This guest contribution from Ahmed Safwan.
Writing viral posts.
That’s what we all dream of.
We hope that we can write the next popular post on our blog.
But what if you make it on one of the most influential blogs on the Internet (like Problogger) and get a lot of visits out of it?
Well, Jon Morrow did that with his post, How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World. The post attracted over 70,000 visits in the first 24 hours and it’s on track to get nearly 1 million visits.
Darren was astonished. That’s why he called Jon the best writer on the web.
He was able to attract over 9,000 subscribers to his guest blogging course solely on the strength of this post. Many of them had signed up to the premium program because of that one post, and he was able to make a great amount of money.
It’s pretty amazing, right?
But how did he do it? That’s what we will cover in this post.
You need compelling content
… not just another 5-tip post that’s generic.
Compelling content is essential to get traffic, engage your readers and turn them into paid customers.
It’s the dream that most bloggers have. We all want to quit our job and move to paradise. Not only that, he shows you how to get paid to change the world.
The content is compelling and he crafted the post well. But a lot of us could do this. It’s true. So why aren’t our posts going viral?
Well, it’s not just about the content.
Jon Morrow included some ingredients that made his post spread like wildfire.
Hundreds of posts are created about how to quit your job and move to paradise, but this post has some ingredients that other posts don’t have.
1. Evoking Explosive Emotions
Jonah Berger co-authored a research paper with Katy Milkman called “What Makes Online Content Go Viral?” In this paper, there are some insights that you need to care about.
One of these insights is that content that evokes high explosive emotions is more viral than content that doesn’t. Basically, you need to evoke emotions in your content to make it spread online.
After you readJon Morrow’s post, you feel inspired and that you have the power to do anything.
Another key insight Jonah Berger found is that positive content is more viral than negative content.
That’s why Jon’s Problogger post spread more than his Copyblogger post, On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas. In his Copyblogger post, he intended to make people cry and he evoked that emotion explosively. With his Problogger post, he wanted to inspire people.
The difference is that the emotion he tried to evoke in his Copyblogger post was negative but in his Problogger post, the emotion was positive. That’s why the Problogger post spread like wildfire.
But how to evoke that emotion?
Jon Morrow has a great answer to this question.
In his post How to Be Unforgettable, he explains how you can connect emotionally with your readers.
“Instead of sitting down and writing cold, imagine the emotion you want to create in your reader, and deliberately cultivate that emotion in yourself. Cry, laugh, get so mad you nearly beat your keyboard to death.” Jon says. “Then let it loose. Let it flow through you and into your words.”
“Your readers will feel it. They’ll wake up. It’ll make them feel alive.” Jon explained. “And they’ll remember you forever.”
It’s simple but really effective answer. It’s worth reading the post word-by-word to learn more about how to evoke emotions and how to be unforgettable.
2. Telling a Story
This is one of the most effective ingredients Jon added in his post.
He shared a story that was incredible. It inspired a lot of people to continue facing their difficulties. It made people connect with Jon.
He shocked us with his story.
That’s exactly what you need when you craft a compelling story. If it’s something usual and people will predict what will happen next, then it’s boring.
You don’t need to create specific posts to share your story as Jon did. You could add a story in the opening of your blog, to start it with a bang, as he did in his “How To Be Unforgettable” post. Thanks to Brian Clark for this awesome tip.
To prove that telling stories is an effective way to make your posts spread more, check out James Chartrand’s story on how he is a she. It got over 540 comments and was one of the most popular posts on Copyblogger.
3. Having Irresistible Magnetic Headlines
“8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of the headline, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.” ~ Brian Clark
John Wisely from Pick the Brain wrote a post that got him only 100 visits. The post itself was great; that’s why he was disappointed. He thought that the problem may be in the headline. He deleted the post, changed the headline and published it again with the same content.
It got 5,000 visits.
(You can check the case study here)
Jon Morrow knew that headlines are really important. He started to learn the art of creating magnetic headlines for years until he was able to master it. He is now the master of creating headlines online. His headlines are always irresistible.
Luckily, he created a cheat sheet that contains the top 52 headline formulas that always outperform when they’re used right. I really recommend you to check this cheat sheet before you choose any headline.Choose one of these formulas, and then fill in the blanks carefully to create your irresistible magnetic headline.
Try to include power words and you’ll have better results. Jon also created a list of 317 power words you can use not only in your headlines, but also in your content.
His headline was very specific and it has power words like “paradise” and “paid.” This headline is really effective to capture your attention, even at 2am!
4. Picking an Established Platform To Go Viral
To make your post spread like wildfire, you need to seed the traffic at the beginning. Then, if it has some of the ingredients shared above, your visitors will do the rest.
Jon Morrow had the platform ready for him to share his astonishing content and to make it go viral. He made use of it to create the most popular post in the blogosphere.
That’s why you need to share your best stuff on other blogs as a guest post.
It’s true that Jon would have seen a spike in traffic if he posted it on a new blog, but it wouldn’t have reached such a large audience of people.
So, when you’ve got something amazing that you think should deserve to get 100,000 visits, post it on other blogs. Your mission will be easier after that.
The truth about writing viral posts
You need compelling content to go viral. But it’s not enough.
You need to add some other ingredients to the post to make it engaging so that people can’t help but share it with their audience.
Yes, you can actually do it.
If your blog is small or you don’t even have a blog launched yet, find a bigger blog that has 10,000+ subscribers and share your brilliant idea there.
Craft it well, add some of the above ingredients, and you’re set to go and have your viral post.
It may not happen every single time, but you can still make it.
Jon Morrow did it on Penelope Trunk’s blog when he was still a beginner blogger, and created one of the most popular posts there to this day.
You can do it too!
So, get out there and write something amazing!
Try it and see what happens.
Ahmed Safwan is a blogger and marketer that teaches how you can get your posts shared, tweeted, and talked about. If you want more people to read and interact with your content, check out his free Blogger’s Handbook for Writing Viral Posts!