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How To Get A Blog Post To Go Viral (Even If You’re A Small Blogger)

  |   Blog Income Report, Business Tips, Social Media Marketing   |   79 Comments

How to get a blog post to go viral (even if you have a small blog) -- step by step tips anyone can follow!


Pop quiz time:


There’s a big company you admire + just so happens to have an audience full of people in your target audience.


And you want to get in front of them in order to grow your fledgling blog or business.


But you want YOUR blog post to be the one that’s circulated among their fans and clicked on hundreds of times, not a guest post you simply wrote on their site.


How do you do it?


As part of my regular blog income and traffic report today, I’m going to show you how to get a blog post to go viral.  (And it’s not as hard as you may think.)



HOW TO GET A BLOG POST TO GO VIRAL Pageviews for February:     7,371  (+3,960 from last month)




As you can see from the graphic above, my traffic during February essentially doubled last month thanks in large part to that huuuuuge spike of website visitors on February 17th.


What in the world happened?






My post on common mistakes people make when using Help A Reporter Out (published in early December of last year) was picked up by the HARO team and shared on their Facebook page — a page that is followed by over 56,000 people.


After I checked in on my blog traffic that day and saw what was going on, I’m pretty sure I chucked my work out the window and spent the rest of the day dancing.


(Because hello! EXCITING!)


But this kind of thing is not just a “lucky break,” and it can happen for you, too. Here’s what I did, and what will help you do the same:






Please, please, please. Be true to yourself and your readers first.


There’s little benefit in writing about a company that you don’t like, don’t use, or doesn’t resonate with what you’re trying to give to your audience.


To do otherwise will end up doing damage to your blog/brand.


* That’s why it’s a 100% guarantee you’ll never see a post about How To Buy Awesome Printer Paper At Walmart on this blog. Don’t like ’em, don’t use ’em (unless it’s unavoidable, at which point I die a little inside), and why would you want to come here to read about THAT?






When I originally wrote my HARO post, my intention wasn’t to get the attention of Help A Reporter Out.


My goal was to help my readers learn how to best use the platform + what they might be doing that was preventing them from getting publicity for their brand.


That’s because I believe that focusing on helping the average Jane (or Joe) who reads our blog is where our best posts come from.


This means that if you want to write a great post that could get picked up + shared by the company you’re writing about, you have to do something a bit unconventional.


You simply cannot write with the company in mind. You HAVE to put your people first.


(But don’t worry. Because you’ve followed Step 1 above, your post will naturally appeal to the company, too. You won’t be able to resist portraying them in a positive light, and you’ll be helping their [potential] customers — what’s not to love?!)


To find a topic that will benefit your tribe, use these brainstorming questions:


- What could my audience be struggling with as it concerns this company?

- What are they eager to learn about using this company’s service/product?

- How could their life be improved if they knew X, Y, or Z about this company?

- What do I know about this company’s product or service that many don’t? (ie: best practices, setup, extra features)






While some of the more savvy companies are actively looking for new mentions of their name out there in the blogosphere, it’s no guarantee they’ll find yours (particularly if you’re still a wee internet babe).


To get the attention of the social media managers (because they are the ones who will decide to share your content), the best way to do so is directly through social itself.


You don’t need to — and honestly, shouldn’t — tweet them and say, “Hey, look, I just wrote a post with you in it. Check it out.”


That nearly always comes across as overly self-promotional. (You know: icky.)


But you SHOULD mention them in your regular social media shares.


What I did with my Help A Reporter Out post was schedule a couple shares on Twitter for the day it was published and the day after.


My status update looked something like this: “Why Reporters Hate Your Pitches on Help A Reporter Out [link here]” — and then I hashtagged their nickname (#HARO).


(Note: I did some tweet research beforehand and found that the #HARO tag was commonly attached to tweets pertaining to them. You’ll want to see if there’s anything like that for the company you’re mentioning.)


Of course I was a goof and didn’t do this, but in one tweet or Facebook update it would have been brilliant to make a “direct mention” to the good folks at HARO (for example: “Why Reporters Hate Your Pitches on @helpareporter ….”).


