Wattpad Announces Winners of the World’s Largest Online Writing Contest – Over 180 countries took part in The Wattys 2015

Today we announce the winners of The Wattys, our annual writing contest. The Wattys recognizes the most-loved stories from the millions available on Wattpad. Winners were selected from around the world and shared stories in more than a dozen categories.

Our vision for The Wattys has always been to become the world’s largest online writing contest. Today, we reached that goal with a record-breaking 75,000 entries from over 180 different countries.

This year marks the first time we’ve opened up The Wattys contest internationally, and the results have been incredible. Almost half of this year’s entries were submitted in a language other than English. We saw over five times the number of entries compared to last year’s contest (check out the 2014 Wattys winners here).

“Each year with The Wattys, we celebrate our community and recognize the stories that have captured the hearts of millions of people around the world,” said Allen Lau, Wattpad CEO and co-founder. “We launched The Wattys in 2010 as a small writing contest. Today, it has grown into the  world’s largest online writing contest,  and it brings the entire Wattpad community together in celebration.”

Many thanks to everyone that submitted this year. Join us in congratulating the winners. You can read their stories here.

Wattpad introduces new multimedia feature – Writers can add animated .GIFs, images, and videos directly in stories

Today, Wattpad starts the roll out of one of our biggest product updates ever: multimedia in stories.

Multimedia is one of the most requested features by the community, and initial response to the new feature has been overwhelming.

CelebrationStorytellers will now be able to add images and videos into a Wattpad story.

With the new feature,  storytellers can insert animated .GIFs, images,  Vimeo, and YouTube videos to add visual elements to their stories.  The goal of this project is to make Wattpad a home for new forms of storytelling. With the multimedia feature, the global community can create and share comics, cookbooks, travel diaries, fashion blogs, and more.

Wattpad wants to deliver the best possible experience and evolve the story so it can be used for many different types of storytelling. Over 175 million original story uploads are already shared on Wattpad, we expect to see even more stories shared as a result of today’s launch.

Starting today, Wattpad will open up the new feature to a small group of writers. The new feature will be available to all Wattpadders by mid-January 2016.

Wattpad is where millions of people come to find the stories they love. We can’t wait to see how the creative community of 40 million people use multimedia to tell stories in new and unique ways.

Five ways to get millennials to notice your brand

This post is brought to you by Wattpad Head of Business Candice Faktor.

The marketing landscape is more complex than ever before and millennials make for a discerning audience with high expectations. What used to work in the old days of marketing doesn’t work anymore, and what used to be okay and acceptable even five years ago – isn’t anymore. This leaves many marketers feeling uneasy and uncertain about where to take their next steps, especially when trying to reach a millennial audience.

At Wattpad we are entrenched in millennial pop-culture. We know what they think about, what they care about, and how they like to engage with brands. Millennials’ make up the majority of our overall audience of more than 40 million monthly active people. Because of this, we employ a “think like our community” state of mind when it comes to native advertising. We work closely with brand partners to keep their content relevant for our community and also native to the experience of using Wattpad. This requires a delicate balance.

When marketing to millennials, there are several things to keep in mind if you want to have an impact and be successful. Here are five ways you can get millennials to notice your brand:

Think about co-creation

Content moves fast and your window of opportunity is small. To take advantage of amplification, loosen your grip a little and open your mind. Millennials love to be included and involved. Why not allow them to participate in the creation of your campaign by crowdsourcing creative thinking. This will result in your co-creators becoming advocates who feel like you are in tune with their needs. Meaningful brand connections are created through cooperation and collaboration.

Make it entertaining

Sorry to break it to you, but your sales jargon just isn’t interesting to millennials. What is interesting is the story that can be created around your brand (notice we didn’t say about your brand). People tune out ads so frequently that you have to think about content in terms of entertainment. Brand affinity is a natural byproduct of an engaged and entertained audience. And millennials are loyal too with 62% of them saying they are more likely to become a customer if a brand engages with them online.

Authenticity is where it’s at

This could warrant an entire 1000 word blog post on its own. Millennials have superior built-in BS detectors. If they feel that something is disingenuous, they won’t engage. This is kind of exciting though because it makes us better marketers and forces companies to think about their authenticity in an unprecedented way. Millennials truly value honesty and transparency. If you mess up, say so and own it. They’ll respect you in the morning. They want to know that there are humans behind a brand and that there is a pulse there.

