Creating viral blogs is the goal of every content creator.
By now, we all know what it means to “go viral” online. You publish an article or post something on social media, and suddenly, it’s being sent from person-to-person. If you play your cards right (and luck is on your side), the content can get millions of views within a week-long period or less.
Obviously, content that goes viral brings a substantial amount of attention to the original poster. Brands strive to produce material that has the potential to go viral in hopes of boosting their exposure and putting themselves in front of some new eyes. Unfortunately, “going viral” is easier said than done.
There are many steps to take to produce a viral piece of content – unless you luck out and create a gem that’s exceptionally humorous or enlightening. Believe it or not, there’s a great deal of thought that goes into most of the extremely popular posts you see shared on social media repeatedly.
Today, we’re going to teach you how to make your content go viral – without sacrificing your quality or resorting to ridiculous clickbait.
Step 1: Find A Topic That Provides Real Value
The first thing you need to understand is that the word “viral” does not need to equate to “surface-level.” Just because humorous viral videos and photos are often meaningless doesn’t mean that a blog post should be. If you want to boost your website’s reputation with a popular post, make sure you have a fresh content idea that provides real value.
Now, your post doesn’t have to be as impressive as this announcement about a new Alzheimer’s treatment, but it does need to strike readers as valid, helpful, and timely.
Think about the general process of how to make a blog post go viral. Someone sees it, either on your website or via social media, and decides to share it with another person. What drives them to spread the word about this post?
It could be that they simply find the post humorous or interesting, but more often than not, the post is shared with someone who could benefit from it.
Step 2: Mix In Some Great Visuals
The next trick is to make your blog visually appealing with interesting graphics. You probably already know that articles with images get 94 percent more views on average than those without – and that same concept is why viral blogs have to incorporate strong visuals.
Think about how you notice articles that you wind up sharing. Did an image grab your eye on Facebook? Was there an intriguing infographic or model included that piqued your interest?
Take a look at this post from the NY Times. Instead of dragging out the subject and listing the relevant statistics in a long format, the writer got straight to the point with an eye-catching, easy-to-read graphic.
If you want the graphic from your blog post to go viral, there are a few requirements to abide by:
- Make sure the graphic is properly sized to allow for easy interpretation.
- Give the graphic a title that is the same as or relevant to your blog post’s headline.
- Ensure that your brand name is included to promote credit where credit is due.
Although the recommended word count for blog posts has increased in the past decade, one thing has remained true: most readers are going to skim. By including a scientific, trustworthy graphic, you’ll immediately grab the reader’s attention and improve your brand’s credibility.
Wondering what kind of information to include in your graphic?
Aim to ignite some kind of emotion. Whether it’s anger, awe, or anxiety, content that sparks a strong emotion is more likely to be shared far and wide.
For instance, you’ve probably seen dozens of visuals go “viral” as coronavirus has appeared in the nation after nation.
These graphics don’t just interest readers – they cause them to react and share repeatedly. People feel the need to spread this kind of information, and a cool graphic helps them do so quickly.
Having said that, Dr. Jonah Berger and Katherine L. Milkman also found that positive content resonates very strongly with people.
Step 3: Make It Applicable To The Audience
A simple truth in blogging is that a post will not turn into viral content if no one cares about it. That seems like a straightforward concept, and yet, it requires your brand to really consider what matters to your audience.
When a reader stumbles across your blog post, they’re immediately going to ask, “What does this have to do with me?” Your job is to answer that question while providing a great post with relevant information.
For example, look at this post from USA Today. Obviously, everyone has been interested in the coronavirus and its impact on their lives. That’s why so many posts from news outlets have gone viral – the articles include personal stories, advice for individuals, and time-sensitive information.
More likely than not, your brand isn’t publishing new stories quite like this one. However, your viral blog posts still need to revolve around what matters to your audience. Otherwise, your rate of shares on social media will never climb to the rate of a “viral” post.
As Kyle Eschenroeder said on Startup Bros, “There’s really only one way to create a popular blog: creating great content that can change people’s lives for the better.”
Ask yourself this question: How do my blog posts apply to my readers, and what are they really gaining from it?
If you struggle to come up with a strong answer to that question, you’re probably not producing content that has the real chance to create viral blogs amongst a wide audience.
Step 4: Actively Seek Reader Engagement
Your thoughts about your audience shouldn’t stop after step three. You’ll also need to think about how you’re engaging your audience. You can’t make viral blogs by yourself – you’ll need the help and participation of your readers to achieve success.
