How To Get A Blog Post To Go Viral (Even If You’re A Small Blogger)
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
Olyvia.co 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:
CHOOSE A COMPANY THAT YOU GENUINELY LIKE + USE + WILL MAKE YOUR READERS’ LIVES BETTER*
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?
WRITE A POST ABOUT THEIR PRODUCT OR SERVICE THAT IS INSANELY USEFUL TO REAL HUMANS
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)
@MENTION THE COMPANY WHEN YOU PROMOTE THE POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA
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.
PERIODICALLY RE-SHARE YOUR POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA (+ FRESHEN UP THE GRAPHICS IF NECESSARY)
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).
Now let’s conclude this post with my blog income numbers:
OLYVIA.CO BLOG INCOME REPORT
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
GROSS EARNINGS: $19.31
(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.)
+ SOCIAL MEDIA STATS
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!