This way they would have received an actual notification that someone had tagged them in a post. (Duh, Erika.)


Thankfully this didn’t end up being an issue because it just so happens that they have a GREAT social media team that is tracking mentions of their name, but don’t assume that will be true for the company you write about. Always be sure to tag them!


It was good news in the end: the HARO Twitter page ended up taking notice and re-tweeting my post out to all their followers on the day my post went live (Dec. 3, 2014).


I was elated!


However, it didn’t bring in very many people. Not even enough to cause a blip on my traffic analytics.


So what led to them sharing my post again in February? And what led it to “going viral?” (By my small standards, anyhow. 😉 )


I have the answer. Let’s go to our final point.






This could have the end of my little adventure with Help A Reporter Out IF I hadn’t done one teeny, almost-always-overlooked thing.


I went into Hootsuite and scheduled the post to be re-shared on Twitter 2 months later.


In the meantime, I also made a new main post graphic for it (my old one was sooo blah).


The tweet was published at 9:15 am in the morning on February 13th, and that afternoon HARO shared the post on Twitter (not a retweet) WITH my big, beautiful post image.


This time it brought in between 140-180 people!


Then, a few days later on February 17th, they shared the post on Facebook that you saw up above.


That share had some of the highest engagement out of all the posts on their Facebook timeline (within a month before and after) and drove almost 400 people to my website in one day, plus another couple hundred the next.


(It also brought in 3x as many new email subscribers.)


But it never would have happened if I hadn’t re-shared the post and got it back on HARO’s radar screen.


That’s why it’s important to keep sharing, even if nothing arises from it the first time (or the fifth time). 


Tips to help your blog post go viral


Now let’s conclude this post with my blog income numbers:





As I’ve mentioned in past income reports, the figures below are what I made through “passive income” on this blog, not my other client work and services.


Last month’s earnings are as follows:


BlogHer Ads - $4.80 (last month: $1.11)

Lijit (Sovrn) Ads - $2.34   ($0.59)

Amazon Associates - $2.57  ($9.48)

Blog Beautiful eBook - $9.60




(Note: my Sovrn ads finally came back up this month. After their dismal performance the month before, I decided to raise the floor price on my ads to $0.55 instead of $0.05. This means they won’t be filled as often…HOWEVER when they are, I’ll get much more money for them. As soon as I did this my daily income climbed to above normal. I plan to keep it at this setting for awhile.)




Twitter: 2,054 (+ 161 from last month)

Facebook: 342 (+73)

Pinterest: 683  (+ 161)

LinkedIn: 893 connections/928 followers (+ 66 / + 66)

Instagram: 175 (+ 63)

YouTube: 10  (+ 2)


As I mentioned last month, I decided to try deleting some Pins on my boards that hadn’t received any repins.


(Though I didn’t want to permanently ditch the blog posts I really enjoyed/found useful, so I tried re-pinning them again. And they have done well now.)


I don’t have any hard numbers on whether this action was directly helpful to me, but my follower and re-pin numbers have continued to climb — and break my personal records.


In closing, let me know in the comments what you think of the strategy I explained in the beginning of this post for getting exposure for your blog. Is it something you will try? Something you HAVE tried? Let me know!



Erika Madden

(Chief Olyvia)


The free 21 day ecourse that creates pro online impressions for business owners!

  • FELLOW ERIKA! Congrats on the viral post, that’s awesome.

    I’d love a new glance-over of my blog, if you’re still up for it. And if you re-email me ( the questions for a testimonial for you, I’ll (finally) get that back to you. Sorry I’m a dunce 🙁

    • Ah, thank you, lady!!

      Of course I’ll take a quick look at your blog; anything specific you want me to check out? And no worries about the testimonial (I do that allll the time, too). I’ll re-send it!

      • Ummm. Design + function, rather than content, for the time being. I know my content needs work, hah.

