Blog writers, from health and wellness experts to video game nerds, all have the same aspiration: they want their posts to go viral. It’s not so much a money thing, though everyone wants to make a living off their writing; it’s about getting their words in front of people and hitting the write notes for their potential audience. Nobody writes a blog just for himself or herself.
So how do you “go viral”? There’s no real, single answer to get a blog post moving. It’s a multilayered process, and it requires hard work and maybe, maybe just a smidge of luck. If you follow these 20 steps, though, you’ll be well on your way!
You have an idea in mind, and it’s awesome. Before starting, do a little research. See what others have written about the topic, how they’ve approached it, and how you can do something different from everyone else.
- Look for keywords
What’s going viral? What are people looking for? Google has a Keyword Planner that allows you to search certain words and see how keywords have performed in the past. Have these keywords in mind when writing, and use them frequently.
- Do original work!
The most important thing for a viral blog post is for it to be 100% you. If it does take off, you don’t want to be nailed for plagiarism. You probably don’t want to be nailed for plagiarism if it doesn’t, either. You’re a writer, after all!
If you’re using a blogging platform, make sure you make use of those keywords you searched earlier and tag your post with them. Tagging is often a forgotten step, but it can be really important.
- Make a statement
Brainstorm like crazy and think about how you can turn your blog post into something greater. A different point of view is much more likely to go viral than a repetition of conventional wisdom.
How does one make a statement? It’s not just telling your audience what to do or think. It’s about the tone of your writing. There are many different stances you can take with your topic – try something different!
There is nothing more rewarding than reading smart people writing smart things with passion. If you know and love your subject well enough, you’re passion for it will come through.
This one has its limits, of course, and you’ll have to be prepared to deal with a little blowback from certain audience members. Stirring up the pot, though, can take a blog post to all corners of the Internet. However, be authentic in your controversy, and don’t take a position you aren’t ready to defend.
Related to passion, but this is more about stirring your audience to action. Inspire them to lead a healthy lifestyle, or engage with politics, or read that book you love. Inspiration means loving not just your topic, but your reader, too.
- Visually engaging
Using media and unique layouts can make your blog stand out. Draw them in with your one-of-a-kind visual appeal. Get creative!
Is there a problem you see that needs a solution? Has no one answered it definitively? Step up and fill that void – if you’ve run into a problem, there’s a great chance other people have too and are waiting for someone to answer it for them.
Doing the Legwork
- Make sure the grammar and writing are as perfect as possible
Proofread, hand it over to someone else to proofread, then proofread again. Make sure it’s airtight before hitting that post button.
- Search Engine Optimization
Use those keywords you found, use subheadings, link back to your other work, link out to other reputable sites – these methods all help with SEO.
- Use a great title
Nothing pulls people in like a great title. Brainstorm a good one for your post, and don’t be above silly puns.
- Think about putting it in the “listicle” format
Lists are big these days (think about Buzzfeed’s success). They are easy to read, people like them, and they give themselves to humour. If you’re writing something funny, think about giving it the listicle treatment.
Pictures, video, and sound files all make blogs more engaging and can enrich the experience of the reader. If possible, try and make the multimedia original to you, instead of simply reposting YouTube content. It’s a great look, and it can raise your SEO.
- Make it easy to read
Jargon-filled writing might appeal to a certain crowd, but it limits your ability to spread beyond your niche. If you know your subject well enough, it shouldn’t be a problem to write about it more generally.
They break up the text, making it easier on the eye, and will keep readers on your page. They’re also great for SEO.
Ready to Share Blog
- Post to social media
You were probably going to do this anyway, but share it to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Don’t forget to use #hashtags and keywords so your post goes beyond just your list of friends.
- One step further: post to aggregate sites
Riskier, because it can often be labeled as spamming by people who frequent the sites, but if you think your post is good enough, share it to Reddit, Digg, Metafilter, etc. Be sure to identify yourself as the writer.
If wading into Reddit makes you nervous, consider writing your piece on Medium and sharing it that way. Medium lets content leaders easily pick up on your writing, too.
- Refer it to content leaders
Are there any related writers that you really like? Ask them privately to read or share your post. Don’t be pleading, and don’t get discouraged if they don’t answer; writers get these requests all the time. If you’ve written something that appeals to a larger organization, like a charity or advocacy group, you might have more success getting it shared.