don’t waste time with lengthy descriptions or transitions.

3. **Better Characters**: Create unique and unconventional characters that stand out from the norm. Give them distinctive names, hobbies, or traits to make them memorable to readers.

4. **Better Language**: Experiment with language to create a unique style that resonates with your audience. Whether it’s using a specific dialect or playing with grammar and punctuation, find a voice that sets your writing apart.

5. **Better Category**: Explore unconventional categories or genres that offer a fresh perspective. Instead of sticking to traditional sci-fi, for example, try blending education with futuristic themes. Find ways to infuse your writing with unexpected elements that surprise and intrigue your audience.

By implementing these techniques, you can elevate your storytelling and create content that captivates and resonates with readers, setting yourself apart from the competition.

Credible Talking Head

Establishing credibility is crucial for gaining trust and authority as a writer. Here are some techniques to enhance the credibility of your writing:

1. **Better Association**: Connect your writing to credible figures or experiences. Mentioning influential individuals or high-profile experiences adds weight to your content and signals to readers that you have insider knowledge or valuable connections.

2. **Better Context**: Provide context to emphasize why your advice or perspective is unique or valuable. Share personal anecdotes or achievements that demonstrate your expertise and differentiate your insights from the crowd.

3. **Better Arguments**: Challenge conventional wisdom and offer fresh perspectives. Instead of simply stating facts or opinions, address common misconceptions or overlooked truths in your field. Presenting contrarian viewpoints can establish you as a thought leader and deepen reader engagement.

4. **Better Perception**: Invest in presenting yourself and your content in a professional and distinctive manner. Whether it’s through polished design, high-quality visuals, or unique branding, stand out from the competition by showcasing a professional image that instills confidence and trust in your audience.

By implementing these techniques, you can enhance the credibility of your writing and distinguish yourself as a trusted authority in your chosen field or category.

Chapter 7: The Perfect Post: How To Write Headlines People Can’t Help But Read

What makes a great headline is getting someone to understand three things at the exact same time:

1. What this piece of writing is about

2. Who this piece of writing is for

3. The PROMISE: the problem that will be solved, and/or the solution being offered

Crafting compelling headlines is essential for capturing readers’ attention and enticing them to engage with your content. Here’s how to master the art of the Curiosity Gap and create impactful headlines:

1. **Clarity Over Creativity**: True creativity in headlines lies in clarity. Ensure that your headline clearly communicates what the piece is about, who it’s for, and the promise it offers without being vague or unspecific.

2. **Specificity**: Make your headlines specific to attract the right audience. Include details that resonate with your target readers and let them know that the content is tailored to their interests or needs.

3. **Promise**: Promise something valuable or intriguing in your headline to entice readers to click. Whether it’s solving a problem, offering valuable insights, or providing entertainment, make sure your headline delivers on its promise in the content.

4. **Avoid Clickbait**: While it’s tempting to use sensational language, avoid clickbait tactics that disappoint readers. Instead, focus on creating headlines that genuinely reflect the content and provide value to the audience.

5. **Expert-Level Examples**: Study expert-level examples of the Curiosity Gap to understand how language, structure, and format can enhance your headlines. Analyze best-selling books and successful online content to learn how they effectively use titles and subtitles to intrigue readers.

By mastering the Curiosity Gap and creating clear, compelling headlines, you can attract more readers and increase engagement with your content. Remember to prioritize clarity, specificity, and delivering on your promises to build trust and credibility with your audience.

Proven Headline Formats

Crafting effective headlines is crucial for grabbing readers’ attention and enticing them to engage with your content. Here are some proven headline formats that you can use to captivate your target audience:

1. **Big Numbers**: Incorporate large numbers into your headline to highlight the scale or significance of your content. For example, “3,000 People Just Filed For Unemployment In This Small Town In Arkansas. Here’s Why.”

