The simple answer is you can’t. Not directly that is. Whether a post goes viral really depends on the users or readers directly. But there are some things that you can do that might encourage users to promote your post.

What does it mean to go viral?

Well the term “viral” really conjures up ideas of dreaded disease and sicknesses. Like AIDS, Ebola, Black Death, Bubonic Plague, H1N1, Malaria, Swine Flu, etc. The term is taken directly from how viruses reproduce and spread. A virus can reproduce itself very fast and very easily. It’s simple math. One virus can in a very short period reproduce itself millions of times. But each virus doubling itself it can grow it’s population very quickly. E.g

1
11
1111
11111111
1111111111111111
11111111111111111111111111111111
1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

It then uses the best possible way to spread itself, via person to person or animal to animal. Basically it relies on its host to spread. A virus cannot reproduce itself. It needs to take over the reproduction process of a host cell.

Similar, blog posts, cannot of themselves reproduce or spread by themselves. In fact you cannot make your own posts go viral. You need others to do it for you. The best most deadly virus is useless if it cannot spread and reproduce. Same with a blog post. Your best and most awesome blog post won’t go viral unless your readers decide to do so.

The internet is the perfect place for this. Just like the virus needs a person to person, or animal to animal method of spreading, so does your blog post. The internet is the largest gossip, word of mouth process known to man today. Word of mouth is the best way your post will go viral.

Think of how quickly a computer virus spreads around the world. This is what you need your blog post to do. But without your readers, your viral campaign will die.

Elements of a viral blog post

Accept the fact that not every blog post will go viral. But if you keep these few simple strategies, you stand a much better chance that yours will.

Quality Content. Content, content, content. Good Quality content is the key here. People do not spread rubbish nor do they spread stuff they don’t like. Good quality content will stand a much better chance of going viral.

Provide an effortless transfer method. Don’t make it difficult for people to spread the word. Viruses often rely on the simplest method of spreading, a simple cough, breathing, etc. Viruses only spread when they’re easy to transmit. Make your blog post easy to spread.

Exploit the human nature. Viruses do this so well. They know humans and animals do not like to be alone. They rely on their inbred need to socialise. Your blog should also exploit the human nature. Tap in to their emotions. Your post should be amongst other things:

  • Entertaining
  • Shocking
  • Controversial
  • Funny
  • Educational

Give away free value. The best way to spread is to give something away for free. People just love free stuff. Because not many things in this world are free, your free giveaway might just prompt someone to send that along to their friends.

Use existing communication channels. Social scientists tell us that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their close network of friends, family, and associates. A person’s broader network may consist of scores, hundreds, or thousands of people, depending upon her position in society. A virus uses this mechanism to spread itself very effectively. Use your networks to spread your blog post.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Stumbleupon
  • Email
  • Word-of-mouth
  • Youtube
  • Flicker
  • ETC

Use noteworthy and news items. Be on the lookout for news items that are big and global. Then ride on the back of that wave. I’ve successfully gotten thousands of traffic hits by doing just this. Remember Susan Boyle, the CNN Hologram. Check out my blog post, Make your blog posts go viral – Ride the success wave of others.

Be the first. Often times blog posts go viral because they are the first to report on a particular popular topic, or write about a particular topic. Use Google, and your news RSS feeds. Monitor them. Then be quick on the draw to write about hot topics.

Build relationships. Viral campaigns depend on the sociability of humans. Viruses spread more quickly in densely populated areas than in sparse populated areas. Build your network so that your network can spread your posts, not you. Build relationships, then people will want to spread your posts. Get connected, but not just connected, become friends.

Run a competition. Similar to my point above about giving away free stuff. People just love to compete. Running a competition on your blog then giving away something for free will certainly attract more visitors.

Conclusion

Wow, there are so many other points I can share, but this post is already getting too long. I gather that by now you have gotten the idea. Viral blog posts need people, an effective way to spread, a large network to spread in, and quality content. Do your posts meet that criteria?