Writers Can Build Their Digital Brand With These Classes From BrainStation

The Wattpad app is a great way for writers to reach an engaged community - we connect a monthly audience of 55 million people who spend over 15.5 billion minutes on our platform.

To help more people get the most of Wattpad as an audience building tool, we recently reached out to the digital skills training company, BrainStation, to find out what resources they recommend for someone looking to build their digital presence.

Their part-time digital marketing course is tailored to beginners who want to learn how to stand out digitally, whether it be for their business or personal brand. The course breaks down digital marketing into four components, with each section led by an industry expert: Branding & Strategy, Owned, Paid & Earned Media, E-Mail Marketing, and Analytics.

The SEO/SEM & Analytics course is tailored to those with a marketing background who want to sharpen their digital knowledge by learning advanced Search Engine Marketing and analytics skills. Mastering this art can help your discoverability on the web.

Outside of those courses, BrainStation also provides full-day workshops in Social Media Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, Google AdWords, and Google Analytics.

We understand the challenges a storyteller faces in today’s digital age in growing and engaging their online audience. While some writers understand how to grow their readership to profit from writing on Wattpad, we’re always looking for ways to help more creators find success on our platform. Check out BrainStation’s offerings if you’re looking to supercharge your digital promotions and online brand.

If you’re looking for some more inspiration, check out our Meet the Wattpad Stars interview series.

Scaling the Future: Allen Lau's Advice for Writing Professional Email

Wattpad Co-founder and CEO Allen Lau is one of the newest contributors to INC.com, a leading site for business news, ideas, and inspiration.

His Column, Scaling the Future, will examine the challenges startups face in the innovation economy. It will also outline advice for entrepreneurs rooted in real world experience. An excerpt of his third column is enjoyable below and in full here

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Writing a professional email that results in a clear action is truly an artform. This may sound harsh, but no one is obligated to respond to an unsolicited email.

Time is a valuable resource and surveys show that the average American employee can spend upwards of six hours a day in their inbox! If that's the average, you can imagine what it's like for senior executives. Many view Inbox zero as a unicorn-like myth.

I'm not unlike the average American--I receive and send a flood of emails. While writing, I always keep this 3-point checklist in mind. It increases the odds of a response every single time.

  1. Ensure they open your email
  2. Ensure they've read and understood your email
  3. Ensure they respond

Keep them in mind and you can reach people on every rung of the corporate ladder. If you want to take your emailing writing a step further, consider these tips:

Leverage Your Professional Network for An Attention Grabbing Email Introduction

A great way to get your email opened is by way of introduction. As someone who's grown a massive social network, I can attest to the value of social proof. An introduction from someone connected to the person you want to reach will instantly increase your credibility and thereby your odds of an email reply.

At minimum, you should be able to authentically reference the name of a project or person your contact can recognize. If your email doesn't command attention, it risks falling to the bottom of an infinite inbox.

Read Allen's Full Post on INC

Wattpad Kicks-Off The Upside Foundation’s 150x150 Challenge

Today, The Upside Foundation launches 150x150: Turn Equity Into Charity with Wattpad’s CEO and Co-founder, Allen Lau, and other prominent Canadian startups WealthSimple, Overbond, and Hubba.

The national charity makes it easy for early-stage or high-growth Canadian companies to give back in a meaningful way. Any Canadian startup or private high-growth company can take the Upside pledge by committing stock options or warrants that will be converted to cash at the time of an exit or IPO, and donated to a registered Canadian charity .

Their latest campaign aims to grow the number of companies who have pledged to give back to 150 in the lead up towards Canada's 150th birthday on July 1st. Wattpad, is the first company to kick-off the 150x150 challenge:

“At Wattpad, we believe startups aren’t just about profits, they’re about giving back to communities, at home and abroad. We’ve already made a remarkable impact on millions of people’s lives around the world. Today, we pledge to join the 150x150 campaign to demonstrate our continued commitment to positive social impact,” said Allen Lau, Wattpad co-founder and CEO. “Whether you’re in the early stages or a well-established start-up nearing exit, it always makes sense to support charities that serve your users and mean something to your team. If you haven’t already joined the Upside Foundation, what are you waiting for? Join the 150x150 campaign today!”

Canadian startups who make the pledge will donate a small portion of their equity to The Upside Foundation (typically in the form of stock options), which are converted to cash upon a liquidity event and donated to the charity of the company’s choosing. Over 75 Canadian startups have already pledged to donate equity to charity and several prominent Canadian startups, including Wattpad, have taken the Upside pledge.

To date, there have been two exits from the Upside network, including BlueCat Networks, which sold for $400 million in February 2017; BlueCat CEO, Michael Harris donated the proceeds from a portion of his stock options to the Enbridge® Ride to Conquer Cancer® benefiting the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The first company to exit was Understoodit, who was acquired by EventMobi in 2013 and donated their equity proceeds to the East York Learning Experience and Mentoring Junior Kids Organization.

