Without a doubt, most of you reading this post are good writers; however, being a good writer nowadays just doesn’t cut it. You have to really stand out. Just take a look at blogs like Copyblogger, Firepolemarketing and Problogger. In common online blogging lingo, these guys produce epic sh** everyday! (I know..I hate that word “epic” and I promise you I only use it one more time in this blog post)
So how do they do it and still maintain the quality? It’s actually very easy. In fact, you won’t believe how easy this is. Stay with me until the end of this post and I will show you the exact formula need to produce top content in seven easy step – I mean the kind of content that has social media going crazy.
1. Write longer posts
How you ask? Write from the top of your head. Once you have drafted a plan for you blog post, start writing immediately. Don’t worry about making any mistakes. Collect your facts and just write. Ultimately using this strategy will help you write longer and more detailed posts. Forget the 500 max word count most content mills ask you to produce. If you want to create a really great blog post, you will have to write a much longer and detailed article. The key is to think up at least five strong points and cover them in detail.
In essence, these five key points of your topic should be written as mini essays. You should be thorough and seek to answer all the questions your reader might have. Of course, the next logical question is, how long should your post be? This is a great question. Some say 2,000 words others say 3,000. However, according to Corbett Barr of Thinktraffic.net, writing Epic does not necessarily mean writing long, boring, drawn out posts. In his own words, the key to producing viral content is to create content that not only matters to your readers, but content that will change their lives for the better. Therefore, the length does not matter as much as the quality of the post.
That said, it is important to note that 500 word posts rarely contain the kind of value that will make your post go viral. You only have to look at some of the blogs mentioned above to get a clear understanding of the effect length has on the popularity of your post.
It goes without saying that the more you do this, the easier it will become.
2. Include other types of media
Take a look at the blogs mentioned above, what common thing do you see? You will notice that most of the posts have a good layout, are filled with a lot of visuals, nice graphics, videos and sometimes audios. The reason for this is because plain text posts are boring.
Images are not only one of the easiest ways to compliment a post, but they also help to make your blog posts really stand out – remember not to upload high resolution images to your blog because they will affect your page loading time.
Your images also need to be very clear if you wish to attract your readers. WordPress has a good plugin called WP Smush.It which will automatically compress the images on your server whilst helping to make your page load quicker. It is worth giving a try if you are keen on creating highly visual content.
It is no secret that videos offer one of the best ways to keep people on your site longer, especially if the videos are good. However, most people are shy of getting in front of a camera. If this is the case for you, why not try using PowerPoint or creating a slideshow and then record your screen while you talk. You should use a good program for this. Camtasia stands out. Others do exist, however, Camtasia has a solid reputation in the industry.
Audios are also good for creating interaction with your readers. It is possible to change you videos into audios or have audios and use them in your blog.
That said, the key to the use of this strategy is to include one or two different media types into your blog.
3. Write about facts
Content that goes viral is usually factual. A factual blog post will show the reader that you are knowledgeable about the topic and that you put the effort to present correct information.
The problem however, is that most writers THINK they know what they are talking about. You must be 100 percent certain that the information you present is right otherwise it will just be considered an opinion and if your readers want an opinion they can just go to Mashable. The only way to do this is by research – and “I hate research,” inside joke, you probably don’t get it.
Often times, culprits of this serious blogging crime are so called “experts”. Most of the time they get away with posing, however, their reputation always tends to suffer so much more in the long run – just look at The Talented Mrs. Hornstein who scammed her way through Silicon Valley.
Remember, most of your readers will immediately see through your sham and will let you know about it in the comments section. This can be extremely humiliating if have a lot of readers. So always write with 100 percent accuracy.
People want an expert and the only way you can become one is if you provide value to them i.e. give them solutions to their problems. Get your facts before you start writing, this saves a lot of time.
4. Make your posts as useful as possible
The late great Zig Ziglar said “You can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” As mentioned above, a viral blog post is a post that seeks to solve other people’s problems.
This is the basic foundation of building your blog. Always seek to provide as much detail in your blog posts. A wise man once said, “under promise, over delivery.” Don’t only provide solutions to your readers’ problems, go above and beyond. Show them how and why. This will increase your ethos – you can also use words such as “ethos” in your writing to increase your ethos.
Remember, stay away from writing posts about yourself. This is irrelevant especially if you are not a famous person. Your readers are more important than you are so focus on feeding them and satisfying their hunger.
5. Include social sharing buttons (duh)
I know, adding social buttons to your blog post seems like common sense for most of us but it needs to be said.
Unless you are a very well established blogger with list full of thousands of subscribers, you will need an effective blog promotion strategy. The good news is that it does not have to kill your budget or your time. Making your blog posts easy to share is one of the keys to creating viral content. This is very easy and fast to do.
I bet you are probably thinking Facebook and Twitter right? Wrong! Facebook and Twitter are great ways to share your posts, however, a major reason why most bloggers only have a handful of likes and tweets as opposed to the hundreds that Copyblogger has is because most people who they directly share their post with are not in any way interested in what they have to share.
For you to create viral content, you will have to promote it to the masses. There are a few plugins you can use in that respect. I use Digg Digg by Buffer – try and use social buttons with counters because if I saw a lot of shares on your post then I would be more likely to share it myself. It includes a host of buttons to social sharing sites such as Stumblupon and Reddit. Fandrop is a new site that might explode soon so see if you can submit your content there as well.
These sites can send you a ton of traffic if your posts have that appealing x- factor that makes them stand out.
6. Promote other people’s stuff (especially the experts)
Everyone loves attention and the experts are not an exception. Make a list of some of the biggest bloggers in your niche – 10 should be enough. You can find most leading industry bloggers on Technorati.
Become a keen follower of them and share anything of thiers that appeal to you. Mention them in your tweets and tell them what a great resource their posts are. The key is to be very genuine. Never spam and remember that this is a long term strategy. Though chances of them ever acknowledging you are slim, do it because it also reflects that you are up to date with the goings on in your industry.
Bonus Tip: if you mention someone, or link to them in your article, at reply them on Twitter saying that you mentioned them in your blog post and that you really like their product/service (or whatever it is you are talking about). You can get a lot of retweets this way especially if the person you mention on Twitter has a lot of followers. Also, if someone at mentions you and tweets your blog post, make sure to tweet them back with a sincere thank you.
7. Respond to people’s comments and questions
The last step to creating viral blog posts is to respond to your readers’ comments and questions – even the nasty ones. This shows that you appreciate your readers, are keen to help them and are regularly tracking your blog. Here is a good blog post on how to get tons of comments on your articles.
Remember the key is to help others first – Horace Mann said, “Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.”
Most of the time, the comments sections will be the only way that your true FANS will contact you so always be quick to respond to them. Also, remember to remain civil in your approach especially when dealing with the nasty comments. Your response will be the gauge your readers use to measure your character and personality so always be the guy or gal who takes the high road.
This might seem like a lot to take in for the new blogger; however, like with everything else in life, practice will make you better. What do you think? Are these the only steps to creating viral? Share your thoughts below.
P.S. Don’t publish a blog post that you want to go viral on the weekend…or Friday for that matter. I’ve determined that people just don’t read on Fridays.