2. **Dollar Signs**: Utilize monetary figures to make your headline stand out and appeal to readers’ financial interests. For instance, “$400 Million Is How Much You Need To Make To Afford This Insane Mansion In Malibu.”

3. **Credible Names**: Include names of well-known individuals or entities to lend credibility and intrigue to your headline. For example, “Will Smith’s Advice On How To Live A Fulfilling Life Will Change The Way You See The World Forever.”

4. **Timeliness**: Emphasize the immediacy of your content by using terms like “Just, Recently, Today, Now,” etc., to indicate relevance and urgency. For instance, “Michael Jordan Just Gave A Press Conference And NBA Executives Are Furious.”

5. **Success Stories**: Highlight remarkable achievements or events that are out of the ordinary to capture readers’ interest. For example, “How This Small Team Managed To Secure A Six-Figure Investment In Less Than 1 Week.”

6. **Unexpected Pairings**: Combine disparate elements in your headline to pique readers’ curiosity and compel them to learn more. For instance, “7 Things KFC And Miley Cyrus Have In Common.”

7. **Industry Specific**: Tailor your headline to a specific audience or niche to make it more relevant and appealing. For example, “3 Things All Successful Small Business Owners Do To Stay Profitable.”

8. **Topic Within The Topic**: Add an element of intrigue by hinting at additional insights or information within your headline. For example, “7 Ways The Real Estate Industry Is Changing (And How You Should Be Investing Your Money).”

9. **Question/Answer**: Pose a question in your headline and provide a hint at the answer to draw readers in. For example, “Can’t Be Productive In The Office? Try Organizing Your Calendar Like This.”

10. **X Number**: Use a specific number to indicate the quantity or scope of your content, making it more digestible for readers. For instance, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.”

By incorporating these headline formats into your writing, you can effectively capture readers’ attention and compel them to engage with your content. Remember to focus on clarity, relevance, and delivering on the promise of your headline to ensure reader satisfaction and engagement.

Chapter 8 The Art Of Writing Online: How To Structure The Perfect Post

Easy reading makes reader feel light.

The Art Of Writing Introductions

Writing online is diverse, with new writers constantly shaping the landscape. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, successful writers adapt to today’s reader habits, emphasizing brevity and speed. The structure of online content typically includes an introduction, main points, and conclusion.

Effective introductions quickly answer key reader questions: What’s this about? Is it for me? What’s promised? The first sentence is crucial, setting the tone and conveying the piece’s essence concisely.

Two common structures for introductions are 1/3/1 and 1/5/1, balancing brevity with necessary detail. These formats keep readers engaged by respecting their time and attention span.

1/3/1: One strong opening sentence, three descriptive sentences, and one conclusion sentence.

Once you’ve grabbed the reader’s attention with the opening sentence, you have a limited window to address their remaining questions.

This structure visually communicates to the reader that you value their time and are committed to delivering valuable content in a concise format.

1/5/1: Similar to 1/3/1 but with additional description for clarity.

Variations like 1/3/2/1 or 1/5/2/1 offer slightly more detail without overwhelming the reader. However, it’s crucial to avoid excessive verbosity, aiming for clarity and speed.

Combining multiple 1/3/1 structures or integrating bullets can further streamline complex introductions, ensuring reader engagement from the outset.

In summary, effective introductions grab attention, answer key questions, and guide readers smoothly into the main content, respecting their time and attention span.

The Art Of Writing Main Points

After framing your topic in the introduction, the Main Points are where the real value lies for readers. They often skip intros and go straight to these points. Your job is to pack value into these points efficiently.

Start by listing your Main Points to outline the piece and allocate space accordingly.

More Main Points = Less Explanation

Less Main Points = More Explanation

For articles with three or fewer points, use the 1/2/5/3/1 structure for solid arguments without getting lost in details.

For topics with more than three points, the 1/3/1 structure works well, focusing on concise explanations and impactful conclusions.

In both cases, the goal is speed and efficiency to respect the reader’s time and attention span.