The Upside Foundation is partnered with Pledge 1%, a global movement founded by the Salesforce Foundation and others to inspire companies around the world about the benefits of early stage corporate philanthropy. Through Pledge 1%, over 1800 companies have donated one per cent of their equity, people or product to charity.

How Companies Can Take the Pledge

The Upside Foundation encourages Canadian companies to join those who have already taken the pledge.

1. Companies will need to fill out the online pledge form found on The Upside Foundation’s website and a representative will be in touch.

2. Once the pledge form is received, companies will receive detailed instructions on how to contribute from an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) or a simple legal form, with flexibility depending on the stage of the company.

Wattpad Studios Expands Team By Hiring First-Ever Head of Content Development and Production and Head of Stars

Less than a year ago, we launched Wattpad Studios to help the global entertainment industry discover amazing storytellers and incredible stories that can be adapted for film, TV, digital, and print. Today, we’re thrilled to share that we’ve expanded the Wattpad Studios team with the addition of Eric Lehrman, our new head of content development and production and Abby Ho, our new head of stars.

“Wattpad Studios is predicated on helping our amazing storytellers - the Wattpad Stars - grow their careers and realize their dreams by working with the entertainment and publishing industries,” said Head of Wattpad Studios Aron Levitz. “It’s exceptionally exciting to add Eric and Abby to the team to help our partners like Turner and Hachette take better advantage of the unique stories, talented writers, and phenomenal amount of data and insights to produce entertainment hits.”

Eric Lehrman joins Wattpad Studios as our new head of content development and production. Eric comes to Wattpad from USA Network where he served as vice president of original scripted series programming. Before that, he launched and headed the scripted division at All3Media America. Eric also spent several years at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions where he earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media.

In his new role, Eric will push Wattpad further into filmed content, both on and off the platform. He will also the oversee Wattpad’s television first-look deals with Turner and UCP.

“It's not every day that you are given the chance to oversee a library of over 375 million original stories! I'm honored to help amplify our creators' voices and our users' passion for storytelling by bringing Wattpad stories to life across TV, film and digital,” said Head of Content Development and Production Eric Lehrman.

We also welcome Abby Ho to the team as our new head of stars. The Wattpad Stars program is an accelerator for top storytellers; it offers a variety of paid and promotional opportunities to help writers grow their audience. As Head of Stars, Abby will develop new brand and content opportunities for writers and expand the program to include even more storytellers from around the world.

Previously, Abby was head of the Creator Network at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) where she developed and produced content with digital influencers across CBC properties. She also managed the national broadcaster’s partnership with Fullscreen. Abby has produced several digital properties for the CBC as well as Epitome Pictures Inc. where she previously worked. In 2015,  Abby received the Trailblazer Award from the Reelworld Film Festival and was named Playback magazine’s 5 to Watch in 2014.

“Wattpad Stars are incredible digital creators. I look forward to working closely with this diverse and talented group of storytellers to build their careers on and off the Wattpad platform,” said Head of Stars Abby Ho.

Wattpad recently welcomed entertainment veteran Philip Schuman to our advisory board. The addition of Eric and Abby to the Wattpad Studios team will continue to cement Wattpad’s position in the entertainment world as the best source of original content that’s backed by powerful data and insights. Welcome to Wattpad, Eric and Abby!

Create Your Own Story in Minutes with Tap by Wattpad

For over a decade, Wattpad has provided tools for storytellers to create, discover, and write works easily and effectively. It’s why more that 45 million people choose Wattpad to upload serialized stories , visually exciting multimedia works, or read books online.

We understand the challenges writers face creating a full-length work. With our new chat style story app, Tap by Wattpad, you can create your own original story in minutes!

This addictive new storytelling format allows you to break down a single scene with engaging dialogues and eye-catching backgrounds.

If you want to create an addictive chat story that gets people talking, Wattpad’s guide below can help you get started quickly and easily!

What is a Chat Style Story? 

Chat stories are stories told through back-and-forth chat messages. It’s like eavesdropping on someone’s text conversations!

This new storytelling format is taking the internet by storm because chat stories reveal dialogue one tap at a time. It’s the perfect medium for keeping audiences at the edge of their seats. The anticipation for the next message leaves the reader in a constant state of suspense.

createTapStory

Getting Started on Tap by Wattpad 

Step 1: Download the Tap by Wattpad app and launch it on your mobile device (Android or iOS).

Step 2: Tap on the user icon located in the top-right corner of the home screen.

Step 3: If this is your first time using Tap, select one of the options on the sign-up screen to create your profile.

Step 4: Fill in the information you’d like displayed on your account in the profile setting screen .

Step 5: Hit save and get ready to create your own story!

How to Write Stories on Tap by Wattpad

On Tap by Wattpad, you can create a short chat style story or break a longer story into multiple scenes. Remember that this storytelling format follows a more conversational style, so plot out who’s speaking then reveal your narrative through a dialogue between those characters.

