The viral blog. It’s the most elusive of all the blogs. Having your writing passed from screen to screen and shared over all the social medias is what blogger dreams are made of. It’s sure a sign you’ve got something special, something that people want more of. Baby, it’s your ticket to success….sometimes.
But guess what, it doesn’t have to be so elusive!
I’m not saying that if you do whatever I’m about talk about in your blogs that you’ll have the next Huffington Post trender. But I can say that if you’re looking at blogs that go viral from a high-level view, you’ll most likely see that they have many of these key aspects in common.
So what makes a blog post viral-worthy? What are the key ingredients you need to bake up a deliciously shareable post? I believe it’s a mix of content and strategy.
For a post to go viral, it’s got to be chock full of good content. The subject matter needs to be either catchy, timely, informative, or a mix and match of all three. And once you’ve got a blog written that you know people are going to pass around, you need to have a solid marketing strategy ready to go to get it out in the bloggy world. No matter how good your content might be, if it’s not backed up by a promoting plan, it’s just not going to be seen.
Now that you’ve seen it from a high-level, let me break down those two ingredients a little bit more.
Content is king.
Sitting down to write a post that you’re hoping will break the Internet can feel way over your head. Where do you start? Should you be funny or thought-provoking? Should it be a listicle about the uses for subway tiles or an in-depth interview with the 110 year-old lady across the street? Do you need original images? Does your blog need a facelift just in case this post get a lot of attention? Can you handle the comments?
Take a deep breath, think of a bunny and a kitty being best friends, and chill out. It doesn’t have to be so scary.
The secret to writing a viral-worthy blog post is this: write what you know. Ok, that’s not really a secret. I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times, but honestly that’s exactly where you need to start. It’s got to be in your vernacular of understanding and ability to write a blog that’s researched and well-written for people to pay it any attention. Just start with some ideas in your niche and then take these blog types and ideas to heart.
Keep it relatable and insightful.
For a post to go viral, it needs to be based on something your immediate audience is interested in so they’ll share it without any prodding from you. To do this, you’ve got to get in your audience’s head.
- What’s interesting to them? What do they want to learn more about? – You can find this out just by asking them. Send out a simple tweet or email survey and get your answers straight from the horse’s mouth.
- What kind of topics do they generally share and why? – Hang out around the platforms they hang out in and find out what they’re retweeting, sharing, or pinning. I bet you’ll mostly find the blogs they share are either hilarious funny, informative, or express a strong personal feeling or belief.
Post Planner did this well with their Here’s a Quick Way to Get More Likes on Your Facebook Page. The topic is obvious spot on for what their customers are already interested in. And they get bonus points for letting their audience know, “Hey! You can learn this and learn it quick!”
You know that feeling when you’re reading a blog and think, “Wait, I’ve been peeling a banana wrong my whole life?” Didn’t you immediately want to share that post because you were so dumbfounded? Ok, try to recreate that feeling for your audience.
How-to or tutorial blog posts are well-known for their shareability. More than their love for learning a new skill, people love telling their friends and family that they learned a new skill.
Read the news.
Hot trends and news of the day are obviously already on everyone’s mind, so piggybacking on them only makes sense, right?
If you choose to go this route, please make sure that you have a new spin or original angle to what everyone else is saying. No need to add to the mountain of already stated facts and statistics. Take a different stand than your peers by flipping the script or playing Devil’s Advocate and your blog is sure stand out.
For example, when everyone else was talking about the amazing benefits of location-dependant entrepreneurs, Mark Manson wrote a blog that went viral because he showed the lonely and isolated side of this type of adventure.
Ps- This idea won’t work if you’re trying to keep you copy evergreen. But I can talk about that later.
If you already know what you audience is searching for on the Internet, a great way to wrangle them in is to write a blog that has everything they want in one easy-to-read space. A curated blog post is like wrapping up all the links your readers want into a cute, shareable gift.
It could be a bundle of some of your top visited posts, a compilation of industry leader’s advice, popular products, or anything else you know your readers are looking for. Your audience will love you for making their life easier and they’ll repay you by hitting those Share buttons.
Strategy makes it work.
Once you’ve got your blog written, it’s time to put it out into the world. But just posting it isn’t going to the get the job done. You need a promoting plan and a couple of tricks to boost your blog’s likelihood of viralabilty. (Sometimes you just need to make up a word, ya know?)
Don’t underestimate the power of a title.
The first thing people see when it comes to your blog post is the title. It’s of the utmost importance that you create a title that’s catchy. Make sure you’re adding in a good mix of emotional, powerful, and exciting words. You’ll catch some curious glances with the right balance.
Personally, I use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer for all my blog titles. It’s an awesome tool to help you understand the basics of a good headline. I’ve never made it in the 90s, but that’s what goals are for, right?
Make sharing easy.
One way to make sharing as easy as possible is to add social media buttons on your blog page. Either at the top or the bottom, place icons that your readers can click to share on their favorite social media platforms.
You can even create Click to Tweets right in your copy. When you’ve got that thought-provoking quote or exciting statistic you know your audience will want to share, send it through the generator and you’ll have a trackable, roving link.
Swap guest posts.
Having friends who blog are great for so many things. Commiserating over bloggy issues, celebrating your successes, and of course they’re great for swapping posts once in awhile for guest blogging purposes.
Guests blogs are a great way to promote your writing by getting in front of a whole new crowd of people. If you can get your blog post on the right host site that’s already producing viral content, your chances of hitting the right amount of shares is more likely.
Don’t already have bloggy friends? Pitching guest blogs is a fun way to get involved in the community. Find an authority site and follow these six steps to start pitching and writing your guest posts.
Promote, promote, promote.
Your blog isn’t going to share itself, is it? Even after all the work you put into writing a blog, you’ve got to put in a little bit more work to promote it.
Think about where your audience is hanging out. What social media platforms are they on? Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest? Go there and create retweet-able tweets, shareable Facebook posts and pinnable pins. Tag industry leaders or people you think would love your content in your posts so that they’re not missed. And hashtag the heck out of it. You never know who will fall into your world through those rabbit holes.
Know your goals.
I think when it comes down to it, getting a post to go viral will help you hit two major goals.
Creating value. Above all the 15 minutes of fame and Internet success, let’s keep our eyes on the prize. The most important thing to remember when writing a hopefully viral blog is that it’s all about giving your audience value.
Yes, it would be amazing for your posts to go viral and be shared across the Internet lands, but let’s stay on track. The more valuable content you’re creating, the easier it will be to hit your next goal…
Growing your email list. By hitting that first goal, this second one should be an automatic reaction. What’s the point of getting a viral blog if it’s just going to float untethered into space? Writing that valuable content will spark interest in your new readers that should send them directly into your open arms. And as your email list grows, your authority will be more well know, and who knows – you might get another viral post!
So keep cranking out the good stuff and you’ll not only be on the right track to viralilty, you’ll be providing quality content to keep your readers coming back for more.