The Art Of Writing Conclusions

Conclusions can be challenging to nail down. In storytelling, the conclusion, or descending action, follows the climax and provides closure. However, in online writing, conclusions are optional, and readers often don’t need them, especially in shorter articles. Your last Main Point essentially serves as the climax of the piece.

One effective way to conclude is with a cliffhanger, leaving readers intrigued and eager for more. This works well for Curated Lists where the main purpose is to deliver on the reader’s interests. So, after your last Main Point, dive right into the cliffhanger without saying goodbye.

A cliffhanger is like when a TV show ends suddenly, leaving you curious and wanting to know what happens next.

It’s a way to keep you interested and excited for the next episode or part of the story. In writing, it’s when the author leaves you hanging, usually with a big question or suspenseful moment, so you’re eager to find out what happens next.

Chapter 9 How To Talk About Yourself Without Making Your Writing All About “You”

You are not the main character in your story. The reader is.

When you’re talking about yourself, it’s important to strike a balance between sharing personal experiences and providing value to the reader.

This balance is what Nicolas Cole calls The Golden Intersection.

Imagine you’re sharing your achievements or experiences with the reader.

Instead of simply boasting about yourself, focus on how your experiences can benefit them.

For example, if you’re a successful writer, don’t just talk about your praises. Instead, share insights or tips on how they can achieve similar success.

By doing this, you’re shifting the focus from yourself to the reader. You become a credible source of information rather than the main character of your story.

This approach is more engaging and meaningful to the reader because they see how your experiences can help them.

So, whenever you talk about yourself, make sure it adds necessary context and value to the reader’s experience.

Whether you’re discussing learning a skill, navigating relationships, or understanding complex topics like technology or politics, weave your personal experiences into the narrative to enrich the reader’s understanding and engagement.

The Art of Promoting Yourself

To promote yourself or your product effectively online, prioritize the reader’s needs over your own. Use a strategy called The Golden Intersection, which involves addressing the reader’s questions and desires while subtly integrating your own experiences.

For example, if you’ve written a book about growing vegetables at home, create content that speaks to common challenges or interests in gardening. Share practical tips or insights from your own journey, but keep the focus on helping the reader rather than promoting your book directly.

Similarly, if you’re a business owner seeking to attract talent, write articles that address the needs and interests of your target audience. Provide valuable information and insights that position you as an authority in your field, without making the content overly promotional.

By putting the reader first and offering genuine value, you’ll attract more engagement and build trust with your audience. Remember, effective self-promotion online is about serving the reader, not just promoting yourself.

The Art of Conversation

“The Humble Brag” is an advanced version of The Golden Intersection, where you subtly mention your accomplishments or associations to lend credibility to your message. Here are some guidelines to do it effectively:

1. Always prioritize the reader’s needs and desires over self-promotion. Keep your self-references brief, with the majority of your content focused on providing value to the reader.

2. Only share information relevant to the topic at hand. Avoid inserting self-promotion that doesn’t directly contribute to the reader’s understanding or benefit.

3. Integrate self-promotion seamlessly into your narrative. Rather than dedicating separate sections to promote yourself, incorporate mentions of your achievements or products within the context of a larger point.

4. Use casual language to make self-promotion feel natural and unobtrusive. Avoid overtly promotional phrases and instead incorporate mentions of yourself or your company as part of the story you’re telling.

5. Make whatever you’re promoting “the setting” for the story. Use your own experiences or achievements as examples to illustrate the insights you’re sharing with the reader, without making them the focal point.

The Art of CTAs

CTAs, or “Call To Action,” direct readers to a specific product, service, or company you want to promote. Here are three effective ways to incorporate CTAs into your writing without disrupting the reader’s experience:

1. **In the Signature**: Place CTAs discreetly at the end of your article, separate from the main content. For instance, you can include links to valuable resources or your company website in your signature without overtly promoting them within the article.

