frequently asked questions
What/Who is Popularium?
Formed in 2016, Popularium is a lifestyle brand and publisher focused on the creation, curation, and distribution of short-form stories. These stories are generated by a diverse group of Storytellers, a network we are always looking to expand.
We are a small team of creative technologists headquartered in Atwater Village in Los Angeles, California. We share a love of stories and great products. We think that the concept of combining them is the future of storytelling, and an authentic alternative to advertising.
What makes Popularium different from other writing platforms?
- Our Brand
It is important to understand this: being raw and unique and real is our brand. Our world view is one of extreme tolerance and overall coolness with one another. We make every attempt to be transparent in all aspects of our messaging. We love products and are unabashed consumers.
- Dedicated Editors
Our Storytellers receive one-on-one guidance from a group of Editors who guide them through our process.
We encourage vulnerability from our Storytellers. We welcome the stories that speak deeply to our audience; stories that are often controversial and thought-provoking.
Popularium Storytellers are encouraged to help us build a community that serves to support each other’s work and push for greatness. We’re all in this together.
Popularium is a platform for exemplary user-generated content (“UGC”). Not good. Not great. Exemplary. We have standards and we work hard to reach them.
What kinds of stories does Popularium publish?
Here at Popularium, we publish real stories about the human experience; the twist is that a consumer product plays a pivotal role in the story. These products are organically woven into the narrative as elements or participants, but not necessarily as stars.
We encourage our Storytellers to be their authentic selves when telling their stories — unafraid and without boundaries or censorship.
People sometimes share product information with one another, but when they do, they tend to focus on sharing personal stories and experiences that may directly or indirectly feature products. For example, going to a museum can be cool, but going to a museum after smoking some Sunshine Daydream while listening to Space Oddity by David Bowie is an experience.
How about the time your company sold, and the CEO broke out his private stash of Pappy Van Winkle to celebrate. Remember that awesome feeling, and how that drink will forever represent something amazing? That’s why you like it. It’s a part of your history, and every time you have success, you celebrate again.
Personal stories involving products such as these can help influence others to have similar experiences with these products.
What are Popularium stories about?
Each story starts with an experience that a Storyteller has had with a product: maybe it’s an amazing moment, challenge, or adventure that rocked their world, helped define them, changed their perspective, or made them laugh or cry.
What are the parameters of a Popularium story?
Our stories are told in text-based short form (~1,000 words) and short videos (between 1 and 3 minutes). To get the best idea of what we are looking for, go ahead and check out the stories we have already published.
What experiences do Popularium stories focus on?
- Drink: Stories involving wine, whiskey, coffee, tea
- Listen: Stories involving music, vinyl, hi-fi, streaming
- Love: Stories involving sex toys, porn, relationship products
- Play: Stories involving board games, video games, e-sports
- Read: Stories involving books, comic books
- Speed: Stories involving automobiles, motorcycles, cycling, skateboarding
- Toke: Stories involving cannabis and weed culture
- Watch: Stories involving television shows, films, online video
These are our initial experience categories. As we grow our catalog, we’ll be adding many more.
What does Popularium look for in Storytellers?
We look for Storytellers who have diverse tastes and life experiences. Obviously, Storytellers should be accepting of the consumerist world that we live in. A love and passion for products in our categories is key. A desire to tell great stories to as many people as possible is a necessity. We want our Storytellers to be inspired, thoughtful, and relatable storytellers.
How do I submit a Popularium story?
Just pitch us a story. We've tried to make the submission process as easy as possible.
What happens after I submit a Popularium story?
Twice weekly, our team of Editors sit down together to read through all of the new story ideas and choose those that we would like to develop into stories. If your story is chosen for development, an Editor will reach out to you with next steps. They will work with you on developing the story, and getting it ready for publication
How much editing goes into each story?
In a perfect world, none; we’ve gone to great lengths to provide as much hands-off guidance as possible. That said, we want people to read these stories. And in some instances, these stories may benefit from our guidance and hard-earned expertise in making them as interesting, relatable, and emotionally rich as they can be. This may include suggestions around structure, plot arc development, and pushing for an authenticity that is maximally intriguing to the reader/viewer.
How often should I submit stories?
You can submit as many story pitches as you'd like. Your Editor will work with you on selecting the best story to develop at the time. Most of our Storytellers contribute between 2 to 4 story ideas per month.
How long will it take my story to get published?
On average, we publish 2-4 weeks after initial story idea review, depending on how quickly revisions are submitted by Storytellers. We tend to turn things around on our end very quickly.
What kind of exposure will my stories get?
This depends on a few things. Assuming the story is epic and people find it interesting, it can easily get thousands of views. When this happens, we start to distribute the story over multiple platforms, gaining even more viewership. We also take our best stories and rework them into short videos, which provides a whole new level of exposure.
Do Storytellers get paid?
Absolutely. We work with two main tiers of writers:
- Emerging Voices
- This tier is for anyone with a story to tell, regardless of experience. If you haven't been published before, or are new to this format, we will work with you to craft and polish your story. These stories receive a $10 base fee (multipart stories receive $10 per part). Additionally, we bonus our Storytellers based on performance - maxing out at $250 total compensation per story. To get started, please pitch us a story.
- Voices of Authority
- This tier is for both professional writers and people with influence in a specific category. So if you're regularly published by major publications, have published a book, created a film/album/television show/video game, or are considered a voice of authority in an industry, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss rates and opportunities.
Can I use Popularium to link to/promote my outside work?
The focus of the Popularium platform is building the Popularium brand. That said, if a Storyteller has outside work from respected outlets that helps build credibility and persona, there will be a section of the Storyteller profile page in the future which can link to external work.
Who owns the content?
By paying Storytellers, Popularium owns all stories and rights to this version of the story. This is important, as we need to be able to use the story however we can to help us grow our viewership and get brand visibility.
How do I become a Popularium Storyteller?
It’s easy. Just pitch us a story! An editor will respond and let you know what the next steps are.
Sponsorship & Advertisements
Are these advertisements?
Not exactly. These stories are based on real-life events that happen to feature products. The protagonists (and antagonists) of the stories are typically people.
The more relatable and impactful the experience, the more interested and inspired the reader/viewer becomes. It’s important to stress that these are our Storytellers’ real-life experiences involving products; they are not literal product reviews or endorsements.
These are real stories based on real lives. The good, the bad, and yes, sometimes the ugly. Raw and ‘unfictional.’ Just like life.
When these stories resonate, they can be much more impactful and far-reaching than traditional advertisements. Through sharing unbiased opinions and meaningful narratives about the bonds we have with our objects, we can generate the kind of powerful emotions in our readers that would rarely, if ever, be experienced by viewing a traditional ad.
Do brands pay for or sponsor Popularium content?
Here’s the thing, Popularium is not an agency for hire that creates stories for brands. Rather, we are harvesting a library of great works that reflect on our relationships with, and the experiences we’ve had, with products. It is key that these stories remain authentic, therefore we don’t influence the Storyteller’s experience to hit a brand’s specific agenda. We focus on truth, great storytelling, and the experience rather than the product itself. Eventually we anticipate great brands will want to be associated and license our stories, understanding that they cannot influence the story itself.
Bold and confident brands understand that association with real life can be powerful.
Where do stories get distributed?
Our stories are published on Popularium.com and and will be pushed out to various social outlets as native posts and/or as paid media. We will be expanding our network to include partner syndication, which will place our stories side by side with contextually relevant content.