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How to Write Blog Posts That Go Viral

How to Write Blog Posts That Go Viral

By Pat Flynn on

This is a guest post by Onibalusi, a 17 year old (yes, I said 17) blogger who you can find at YoungPrePro.com. What impresses me most about Oni is not his age, but really how smart and hard working this young man is. He’s one of the hardest working bloggers that I know (of all ages) and English isn’t even his primary language.

Enjoy, and be ready for the next session of the Smart Passive Income Podcast coming this Monday. Cheers!

It’s not natural for blog posts to go viral and there are a lot of factors that can determine how successful your blog posts will be. Even though the size of your blog and the type of your audience matter, there are other factors that are even more important that will determine how viral your blog posts will be.

How Do You Know If Your Blog Posts Will Go Viral?

First, I must tell you that there is no guarantee that your posts will go viral, but there are some things that you can do to increase your chances. After analyzing a lot of big blogs I was able to come up with a list of some of the most important factors:

1. Your Headline

Your headline is the number one element that can determine how viral your post will be, so it’s very important to spend more time crafting great headlines. Even though quality content is important, your quality content might not be read if you don’t have a great headline.

“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” – Brian Clark of Copyblogger.

In other words, spend more time coming up with great headlines, and you’ll increase the chances of people reading your posts.

There are many factors that determine a great headline and lots of tutorials on that subject (Copyblogger’s magnetic headlines) but below are 4 important factors you must consider when writing a headline:

You must make sure your headlines are…

Useful: Why should a reader read your post in the first place? Always make sure your headline communicates usefulness to your readers, and make sure your headline makes it clear that your post is worth their time.
Urgent: Online, procrastination is very common. Many people tend to delay things until they forget about it completely. Make sure your headline communicates extreme urgency to get them to read it now.
Unique: There are a lot of other blogs out there and your readers are subscribed to a number of them, and there’s no point reading the same content over and over again. Your headline should show that your post is different from all of other posts they’ve ever read.
Ultra-Specific: It’s also important to be very specific when writing your headlines. Don’t confuse your readers and let them know exactly what they’ll get from reading your post.

2. Do Not Under-Deliver

Many viral campaigns fail not because of the headline, but because of the content. Misusing great headlines can bring you more harm than good.

Why?

Because compelling headlines with a low quality post lead to disappointed readers.

Great headlines alone are not responsible for viral posts, but great headlines backed up with solid content are.

Always make sure your posts deliver on the promise of your headline as this will not only bring more people in but it will also encourage them to share your post and create a viral effect.

How to Write Viral Posts

1. List Posts

A list post is a great post to write because they have a higher tendency of going viral. If you take a look at the most popular blogs you’ll notice that most of their popular posts are list posts.

When trying to write a list post it’s very important not to just write a list without any explanation. Back up your points with a detailed explanation.

Here are examples of list posts that went viral on some of the top blogs:

The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers (Copyblogger) – 1200 retweets, 200 comments and 200 facebook shares

Top 10 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog Using LinkedIn (Problogger) – 1,100 retweets and 148 comments

43 Web Design Mistakes You Should Avoid (Dailyblogtips) – Over 400 comments and 24k views via StumbleUpon

2. How-to Posts

How-to posts also have a higher tendency of going viral compared to other types of posts.

Another great advantage of writing how-to posts is the search engine advantage. Many search engine visitors start their searches with “how to“, which means you’re more likely to get search engine traffic from your post in the long run.

Below is a great example of a how-to post that went viral on a top blog:

How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business (Copyblogger) – With over 700 retweets, 140 facebook shares and 350 comments.

3. Case Studies

Another type of post that can easily go viral is the case study post.

Case studies tend to go viral not only because of how informative they are, but because they are very practical. Readers don’t just love to read theories, but they also want to see you in action and they want to see if you’re truly getting results.

Below is a great example of a case study post that went viral on a top blog:

THE Backlinking Strategy That Works (SmartPassiveIncome) – With over 425 comments, this post is a great example of a viral case study post.

People love validation, and with a case study you get the process, and the results.

4. Controversial Posts

Controversial posts also tend to go viral, especially if it disagrees with a popular trend.

When trying to write a controversial post, it’s important to make sure you don’t write a post that can bring about negative traffic, but rather use your controversial post to try to get quality traffic.

A great example of a viral controversial post is the example shown below:

Twitter Lists – I’m Not Down (Chris Brogan) – With over 150 comments and 326 retweets this post shows that controversial posts can be a good source of viral traffic.

5. Top Posts

Writing top posts that rank the influencers in your niche can be a great source of viral traffic. People love to read about top influential people, and you can use this to your advantage to get more traffic to your blog.

Below is a great example of a viral top post:

50 Most Influential People in Blogging 2010 (IncomeDiary) – With 297 facebook shares, 77 comments and over 240 retweets this post ranking the top 50 bloggers is a great example of a viral top post.

Conclusion

When trying to write blog posts that go viral, you should also know that luck does play a role. But, if you implement the right strategies you will give your blog posts a much better chance of going viral and finding success.

Onibalusi Bamidele is a 17-year-old entrepreneur living the internet lifestyle.  Learn more from him by subscribing to his blog and get his guide to guest blogging for more on guest blogging with success.

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