Everyone wants their blog to go viral. It’s the ultimate certificate of achievement and the best pat on the back a blogger can receive. It’s also not an exact science. There are no rules to follow that can tell you how to make that sort of magic happen. However, there are definitely wrong ways to go about it. There are things you can do that will garnish only a tweet from your mother, and rightly so.
Don’t fake it
Have something to say. Don’t pretend to be interesting just to entice the linkerati. People may have moments of less-than enlightenment, but you should never work on the assumption that your readers are ignorant or stupid. They’re looking for good, solid content to share with their friends and followers. Many of the linkerati are themselves bloggers, and they know what a fluff piece looks like.
Take it for a spin
No one cares about what you think of your dog. It’s great that you love the little furry beast, but the internet doesn’t really need another epic love song from a pet owner to their animal. Look for a more original take on the situation, and find a different angle. Talk about what it’s like when it seems like your girlfriend loves her dog more than you or when you go off to college and your dog starts growling at you every time you come home. It is fine to write about your pet, but keep in mind readers aren’t going to share something they’ve read a hundred times.
Don’t walk the straight and narrow
Let’s be honest—if you go too creative, readers aren’t going to know what to think. If the story has nothing to do with them, they’re not going to care. A story about a challenge you faced while fixing Linux computers may be original, but not many people outside your field will care. Topics about education, family life and general frustrations will always be better received by the majority of readers.
Give it up for free
You have something to offer, whether it’s wisdom or just plain old advice. Don’t make readers click through several different posts while you half-explain whatever you’re talking about. Nothing is more frustrating than having five different tabs open just to read one story. While this does up your click-through rate for your blog pages, it’s only going to hurt you in the long run. Think of it this way: how many times have you copied/pasted an article in an e-mail? Sharing that way doesn’t really work if there are ten links in it.
Variety can spice up life, but ruin your shares
When it comes to sharing your post, you want to give readers options. You don’t want to make them search through a deep list of tiny icons. Ideally, they should be able to hit a button and be done. Consider your market. If you’re primarily based in the West, Twitter, Facebook, Dig, Reddit and Google+ should be all the social icons you need. Any more than that and you’re just wasting their time. Likely, they’ll only share it on one platform, so be deliberate as to which one you place most prominently. If you’re looking to grow your presence on Facebook, make that share button loud and proud.
Whatever you do when it comes to creating viral content, be deliberate about it. Don’t expect mundane content to be enough to get by. Aim high, promote the best of what you do, and make sure you’re doing it well if you’re aiming for viral.
Guest Post By: Jesse Langley enjoys all things search and social networking. He is also an advocate for online education.