We should get one thing out of the way right at the start, and it probably isn’t what you want to hear: there is no proven way to make your content go viral. A lot of sites and systems claim to have “the secret”, but there isn’t one. The truth of the matter is that most content that goes viral does so for completely random reasons that could be largely contributed to luck.
That being said, there are things you can do to up your chances of having your content go viral. At the very least, you can make sure you are giving it every shot at becoming very popular, which is still a worthy goal to shoot for. Blog posts are a bit easier than videos, images or other media to improve your chances. Probably because it tends to remain within its own industry or niche, and so has a smaller pool to cycle through.
If you are wanting to increase your chances of getting a viral blog post, here are some tips to follow.
- It better be good. This is the first rule of creating content. You can be certain that your chances of going viral go down significantly if your blog post is badly written. Unless, of course, you make something so bad that people enjoy it ironically. That is a rare enough phenomenon (and even more rare that the person who made it recovers and continues to be successful with a ruined reputation) that it isn’t something you want to aim for. This is real life, not The Producers. Something good is going to trump something bad, any day.
- Follow the trends. Most viral content is a flash in the pan. So you might as well exploit current events in order to get that one big hit. Anything that is really big in the news, being talked about around the web, or that is getting a lot of buzz on social media is a good place to focus your attention. But make sure it is relevant to your industry, or can somehow be tied to what your blog is about. If it is something really big, then you can go off topic. But keep in mind that isn’t a way to get repeat visitors, since people who followed the viral piece would have no reason in most situations to keep up with your site afterward.
- Take the nasty, not nice, approach. This is not a method for everyone, and you should think carefully before you use it. But aiming for a negative response can actually be a very effective way of getting content to go viral. You only have to look at wheezing gas bags like Glenn Beck to realize that something the more vile content becomes the most talked about. If you really want to get people to share a link to your post, try offending them. Don’t go overboard, but keep your opinion strong and don’t be afraid to make people angry. Another way to do this is by posting things that are humorous in a malicious or dark way. Some of the most popular subreddits on Reddit, for example, are those making fun of something/someone. That should tell you something about the nature of the internet.
- Really exploit social media and contacts. You should be pushing your blog everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Google+…anywhere. That includes calling in contacts from other blogs willing to give you a guest post or link. Anything that will get your post seen by more people is going to be the catalyst that potentially pushes your post into the limelight. Viral Content Buzz is a great platform that will allow you to bring your content in front of people you don’t know yet.
- Cover a complicated topic. People want things explained easily, especially when the topic itself is really hard. Take a complicated subject and break it down as much as possible for people to understand in a simpler way. Try using other media to help illustrate your point, like an infographic, slideshow, chart or video.
Do you have any tips for increasing your likelihood of getting a viral blog post? Let us know in the comments.
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