Insider Tips for Creating a Viral Blog Post
Creating a viral blog post that wins new readers and subscribers is a rewarding experience for any blogger. But pulling off that elusive viral piece is never easy. This article provides several tips for developing a successful viral blog post.
Setting out with the goal of crafting a viral blog post is a challenging task, although it’s certainly not impossible. However, chasing after this elusive goal to the exclusion of everything else is often counterproductive.
Simply put, most bloggers who deliberately try to go viral will fail. The best viral idea can wind up a dud, while a seemingly mundane idea may evolve into something that causes a stir throughout an entire industry – but it’s rarely within your control.
But despite the struggles you’ll face when creating viral content, there’s still a few tips that can improve your chances of success. The following guide will show you how to improve your chances considerably.
Understand why content goes viral
When you understand why a piece of content may become highly talked about and widely shared, it becomes easier to create such content.
In many cases, viral content engages the emotions. There’s certainly no denying that triggering an emotional response will polarize your audience and give people a reason to talk about you.
If you can create useful content that actually helps people solve real problems, then your content also has a good chance of being widely shared.
The key is to solve a problem that many people share, and solve it in a way that’s better than the other solutions available. If you choose this path, focus on creating actionable content with step-by-step solutions.
Finally, giving away content that you could otherwise sell is an excellent way to stand out from other bloggers.
Offer timely content
Creating timely content can help your posts go viral. If you have a unique insight or specialist information to provide on a news item relevant to your industry, then you may have the raw ingredients required to go viral.
Aim to have a strong point of view. If you plan to write a post that comments on news or a trending theme within your industry, then having a powerful personality and strong viewpoint will help you to stand out from the crowd. Owning a unique voice that appeals to your audience is a good position to be in when you’re working on a viral post.
Know Your Market
One of the key steps to creating viral content is to truly understand what makes your audience tick. When you know how your reader thinks, you’ll have a better idea of what content is likely to engage them. You’ll know which emotional buttons to press, how to connect, which news items are relevant, and which problems need solving. With enough time, you’ll develop a sixth sense towards the kind of content your audience is likely to share.
Create a compelling title
Once you have your basic viral idea, crafting the title will be the next thing to focus on. A viral-worthy post can still fail if it lacks a compelling title that entices your reader to learn more. Understand that viral blog posts often use irresistible ‘click-bait’ titles that arouse strong curiosity, make bold promises, or appeal to the baser instincts.
Finding the line you’re comfortable with ultimately comes down to what your audience expects from you and what you can get away with. While shock will always prove to be effective click-bait tactic, make sure you know what to do with the attention once you have it. Seeking attention for attention’s sake will often backfire if you’re trying to build a loyal readership over time.
Another useful trick is to use numbers, lists, or ‘how to’ or ‘step by step’ in your title. These types of titles hint towards useful information that may be of benefit to your reader.
Pack the post with value
Now that you’ve hooked your reader with an interesting premise and compelling title, it’s crucial to deliver as much value as possible within the post. If your reader feels like you’ve promised more than you’ve delivered, you’re doing it wrong.
Bear in mind that viral pieces are often quite long. Aiming for a higher word count is often wise, simply because it allows you to go deeper and cover multiple aspects of a subject within the same post.
Additionally, try not to rely on text alone. Viral pieces can benefit from having images, video, and infographics to get your message across in a way that keeps your reader interested and engaged.
Finally, always aim to create ‘positive’ content. While it’s certainly possible to gain viral traction with negativity, it often brings the wrong kind of attention and harms your credibility. Being overly controversial or critical can come back to haunt you.
Once you’ve finished your viral masterpiece, you may need to get the ball rolling yourself with social shares. Take the time to share the post on your social accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. If you already have an established audience, it may only take a small amount of social sharing to get the word out there.
Consider submitting your post to sites like Digg, Reddit, Google +, Linkedin, Technorati, StumbleUpon, and any other sites that are relevant to your industry. You should also make the post easy to share by including social sharing buttons, and a strong call to action which asks the reader to share the content.
Finally, it’s worth taking the time to fuel conversation by encouraging comments and replying to any questions your readers have. Creating a hub of social activity within the comments section is another great way to add to the overall value of the post.
In summary, setting out to construct a viral blog post can be a difficult process, and it isn’t for the faint of heart. Ultimately, focusing on quality posts that genuinely help or connect with your audience is the reliable way to gain a strong following over time. Once you’ve covered these essential basics, pulling off the occasional viral post will simply be the icing on the cake.
Aly Chiman, the creative mind behind AlyChi Designs, is a freelancer and brand strategist. He enjoys frequenting coffee shops and camping trips. He writes about marketing, and entrepreneurship on his blog here.