        • Sure thing! So, here are a few things I’d suggest:

          1. Link up your Services page in your top menu. I knew you offered services yet it even took me a minute or so to find the page for it. 🙂 You may even want to swap it out with the FAQ link, and then put the FAQ on the same page as the Services. (Or, if not, link to it prominently on the Services page.)

          I’d also put a link to your Services page from your ‘Work/Portfolio’ page!

          2. This link on your FAQ page: is coming back as a 404.

          I love the way your website looks and functions, Erika. It’s very smooth and attractive. You’ve done a lovely job, I mean that.

  • That is so awesome you were featured by HARO!!! That was a smart tactic, writing about them!!!

  • What a helpful post - thank you! You mention you don’t know if cleaning up your Pins helped with followers, but do you have a feel (er, data) for how many long-term followers came out of your viral post? I’ve wondered how much these things convert. 🙂

    Thank you again for a really good idea and tutorial!

    • Brilliant question, Melissa! I did gain at least 20 new email subscribers, and the daily # of visitors to my blog has bumped up about an extra 100 people. I also saw a small spike in my Facebook likes on that day as well. So, it did give me a bit of a boost in long-term followers. Not huge, but every one is appreciated. 🙂

      Thank you for your comment!

  • Sharon R

    I can attest to this in a slightly different situation. I used to write a fashion blog haphazardly, never promoted it, wasn’t even on SM. I had visited a pretty big hotel in downtown WADC and was disappointed by my visit. I wrote a review of my experience, not even thinking the hotel would find my post. However, they did. They emailed me and I received a complementary night’s stay. Companies really do aim to please, and so they should. Consumers hold a lot of power and good companies will monitor their reputation online.

    • Great example, Sharon. Thank you for sharing that. Not all companies are as diligent, but they SHOULD be. It’s really in their best interest to keep tabs on what is being said about them on the internet, and promote the good while remedying the bad.

  • nikkiham

    Love this! Love how things are going for you. Love that you are just that smart. You have ideas buzzing in my head, a few of them were whispering, but now they are buzzing…louder and louder. You know I love your blog and I love even more that you share so much of you. May Karma be your best friend! Congrats.

    • Nikki, sometimes I don’t know if I’m smart or if it’s just taking chances. 😉 I like to use this blog as one big experiment…sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t! But oh I’m so happy that I’ve helped plant some ideas in your head. I REALLY hope you try something out like this. And if you do, would you give me a heads up when you publish it? I would genuinely love to read it + help you promote it.

      • How about we say that you take smart choices? That I can agree with. I am experimenting with the blog right now too. I had a stroke a few years ago and then Auto Immune disease moved in, so I have not been able to work much for the last 2 years. I have decided to get serious about the blog, deciding to monetize. It is not all fun and games anymore. I am trying to think my posts through, I have worked to define my reader, and I am trying to marry my posts with their interests. It is a lot of trial and error. I recently posted about twitter, and I thought that it would get more traction than it has, trying different lead ins/titles to see what attracts more people. And I wrote one on how to create your own faux wallpaper, I thought that it would go nuts on Pinterest, but it didn’t, some interest but not enough. So I am working to figure things out without selling out on who I am and what I want the blog to be. I am sure that soon it will fall into place. Thanks for everything you share, it makes me stretch more for each post. xo

  • Julie Harris

    1st - CONGRATS ON THE VIRAL POST! It deserves it viral status. That was such an amazing post. I learned no only about a great new resource (that I have even started using myself) but how to successfully use that resource from the get go.

    2nd - This is excellent, Erika! (not that anything you share is anything less than excellent) Every tip is so spot on! And I loved your point about not trying to write with the business in mind, but your PEOPLE in mind and how that business will help them. “You simply cannot write with the company in mind. You have to put your people first.”

    I also loved your comments about repurposing your content. That even TWO months later, you reshared your old post, with a new facelift. This is something I’ve been debating doing with some of my older original posts. It’s been a few months since I launched and I have a number of new followers and subscribers who might not have caught some of my older posts, especially on Twitter or Facebook. I feel like the “shelf life” on Pinterest is a bit longer… I am definitely going to try this out and see what the response is.

