Many will read my headline and shake their head in shame.
“Stan has finally sold out to the commercial, socially illiterate masses.”
“It’s time we prayed for Stan’s soul. He’s broken his vow of blogging poverty and turned in his echo chamber membership card”
“How dare he mention viral in day-to-day conversation? Hasn’t he got the email explaining how stupid it is to focus on virality?”
Yep, I got the email. I laughed and deleted it. Like many of the unwritten but vigorously enforced rules in social media – the “No Viral” rule is stupid.
Hyper Competition – Showing Up Means Nothing
The connected marketplace is growing at an exponential rate.
Anyone can start a blog in 30 minutes, a Facebook page in 15, and a Twitter account in 5. Each new account is another competitor for your reader’s attention.
These new competitors are also getting better at competing for your reader’s attention. They are using pr, guest posting, guerilla growth hacks, web apps, marketing automation, and more to climb ahead of you on your reader’s list of “must read” content.
By the way folks, these competitors aren’t playing by the social media rules. They are writing great content and they are working their butts off to make each post go viral.
Filters – You’re Being Ignored – On Purpose
Each new smartphone sale heralds the entry of another connected consumer who has their attention fragmented into dozens of pieces. Your potential reader, lead or customer wakes up already overwhelmed by media, stories, alerts, and feeds. You can forget about reaching them through one-at-a-time content marketing.
I’ve constructed virtual gatekeepers to restrict access to me on my computer, phone, and front porch (however my people pleasing golden retriever usually is busy licking the enemy).
My online filters are configured to admit a close circle of friends. Outside of this circle, I use another unconscious filter that I will dub “Influencer Frequency”. If I see your headline show up on in an influencer tweet, I’ll pay a little more attention. If you show up on 2 or more tweets, shares, or likes then I’ll take the time to read, share, or buy.
Here’s the deal though, my influencer circle is composed of picky and cranky perfectionists. They have tough filters too and they don’t give their blessing easily. But like me, they keep their eyes open for something great that is catching the attention of their own audience.
You can’t hope to get on these people’s radar unless your post is designed for viral pass-along.
The Bar Keeps Raising – This Morning’s Idea is Obsolete
The reader attraction techniques you relied on last year won’t work as well today. Heck the stuff I taught you 3 months ago are getting a little dated. Marketers are now locked in a state of perpetual marketing Darwinism. It’s survival of the fittest, and the fit are looking for innovative ways to spread their content virus to as many readers as possible.
It used to be good enough to write great stuff. Now that’s expected. The same goes for promoting your blog posts. Using Hootsuite to blast out your post twice a day isn’t state of the art – it’s “barely adequate.”
Instead, each blog post needs to be build to promote itself.
How to Build the Viral Blog Post
I’ll give you a quick list. As you know, this topic requires more than a pithy post. But we need to start somewhere. Also, you’ll see tactics on this list in other places. I’m repeating these tactics because they work and most bloggers still ignore them.
Scream Fire in a Crowded Movie Theatre
You want your posts to be invoke an emotion. A passive post is a forgotten post. Find the hot-button for your audience and lean on it. People share posts that make them think. Pick 12 hot issues and publish a post on each one every month. Crank up the frequency depending on your subject.
Quit Ignoring Headline Advice
Everyone says you need a great headline. You would think that it would be common knowledge by now like make sure you hold your breath underwater. But I still see the blah-headline-parade march across my RSS feed everyday. Listen friend, you need to get SPOOKY good at writing attention getting headlines. This skill is a deal breaker for your blog.
We have the attention span of a goldfish (actually a bit less), so you need to make your point in less space. This takes practice but it’s worth it. Short stuff goes viral.
Find the Humor In Your Situation
Humor is the secret sauce of viral posts. Some industries and subjects aren’t funny. I get it. I’m not recommending you become the next Seinfield, but keep an eye out for the stuff that makes your readers chuckle.
My viral posts focused jabs at a specific subject. Vague, wishy-washy, milk toast topic aren’t worth sharing. I often ask myself, will this point-of-view have clear cut supporters and equally vocal opponents? Will these camps recognize that I’m talking about something they are passionate about? If yes write it. If no, move on (or publish it expecting a low response).
Influence the Influencers
This one will get me in trouble but you already do it So you might as well get good at it. In every niche there is a personality who runs an online platform that gets 80% of the traffic for that category. One retweet or mention by that influencer will ignite your post and push it over the viral line.
Do me a favor, don’t get seduced by the “I hate A-Listers” crowd. This drivel is counterproductive. Believe me, the A-Listers are not focused on self-righteous scorn, they are building companies, educating readers, and changing lives. There are a few bad apples but who cares…right?
If you are having second thoughts about this advice, ask yourself – would you accept a guest posting opportunity if your niche’s biggest influencer offered it? If you said yes, then you need to get off your butt and go get that invitation.
Get Comfortable With Begging
Ask your readers to email your post to a friend. Find regular readers with big Twitter audiences, call them, and ask for a reweet. The only prerequisite is that you write content worth sharing.
When I started Pushing Social, I regularly begged for retweets. I knew the social intelligentsia frowned on this shameless self-promotion. I ignored them. Guess what happened, some awesome, generous, mega-popular, and influential “A-Listers” shared my posts. Begging saved me years of fumbling in the dark.
Good. That means you are outside of your comfort zone. Building a wildly popular blog isn’t about doing what is safe and community-approved. Remember that the thinking that got you to your present spot won’t get you to the next level. Maybe it’s time you shook things up.
Day 12 of the 30 Day / 30 Blog Challenge
You can join and start your 30 Day / 30 Blog Post journey at any time – just count out 30 days, note the final day on your calendar and start writing!