Creating and maintaining a blog is an essential yet often overlooked strategy for launching a successful startup. A good blog not only informs current users, but it's also a great way to establish your brand and convert new audiences.
However, regardless of how good the content is on your startup's blog, it can only take you so far before you need to rely on other strategies to boost its presence. And that's why Andrew Wise from the Wise Startup Blog has created this case study to help founders make their blog posts become more viral.
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Everyone wants something they create to go viral at least once in their lives. For most of us, we normally attribute something going viral to luck.
At least, that’s how I thought up until 6 months ago when I re-launched my “how to start a blog” site.
That’s when I went on an epic re-education and learned the specific strategies I can use to actually make my articles go viral.
It was a lot of sleepless nights, and the more I learned, the less I realized I knew.
But after all my work, I finally found success:
I created an article that got 589+ shares and 97 backlinks.
I’m going to show you how you can promote your article that gets this kind of virality, and show you the exact 17 steps I used.
Feel free to just copy every step I took and change the messaging based on your industry.
Free PDF Checklist: Download a free checklist that lists the top ways $100k bloggers are making money and how you can sign up for them. Here’s a link where you can download the PDF.
Below are the 17 article promotion strategies I used to make my article go viral. (Here are 13 additional article promotion strategies to read after you exhaust this list.)
Strategy #1: Turn your post into a Youtube video.
Different forums attract different audiences. By uploading a video on Youtube with the same content as your blog post, you are tapping into a market that you may have never reached otherwise.
I highly recommend posting a video to Youtube for a number of reasons, the first of which is that you will attract plenty of views. People like videos, in part because we are virtual beings by nature, and in part because it takes a heck of a lot less thought to watch a video than it does to sit down and read and comprehend an entire blog post.
Strategy #2: Join a forum in your niche.
So here’s the cool thing about the internet: there are all kinds of people on it. Forums are a great place to find people who share similar interests to yourself. If you manage to find and join a forum in your niche, you are virtually guaranteeing yourself a place to freely promote your work.
But there is a catch. Most forums don’t appreciate when users don’t engage in conversation and only log in to promote their latest posts. If you are going to become a forum member, you need to put some of your energy into getting to know people, networking, and actually taking part in conversations. Think of a forum as a club - you want to become a member before you ask them a favor, right?
If this is right up your alley, you may even want to consider finding a subreddit in your niche. If one exists, you can promote your content there as well. Just remember the golden rule that you need to actually take part in conversations, or else people won’t take too kindly to your shameless plugs.
Strategy #3: Seek out Facebook groups in your niche.
We all love social media. It’s how we stay connected with our friends and family, even when we’re separated by physical distance. So why not use social media as a way to promote yourself? Groups exist for just about everything these days - free stuff, selling old clothes, the works. There are also groups for various interests, which is what really comes in handy.
If you manage to find and join a group on Facebook in your blog’s niche, you can promote your latest blog posts there without a problem. The best piece of advice I can give is to find a group with a lot of members, and a somewhat stable ratio between people posting and people commenting.
If a group has 500 members, for example, but all any of them ever do is post their own content, your material will get swept to the second page before anyone even gets a chance to see it. You need to find that balance, and you’ll be successful in no time.
Strategy #4: Share your post in a subscribers only newsletter.
Most bloggers, at least once they’ve gained some momentum, offer a weekly or bi-weekly subscribers only newsletter. In this newsletter, they usually offer some extra freebies and explain a bit more in depth what’s going on in their lives.
You should also be using this as an opportunity to promote your latest blog posts. You already know that the people receiving the information are interested - they have, after all, subscribed to receive your emails! Simply adding a link to the post and a little blurb describing it is all you need.
Strategy #5: Reply to the comments on your blog.
Your readers need to be reminded every so often that you are more than just words on a screen. When you reply to comments, you do a few things: you engage your audience and inspire them to post and comment around more, and you also add a human aspect to your blog that was previously lacking.