To write a single story on Tap:

Step 1: Tap on the Create New Story Button.  It's displayed as a + symbol in the center of the navigation bar at the bottom of your homepage

Step 2:  Before you begin writing , hit the add character icon to assign characters to the dialogue in your story.

  • Enter the name of your first character and tap Add. This will assign the character name to the text box you’ve selected (selected text displays a highlighted border)
 
AddingCharacter1
 
  • Click the icon again to enter a second character. You can continue this process if you need more characters.
 
CreateCharacter2
 

Step 3: Write the first message a character is going to send, then click return.

  • Avoid writing messages that are too long. Each character can send multiple consecutive messages if needed, but the rule should generally be one sentence at a time

  • Add a second message, either coming from that same character or a new character

  • If any of the dialogue is assigned to the wrong character, don’t worry. You can change this by tapping the text box, then tapping the name of the correct character
 
CreatingChatStory
 

Step Four: Continue your chat story to completion and assign dialogue to characters as you go.

Step Five: Click on the camera icon to add a background to your story. This image should help set the mood for the scene! Advanced tips for image selection are posted below.

Step Six: Once you’re done, select Next in the top right corner to add a story cover, title and description to your story. Once this is complete, select a category.

Note: If you’re not ready to publish, simply click on the back button — your progress will be saved.

Adding a New Scene or Scene Background to Your Story

  1. Your story can have multiple scenes. A scene is a single conversation between two or more people. When your story transitions into the next scene, you are introducing a new conversation, a time lapse, and/or new characters.

  2. A good way to identify a scene change is by adding a new scene background. The background image should reflect the overall feel of the scene, i.e. a creepy vs. romantic setting

New Scene: To add a new scene, simply go back to your story and select Add Scene. This should bring you to a blank page where you can continue writing

New Scene Background: To add a scene background, tap on the camera icon and select Scene Background

Advanced Tips For Storytellers on Tap by Wattpad 

Since this storytelling format is so new, many writers ask us how to create a chat story that captivates this growing audience. Below is a collection of advice for you to create your own viral hit on Tap.

Format and Length:

  • Character A, Character B: stories should be written in the form of back-and-forth chat conversations, usually between two characters. A character can send multiple consecutive messages before a different character speaks, similar to real life texting scenarios. Tap also allows for multi-character conversations (think chat rooms), so use your imagination!

  • One thought at a time: progress your story by having each character share one thought at a time, even if it means breaking messages out into numerous consecutive messages before the next character speaks.

  • Snacks, not meals: keep stories short in length, break them out into 100 - 150 messages/actions per scene.

  • Dive right in with a hook: start your story with a catchy opening message. This will instantly grab the reader’s attention, pulling them into the scene.

    • For example: "Mom, don’t panic. I have something to tell you". Or "Hey you there? I’m in trouble, I need your help."

Style:

  • Writing a chat story should be like texting a friend: short and conversational. Each character should have a different personality, so how you depict them will depend on their messaging styles.

    • For example, using emojis, ellipses, or caps lock can help create personality and set the tone for your story

  • The dialogue should feel like you’re eavesdropping on a text conversation: Use this as an opportunity to build suspense and leave cliffhangers.

Key Elements

Here is a list of key elements that help make chat stories as addicting as they are. Try creating your story around one of these mechanics:

  1. Revealing a big secret: where one character chooses to disclose (or not disclose) confidential information.

  2. Disbelief: where one character is reluctant to believe the reality of the situation, i.e. when one character insists the other character is only joking.

  3. Memory gaps: where one character does not remember how they ended up in their current situation and needs to other character to help piece things. together

  4. Stranger danger: where one character is in dangerous situation and requires help from the other.

  5. Twists and turns: when there is a drastic turn of events, i.e. one character isn’t who they say they are, etc.

Other Tips

Be concise and keep the plot moving: remember that characters are usually never in the same place, otherwise they wouldn’t be chatting / texting. This doesn’t leave much room for character development or descriptive language / imagery.

Use images: Tap allows characters to send images to one another. So keep that in mind when thinking about your storylines. You should also consider adding background images to your scene to help set the tone and draw readers into your story

Use an Eye-Catching Story Cover: Story covers should be 1200 pixels (height) by 722 pixels (wide)

Be a Trailblazer: Since Chat-stories are a new form of storytelling, get creative! With Tap by Wattpad, you have the opportunity to create a story that sets the bar for others.

viral chat story Examples 

Drunk & Hangry with Chrissy Teigen - a series of texts from Chrissy to her husband John Legend, begging him to make her something to eat.

 
 

Hide - Julia finds herself in a dangerous situation after receiving alarming text messages from her husband.

 

Barack and the Trump Train - a text conversation between Donald Trump and Barack Obama where Donald asks for a big presidential favor.