Offer something of value

Some brands wildly misinterpret what they believe is valuable to their audience. In order to offer true value, you have to ask yourself: ‘what do millennials care about?’ And ‘how can my brand align with that in a meaningful way’? Sometimes just doing something out of the ordinary or unexpected is enough and offers a moment of surprise and delight. Think about value in terms of human connection and emotion. Ask yourself will this resonate? And if yes, why? You have to know these things going in. Entertainment has value. Frame your approach around what is entertaining to your target audience, not what is entertaining to you.

Intimate and personal is magic

This is the hard part. How can you make each individual person feel unique and special while getting the results that you need in a big way? Well here’s the beauty. Your one-to-one actions have a greater impact, far beyond just that one person. When you take the time to be kind and deliver unexpected happiness on a small scale, the result can become larger than the act by creating a ripple network effect. Millennials share – often and readily. And if you manage to win them over with an act of kindness, they are happy to share their experience with the world, and you might just have yourself a loyal customer for life.

We are very thoughtful about how we work with brands at Wattpad. We spend a lot of time thinking about how to do it right, in a way that doesn’t feel foreign to our community. And so far it seems to be working. Our audience has engaged with over 60 million minutes of branded content on our platform in just over 12 months.

From Zero to 40 Million: A Look Back at Nine Years of Wattpad

This post is brought to you by Wattpad Co-Founders Allen Lau & Ivan Yuen.

Today, Wattpad turns nine. Around this time of year, Ivan and I always get a bit nostalgic as notifications pour in from people around the world wishing Wattpad a happy birthday. These notes remind us of the impact we’ve made since Wattpad launched in 2006.

When we launched, we were told that we were disrupting the publishing industry, but Ivan and I knew it was bigger than that. Wattpad goes beyond text, it’s entertainment where everyone participates,  and where stories reflect the interests and experiences of the world.

To celebrate our ninth year, we’re counting the memories we’ve shared along the way.

One idea started in 2002, before smartphones and social networks. An idea that, in the future, people would reach for their mobile devices to read books and stories.

Two co-founders. Ivan and I connected in 2006 and realized we were both independently working on similar projects. Together, we knew that our idea of interactive stories optimized for mobile devices could change the world.

Three early years building Wattpad proved to be some of the most challenging years of our entire careers, but ultimately laid the foundation for our future success.

Four people dedicated themselves to Wattpad in 2010. After we raised $600,000 in funding later that year, we doubled the team. Today, Wattpad employs over 120 people, and we’re hiring :-)

Five scholarship recipients were selected this year on Wattpad. They shared inspiring stories about the things that have impacted and shaped their lives. The opportunity to award scholarships and support their educational journeys was a great moment for us.

The Six is Toronto, the city where we build Wattpad.  For us, the choice to build here has been one of the best decisions of our careers. Like October’s Very Own, Drake, we’re putting Toronto on the map and we couldn’t be more proud.

Seven plus 2000 gives you the year we made the decision to put Wattpad on the backburner. We had families that we needed to feed, and decided to get creative.  A switch in our focus was required to pull in enough to get by. It was a tough decision, but we always knew we’d come back to Wattpad.

Eight months into 2011, we reached a milestone: one million people on Wattpad. The momentum continued to build and, later that year, we went on to raise our Series A funding round to push Wattpad even further.

Nine literary classics are mentioned in the viral hit After. Anna Todd is one of our Wattpad Stars, and, in her story, she references classic novels. Thanks to Anna, and other Wattpad writers like her, young people all over the world are reading classic stories on their mobile phones. That’s the power of social stories.

With the help of 40 million Wattpadders around the world, we’ve significantly changed how the world discovers and shares stories in under a decade. Together we’ve created new behaviors and expectations for what the reader-writer dynamic should look like. As our team grows and community expands, we’ll continue to look for ways to reinvent storytelling to make it more immersive, inclusive, and impactful.

Happy birthday Wattpad! Here’s to another year of stories we love!

Building a positive community

This post is brought to you by Wattpad Co-Founder and CEO Allen Lau.

Community is at the heart of Wattpad. It’s the environment and atmosphere that welcomes you as you start socializing. Numerous tech companies think they’re building online communities. In reality, most are building software and waiting for an engaged network to appear magically.

In 2006, when Ivan and I built Wattpad, we became our first community managers. We knew every Wattpadder personally and discovered that hosting a community is a lot like hosting guests at your home.

At an event, as more and more people start to attend, it gets harder and harder to engage in every conversation. As the crowd grows, keeping things civil depends on the environment and atmosphere you’ve established from the beginning. It’s hard to change that atmosphere as more people arrive, this is the problem many networks face once they’ve reached maturity.

So how does one balance fast growth with community management? There is no simple answer to this, but I’ll share with you some insights I’ve gained over the years.

