Most bloggers dream of having their posts go viral on social media, and for good reason. A single viral post can easily drive more traffic to a blog than it usually gets in several months.
Although I don’t go out out of my way to try to make my own blog posts go viral, they sometimes do all on their own. And of course I love it when that happens.
My most popular post of all time was written in just a few minutes, with very little thought given to it at all. It’s titled Why you should always ‘Like’ your own Facebook posts, and when I wrote it I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular to come of it.
It was really just me explaining a change Facebook had made in the way it distributes posts in their users’ newsfeeds, and a recommendation for how to minimize the negative impact of the change.
Long story short, that post went viral. So viral in fact that it almost crashed my server, and by the time the buzz finally subsided (almost a week later!) it had received over 250,000 Facebook ‘Likes’.
I thought it might be a good idea to analyze that post and try to figure out what made it garner so much attention. This is what I came up with:
1 – It offered truly useful information that would help most everyone who took the time to read it. That made those folks want to share it with their friends and followers.
2 – It was controversial. Many folks think it’s nothing more than vanity that causes someone to ‘Like’ their own posts (those folks are wrong), and they sure weren’t shy about letting people know that. And in order to share their opinions on the post, they also had to share the post itself.
3 – It drew plenty of re-tweets on Twitter. Who would have thunk that Twitter users would be interested in a post about a simple Facebook change? Go figure. The lesson I learned from this is that it always pays to cross-post on several social media sites, even if they are competitors to the site mentioned in the post.
4 – It was referenced in an answer to a question on Yahoo Answers that itself went viral. I found this out after checking the referral logs in my blog’s stats.
5 – It was the beneficiary of blind luck. Someone decided to share the post on Reddit, and it received enough “upvotes” to make it onto the Reddit home page. Once there, it received a ton more upvotes which made it even more popular. To this day I still receive lots of traffic to that post each month from the Reddit links.
There might well be other issues in play that helped make that post go viral in a big way, but I believe those are the biggies. I hope some of this info will help some of your posts go viral too!