Imagine that every new reader will share your article with someone else.
This will make your blog grow insanely fast! Your readers will tell their friends, and friends of your readers will tell their friends and friend of the friends of your readers…
Well, you’ve got the idea. Marketers call it a “viral loop”.
And today I want to share with you five actionable tactics on how to write contagious articles that will create a “viral loop” on your blog.
No fluff! I promise!
1. Find A Proven Idea And Build Your Article On Top Of It
You’ve probably heard of this tactic already. It’s also known as the Skyscraper Technique, the courtesy of Brian Dean.
Here’s the simple principle behind this strategy: “If it worked for someone else, it should work for me too!”
All you have to do is find a piece of content that performed really well in your niche and build your own piece on top of it.
You can use a handy free tool called Content Explorer to search for contagious articles. Just put your keywords into it, and the tool will give you a list of articles sorted by the amount of shares they’ve got:
Once you’ve found an article that inspires you, the next step would be to write your piece on the same topic. But you have to make it way better than the original.
And unless you are Hemingway, the only way for you to write a better piece is to invest tons of work into it:
- Research that topic and go much deeper than the author of the original article;
- Give examples that illustrate the points that you’re talking about;
- Back up your claims with links to research papers and case studies;
- Add a lot of visuals.
There’s nothing easy about it, but once you take that extra step it will inevitably pay off and your readers will share your article like crazy.
2. Create Custom Images For Your Article
If you add a few images to your article, it will increase the likelihood of other bloggers linking to it. That’s what guys from Moz discovered in their recent study:
But we’re not talking about the images that you’ve found in Google. We’re talking about unique visuals that you’ve created yourself.
These days everyone has a camera on his phone. So take it out of your pocket and shoot a few pictures that you can use in your article. This is eespecially relevant if you have a travel blog or a food blog. I can’t imagine these kinds of blogs without tons of pictures.
If you don’t know how to make a screenshot, I guess you were living under a rock for the past ten years. Screenshots are super important for “how to” types of articles. That’s because they make it a lot easier for readers to follow you.
These bad boys can be pricey, but they help a lot when you’re trying to explain some complicated concept to your audience.
And since we’re talking about contagious articles here, I have a great visual that perfectly illustrates that concept:
Yes, at times you will have to invest a little bit of money into creating custom images for your articles. But later you will find out that other bloggers are using them on their blogs and linking to you as the original source. How cool is that?
3. Fill Your Article With Tweetable Sound Bites
One of the best ways to make your reader tweet your article is by offering them something worthy of a tweet.
Derek Halpern calls it “sound bites” and basically these are short meaningful phrases that entice readers to tweet them.
Try using a “sound bite” somewhere within your article and make sure to put a “tweet” button right next to it. Like this:
I’ve used a free online service called ClickToTweet to create that tweetable sound bite
Here’s what you can use as a sound bite:
- Quote – find a relevant quote by a famous person and blend it into your article;
- Takeaway – recap your article (or a part of your article) in a single short, catchy sentence;
- Statistic – people love tweeting interesting stats to their followers.
But if you ask me, my absolute favorite quotes by famous people. The fact that there’s a big authority behind it makes people tweet it like crazy!
4. Wrap Your Message With A Cool Story
Stories help us memorize things and they help ideas spread.
Tell your friend that you’ve broken your leg, and he will forget it the next day.
But tell him a cool story of how you broke your leg while jumping with a parachute from Empire State Building, and I can guarantee that the next day all of his friends will know that story.
Stories are so powerful because they make us emphasise and feel the same emotions as the main character of the story.
And according to numerous studies, emotions are one of the key factors that make people feel the urge to share things. That’s why you have to blend stories in your articles.
So how do you tell a good story, that people will gladly spread among their friends?
And why do some stories spread like wildfire, while others are boring as hell?
Jonah Berger took time to analyse almost seven thousand articles from Times magazine trying to find out if the most shared articles had anything in common.
He discovered two features that determined an article’s success:
- how positive was the message;
- how much it excited the reader.
Articles that evoked some emotion performed a lot better than those that evoked none. And positive emotions always outperformed the sad ones.
A classic example of a highly emotional story is this blog post by Jon Morrow: “On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas”.
Go read this article and learn from Jon Morrow to wrap your ideas into highly emotional stories, that will make your readers emphasise and share them around.
5. Pick A Catchy Headline
I was going to omit this particular tip because only a lazy blogger didn’t talk about the importance of headlines.
But after giving it a second thought I felt it was too integral to take it out.
After your article gets tweeted or shared on Facebook, the headline is the only thing that people will see.
And if it’s not good enough to make people want to click it – you’re going to lose your potential readers and ruin your “viral loop”.
Here are a few of my favorite headline formulas:
Formula: Numbers + Adjective + Target Keyword + Rationale + Promise
Example: 10 Simple Steps You Can Take Today That Will Make You Happier
Formula: How to [Blank] (Even If [Common Obstacle])
Example: How to Get Interviewed by Popular Blogs (Even If You’re Not a Big Shot)
Formula: How to [Blank]: Numbers + Target Keyword + Promise
Example: How To Write Viral Articles: 5 Tactics To Make Your Content Contagious
Formula: How to [Do Something] While You [Do Something Else]
Example: How to Create Dreamy Content While You Sleep
But actually the best way of coming up with viral headlines is finding what worked for others and copying their style. Just like I’ve suggested in the very first section of this article.
What Are You Going To Do With All That Traffic?
I’ve just shared five different strategies that will make your article more contagious and motivate your readers to spread the word about it.
As you can tell, every single strategy is very actionable and you can easily implement it in your next article and see how it affects your traffic.
But what are you going to do with that traffic once you have it?
Do you want to convert all these people into email subscribers? Or maybe you want to pitch them a product or a service that will make you some money?
Note: This is a guest post by Tim Solo, who also shared an awesome guide on Strategic writing. You can check out his guide here. Want to submit a guest post? Read ShoutMeLoud guest submission guidelines.
Good luck with your contagious articles!