Is There Really a Formula to Create Viral Blog Posts?


Every blogger has probably hoped their hard work will result in viral blog posts that make them a household name across the blogosphere.

If only creating viral blog posts could be as easy as pressing a button, going viral would mean nothing. That’s because everyone would press that button and all posts would go viral.

But without such a simple shortcut to blogging success, actually going viral becomes more complicated.

The blogging experts out there are always quick to come up with sage advice. I stumbled across this article that lists five types of posts that are “most likely” to go viral.

I tend to hate magic formulas.

When it comes to blogging, I think it’s better to let the content dictate the presentation, not the other way around. In some ways, I’ve tried some of the five formats.

I will say that when it comes to evergreen content — posts that remain relevant for a long time — listicles tend to be winners. A listicle is an article that is built around a list. Listicles are popular because they make a lot of information easier for the reader to consume.

In fact, I even wrote this post as a listicle about evergreen posts.

Did it go viral? No. At least not by most people’s definition of “going viral.”

I think there’s something more important than viral blog posts.

Rather than a one-hit wonder that gets a lot of attention in a short time, there’s something I’d much rather have. That’s a post that stays relevant for longer and continues to build page views over a longer stretch of time.

That can have a bigger impact on your SEO. (SEO stands for search engine optimization, a strategy to improve where your blog’s links rank in search results.) I have posts I’ve written about grammar — they aren’t so much “how-to” posts or even “case study” posts. They don’t really fall into any of the five “viral” possibilities in the article.

They’re posts that apparently work because their subjects happen to be answers to questions a lot of people ask.

For a long time, posts about grammar always ranked at the top of my list. That’s what led me to make sure grammar remains a key category I write about. But over the past couple of years, one non-grammar post jumped ahead.

Going as far back as I can go with Google Analytics, the all-time number one post on this blog happens to be this one: Why Some Banks Ask for ID for a Cash Deposit.

I wrote it out of frustration about a personal experience at my bank where I’ve been a longtime customer.

With a little research on a subject that irritated me, I ended up writing a post that apparently irritated many other folks, too. I did enough research to answer a question that a lot of people seem to be asking these days.

I can’t point to a single day where that post became a huge success. But after almost four years, it has ranked up enough page views to reach number one. That, to me, might just be more important than going viral.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.