As you produce your next blog post, don’t hesitate to put a call to action out to your readers. Ask them a question or speak to them directly. Use words like “you” and “we” to pull them into the post in a whole new way.
As you can see in this example from Forbes, the author didn’t just want to make a point about gender equality in different cultures. Sesil Pir wanted to pull people into the piece, asking them how they are handling this social issue on a personal level.
Even if the question is semi rhetorical, the article’s title immediately engages the reader and asks them to question their own actions. It also calls readers to ask questions about the actions of their friends and family through social media sharing and discussion.
If you’re thinking that you’ve seen a lot of headlines addressed directly to the reader lately, you’re not wrong. It’s a big trend in viral content creation, and for a reason – we’re living in a world where personalization is at an all-time high, and readers want to be addressed.
Take a look at these randomly selected articles from the Google Newsfeed. You’ll notice that all of them include phrases like “you should” and direct calls to the reader. It’s personal and powerful, and therefore leads to a higher likelihood of more shares that snowball into viral content.
Step 5: Update As Necessary
If you want your post to go viral and stay viral, it needs to stay up-to-date.
Going back to the hot topic of early 2020, covid-19 and its impact, posts don’t stay viral for long as new information constantly comes in. In order for a blog post or graphic to continuously get shared, it needs to stay accurate.
Similarly, blog posts in the world of SEO, tech, and marketing can only stay viral as long as they’re relevant. You’ll see that big wigs in the game, like Search Engine Journal, constantly update their popular posts to reflect the latest news in their industry. You should do the same if you want the post to continuously make its way across the internet.
Another relevant note: if you want more shares, you need to back up your post with data and statistics. These need to be recent and accurate if they’re to support your claims.
Step 6: Share In The Right Places
Obviously, social media plays a big role in the creation and success of viral content. Facebook might be the most popular social media platform overall, but keep in mind that different demographics tend to use different social media apps on a regular basis.
For instance, if you’re trying to target a young demographic, Snapchat and Instagram are used more frequently. On the other hand, if you’re only aiming to speak to readers who are aged 50 and over, you’re better off sticking to platforms like Facebook.
Facebook does encompass the largest use of social media – more than two-thirds of the U.S. are users. However, you shouldn’t stop your sharing agenda there just because it’s such a good bet. Other platforms, such as Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter, also hold great opportunities for viral content.
Think about sharing as far and wide as you can, but also as purposefully as you can. Post your article where you know interested readers will be able to find it – and easily share it.
Keep in mind that although social media sharing is certainly crucial, that’s not the only kind of sharing you have at your fingertips. Sharing can also be achieved through email messages, smartphone notifications, and more. Ensure that you’re using the most ideal outlets to spread the word about the post.
Step 7: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Speaking of finding new ways to share a post you want to go viral; we totally recommend seeking aid from others in your industry. You’ve got an entire network of credible, popular bloggers out there – all you need to do is reach out and forge the relationship.
A great example of a beneficial sharing relationship comes from the online personal finance community. From small bloggers to large finance gurus, Twitter is always afloat with bloggers sharing each other’s posts and pulling out their favorite quotes from the piece.
We’re not advising you to beg other bloggers to share your stuff – that’s a huge turn-off. However, we are encouraging you to facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship in which you support each other and expand the viewership of each other’s posts. You share their best posts, they share yours. Networking is a hugely important factor in making viral content.
Step 8: Don’t Be Afraid of ALL The Responses
We live in a world where speech is free on the internet. Regardless of the kind of post you publish, you will receive a mixed bag of responses. Some will be positive – others less so.
This is especially true if your post contains controversial topics, including political statements or social opinions. As long as you’re being true to your brand, don’t halt when you start to encounter a mixture of good and bad press.
Remember: virality doesn’t necessarily translate to lovability. Attention is attention. The more shares you can get on your blog posts, the higher the likelihood is that you’ll find readers who agree with your point of view and want to support your brand.
To sum it up, if you’re creating a post that has the possibility of going viral, then it will probably be received differently by the various people who read it. Therefore, you should prepare for the onslaught of numerous reactions, but you shouldn’t let this stop you from sharing and owning your post.
Everyone wants to know how to make a post go viral, but many content producers aren’t thinking about what will actually contribute to that end result. Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas on how to create viral blogs that are shared hundreds, thousands, if not millions of times.
For help with your blogging strategy, get in touch with the experts at E2M today!