2. **Embedded in Relevant Paragraphs**: Integrate CTAs naturally into the content by linking them within relevant paragraphs. For example, if discussing personal branding, mention your free personal branding email course within a relevant point to provide credibility without making it the focus.

3. **Linking Relevant Phrases**: Associate specific phrases within sentences with the desired asset or product by linking them subtly. This allows readers to discover the linked resource on their own without overt explanation or disruption to the reading flow.

Ultimately, CTAs should feel helpful and relevant to the reader, avoiding overt sales pitches.

By making them easily accessible but not spotlighting them, you respect the reader’s autonomy to explore further if interested, enhancing their overall experience.

Chapter 10 Your Content Roadmap: Constructing A “Sticky Web” For Your Writing

Success in online writing often hinges on the ability to produce a large volume of content. While some may find success with a small batch of material, the reality is that having a substantial library of content increases the chances of being discovered by new readers. Here’s why:

1. **Timely vs. Timeless Content**:

   – Timely content, focusing on current events or trends, can quickly gain attention due to its relevance. However, its shelf life is short, making it less valuable in the long run.

   – Timeless content, offering universal insights or information, may not generate the same immediate hype but maintains value over time. It can be repurposed and reused, accumulating views consistently over the years.

2. **Building a Library of Content**:

   – By consistently producing timeless content, writers create a library of reusable material. This library serves as a valuable asset, allowing writers to republish or share content across different platforms.

   – Having a substantial library of content provides writers with a larger footprint in their chosen category, establishing authority and attracting new readers.

3. **The Power of Repurposing**:

   – Repurposing old material enables writers to leverage their existing content for continued success. By updating titles and visuals, writers can reintroduce timeless articles to new audiences, earning dividends on content created historically.

4. **Example of Success**:

   – Personal experience demonstrates the effectiveness of timeless volume. Republishing old material on a new platform resulted in rapid growth, highlighting the enduring value of timeless content over timely pieces.

In essence, the game of online writing favors those who prioritize producing timeless volume. While timely content may provide immediate attention, it’s the timeless material that yields long-term dividends and establishes writers as authorities in their field.

Content Buckets

1. **For Everyone**:

   – Write about topics that appeal to a wide range of people, like good habits, life lessons, or tips to be more productive.

   – Share your own experiences or insights related to your job or interests. For example, if you work in marketing, talk about lessons you’ve learned in that field.

2. **For People Like You**:

   – Focus on topics that are important to people in your field or with similar interests. If you’re in marketing, write specifically for other marketers.

   – Address the specific challenges and problems that people in your field face. You can still talk about general topics, but make sure to relate them to your audience.

3. **For Your Industry**:

   – Write about things happening in your industry or field of work. If you’re a musician, talk about what’s happening in the music world.

   – Share your expertise and insights to show that you know what you’re talking about. This helps you become a trusted voice in your industry.

Endless Idea Generator

1. **Decide What Type of Writing**:

   – Actionable Guide: Step-by-step instructions.

   – Opinion: Sharing your viewpoint.

   – Curated List: Compiling useful resources or examples.

   – Story: Narrating a personal experience or anecdote.

   – Credible Talking Head: Presenting insights from experts.

2. **Choose Your Idea**:

   – Explanation: Clarifying how or why something happens.

   – Habits: Discussing behaviors that lead to success.

   – Mistakes: Highlighting common errors to avoid.

   – Lessons: Sharing insights gained from experiences.

   – Tips: Offering practical advice for improvement.

   – Stories: Illustrating ideas through narrative.

   – Timely Events: Discussing current relevant topics.

3. **Establish Your Credibility**:

   – Expertise: Sharing your own knowledge.

   – Expert Opinions: Collecting insights from trusted sources.

   – Personal Perspective: Expressing your unique viewpoint.

