Last Friday I published a blog post here that tapped into something I don't normally see. It got retweeted about 500 times, and the headline trended four times simultaneously in the Twitter top trending items (in the pic below, with the numbers...). Something about the blog post made it viral. But what!? I'm not sure how, but here are some basics which you might find useful.
People have asked me how I did it. As with all things that go viral, it's something you can't guarantee. But I want to share with you five things that helped it happen.
- Timing - I posted at 10am on a Friday. Friday and Monday morning UK time are the best times to put stories out online to get the most engagement. I wrote my post on a Thursday evening but scheduled it to auto-post Friday at about 10am. I am astounded how bad some people's timing is on the net - posting job ads, requests for help or congratulatory announcements when they have the time, rather than when the time is right. The rules of PR apply here, surprisingly.
- Style - I wrote the headline to contain as many facts as possible that people would want to pass on, and in under 140 characters so as to make it Twitter friendly. You need to write headlines in a different style for blog posts - one which will make people want to read the post, not like a news headline pun. I included four facts that I thought were valuable in my headline.
- News - give your post news value. Talk about something as it breaks. Timely info will get retweeted more often than opinion. I found some facts in a new report that I hadn't seen anyone talk about.
- Network - make sure you post into a big network. If you have a lot of readers and followers, post there. If you don't then maybe give it to someone who does (like giving your news story to a national paper first in old money PR terms). I have spent many years building up a network, so I used my personal accounts over my newer corporate ones.
- Interestingness - pick a current theme. I went for social media demographics because I had several questions about it that day, so I felt it was interesting enough for people to want to link to.
So... to try to trend, choose the right time, make it interesting and newsworthy, then write it different and network your content.