    Also, @mentioning the business. It can be a little nerve-racking to directly reach out to a company by tagging them in your post, but like you said, some might actually check it out and if it’s really valuable to their community, they could share it.

    You have addressed so many new things for me to direct more of my attention to. THANK YOU!

    • Oh yes Julie, I definitely think you should re-share your older posts on Twitter and Facebook. Excellent idea! It’s easy to forget that as we grow, there’s an opportunity to introduce our older content to new readers.

      And yes, oh my. It is terrifying sometimes to directly tag a company. (Which is probably why I didn’t tag HARO to begin with.) But if we put a lot of good stuff in there and make it our best work, there’s really no reason to be shy!

      I love your long comments. They are always THE best. 🙂 🙂 Thank YOU.

  • Erika, I love how you turn every struggle and success into a teachable moment…and then bless your readership with your practical, inspirational wisdom. I think I smell another post about to go viral…this one! 😉

    • Haha you’re awesome, Lauren. 🙂 Thank you for encouraging me!!

  • This is such a helpful post! Thank you for sharing your experience as a tutorial!

  • Such a great tip!!! I had a post go viral about 2 weeks ago because a Facebook page with over 123,000 likes shared my post to make fun of it. Yeah, it was pretty awful. But after crying my river, building a bridge, and getting over it, I found that a lot of people ended up sharing my post in positive ways and my email subscribers and Facebook followers increased a lot because of that. I also tripled my monthly page views in February because of that haha. Anywho, long story short I would say that another way to have your posts shared by pages with huge followings would be to write something that could be even SLIGHTLY considered controversial. People are mean on the internet, and if they don’t agree with something they WILL share it and they WILL let others know.

    Of course, the positive shares like what you mentioned are the preferable route when trying to get your stuff out there 🙂 Great job getting your post featured by HARO!!!

    • Oh my goodness, Brittney! I’m a pretty sensitive person and something like that would throw me for a loop, too. But even in those cases — as you found — it can really help you attract the people who like + agree with you. So the naysayers don’t get the upper hand after all. 😉

      And I’m totally with you on the mild controversy approach. It’s actually more helpful to put yourself out there by taking a stand on an issue than being the blogger who just tries to keep everything bland and appease everybody!

      Thank you so much for your comment, Brittney. 🙂

  • CreativeWifeBlog

    Very great post. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy your writing style.

    • Thank you so much for saying so; I really appreciate that. <3

  • Can I just say that I LOVE your blog?! Everything I read on here is incredibly helpful! I experienced “Step 1” just a few days ago. I chose to pass on a huge campaign because the company was not a good fit for my blog and I realized that pursuing it would damage my brand.

    I’ve also been experimenting with updating my graphics and re-sharing. It makes a huge difference, especially on Pinterest where your pin can get buried so quickly.

    Congrats on your viral post!!!

    • Kara! Your comment was so encouraging to me. I’m SO happy you find my blog helpful. Thank you thank you!!

  • Christina Channell

    Erika, I’m so excited for you! You’re going to do big things. Congrats!

  • Elaine Springer Griffin

    VERY useful information, thanks for sharing! Pinning this for the weekend when I’m taking a look through and editing my content calendar.

    • You’re very welcome, Elaine. Thank you kindly!

  • Wow, this is super helpful! I’ve been in the blogging game for about 3 years, but only started trying to promote in the past 6 months or so. I’ve gotten some good features but usually that just leads to traffic to THAT site; not always mine (although I will see a small spike). I love the idea of getting a company to RT or promote you, so I’ll have to try that! Congrats to you!

    • Let me know if you do try it, Allison! I’d love to see the post. 🙂

  • Great post! And I predict this one to be another ‘viral’ post for you! It’s clear and concise, full of great information, a pin-worthy image and an attention-grabbing title, great job! Let’s spread it like wildfire! Pinning right meow.

    • Haha, thank you so much. 🙂 I appreciate you!

  • I had something similar happen, although accidentally, when I wrote a post about Activities Not Meant for Introverts. Months after I published it, a Facebook page called “Introverts are Awesome” came across it and promoted it to their page of 10k+ fans. It only lasted a day or so, but it was thrilling!

