Nov 16 2011

Why That Great Post Didn’t Go Viral

Category: internet marketingTom Shivers


I believe many bloggers want to take every post they make viral. Is this a realistic goal to achieve? It probably isn’t, but you shouldn’t aim to take every one of your posts viral in the first place either.

The number of posts that actually go viral is pretty low. However, if you know how viral marketing works, you may be able to take a couple of your posts viral. Here are some reasons why your viral marketing campaign may not be working and what you need to do differently.

Many bloggers consistently create great work, only to get disappointed when they don’t gain any new readers. There are a lot of reasons your post may not be going viral. Some of these factors are in your control, while others are not.

Luck plays a surprisingly big role in viral marketing. One reason some posts go viral is that they just happen to get noticed by the right people when submitted through the social networks. Another reason some posts don’t go viral is that they are published and marketed around the time a major trend takes place. Bloggers may have a hard time getting their post to stand out when everyone is distracted by something else.

However, if you consistently fail to take a post viral, there are probably a few things that are holding you back:

1.       You aren’t writing for the larger community. Your own readers probably love your work. The problem is that when you try to take a post viral, you are writing for a much larger audience. Niche sites tend to have readers with more specific interests. You need to write an article that appeals a broader group. Stop limiting the scope of your content to the interests of your own blog readers and focus on the larger web community. Of course, you don’t want to alienate your regular readers to take one post viral. They are your priority. Make sure your post is in line with the interests of your existing readers, but expand your ideas a little further.

2.       You lack a presence online. You will need a powerful social networking presence and strong readership for you blog if you intend to take it viral. You can create the best blog post in the world. If nobody knows who you are, then count yourself lucky if a few people happen to stumble upon it. Maybe a good Samaritan with a powerful social network will stumble upon it and take it viral for you. It could happen, but I wouldn’t count on it. Your initial contacts are the base for your social media marketing campaign. You don’t need tens of thousands of followers on Digg or Twitter to take your post viral. You just need some followers who have enough influence to promote your post.

3.       You aren’t being different enough. You should always be proud when you write a great post. Posts that go viral aren’t necessarily better by any stretch of the word. Rather, they are just something that gets people thinking a little different. If you think like an academic, your post will probably never gain real traction over the Internet. Blog posts that give step by step instructions on rebuilding a carburetor will probably never go viral. Viral posts need to be unique, controversial, funny or thought-provoking.

4.       You are dredging up ancient history. As fascinating as William Shakespeare was, writing about him probably won’t help you take your blog posts viral. Keep yourself up to date on the newest trends.

Now that you have the fundamentals of viral marketing down, you can work on creating a great post. I find the best way to generate ideas for viral content is to study a few posts that already went viral. A few examples of such content include:

  • How to Live a Better Life for Less
  • Ten Strange Places
  • What Are Your Eyes Giving Away
  • 6 Creative Tributes to Steve Jobs
  • Man Received 3 Year Prison Sentence for Riots via Facebook

There are an infinite number of great ideas that can go viral. When you are looking for a post that will go viral, you are going to need to make sure that you are coming up with something that many people are going to love.

Finally, remember you don’t want all of your posts to go viral. Trying to create a site full of viral content would alienate you from your readers. Your readers are the most important part of your blog, so always put them first.

Kalen Smith is the founder of and develops awesome Internet marketing products for other entrepreneurs.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! You can also follow me on Twitter here.

Tags: ,

7 Responses to “Why That Great Post Didn’t Go Viral”

  1. Martin E says:

    Some topics can be uninteresting to people given the nature of the business. Creating regular, interesting material can be quite challenging!

    Other sites, however, have natural content that people find interesting. Much easier for those sites!

  2. Martin E says:

    More food for thought: broadening the scope (one of your points) is definitely something to consider to get more action. Keep in mind that too many blog posts that are outside of the site’s motif will “water down” the content of the site, which can impact organic (natural) search engine listings.

  3. ruth sayson says:

    As a blogger we can’t deny the fact that we want our post to get viral and it sometimes a heart ache seeing your post don’t go as we expect it to be. But as the we look into this challenges there are lots of things we can achieve.

  4. Matt About Friday: The "Web Based Software Programs for Which I am Thankful" Edition | Matt About Business says:

    […] Why That Great Post Didn’t Go Viral: You ever write a great post and then cannot figure out why your audience is not engaging by it? Here are some reasons why that might have happened. […]

  5. ormond beach real estate says:

    When this happens most bloggers can be very disappointed. Many bloggers have written posts that they think are some of the best but then those posts get very few or no readers. I agree with you that it is because some people lack online presence and that is why people do not feel like reading some of their posts..
    ormond beach real estate recently posted..Daytona Beach Realtors Offer Advanced Website Features to Home and Condo BuyersMy Profile

  6. Paul Salmon says:

    Many of the posts that go viral are usually different than any other post that have been written in the past. Controversy is also one that can go viral – if it is done write.

    Writing something that is the same as everyone else won’t do it, as the post doesn’t stand out in the crowd.
    Paul Salmon recently posted..Top 3 Smart PhonesMy Profile

  7. You Must Give In Order To Get | Say Hello Stephanie says:

    […] enjoyed this post and found Real Value, share it with others and leave your comments. 😉   Give In Order To Get… How To Balance The Scales I know that this post is going to get 1 of 2 react…. Here's the deal… the ratio of what you GIVE to the world,,, is NOT equally returned to you. If […]