Going Viral: Is A Focused Strategy Possible?

Posted at 20:02pm on 9th November 2010

I'd read about the definition and effects of a blog "Going Viral" but never thought it would happen to me! So imagine my surprise and delight when, following nigh on a month away with no input to my website, I found that it had happened in my absence!

 

WHAT DOES GOING VIRAL MEAN

Going viral? I hear you ask. Are we talking a flu epidemic here?

An epidemic? Yes! Flu? No! The term applies to an unexpected blip on your Google Analytics chart. In other words, a huge and unexpected increase in visits to your blog.In my case, visits for the month had increased by more than a third.� But this was no gradual improvement. Over a three day period, I had received 600 hits. That may not seem much to some of you, but its about 10 times my usual daily number.

Under the heading Article Writing & Blogging, I've written a number of articles on topics like blog brand, blogging for beginners, long tail keywords, and the like, so I'm fully cognisant when it comes to the use of meta tags and search engine optimisation. But this, alone, is not responsible for the occurrence. Whilst going viral is every blogger's dream, it is, by its very nature, something largely - but not entirely, I believe - outside your control.

 

IS INTERNET MARKETING THE DRIVER OF VIRAL BEHAVIOUR?

The phenomenon of going viral occurs when your blog brand, or a particular article on your blog, is picked up by a major contender in internet marketing, and mentioned in his/her blog. It may only be a passing comment; no more than the URL to your blog, or to the article in question. But the fact that your blog is being endorsed by a big cheese, and exposed to the thousands of readers of his/her blog, drives traffic to your own!

For me it was the link to an article Id written about the seven plot lines* (see below) that are deemed to be the basis for all creative writing. Now nearly two years old, it formed part of a series so, naturally, viewers also clicked on links to the other articles in the series. This meant that not only were more viewers arriving at my blog, Mel's Muse, but they were also reading more than one article and were, thus, spending longer on the site.

*More recently, I have written a free, downloadable e-booklet on the subject, which is currently available via the following link (which I shall be changing in due course): Personality Test.

 

SO - CAN A FOCUSED STRATEGY HELP?

Can a focused strategy help? Yes, I believe it can, in several ways:

 

  1. Write articles in linked series. This means that viewers will probably spend longer on your website, viewing more of your material.
  2. A series is also more likely to come to the attention of big names on the internet, and is, therefore, more likely to be endorsed.
  3. Use keywords to advantage in your titles, subtitles and content; a series will then provide increased search engine exposure.
  4. Maximise on your blog brand. Mine is to offer my readers resources to inform, inspire and encourage.
  5. Offer your readers a free, downloadable e-book on a topic relevant to your blog brand. It will mark you out as an expert in your field.
  6. Start a newsletter. As I've said above, my e-book on the seven plot lines is currently available through the Personality Test on my website but only to readers who wish to subscribe to my newsletter. Further downloads exclusive to subscribers will be added periodically.
  7. Leave intelligent comments on major internet marketing websites and on forums. It will bring you to the attention of the blog owner and his/her readers.
  8. Offer to do reciprocal guest blogs with other bloggers in your niche.

 

Referred traffic to my website was shown, by Google Analytics, to have come from two sources, neither of which was known to me. So in the end there's a lot of luck involved. But as Ernest Hemingway is said to have urged his son in Papa: A Personal Memoir by Gregory H Hemingway: "You make your own luck, Gig. You know what makes a good loser? Practice."

 

REPRINT RIGHTS: THIS ARTICLE MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORMAT, ONLINE OR IN PRINT, ON CONDITION THAT IT IS UNALTERED, IS FOR NON-COMMERCIAL PURPOSES, AND THAT THE FOLLOWING COPYRIGHT LINE AND BIO ARE CLEARLY DISPLAYED BENEATH THE TEXT.

Copyright Mel Menzies: USED BY PERMISSION
Author of a number of books, one a Sunday Times No 4 Bestseller, Mel Menzies is also an experienced Speaker at live events, as well as on Radio and TV. This article, in its original form, can be found at http://www.melmenzies.co.uk/

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