Friday, August 25, 2017

Tips to Create a Blog Post that Goes Viral

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Having a post go viral is a blogger’s dream. But much of what makes it happen is a mystery.

Or is it?

On June 15, 2014, I wrote a post called “Howto Know It’s God Speaking to You.” I created a graphic to accompany it that included a photo of my favorite place to read my Bible—on a porch swing at Edisto. The post contained a list of five ways I’ve experienced God speaking to me, so I superimposed the list onto the picture of the porch swing and my Bible. I posted it to Facebook and Pinterest. It got a few LIKES on FB and was repinned 20 or 30 times on Pinterest that week.

A few weeks later, however, a friend sent me a message showing that my post had been repinned more than 12,000 times on Pinterest. I checked my blog stats to see if they agreed, and sure enough, the post had more than 10,000 page views.

Since that time, “How to Know It’s God Speaking” has gotten more than 107,000 page views and has been repinned on Pinterest more than 144,000 times. In the wake of this success, I’ve created other posts that have gone viral.

I’d love to tell you I followed a formula that you can reproduce to create your own viral blog post. Unfortunately, “viral posts are outliers,” something far outside the realm of normal or accepted, according to Steve Rayson, whose website has studied more than 1 million posts.

His analysis shows there’s no magic formula to going viral. There are, however, certain elements many viral posts share. I’ve researched these elements, used them in my own writing, and have been teaching them at writers conferences. I’d like to share two of them with you today.
  1. The first and foremost criterion for having a post go viral is that you must write compelling content. Amy Cowen, on The Lander Blog writes, “When it comes to written content, well- researched articles tend to get more traction and shares. Insightful pieces with original thoughts and data will capture the attention of readers – under the condition that they are well written and devoid of spelling and grammar mistakes. There’s just no replacement for good writing.”
  2. “List posts, quizzes, and practical tips are also share-magnets,” says Cowen—they will regularly outperform long-form posts and articles. “By far the most shared types of content are images, infographics, and videos. On the millennial-driven internet of today, these work like a charm because young people have little to no time to devote to reading, unfortunately.”
While we know there’s no magic formula for creating a viral post or FOX, Huffington Post, and the other big dogs would be cranking them out every day, the next time you sit down to write, keep these two elements in mind. Who knows, you may wind up creating a post that spreads like confetti in a hurricane. Now wouldn’t that be cool?

If you’d like to learn the other eight elements to a viral blog post, catch up with me at the next writers conference. I hope to see you there.

2 Tips to Help Create a Blog Post that Goes Viral - @LoriHatcher2 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and  Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on FacebookTwitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).


  1. Lori Thank you for these great tips. I will use them. God bless you. I hope to see you at Blue Ridge next year.

  2. I hope you find them helpful, Cherrilynn. Blessings on your writing journey!