If you get people talking, they will be more likely to start a conversation of their own. It just may inspire them to share the article and talk to others about it, thus driving more traffic to you and your site. Plus, having that little bit of added human touch will also make people more likely to come back for a repeat visit.
Strategy #6: Become a guest contributor for other blogs.
For some reason, a lot of bloggers have this belief that guest contributions won’t get them anywhere. I’m here to tell you differently.
Being a guest contributor on a prominent website can do wonders for you and your blogging career. Most bigger blogs will let you link your own website into the body (as long as it’s not in that shameless self promotion kind of way), and you can expand upon something you’ve already written about in the past.
Take an old article that you saw did well on your website and expand upon it in a guest post. This works well for a lot of reasons, but the best part of it all is that it takes very little “extra” research.
Strategy #7: Find influencers on “Top XXX” listings.
Sometimes, bloggers will create “top niche” lists in an attempt to help their readers find quality content. Your goal, at least for promotional purposes, is to reach out to someone on that list and ask them for a quote for your article.
First, do a simple google search of “top xyz blogs” with the topic of your article’s niche replacing the “xyz” portion. From there, find a quality list and start reaching out to the blogs mentioned. Explain that you realize they are an exceptional blog and that you were hoping to get an expert’s quote on this topic.
Once they have provided you with a quote (most people will, but if they ignore you or refuse you should simply reach out to the next person on the list), add their quote and a link to their blog into the post. Then, after all is finished, send them the completed article and ask their opinion.
You can also let them know that, if they like it, they can feel free to share with their followers. Voila!
Strategy #8: Use BuzzStream to find influencers.
This idea is similar to the one above in the sense that you need to find yourself an influencer and reach out to them.
Instead of using Google to find them, however, you are going to use BuzzStream. This program filters potential influencers by any number of criteria - social media followers, their location, domain, etc.
There is a free option available here, but you cannot filter your search results if you do not pay.
All you have to do is complete a simple search and find the influencer that works best for you. From there, you reach out to those influencers in the same manner you would with your Google influencers, and let them know that you feel they could really improve your post.
Strategy #9: Create a $5 infographic with Fiverr.
Fiverr is a great place to find quality freelance work for a small amount of money.
For just $5, you can find someone willing to make you an infographic. Simply create notes out of your blog post and send them to the infographic creator of your choice.
You are able to filter your freelancers by several different things - including, but not limited to, user ratings and price per transaction.
Once your infographic has been created, you can post it across social media accounts and promote it with a link to your full blog post.
Strategy #10: Make sure you have social media widgets on your blog post.
While it is important for you to share your post, it is also important to make sure that your readers can share your post as well.
Widgets are a great, easy way for your readers to share your post across the social media forums of their choice. If you have a widget for each major social media platform (Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), all your readers have to do is click the button with the logo of their choice to share.
This is extremely important, and placement of these widgets makes all the difference. I highly recommend that you post them either on the side of or at the bottom of your articles for ease of sharing.
If you are unfamiliar with how to do this, feel free to click here to learn more.
Strategy #11: Use Yoast SEO to improve your search engine optimization.
One of the first things you learn when starting a blog is that your search engine optimization is key. Few WordPress plugins do this better than Yoast SEO.
As one of the most popular plugins in the entire WP marketplace, Yoast SEO exists to help you better your posts. It grades your blog posts on a number of criteria and tells you how you can and should improve upon your post before you reveal it to the world.
Its ultimate purpose, aside from bettering your writing, is to provide you with the best chance to rank high in search engines, so more people will see your work.
That being said, it is extremely involved and can take more than a little bit of getting used to, so I recommend that you read any number of tutorials on it so you can get a feel for how to navigate it.
To get you started, I suggest this in depth tutorial by Yoast as a means to help you along.
Strategy #12: Make blogger friends.
I know, I know… You aren’t really involved in blogging for the social aspect of it. But having fellow blogger friends can really help you out.