  • Anna @ Fresh The Blog

    This is such a useful tip! Thanks for sharing it! I do occasionally write about brands I love, but I tend to be shy about tagging them on social media, for no good reason really. I’ve mentioned brands before and heard positive feedback from them, but I can’t say I make enough of a push. I will be trying though!

    • I completely understand the hesitancy. I am the same way. 😉

  • Jennie @ Little Girl Designs

    Found your site via a pin from the SITS Girls and have been having fun checking out all of your great posts. 🙂 This particular one about a post going viral made me think, ‘ah! why haven’t I thought of that before?!’…I like how you’re helping your readers but also bringing in some recognition to your brand in a way that isn’t lame or pathetic. 🙂 🙂 Very cool. Thanks so much for sharing this with us! Love your site!!! Pinning, tweeting, etc. 🙂

    • Jennie you are so wonderful. Thank you. I’m happy it helped spur a new idea for you!

      Also, I just perused your site and I want you to know how much I love it. <3 You have such nice photos and graphics, and everything just looks so clean and cute. 🙂 🙂

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it!

      • Jennie @ Little Girl Designs

        Thanks so much, Erika! 🙂

        • hi Jennie, I clicked your name to check out your blog (if Erika liked it, I wanna see it!) …anyway, wanted to let you know to add your website address to your disqus profile! 🙂 I get a lot of views from leaving comments and i know having that site right there makes it easier for everyone! (hope you don’t mind my comment)

          • Jennie Meredith Moraitis

            Good idea! Thanks, Kate. 🙂

  • Ok this is the 2nd time I’ve read this and for some reason I didn’t leave a comment last time. Doh Marianne!

    Anyway, congrats on the vital post, that’s amazing!

    Secondly, I noticed you said that you retweeted the post a few months later. Have you used the Evergreen post retweeter plugin? I’m betting that would be useful for this type of thing. 🙂

  • This is a great post! I’ve been blogging for a couple months now and was actually just working on a review of a product we just installed. I’ll definitely be using some of your tips to help boost my posts. I had one post get a lot of views just by asking my facebook viewers to share my blog to help boost my FB likes. I got a lot of views but no comments and only 1 new like.
    So, I’m still figuring things out!

  • Elisha Kayne

    Awesome, thanks so much for the advice!

  • Thank you for the tips. I got a pinned post that got 400 or so people to my site but since last week nothing. You just gave me a little morale boost . thanks .

  • Iryna

    Very interesting article. So that wasn’t a sponsored post, right? You just chose a company you wanted to write a review about?

  • This is a great post, thanks for sharing your strategy. It was clear, straight to the point and inspiring.

  • This was so helpful. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  • Great post, thanks Olyvia! 🙂 SO useful, and something I know I should do (re-share old content) but always forget to. Seems it’s worth the effort after all.

  • Ashley Tukiainen

    Thank you so much for all your posts. I have literally just spent the first hour of my day reading your site. I have read tons of posts (elsewhere) on how to grow this and that, and half of them don’t make sense but I love that yours are simple and definitely seem attainable. Thank you thank you thank you!

    • What a sincere compliment, Ashley. Thank you for taking the time to read and let me know how the blog is helping you. 🙂 Please let me know if you have any questions or I can help you find a resource!

  • anisha kg

    This spotted to be just awesome Miss. Erika. Being a beginner this helped to be one of the best post i been searching for. Thankyou! Wish u All the best 🙂

  • I’ve read to many blog posts on this topic and everyone is SO vague! You hit this nail on the head!!!! I had 1 post go viral last year, and to this day it still brings in over 200 visitors a day to my blog! I can’t wait to have my next one to double my traffic. Honestly, thanks so much for the tips. I can’t wait to brainstorm. Sending much aloha!

    • Wow, what an awesome viral post, Kristine! I love that.

