Today we are going to discuss a topic that I have seen a lot of people talk about: wanting their posts to go viral. Many people love to use this talking point and say how they want their posts to go viral, but are you sure about that? I am an advocate for consistency over virality, and I am going to let you know why.
RT to help me get out the word:
1. Is Your Site Host Even Ready For A Viral Post?
Depending on your site host, your site might not even be ready to handle a viral post just yet. Sites hosted on platforms like Squarespace are equipped to handle a lot of visitors because we don't pay for things like bandwidth and instead just to be on the platform. More than likely if you are self-hosted your site may not be able to handle a viral post and this can cause a lot of harm to you and your regular readers.
If you do a Google Search for stories about this topic it can be kind of alarming. You can't control when a post goes viral and chances are your host isn't going to be pleased, especially if you go with a host that you are paying cheap dollars for. There can be a lot of headaches and downtime that comes along with a viral post and that means you can potentially miss out on a lot of traffic from your regular blog readers.
Don't cheap out on your host. Yes, paying $4 a month for hosting is amazing, but if you are trying your hardest to get a post picked up, you need to think about the traffic that will come along with that viral post further than just the fact that your page views will be higher. Look up information about how your host handles viral posts. I have heard great things about Siteground.
This is one of the best posts I have ever read that really touches on the subject about getting shut down by your host. Becca is very honest here and talks about how she handled the situation and how she eventually had to move hosts because of the situation.
2. Can Your Content Get People Hooked On Your blog?
So many people think "If only I can make one viral post, people would see my amazing content, and I would gain so many consistent readers!" What you don't realize is that viral traffic often comes when you are least expecting it and it doesn't always turn into consistent traffic. Yes, at the moment your traffic can be banging, but in the days that follow it dissipates and you are often stuck with a traffic spike, and not one that brings up your overall traffic. Ride the wave, but don't expect consistency.
A lot of that comes from how people usually find out about a viral post. They usually see a post about it on social media (paid or otherwise) and click directly to the post from that link. Then they read the post (as that is what they came to your blog for) and after that, they dip. That doesn't lead to consistent traffic. Viral posts are a quick and dirty way to boost page views, but the way that people are viewing your blog can't maintain itself. Eventually you will stop running ads for the post or people will stop sharing them.
Get your readers hooked from the beginning by:
- Making sure all your posts are on fleek. You never know which posts will do amazingly well (trust me) so you never want to create content that is subpar or too far off the beaten path of what you normally create.
- Interlinking Your Content: Interlinking is when you add links to other posts you have done within your content. This is helpful because it builds authority, looks great for SEO, and it helps readers stay on your blog longer. You can do this by sharing links throughout your post and/or by sharing a Keep Reading widget at the end or throughout your post. Make sure these links open in a new tab if possible.
This piece by Neil Patel is amazing and it gives you TONS of great ideas on how to keep people (whether through viral posts or regular posts) on your blog longer so you can convert them to the best of your ability.
3. Are You Ready To Capture Those Emails?
What does your lead magnet even look like? Are you ready to capture not only increased page views, but emails as well? Having a great offer for your viral post readers will help keep them on your site longer and give you a great commodity--their email address. If you can get someone to invite you into their email inbox, you have something genuinely special and that's a connection that will prove to be quite beneficial as you grow your brand.
When you are thinking about what to create as your lead magnet it needs to be:
Make It Valuable & Visible
It's hard to get someone to opt-in to your site if they can't find the opt-in buttons or they don't find the content valuable enough. You have to make content that people crave. For me personally my free resource library, Instagram quote library, and toolkits have gained the most steam as far as lead magnets are concerned.
If you are considering making your first lead magnet or your 1,000th lead magnet I really encourage this awesome post from OptIn Monster. It has TONS of great content upgrade ideas so your next upgrade is bound to be a success.
