“Going Viral” not quite the same thing as Going Postal – viral videos, topics, memes, articles, links, blogs, products and apps are big for a reason; Contrary to a popular belief, though, viral content (“Buzz”) doesn’t have to happen by complete chance – it can be, has been, and will yet be carefully crafted and created by smart business people.
There are principles behind what makes a given subject viral …and it’s not all about geography-whiz babies and talking animals. Here’s some easy ways to make your blog get more of that kind of traffic. It might not be viral in the strict, YouTube sense of the word, but it can definitely give your ratings a boost. If your blog was your own TV show, here’s how to take on Sweeps Week.
- #1: Happy Customer = Free Testimonial
Post photos of your customers using your product(s) – the happier the better. Encourage your customers to leave feedback and photos of themselves as they enjoy your product. If you have a brick-and-morter office, offer free Wifi in exchange for a short testimonial or vidbite.
- #2: Let Your Readers Write For You
Ask an insightful question, then let your readers write a post for you – via their comments. If you have enough readers, pop a question you know will get more than a few responses; leave the question open-ended and don’t make it the “yes or no” sort. Could you also get in touch with a few other professionals and have them answer a question? Turn their responses into a feature article.
- #3: Don’t Beat Them, Join Them
Create a Business “Meme”: Make a list of 5, 6, or however many things people may not know about your business – then ask other bloggers and similar businesses to join in. If they are in business in your local area, publish the results in the local paper, or ask the newspaper to cover the story. Local media outlets often offer a low or no-cost “businesses of the area” feature.
- #4: Pay It Forward
Highlight how you’re giving back to your community. Or, perhaps highlight how your industry gives back – if you blog for a living, why not show how to blog on behalf of local non-profit groups? Put together a simple, free e-book or video presentation and offer to host an event at the next local Chamber of Commerce meeting or local library – free of charge.
- #5: Give Something Away
Hold a contest for customers to win one of your products by answering a question in a post; Offer additional “entries” for a chance to win if they share it on Facebook or retweet it on Twitter. Perhaps partner with another business or blog in the giveaway; this way you might be able to offer a pricier item while at the same time building a good relationship with readers… and fellow bloggers.
- #6: Answer Questions from the Comments
Answer reader and customer questions. Address reader questions directly and precisely. If you need to, write a whole article about it and post it on your blog or as a guest post somewhere else. Or, make it the topic of a “talking head” video. If you address a specific question from a specific reader and it becomes a regular post, mention in the post that he asked the question and you want to answer it publicly to help everyone.
- #7: Show Your Digs
Give a tour/virtual tour of your office. Take photos of where you work, where you play, or maybe the view from your office window. Keep it personal and friendly, highlighting any specific ways you’ve incorporated stuff like Feng Shui into the place. The point is to open up a bit and let your readers and customers know there’s a real, live human behind the website. People are more likely to buy and visit if they can relate to you personally.
- #8: Link Love is Lovely
Spread some link love to blogs you read and companies with which you do business. Exchange links with related blogs or businesses using a “Recommended Reading” or “Visit Our Friends” sidebar widget. As you leave positive comments on other blogs, link back to your own publication. Keep a keen eye open for topics you can use on your own blog (don’t steal articles, though); Keep a peeled eye for any unanswered questions and use them to your advantage, like I mentioned in #6 above.
Did I miss any? What’s worked for your blog to get more social buzz and traffic? Leave a shout in the comments (and don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog while you’re at it).
Have fun, be sociable, and keep it friendly!