How to Write a Post That Goes Viral

Filed as Features, Guides on July 23, 2014 9:00 am

Do you want your blog content to go viral? Sure you do. Accumulating more readers, views, and shares is the ultimate goal of a blogger, after all. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your content will spread – on a massive scale or just in general – but there are steps you can take to boost your odds.

First of all, if you’re trying to reach lots of eyeballs through spammy or dubious methods, stop. As a blogger, you need to be dedicated to creating booming content, stuff that your particular audience will love and be inspired to share. Yes, slapdash content can work to gather initial views, but they do no favors for overall shareability.

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Headlines

Clickbait and a decent headline are not one in the same. In fact, giving your well-written articles catchy yet appropriate headlines is of the utmost importance when trying to spread interest. The headline is the first thing people see, and it needs to entice them to actually read further. Here are some qualities of a winning title:

  • Specific – hook an audience by telling them what to expect in the content of your article. Don’t be vague.
  • Informative – tell the audience what they can take away from reading your post.
  • Controversial – pique interest by tapping into controversy in your title. Get peoples’ hearts involved.
  • Unique – give your audience something they’ve never seen before.

Follow these molds in order to craft an intriguing lock-you-in headline. Then, once you’ve written one, send it through an editing process – get others to look it over and provide input, or even test it out on Twitter – to make it the best it can be. A good headline goes a long way, so you want it to be perfect.

Audience Familiarity

You need to know your audience. It’s the audience that needs to be inspired to share the article, so knowing what they like is pretty important. Get as specific as possible when targeting your audience, and do research or look at popularity trends to find out what they want. Do they want to learn more about ADHD in children? Write up an informative piece about it, or even share a video on the topic. Do they want to save money in order to pay off college loan debt? They’ll probably appreciate a tell-all piece about how to get the most out of selling off your old electronics. It’s all about understanding what inspires and motivates your audience.

Not only should you discover what content they want to read, but you should also know what formatting works best and what other aspects appeal to them. Do they like pictures? Lists? First person? Formal tone? Whatever they like, be prepared to deliver.

Overall Topic

Once you know what your audience wants, you need to write compelling, interesting and/or inspiring content that they’ll want to share. Neetzan Zimmerman, one of Gawker’s most successful writers, says, “Stories that evoke very primal emotions seem to work best.” Some of the best angles to stir up feelings in readers include:

  • Inspirational – posts that encourage readers to get up and take an action, or those that speak of the beauties of life can hold peak potential for sharing.
  • Controversial – posts presenting arguments, debates or a firm stance in a controversial topic can trigger a sharing response.
  • Tragic – publications regarding sadness or suffering draw in readers’ hearts, enticing them to share and discuss with others.

Create these angles for your posts and you’ll move more people to share them. The more shares, the more views, and thus more people to share your stuff. Indeed, the key to getting your posts to go viral lies in the reader’s heart.

If there is no way to spin your post into a heartthrob, aim to make it an ageless piece. Topics like weight loss, travel and food will be around forever. Publications that can resonate with people over time have a potential to pick up steam even months after they’re originally released. Stories that are trending, on the other hand, only have a small window of time in which they are of interest. They definitely can go viral, but the chances of them doing so are lower.

Peak Posting Time

You can now create a winning post, but there are still key details you’ll need to know. If you really want your stuff to go viral, you’ll aim to publish during peak post-screening hours. The best time to post is around noon EST, because people on the east coast are lunching, while people on the west coast are just getting to the office but stalling before jumping into actual work duties. Don’t post while people are rushing to work or are in bed. No one will read it.

Now, as stated, there is no guarantee that a certain post will go viral. There is some aspect of luck involved, and sometimes even the best posts won’t make the circulation. Regardless, adding these little bits to your posts will certainly up the chances of your content reaching more readers.

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  1. By Ryan Biddulph posted on July 25, 2014 at 12:18 am
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    Hi Adrienne,

    Publishing a viral post takes real attention to detail. Your tips are spot on. Posting at the right time makes a huge difference, as does creating something intriguing for your target audience.

    I’d add that publishing a post featuring a ton of authority bloggers in your niche can make it go viral quickly. Although I’d not consider it super viral, I published a post yesterday about following 13 authority, successful bloggers, and I linked into their blogs.

    I have 451 Flares – or social shares – today, some 36 hours after publishing the post. Authority bloggers check their trackbacks and promote the post, giving props to me, and I certainly do the same for any blogger who featured me in their posts.

    Awesome tips. The biggest key is to not try to go viral, because you’ll fall flat on your face. Instead, serve some core need of your audience, write a magnetic title and you’ll at least give yourself a chance to generate some serious traffic.

    Thanks for the share Adrienne.

    I’ll tweet this post shortly.

    Ryan

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