content secrets from experts

18 Content Marketing Gurus Reveal the Secrets to Making Blog Posts Go Viral!

Every now and then you chance upon an epic blog post which has had thousands of shares.

Thousands! And that’s just the amount of visitors who have clicked ‘share’. What about all the other eager readers who have soaked up that glorious content, been exposed to this blogger’s brand and offering, and subscribed to their all-important email list?

Like me, you probably want to know:

How the hell can I make my blog posts go viral? Is there a method to it? A secret formula passed down through generations of elite bloggers? Should we even be asking this question? Is it even possible to control?

Using my South East London copywriter charm, I begged 18 of the world’s leading content marketing masters to reveal the truth to me. Here’s the awesome advice they gave:

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Pic of Pat Flynn#1. Pat Flynn

There’s no magic formula, just write more epic content, and let a post that’s meant to go viral go viral on its own.

~ Pat Flynn is a beloved thought leader in the areas of online entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and lifestyle businesses on the Smart Passive Income blog.

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Pic of Sarah Arrow#2. Sarah Arrow

You can’t make your blog posts go viral, but your readers can.

Write something so profound that it would be rude, positively life damaging not to share. When you do that, your content will go viral.

Failing that, then write something epic. By epic I mean at least 3,000 words. People get overwhelmed by the sheer depth of the post and bookmark it sending you more traffic. Try it with a list post, have at least 100 items on the list and watch it go.

And finally connect with people and ask them if they’d like to share your post with their readers, if they like it of course. Be specific with who you ask. Sometimes its not the big name that will send you the most traffic but the person who is deeply connected to their audience.

~ Sarah Arrow is the mastermind behind Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), and is a kick-ass blog coach.

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Pic of Stephanie Sammons#3. Stephanie Sammons

Don’t focus on making your posts go viral.

Viral is short-lived and unsustainable. Instead, focus on hitting singles and doubles. Strive to put out great content consistently and become known for that.

Stephanie Sammons is the founder of Build Online Influence, where she teaches professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs practical online marketing strategies for growing a business on the social web.

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Pic of Joe Pulizzi#4. Joe Pulizzi

To me, blog posts going viral shouldn’t be a goal.

If a blog post goes big, great…but my goal is to reach my core, niche audience on a consistent basis.  Bloggers get so focused on page views and unique visitors, when the real metrics should be to get and keep subscribers, and work those subscribers into revenue generating paths to purchase.

~ Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the legendary Content Marketing Institute (which produces the largest worldwide in-person content marketing event: Content Marketing World) and is the author of Epic Content Marketing.

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Pic of Jason Acidre#5. Jason Acidre

It always depends on the audience being targeted by the blog post and the people sharing it.

I believe confidence in your own content is the key to a successful content promotion campaign – it makes it easier to show off the content (especially to industry influencers) when you truly believe that it’s that good.

Basically, one of the preliminary goals within the process of making a blog post go viral is to first put more eyeballs to the content asset you’ve built, to increase the likelihood of getting more shares/links to it.

Here are several ways to make sure that you get traffic to your content assets:

·      Optimizing the content for search to continuously get traffic to it over time.

·      Reaching out to industry influencers and/or other content publishers (that have substantial following base) who are genuinely interested about the topic you’ve written about and letting them know about it (linker outreach).

·      Making social sharing buttons very visible on the content, serving as the content’s primary call-to-action (to force multiply social shares).

·      Using social ad services (from Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Reddit, etc…) if necessary.

·      Building artificial links to the content from related discussions on other industry-related communities (forum threads, blogs, social sites, etc…).

~ Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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Pic of Demian Farnworth#6. Demian Farnworth

 Challenge an authority.

Demian Farnworth is the chief copywriter for Copyblogger Media. His main gig is writing clear, concise and compelling web copy that demands attention, creates desire and compels action.

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Pic of Brian Honigman#7. Brian Honigman

It’s extremely difficult to create a blog post that will go viral per say.

When creating content to reach your audience, the goal shouldn’t be to make a viral article, but to make content that is relevant, original and impactful to your niche audience. If it happens to resonate online to the level of going viral, then that’s merely an added bonus.

Brian Honigman is a Marketing Consultant, Speaker & Freelance Writer. He’s worked with clients like Dell, HubSpot, Citibank, Toyota and Poptip. He’s written for Forbes, The Next Web, Mashable and heaps others. Follow him on Twitter.

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Pic of Ian Cleary#8. Ian Cleary

No matter how good your content is you need to promote it.

To have a chance of it going viral you need to promote your content to key influencers and encourage them to share to their large audiences.  By them sharing to their large audiences this will help it become viral.

Mark Schaefer wrote an article recently called ‘content shock’.  This article went viral.  Mark didn’t promote it a lot but he has a large audience and many of the key influencers in his industry read his content.  Because it was so controversial it spread like wild fire.