Now, combine these elements to create your content outline. For example:

– Curated List (Type) x Mistakes (Idea) x Expert Opinions (Credibility) = “7 Founders Share The Biggest Mistakes They Made Raising Money For Their First Startups”

– Opinion (Type) x Lessons (Idea) x Personal Perspective (Credibility) = “Our Country’s Economy Is Falling Apart. Here’s What That Looks Like For Someone Living In A Low-Income Neighborhood”

By following this formula, you can consistently generate ideas for your content.

Chapter 11 Pillar Pieces: How To Turn Proven Online Writing Into Longer, More Valuable Assets

1. **Writing Data Flywheel**: Your endless inspiration tool.

2. **Unfair Advantage**: Your edge in your field.

3. **Accumulating Data**: Learning what works best for your content.

4. **Identifying Success**: Recognizing top-performing content.

5. **Expanding Assets**: Growing successful pieces into longer, valuable content.

6. **Launching a Website**: Timing it with readiness for business.

7. **Writing as Business**: When you start:

   – Collecting emails

   – Earning from ads

   – Gaining paid subscribers

   – Selling products/services

   – Offering speaking/coaching services.

Let data guide your decisions on where to focus your efforts next.

Turning Articles Into Pillar Pieces

1. **Knowing What People Want**: Understand your audience’s interests.

2. **Positioning Topics**: Tailor content to resonate with readers.

3. **Having Their Attention**: Engage readers and deepen their interest.

4. **Doubling Down**: Focus on successful topics like “cold email outreach.”

5. **Refining Content Buckets**: Make topics more specific based on performance.

6. **Capturing Attention**: Move readers to your website for more value.

7. **Greeting Visitors**: Welcome them with relevant content.

8. **Exceeding Expectations**: Provide comprehensive, valuable resources.

9. **Pillar Pieces**: Offer top-quality, extensive content on your site.

10. **Positive Interaction**: Ensure visitors feel valued and guided.

Make every interaction on your website exceed expectations and provide value.

Here are five easy ways to take a proven topic and expand it into a timeless Pillar Piece.

1. **Combine Content**: Merge multiple articles into one comprehensive guide for easy access.

2. **Curate Expert Opinions**: Include insights from industry experts to strengthen your points.

3. **Add Statistics**: Incorporate relevant stats and research to enhance credibility.

4. **Tell Personal Stories**: Share your own experiences to make the content more relatable.

5. **Provide More Examples**: Offer numerous concrete examples to illustrate key points effectively.

Focus on making each piece as impactful as possible rather than simply increasing its length.

Turning Pillar Pieces Into Email Courses, Newsletters, And Free Downloads

Once you’ve got people visiting your website, it’s time to get their email addresses. Think of it like building a path for them to follow:

1. **Combine Valuable Content**: Merge your best articles into comprehensive guides for easy access.

2. **Include Expert Insights**: Strengthen your points by adding quotes and insights from industry experts.

3. **Use Relevant Statistics**: Enhance credibility by incorporating stats and research that relate to your topic.

4. **Share Personal Stories**: Make your content more relatable by sharing your own experiences.

5. **Provide Plenty of Examples**: Offer concrete examples to illustrate your points effectively.

The key is to focus on making each piece as valuable as possible, rather than just making it longer. Then, you can offer even more valuable resources, like downloadable guides or email courses.

These resources should feel like a natural extension of your content, guiding readers to deeper insights and solutions.

Instead of bombarding them with generic offers, give them something truly relevant and valuable that matches their interests and needs. This approach builds trust and loyalty over time.

Chapter 12 How To Make Money Online As A Writer

Before diving into making money as a writer, there are crucial steps to take:

1. **Consistent Public Writing**: Commit to writing publicly regularly, ideally daily, to build momentum and visibility.

2. **Define Your Content Buckets**: Identify your top-performing topics and understand what resonates with your audience.

3. **Launch Your Website**: Establish your online presence, leveraging data to highlight your most valuable content and solidify your niche.

Once these foundational steps are in place, it’s time to explore monetization options.

