How to Write a Great HackerNoon Story [Complete Guide]

How to Write a Great HackerNoon Story [Complete Guide]

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Hacker Noon is how hackers start their afternoons.

We are an online technology publication powered by a global community of 15,000k+ writers, and a great place for you to publish content, expand your reach, and connect with a non-toxic community of devs and dev-adjacent tech professionals, marketers, founders, investors, cat people, memers, and of course, hackers.

Hacker Noon is the best place for tech professionals to publish.

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Most of our 15,000+ writers work in tech.

They write about how they do their jobs: what they’re building, why it’s cool, and how exactly they’re building it.

People publish with Hacker Noon because:

General Guidelines for Great Hacker Noon Stories

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Write in the First Person (‘I’)

Tell your story. Leave the pronoun ‘we’ at home, because only branded content should come from an celestial-sounding conglomerate.

2. Write about Technology (how its made, what its impact is, and how it’s changing our world)

While tech is a topic that infiltrates all industries and people from all walks of life, we still receive a fair amount of high-quality content that has nothing to do with the tech industry.

When in doubt, refer to the tags you’ll find attached the top stories featured on our homepage:

3. Write something that hasn’t been written before

The Hacker Noon audience is an educated crowd. We’re talking everything from data scientists and developers to driverless vehicle engineers.

To hit up the homepage at Hacker Noon, you’re going to need to search for the freshest possible angle on your hot topic.

Do your research, then ask yourself:

  • What’s the larger narrative around this space?
  • How might the Hacker Noon audience already feel about it?
  • What are the contentious or challenging issues worthy of deeper analysis here?
  • What is my unique point of view on this topic?
  • How might my own anecdotal experience in the industry provide a new point from which to start a conversation?

Hacker Noon is a place where people actually read.

One of the most exciting features of Hacker Noon 2.0 is that too easily gamed ‘claps’ won’t count for much. Our critical number when it comes to deciding which stories make it to the high-visitor-volume homepage?

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Read Time: How many minutes, hours, and days have people spent actually reading your words?

That’s the information we want to publicly provide, for the benefit of both our writers and readers.

Which begs the question:

What makes a highly readable article?

Craft a killer headline

Even today you can look through almost any consumer or professional publication and find headlines that possess not a single one of the necessary qualities, such as self-interest, news, or curiosity. – John Caples

When writing headlines, I find it helpful to drown out the pressure of appealing to an audience of 200,000+, and instead imagine I’ll be sending my article to just one person: a friend, a colleague, a mentor; someone who matches the persona of he audience I’m trying to reach.

If - for even a second - I can imagine that one person thinking “So what?” in response to my title, I know I haven’t yet hit the proverbial nail on the head.

Once you’ve landed on a headline you think will speak to your intended reader both mentally and emotionally, run through the following checklist:

  • Is my headline 80 characters or less?
  • Is My Headline Written in Title Case? And if not, is there a good reason for it?
  • Is my headline an accurate reflection of the content that follows?
  • If I saw this headline on Twitter, would I click through?
  • Could this headline be construed as clickbait? (If yes - rewrite immediately.)

Use images and media to add real value

Your featured image is worth 1,000 words, so to speak. With how social networks work today, the featured image is the second headline.

Never submit an article without at least one image.

For bonus points:

  • Original image preferred

But also unsplash, and unsplash + luna pic option

  • Use graphs or infographics to capture attention and add educational merit
  • Embed a relevant video or two to include a variety of voices on your topic
  • Break up lengthy sections of text with media to make for easier reading

Remember: easy reading = challenging writing

Bad writing is easy AF. Good writing requires time, revision, and spell check.

You can generally judge the strength of any piece of work by how a writer approaches their introductory paragraph:

  • Does the first paragraph set up a burning question that leaves you completely incapable of not reading further?
  • Is it clear from the introductory paragraph what you can expect to learn in this article?
  • Are their any careless spelling mistakes, typos, or grammatical errors?
  • Are sentences so long I lose track of the original thought before I get to the full stop?
  • Is there any evidence of blatant punctuation abuse..??!!!!

The objective of every sentence you write is to entice your reader into reading the next one.

Take the time to consider each and every line of your article through that lens.

Share your sources, as well as your own credentials

All great work builds on what came before it: don’t be shy to share and attribute the wisdom you’ve gained from other great writers and thinkers.

And, when setting the scene for why your point of view is one worth considering, be sure to include one or two lines on who you are and what you’re about.

Remember, Hacker Noon stands for real stories, written by real tech professionals.

We will always value first person perspective over breaking news.

Format beautifully

Respect your readers: use paragraphs, subheadings, and bulleted or numbered lists to structure your work for maximum readability.

Also: make links look natural: hyperlink them to your text (don’t just paste them next to the relevant phrase, like this: https://hackernoon.com/why-you-shouldnt-raise-a-friends-and-family-round-923083e15df0).

Tag like you’re trying to win an SEO competition

Last - but certainly not least - before you publish, ensure you’ve selected 5 tags that closely match both the content of your article, as well as the terms you think your intended readers are likely to be searching for.

Heads up: Hacker Noon 2.0 allows you to add not 5 but 8 tags for extra SEO power!

“Good SEO is paying attention to all the details that most bloggers ignore.” — Ryan Biddulph

There you have it! Your complete guide to getting published on Hacker Noon. Whether you’re a new or existing writer, I hope you found this a helpful primer on what it takes to hit a homerun with Hacker Noon in 2019.

We can’t wait to feature your work and add you to the Hacker Noon Contributor Community.

Ready? Set? GO!

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