~Ian Cleary is the social media tools wizard and founder of Razorsocial which provides expert information on the best social media tools. Download his social media tools guide.

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Pic of Barrie Davenport#9. Barrie Davenport

Writing a great post is the first step in creating a viral post.

Is the content substantive and engaging? Longer posts with lots of great info tend to go viral more  than shorter posts. Is it written on a topic of so much interest people can’t help but share it on social media? Do some research to find out hot topics in your niche, and then write your perspective on the topic with useful, takeaway information.

Aside from writing amazing, shareable content, be sure to keyword optimize your post title, and do some research on writing great titles if you aren’t skilled at that. A title can make or break your post. Consider using negative words like “stop,” “avoid,” “don’t” to your title, as people want to find out if they are doing something wrong and how to stop.

Add photos next to the main points you make in your post, and submit the post to as many social media outlets as you can. Be sure you put social share buttons on your post. When possible, ask people to share the post. Send a link to other bloggers and ask them to share it.

~ Barrie Davenport is a certified personal coach, published author, and founder of two top-ranked personal development sites, Live Bold and Bloom and BarrieDavenport.com.

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Pic of Neal Schaffer#10. Neal Schaffer

You can’t – because others have to do it for you.

Create something so resourceful, so full of great insight, and something that is so “YOU” and let your fans spread your knowledge to their networks.

~ Neal Schaffer is a social media strategy consultant, content marketing master and author of the awesome book Maximize Your Social.

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Pic of Kristi Hines#11. Kristi Hines

Viral blog posts happen in two ways – luck and promotion.

You either write a great piece of content and get lucky when someone with a huge audience shares it, someone from Lifehacker picks it up, or it gets hot on Reddit.

Or, you write a great piece of content and take the time to promote it every way you can think of – email, social media ads, etc. While the latter will take work, it is the only sure way you can make viral happen.

~ Kristi Hines is an awesome freelance writer, professional blogger, and ghostwriter who specializes in online marketing. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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Pic of Dino Dogan#12. Dino Dogan

Don’t worry about going viral. Go bacterial.

Viral is not all it’s cracked up to be. Going viral means your servers are going to crash. And that’s no good. Viral is good for large sites who can handle the traffic spike, and sites which make money with ads. Think HuffPo, Buzzfeed, Mashable, NYTimes, and the like.

I don’t have ads on my blog, so millions of pageviews are not that important to me.

What IS important are relevant pageviews. Let’s go back to the idea of singlecasting. If every blog post brought in just one new client, then that would be an incredibly efficient use of my time and resources.

Instead of going viral, why not make your post go bacterial. Write about a very narrow topic. Solve a very narrow problem for people. Address a very specific concern. Then promote that post across communities that will find your post relevant.

But if you insist on going viral, you will need others who will spread your content far and wide. This is the entire premise under which we’ve developed Triberr. Go join it.

~ Dino Dogan is the Founder of the great Triberr, writer for Technorati, super speaker and a lousy martial artist.

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Pic of Laura Rubinstein#13. Laura Rubinstein

1 – Write a high value blog post. In other words, the content should either bestow knowledge they would otherwise pay for, be entertaining, strike an emotional chord.

2- Give it a headline that is compelling. The headlines that start with “How To…”, “Secrets To…”, “7 Strategies for… “, “The Reason Your Not Losing Weight” The topic you choose to write on should be a burning perceived need of your audience. For example… 6 Steps to Making a Blog Post Go Viral Using Social .

3- Make sure to include an image in your blog post. Blog posts with images are more inviting and more easier to share. (See step 5 for one additional reason you need an image)

4- Optimize your post for Google Search. Keyword optimize it. Use your keyword phrase in the title tag, H1, and 4-6 times in the body. 1500 words rank higher than shorter posts

5-  Share it to your social networks. Use the social sharing buttons on your blog post. You can pin it.

6- If you really want your blog post to go viral then you MUST have a tribe of influencers who are willing to share your content. That’s why I co-founded the Social Buzz Club. We have a group of savvy online networkers (from bloggers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses) who help your blog post go viral using our gamified content amplification platform. It’s a really cool member site that can increase traffic to your blog by 70% or more.

~ Laura Rubinstein is an award winning social media and marketing strategist and co-founder of Social Buzz Club. She helps businesses optimize marketing plans to create brand visibility and profitable buzz. She is the author of Appreciation Marketing Strategies.  Her articles have been featured on sites like genConnect.com, Social Media Mags LinkedIn Magazine, YourTango.com, as well as her own popular TransformToday.com blog.

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Pic of Gregory Ciotti#14. Gregory Ciotti

There’s no way to make something go viral. 🙂

However, one way to add fuel to the fire is to use something I call the “drip technique.” This is where you write an original article and grab a few quotes from notable people in your industry.