4. Do You Have Shareable Content?
A big thing that sustains all viral posts is social sharing. This is how posts become viral and stay viral, but are you cutting down your content's virality by not properly sharing pictures in your posts? Content needs to be shareable and a great way to make sure that is the case is by attaching a picture to everything you post.
When I first started blogging in 2011 I never shared any pictures on anything I posted. Instead I would just write tons of words (broken down into paragraphs, but walls of text nonetheless.) Creating blog post images is SO EASY nowadays that you really have no excuse for not creating blog post images. My favorite place to create images is Canva and I use sites like Haute Chocolate and Ivorymix to help provide images for those Pinterest images.
Shareable content is about more than just an image. Do these other things to get your content shared:
1) Use Tailwind's Tribes feature to get your content seen.
2) Utilize Pinterest's very own group boards feature to get your name out there.
3) Use Spredd.it to create Tweet This text for your blog.
4) Participate in linkups to get more views and comments on your blog posts.
There are so many ways to create more shareable content for your blog.
Doing a little shameless self-promotion here but a few weeks ago I uploaded this great post all about how to increase shares on your blog posts. These methods have gotten my small blog hundreds of pins in the last few months and I know you will love this read.
5. What is your reasoning for wanting to go viral?
Virality happens when and if it wants to happen. Yes, it would be amazing if every blog post we ever published was a smashing success, but in this time, that is just not possible. Evaluate your reasoning for wanting to go viral in the first place. Is your heart in it for the right reasons? What story are you trying to tell that requires a ton of eyes on your post? Could you tell just as powerful a story to three people over three hundred of three hundred thousand?
It is important to evaluate the reason that you want the increased page views that going viral comes with. if you are not into blogging for the right reasons, it can come off as fake, and it will become uninteresting and chore-like in that way.
Don't go chasing page views, you stick to the readers and the groups that you're used to (for the most part anyway.) It's okay to dream big and get out there, but at the same time you have to be realistic and you have to stop chasing virality and start living to love on the readers you already have. Evaluate your reasoning for wanting to go viral and make sure it's for the right reasons.
Love this post from Allison all about blogging purpose. When you are trying to create a viral post it is so important to be clear to yourself about your intentions and what you hope to accomplish. Take a step back and read this post for help doing just that.
6. Can you sustain the content you have created?
Viral posts can happen to literally any post you have up, and sometimes the post is not what you are known for. I had a post reach a ton of people before on my college lifestyle blog. You know what the post was called? "What I'm Pinning Adorable Animals," so not at all my niche at the moment. You seriously never know which post will be the post, so you need to make them all count.
If I could go back in time, I would create great content throughout and focus less on content that wasn't good or worth my time. We get so caught up in sharing content ALL THE TIME that we forget to share good content all the time.
Share content on your blog that you are proud of ALWAYS so that no matter which of your posts go viral it will always be the content that you love and get excited about sharing. Never create content that is anything less than extraordinary.
Creating a niche is so important and Melyssa has really taught me that through her courses and blog posts. I can't tell you enough how much niching down has helped both The Happy Arkansan and Amanda Cross Blog.
How to Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas
Creating content when you are confined to a tiny section of things to talk about can be stressful and difficult to manage, but it doesn't have to be. Last week I crafted my latest product called "10 Ways To Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas," which is a multi-page PDF featuring my FAVORITE ways to brainstorm blog post topics. I talk about everything from pen and paper ways to really awesome websites that I use to generate ideas. The best part, this PDF that will help you extensively is just $5, for now. At the end of the week on April 9th I will be raising the price to at least double the price it is today. Grab it now, I promise you won't be disappointed by the tips and tricks that I cover in this PDF are priceless in my opinion because it shows you exactly how I brainstorm and gives you plenty of ways that are bound to generate hundreds of blog post ideas.
Virality is great, up to a point. The second that you stop chasing after viarlity is the moment it will be most likely to come. Create great content and share that content with the world and your posts will continue to do well. You may not break the internet, but to the people who love and respect your opinions, your new blog will be a breath of fresh air.