on 14 Mar 2017 1:38 PM
  • Marketing
  • social media
  • seo optimization
  • viral
  • content
Author: Ram V. Iyer

Everybody writes so their writings can be read.  But, with millions of blog posts on the web, most posts get ‘lost’.  How can you make your blogpost go viral and drive a chockful of traffic to your site.  I pondered this question.  Here’s what I have learnt.  As I learn more, I will keep updating this post, so keep checking back. 

A quick bit of background in case you haven’t read one of these articles in a while.  It used to be that just having a clever headline got people to click on it and come to your site.  That is click-baiting and that’s not our objective.  We want people to actually like your content and share it.  For that, you need to have ‘meat’ in your article/blogpost.

Having a system for success and making sure you use a checklist for following the system are a great way to make your blogpost go VIRAL.  The world is full of smart people with great ideas that nobody hears or appreciates.  Here is how you can create a blogpost that could be read around the world and you will be appreciated around the world!

  1. Have absolute clarity about your audience.  If the post is about your idea, it’s like having a hammer – everything looks like a nail.
  2. Pick a topic that you know well (you already know what that is).  All the techniques and systems will not work if your content is not compelling to the target audience.
  3. Do some research and identify what matters to the readers you are targeting. People are more likely to share content they can relate to.
  1. Decide on what your emphasis in the blogpost will be – to be awe-inspiring, emotional, surprising, informational, entertaining, educational, shocking,…  Unless you are writing for an academic journal, do not bore them with detail.  According to a 2010 New York Times study of the most emailed articles, the articles that were emotional, positive, awe-inspiring and surprising were shared the most.  That’s what you want to shoot for.
  2. Write so that it will be easily understood by somebody with an 8th grade English education (except for the words that are specific to the audience you are targeting) and avoid using words that are uncommon.  This is not the place to impress people with your vocabulary; it is for you to communicate so they will engage and share (virality).
  3. If you have some key points in the blogpost, either boldface it or pull it out as a quote or a subheading.  Enable people to keep moving.
  4. Get to the key points quickly and emphasize them (avoid excessive buildup).
  5. Include a lot of white space when you lay it out.  Also, write the content in short sentences and short paragraphs. In business, you are generally not seeking the readers of the Atlantic or the Economist – different group for the most part.
  6. Make sure you write a great introductory para.  Since you used a great headline, you need to keep the reader’s attention with a great intro para. There are several power openings like a question, a story that compels, a great statistic or a profound quote.
  7. The emotion that people respond to is hope.  Make sure that your blogpost (even if it covers a problem) is positive and upbeat.  People also like ‘formulas for success’ – shortcuts to get there quickly.  If you can provide that, more people will engage with your content and share it with their own network – go viral.
  8. Optimize the headline using a headline optimizing tool.  Two that I use regularly are the Coschedule Headline Analyzer (https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer) and the Advanced Marketing headline analyzer (http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/index.htm).  These will help you choose impactful words that have emotional appeal that will drive traffic and do well in SEO rankings.  As you well know, words that arouse intense emotions are more likely to get people to act (sharing content for virality).
  9. If you can create an infographic, do it.  Once again, you can find a number of people on Upwork (www.upwork.com) who will create a compelling infographic out of your content.  That is the kind of image your readers will share – again, to go viral.
  10. Create a quiz (or quizzes) to engage the readership.  I’ve created an entire section for quizzes on www.businessthinking.com/quiz as a way to draw people to the site.  Depending on the nature of the quiz, allow them the opportunity to share it with their network – good for virality.
  11. Remember why you are writing the blogpost – to get traffic and perhaps people to buy something on your site.  So, add a clear ‘call to action’ (CTA) in the blogpost. 
  12. You need to find an angle that is clearly beneficial to the reader that will get them to answer “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) in the affirmative.  That is more likely to get them to respond to your CTA.  For example, I wrote a blog post
  13. Inject a personal story, like or dislike to ‘engage’ the readers.
  14. Use a keyword tool to optimize your post – words used in the body of the blogpost.  Something like Keyword Tool (http://keywordtool.io) provides 750 keywords for free and lets you search keywords for Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon and the Apple App Store.  Here are some other free and paid keyword tool options:
    1. Wordtracker –  https://freekeywords.wordtracker.com
    2. Google Trends – https://www.google.com/trends/
    3. Ubersuggest – http://ubersuggest.org/
    4. SEO Book – http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/ 
    5. WordStream – http://www.wordstream.com/keywords/
    6. BuzzSumo – http://buzzsumo.com/
    7. InstaKeywords – http://www.instakeywords.com/

and here are some paid options:

  1. MOZ – http://moz.com/tools/keyword-difficulty
  2. Ahrefs – http://ahrefs.com
  3. Raven Tools – https://raventools.com/seo-tools/
  4. SEM Rush – http://www.semrush.com
  5. Buzz Sumo – http://buzzsumo.com
  1. Add pictures to key concepts.  Make sure you have one up at the very top of your blogpost.  A great place to get royalty-free photographs is flickr (https://www.flickr.com/).  Most images you find on Google or Bing are not for reuse. 
  2. Re-read your post to check for errors.  Send it to at least one (or more) friend/s for proof reading. It’s human nature to remember the mistakes before all the good things you said.  It’s an easy fix to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.
  3. Post it on your site and create a short link.  I use http://bitly.com.  If you set up an account, you can track how many people clicked on the link.  There are many other services like that.
  4. Give them sharing options with the most popular sites as opposed to the SHARE link that covers a lot of them.  If people get too many options, they will choose nothing (not share your post).  For business posts, I’ve provided a list of possible sites below.
  5. Submit it to the following websites (please add more sites in the comment section)
    1. Email it to your contacts and any lists you have
    2. Email any influencers and people you have mentioned in the blogpost
    3. Send out a Press Release.  You can use a paid press release service or free ones (I will write a separate post on this later)
    4. LinkedIn (don’t forget to share it with the relevant groups you belong to)
    5. Digg.com
    6. del.icio.us
    7. Reddit.com
    8. Google Bookmarks
    9. Yahoo Bookmarks
    10. Stumble Upon
    11. Yahoo Buzz
    12. Facebook (you can use paid Facebook ads to boost your post)
    13. Facebook Groups (the relevant ones you belong to)
    14. Google+
    15. Technocrati.com
    16. Send a tweet with a short link (created using a website like www.bitly.com)
    17. Create an infographic (or unique graphic with your blogpost headline) and post on Pinterest
    18. Post the infographic (or unique graphic with your blogpost headline) and post on Instagram
    19. Submit to directories (I will write a separate post on this later)
    20. Submit to RSS directories (I will write a separate post on this later)
  6. You can schedule all your tweets and posts using a platform like Hootsuite or Buffer.  Hire somebody (Upwork is a good place to find people with marketing skills for a reasonable price). Get them to post comments on:
    1. forums with a link to  your blogpost
    2. blogs that are in related fields
  7. Hire somebody to make a list of the blogs in your field of interest.  You can use a blog search engine like www.blogsearchengine.comReach out to the bloggers and tell them about your interest and what you are doing.  If you build a relationship with them (or have a compelling post), they may be willing to post on their blog in return for you doing the same.
  8.  Add your latest blog post link to your signature block at the bottom of all your emails.  A few people will click on it.  Moreover, if you keep updating those and call people’s attention, they will look out for your latest blog post over time.
  9. If you have a newsletter, include a small introduction in the newsletter and provide a link to your blogpost.

What other ideas do you have?  How can we make this better and help more people?  Please add your comments below.