The key here is that they should have the customers that you want to have. You can see how I did this in my article on the New 4Ps of Marketing. The quotes don’t dominate the post, but they helped it take off, because each person featured (kindly) shared the article.

 ~ Gregory Ciotti helps make magic at Help Scout, the invisible email support software for businesses who love taking care of customers. Get more from Greg on the Help Scout blog.

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Pic of Aaron Lee#15. Aaron Lee

It’s the dream of every blogger to get one of their blog posts to go viral and attract hundreds and thousands of readers.

However, we all know that is not an easy task. I’m not saying that it’s not possible. First we should define what are ‘viral’ posts. For me viral posts are posts that get more shares than the usual posts.

For example, a viral post might get 500 shares on Facebook compared to a normal posts which usually gets only 50 shares on Facebook.

While I wished I had the recipe to what makes a blog post go viral, I would say it comes down to:

  • the uniqueness of the content

  • headline

  • a little luck

~ Aaron Lee is the blogging rockstar at AskAaronLee and the Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner: a platform that helps businesses gain the extra edge on Facebook.

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Pic of Andrea Vahl#16. Andrea Vahl

It’s hard to “make” something go viral.

Some of the posts that have done the best for me have included a great graphic image (think infographics) or been really useful information presented in a way that people haven’t seen before.  Many of my most successful posts have taken me hours and hours of work because they have been really detailed and filled with helpful instructions and screenshots.

I’ve also seen posts that have shared some really personal things about someone go viral.  People are very interested in hearing someone’s story especially if there has been struggle that they can relate to.

~ Andrea is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and was the Community Manager for Social Media Examiner, for over 2 years. She also uses her Improv comedy skills to blog as a slightly cranky character, Grandma Mary – Social Media Edutainer on her site at www.AndreaVahl.com.

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Pic of Stanford Smith#17. Stanford Smith

Write a comprehensive blog post on a “Recursive” topic.

For example, How to Use Twitter Like A Boss will attract Twitter users who will retweet. How to Build Your Business With Facebook, will attract Facebook users who will Like.

Use a “Share to see more” plugin to jumpstart tweeting.

~ Stan Smith founded Pushing Social to help solopreneurs and scrappy underdogs dominate their niche with smart content marketing and publishing tactics.

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Pic of Henri Juntila#18. Henri Junttila

Study what makes posts go viral.

But more than that, ask yourself why you want your blog post to go viral.

Do you think it’ll grow your readership? If so, why do you want a larger readership? What are you trying to accomplish?

If you want to build a business, focus on making sales and helping people. Focus on the end result, and on what matters.

~ Henri Junttila is the founder of Wake Up Cloud, where he shows you how to turn your passion into a thriving business. Grab his free special report, and check out his book How to Write Nonfiction eBooks: A Proven 17-Step Guide.

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Go on. Make this blog post go viral!

All your awesome followers and fans will thank you for revealing this super valuable advice. Just click those beautiful round purple buttons below, right now.

And if you haven’t already read our 2 other recent epic blog posts: ‘22 Content Marketing Experts Reveal the Secrets to Writing Killer Blog Posts‘ and ‘38 Blogging Masters Reveal Their Number One Tip for New Bloggers’ – then where have you been!? 

Love you,

Konrad

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About the author

Konrad Sanders
Creative Director & Copywriter at The Creative Copywriter

Hey you. I’m Konrad. An SEO and sales-savvy copywriter with a pretty darn creative noggin on my shoulders. I run a team of word-slinging cowboys who go by the name of The Creative Copywriter. Let’s connect!

Comments

  1. Thanks for putting this together, Konrad.
    I found out about this article from Stan Smith, one of the people in this article. So I guess it’s working 🙂

    1. Author

      Cheers guys! I think you’re right Peter – it wouldn’t really make sense if all blog posts went viral! But if you follow the advice of these pros, then you’ll have a good chance

  2. Wow awesome suggestions and ideologies but for me getting something viral has to be something that can’t be done by any means, it has to be a miracle or something extraordinary. Think about it, everyone would by now be getting viral post if there was actually a means to it, who doesn’t just love to be in the spot light of course everyone.

  3. Hey. great article!

    I find the tip about writing longer posts rather interesting. I know that they rank higher but I always assumed humans had quite a short attention span! Due to this, I always keep mine 500-800.

    Then again, I can’t say that I’ve gone viral as such so I’ll give it a go!

    Thanks

    1. Author

      Thanks for your comment Chelsea!

      Yep, there’s a whole heap of debate about the length of blog posts. But we do know that the long ones have a tendency to go viral more often, and are better for SEO (as long as the content is great!). But it’s equally important to have nice, bite-sized ones too. So mix it up!

  4. Pingback: How Many of These Insider Secrets Are You Using to Create Viral Blog Posts? | Mike McRitchie's Blog For Small Business Profits

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