There are three main avenues:

1. **Ads**: Generate revenue by displaying advertisements on your website or content platforms.

2. **Paywalls**: Offer premium content or services behind a paywall, requiring readers to subscribe or pay for access.

3. **Services**: Provide services related to your expertise, such as coaching, consulting, or freelance writing.

With a solid foundation and understanding of your audience, you can strategically implement these monetization strategies to start earning from your writing.

The Advertising Model

Monetizing your writing through the “Attention Model” involves leveraging the attention you gather from your audience to earn revenue. Here’s how it works:

1. **Advertising**: Generate revenue by selling ad space within your written content. This could involve linking to products or services relevant to your audience within your articles. You can negotiate deals directly with brands or utilize ad networks like Google Ads.

2. **Brand Sponsorships**: Partner with brands in a formal capacity to promote their products or services exclusively on your platform. This could involve featuring the brand’s logo or products on your website for a set period in exchange for payment.

3. **Google Ads**: Integrate Google Ads on your website to earn passive income. Google Ads run automatically and display ads related to your audience’s interests. While this method requires minimal management, it can impact the user experience and may not be suitable for all writers.

4. **Affiliate Marketing**: Earn commissions by recommending products or services to your audience and providing affiliate links. Whenever a reader makes a purchase through your affiliate link, you receive a commission. This method can be lucrative and is particularly popular in niches like digital marketing and product reviews.

Each monetization method has its pros and cons, so it’s essential to consider factors like audience size, reader engagement, and content relevance when deciding which approach to pursue. With the right strategy and execution, writers can successfully monetize their content and turn their passion into profit.

The Paywall Model

The “Exclusivity Model” of monetizing writing involves offering exclusive content behind a paywall, where readers must pay to access it. Here’s how it works:

1. **Start Early**: Unlike the advertising model, which requires a large following to begin monetizing, the exclusivity model can start from day one. However, building some level of attention is still necessary, albeit on a smaller scale.

2. **Offer Premium Content**: Your exclusive content must be of higher quality and value compared to your free content. It’s essential to deliver a positive experience to paying customers and meet their high expectations.

3. **Attention to Detail**: Creating paid content demands meticulous attention to detail and quality. Unlike the advertising model that prioritizes quantity over quality, paid content requires creators to focus on delivering excellence to maintain customer loyalty.

4. **Future of Writing**: With the rise of niche communities and the willingness of audiences to pay for access, the exclusivity model is becoming increasingly relevant. It allows writers to cater to specific interests and monetize their content effectively.

To monetize your writing with the exclusivity model, consider the following strategies:

– **Write Behind a Paywall**: Offer premium content behind a paywall on platforms like Medium or Wattpad. Readers pay for access, and writers receive compensation based on their content’s performance.

– **Explore New Platforms**: Stay updated on emerging platforms and opportunities for writers to monetize their work. Platforms like Wattpad’s Paid Stories offer writers the chance to earn money from readers who appreciate their content.

– **Invest in Building Your Presence**: Building a presence on platforms like Wattpad may require publishing free content for some time to attract an audience and unlock monetization features. Investing time and effort in building your presence can lead to long-term financial success.

The exclusivity model presents a promising avenue for writers to monetize their content, provided they offer high-quality, valuable content and stay attuned to emerging opportunities in the digital landscape.

Create A Product

When you’re a writer, creating a book or any other product means you’re not just writing—you’re selling something. People don’t buy books just because they’re written; they buy them because they think the book will give them something they want or need.

It could be the story, the author’s reputation, or even how the book looks on their shelf. But the point is, they’re buying a product, not just words on a page.

And being a writer isn’t just about books.

You can sell all sorts of things—like workbooks, calendars, or even mugs and t-shirts with your writing on them. Ryan Holiday, for example, sells all kinds of things related to stoicism, like medallions and challenge decks, because he knows his readers are interested in that topic.