I suggest reaching out to people who are in a similar situation to your own - they have regular readers and a few comments per post, but they have yet to reach that ultimate status of blogging stardom. To get started, leave a few thoughtful comments on their posts to let them know that you a) read their posts and b) are a fan of their work.
Then reach out to them via email and explain that you really enjoy their work and would like for them to check out your posts as well. Perhaps you can come up with an alliance of sorts in which you support each other, leave comments on posts, and spark curiosity and conversation among your readers.
Even if it’s just one or two people that you end up reaching out to who agree, that’s two more people on your side than you had before.
Strategy #13: Install a related post plugin to promote your new and old work together.
Related post plugins are pivotal for a blog’s success. Even if you are unfamiliar with them, there’s a great chance that you’ve come across (and clicked an article on) one at one point or another in the past.
They’re the little boxes at the bottom of an article that link to other similar blog posts. If you think about it, they’re a perfect way to continue promotion even long after the article has run its course.
WPBeginner put together a really helpful post on some of the best plugins available to bloggers right now, and I highly recommend that you check it out to find what works best for you.
Strategy #14: Seek out paid promotion from sites like Twitter and Facebook.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with paying for promotion on popular websites. People do it all the time, and although it may seem like the cheap or easy way out, I assure you that it’s anything but.
As a matter of fact, purchasing ads on a site like Twitter can increase your traffic quickly and effectively. It is, however, a bit costly. It can cost you anywhere between $2 and $5 for each click you acquire through these methods, so make sure you have the funds to support it.
It doesn’t just extend to social media, either. Sites like Taboola exist for this purpose. You pay them to promote your work on popular websites, and they get paid on a per click basis.
To help you get started, here’s a great tutorial from Quicksprout on all you need to know about paid advertisements.
Strategy #15: Turn your blog post into a presentation with SlideShare.
Remember when we discussed the importance of tapping into different audiences? Just like YouTube videos attract a new crowd, SlideShare does the same.
The audience for online presentations is wide and varied. As a matter of fact, according to Alexa Traffic Ranks, SlideShare is ranked 175th in the world.
What does that mean for you? Well, it means that SlideShare brings in plenty of traffic, and in turn, you will get plenty of views on your presentation.
All you have to do is turn your blog post into an online presentation, post it to SlideShare, and watch the views roll in. You will tap into a new audience, who just may take a look at your blog if they like the information you’re providing them with.
Strategy #16: Share your post with the sources you have cited.
In a perfect world, everyone’s content would be 100% original. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case. Even the most intelligent bloggers look at other websites for inspiration, facts, statistics, etc. While it is common courtesy to link your sources (check out how many links are in this post already), it can also be a beneficial promotional tool.
Letting a source know that you found their information particularly valuable is simply the nice thing to do. If you share your post with them and show them how informative you found their post, they just may be inspired to share yours with their audience in return.
Strategy #17: Recommend your article to a link roundup post
Link roundups exist all over the internet. They are basically posts filled with quality articles from all over the web, usually in one particular niche. To find link roundup posts, simply search your niche and the words “link roundup”.
From there, once you find a blog that does these types of posts, reach out to the creator via email and let them know just how helpful you find their posts. You can then link to your post and ask them to give it a look in their spare time.
Don’t be pushy! Simply leave a link and ask them for their feedback, perhaps with a line that you’d appreciate it being added to the next roundup if they feel the article is up to par with their other articles.
If your blog post is quality, they will most likely include it!
If you found any one of these tips useful, please now share with me your favorite strategies for promoting your blog’s content.
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About the Author
Andrew Wise is a serial entrepreneur whose sites generate $1+ million in revenue and receive 2.6+ million uniques per year. On his blog, Wise Startup Blog, he shares actionable advice on how you can build massive, passive income streams, designed for the complete newbie. Follow him on Twitter @WiseStartupBlog. Download his free guide that lists the essential tools you need to create killer lead magnets.