Know what makes a good community manager

Good community managers never feel bored with users and understand trust takes years to build and seconds to break. Good community managers are online social butterflies who build audiences and motivate volunteers.

Good community managers can make hard decisions. They see the dark side of the Internet daily, but know that they have the power to make the Internet better one user at a time. Without them it is impossible to build a positive and supportive atmosphere.

Hiring a great candidate can make or break your blossoming community. After all, they’ll represent the voice of the community within the company and vice-versa.

Interact with your users

At Wattpad, community training is mandatory for all new hires. This gives them a chance to experience the product in the same way users do. When personal connections occur naturally through user interactions, what most view as a chore becomes fun.

I spend time and energy to read stories, post comments, and thank new followers. Sometimes, great moments stem from small acts. For example, after I wrote this on my blog:

Wattpad turns 7 today.  Calling the last 7 years as life changing is an understatement. Not only for Ivan and me but also for millions of people around the world.

I received this note:

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 4.37.26 PM


This message showed up in 250,000 Wattpad news feeds. That’s how things go viral! Showing some love makes everyone feel good. Just check out the comments on Your Story to see what I mean.

Empower your community

Our community is empowered and connected to our team. They are our co hosts, interacting with as many guests as possible and reporting suspicious behavior as it arises, like any good house guest.

Through programs like Wattpad Ambassadors, passionate Wattpadder’s help us manage the day-to-day happenings. They come from around the world, and from all walks of life. As Wattpad grows, this team of passionate volunteers refers us to new, like-minded users – some of whom now work with us full-time.

Make user obsession a company-wide value

Creating this amazingly positive space is a team effort at Wattpad. Every department in this company plays a part in ensuring that the Wattpad experience is unique. It’s reflected in features we’ve built to protect our users, the work of Wattpad ambassadors, and the positivity and support we see daily. At Wattpad user-obsession is a core value.

We have the power to build a more positive Internet if we put love into our product and work diligently to support a positive atmosphere in our online communities. Have you ever come across a space so full of positive energy that you had to join in? It’s something rare to find, especially online.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, let’s talk positive communities – comment below or message me on Wattpad @Allenlau

Doctors Without Borders joins Wattpad to reach and inspire a new generation of supporters

Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) becomes the first international non-profit to join the global Wattpad community. Through the official Doctors Without Borders profile on Wattpad, the organization will share powerful stories from aid workers in the field, as well as first-hand accounts from patients. The stories will provide an intimate look into the lives of the medical workers who deliver humanitarian aid around the world, and the people who benefit from their care.

“We are excited to work with Wattpad on this new project. Sharing the amazing first-hand stories of our fieldworkers and patients will allow us to reach a more diverse, younger audience – readers who may be less familiar with the humanitarian issues Doctors Without Borders deals with on a daily basis,” said Stephen Cornish, executive director of Doctors Without Borders Canada

Nonprofits have always relied on the power of storytelling to reach supporters. With the rise of digital channels, they now have more ways than ever to share their stories with a massive, global audience. Wattpad provides an opportunity to reach over 40 million people around the world and create direct and meaningful connections through original content.

“Every day, Doctors Without Borders makes a profound impact on the lives of millions of people. We’re honored to help them share their stories with a broad audience and raise awareness of the important work they do around the world,” said Allen Lau, Wattpad CEO and cofounder.

Why Serialized Content is Taking Over The World

In literature, a serial is a printed format in which a single larger body of work (often a work of narrative fiction) is published in sequential installments. It isn’t a new concept. Many believe serialization was made popular by Charles Dickens starting with The Pickwick Papers in 1836 and later Dombey and Son, which began serialization on October 1st 1846. Although serialized content existed prior to that, it was Dickens who commanded a large audience for the form and truly popularized it.

180 years later we are still seeing an appetite for it. On Wattpad many of our creators choose to serialize their stories, releasing one or two chapters per week to their audience of social readers. This works well because it makes the stories more digestible (you can read 2000 words or less in line, in transit or waiting at a doctor’s office). This makes reading something that can fit into most people’s busy modern lives. But the interesting thing about serialization on Wattpad is that it is often a major driver for collaboration. Pushing out a chapter at a time allows for a level of audience engagement that you simply can’t get otherwise. This format is what allows the author to take in reader feedback chapter by chapter, consider alternative viewpoints, and even change the story on the fly based on what resonates with the audience. This is an incredibly powerful tool for authors to have at their disposal.

Reading is something that we are continually redefining. Serialized content works for both the audience and the author, because it provides a pause and an opportunity to engage and create conversation, which ultimately forms deeper and more meaningful human interactions.