Sell A Course

Writing a book might seem like the traditional route for writers, but it’s not always the quickest or most profitable way to make a living. For instance, to make $1 million from a $10 book, you’d need 100,000 buyers.

But if you had a $200 course, you’d only need 5,000 customers.

Authors like James Clear, known for “Atomic Habits,” have seen success by offering courses alongside their books. Clear sells a $299 video course called “The Habits Academy,” which covers the same material as his book but in a different format.

Many people prefer video content or seek more interaction and accountability, making the course appealing.

By offering courses, authors like Clear and Mark Manson, author of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck,” can diversify their income and deepen connections with their audience. Courses turn readers into potential customers for higher-value offerings, expanding their revenue opportunities.

Start A Paid Newsletter

Paid newsletters on platforms like Substack are becoming a top choice for writers to monetize their content. Subscribers pay for exclusive access, providing writers with stable monthly income. With just 1,000 subscribers at $10 per month, writers can earn a six-figure income.

It’s a quick and straightforward way to offer valuable content to a niche audience while bypassing the unpredictability of platforms like Medium. In essence, it’s like creating a specialized section of your content library, with the potential to earn more than traditional publishing methods by serializing content like books-in-progress.

Host A Workshop/Event

Hosting workshops or events is a great way to connect more deeply with your audience. Whether it’s online or in person, you can offer valuable experiences like brainstorming sessions for fiction writers or online classes for non-fiction writers.

These events allow for interaction and learning, and they’re something you can charge for. It’s a rewarding way to engage with your readers and share your expertise.

The Services Model

Offering your writing skills as a service is another way to make money. If you’re good at creating viral content, opinion pieces, or other types of writing, people will pay you to do it for them. Companies and individuals may hire you to write email courses, and guides, or even help them market a book. Your skills have value, even if you don’t always realize it.

Here’s how you can monetize your writing with the services model:

Content Writing:

Content writing is essential for businesses, influencers, authors, and more. Every entity on the internet needs content to communicate. However, the value of content isn’t solely in the number of words—it’s about delivering valuable, relevant content that encourages action.

Ghostwriting & Speechwriting:

Ghostwriting involves writing for individuals or public figures, allowing you to share their insights and stories. While some may have reservations, it’s essentially co-writing and offers valuable networking opportunities. Ghostwriting is lucrative and helps you develop versatile writing skills.


Copywriting is more than just business writing—it’s about triggering emotions and driving action. Mastering copywriting teaches you how to sell ideas effectively, making it a lucrative career path. Copywriters can earn substantial sums for driving financial results through persuasive writing.

Company Messaging, Consulting & Advising:

Understanding how words shape perceptions and actions makes you valuable in corporate messaging. Companies seek expertise in communication, offering opportunities for consulting and advising. By mastering various aspects of writing, you become a valuable resource in the evolving landscape of writing, publishing, and media.

Chapter 13 The 1 Habit Every Single Writer Needs To Master In Order To Become Successful

Many readers may not act on the information shared in this book, but hope you’re not among them.

The real obstacle preventing talented writers from achieving their dreams isn’t writing itself—it’s discipline, self-belief, and understanding the path to mastery.

Nicolas Cole said:  I know what I’ve shared works because I’ve tested it, seen friends achieve similar results, and built a successful company around these principles.

The key habit behind all these successes?

Writing—a lot.

Many aspiring writers ask how to get views or get published, but they often lack the dedication needed to succeed. They treat writing as a hobby, rather than investing time in learning the business and marketing aspects. They think about writing but don’t commit to it consistently.

Nicolas shares the story of his dad: Growing up, my dad’s old shirt had a powerful message: Someone, somewhere is working harder, faster, and longer than you. They want it more, and when you meet them, they’ll win. Writing, whether online or in other forms, is a game.

Anyone can play and master it, but it requires disciplined habits aligned with your desires.

Do your habits reflect your aspirations? Do you truly deserve to win?

Thank you for your time.

Remember to recommend the books you want me to summarize.

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