  • What awesome tips! My favourite was Step 1 - love the fact that you made being honest, true to your readers and brand the first step. It’s so important. Congrats on your post going viral by the way 😉

  • Thank you so much for sharing!! This was really helpful 🙂


  • So you might be a genius! LOVE this idea and also super congratulations 🙂

    - Kaitlyn |

  • Fedor

  • Danielle Jacek

    Great tips here! Now to think up which company to target!

    • Best of luck, Danielle! If you do it, I’d love to hear your results!

  • The Wellness Soldier

    Great advice here! We are pretty good at # and @ companies that are either mentioned, featured or relevant to a certain post, however, I think we will work on your advice of using hoot suit more to schedule reposting in the future and to keep sharing sharing sharing 🙂

    Thank you,
    The Wellness Soldier

  • I’m so happy I found this post! It was such an interesting read and I really like those tips. I’ll definitely try to try these out soon! Thank you so much Erika for this amazing info!

  • Thank you for the useful tips! I’ll definitely be trying that out soon!

    • You’re most welcome, Olivia. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Thanks so much for sharing! This is great information to know and I really appreciate it!

  • How exciting! I’m a new blogger, but I really hope to do well by it. I’ve wanted to be a writer since grade school. I’ll definitely have to use this technique!

  • Leah Webb

    Literally sat here thinking to myself, why haven’t I thought about reposting old blogs? This was an excellent read for a baby blogger (aka, me). Thank you so much for providing this useful information that I will carry with me along my blogging journey! Much love.

  • Sherman Smith

    Hey Erika,

    You know it’s always the little things you overlook. I never thought of mentioning the companies name even though I include mentions whenever I share other bloggers when I share their posts. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  • Darci

    Hi Erika, I just found this article on Pinterest. Thank you so much for sharing-it is super helpful advice for a new blogger, such as myself. I’m really enjoying the creative excitement of blogging about my passion for home decor, but am feeling a little self doubt. I’m putting my heart and soul into writing and providing crisp,clear pictures- but looking at SEO views constantly and hoping for better is unnerving for me- I would rather just keep working on good content and not be concerned with SEO. I’m using fb,IG and Pinterest- tagging the companies that I’ve linked in the posts, but I don’t want to overuse the platforms either. Is there a happy medium when you are trying to increase your page views and comments? I’ve emailed the companies that I’ve mentioned in my posts as well and sent links to the site. Your success is an inspiration to all and I appreciate all the positive feedback you have given to the comments below.

  • Those resources/case study are great! Thank you so much for sharing! I am working hard and I hope this will happen to me one day too!

  • mrscents

    Congrats on the viral post! Very inspiring article, you made all the steps very clear. Thanks for writing it.

  • Nick Kembel

    Extremely helpful, thank you!! I would dance too! I’ve had the same thing happen but on a smaller scale (a tourism board shared my content and it gave me an additional 200 or so shares). It was such a wonderful surprise to discover it had happened!

  • This is pretty cool! I’m a new blogger and I”m seriously struggling with it. But I know that it takes a lot (A LOT) of work. I’ve been trying to get it to grow really fast but that is very hard. It feels like I’m working a second full time job with overtime, but slowly it’s becoming easier. Thanks for this!

  • Sandra

    Wow this is really great! I was wondering if beginner bloggers should set up email newsletters asap? Are tools like Mailchimp or GetResponse good for bloggers?

  • Stephanie

    Hi Olyvia,

    Great post! Super informative and smart. Your intentions were pure which makes the outcome even more rewarding. I have a fairly new blog,, I use my blog to promote my Vintage Furniture, Lighting & Accessories shop. I write about design, I like to weave in a bit of history and tend to use cinematic references when possible. I have a background in film set decoration and prop styling for still shoots. I think my posts are interesting and unique, but I’m operating in a bit of a bubble! I find it difficult to get the word out about my blog. Curious what I might be doing wrong. I’m also trying to promote an affiliate program I just started. It’s a great way for bloggers to earn 15% commission on expensive pieces of furniture. Any insight you could share would be greatly appreciated.



    *Had no idea my images would be so large. Yikes! Sorry about that.

  • This is such an awesome guide – it’s so awesome that it came out of your own experience!