How to make a blog go viral

Homelife Crisis 19 Comments

I carried out a little experiment on Sunday.  (A girl has to find something to amuse herself when she’s got nothing better to do than wear her son’s squirrel onesie and sulk about a running injury.)

My Pinterest account lies languishing in a dusty corner of the tinterwebs and I have a vast following of about 5 fellow pinners.  Similar to my blog following, really. Except this is read by a cat, too, so that gives it kudos.


As a relative newbie to the blogging scene, I’ve done lots of reading about “how to blog.” Before I started, I’d heard of blogging and was vaguely aware of some of the blog royalty like Mrs Woog at Woogsworld, but I got into this simply as a medium to channel some creativity.  (If you’ve read any of my other posts, you might think the channel was pointing elsewhere – hah!)

The thing was, I couldn’t quite figure how you could make money out of writing the first thing that came into your head and then popping it in something that resembled an online filing cabinet.

how to make a blog go viral


So, I was interested to find out how it could be possible, and as I researched away, it dawned on me that there is an entire blogging industry out there that services “how to grow your blog”. That kind of blew me away.  It’s the pyramid selling of the virtual world!

The wisdom that I found was that readers will come if you have good content.  Your tribe will find you, so long as you maintain an authentic dialogue. But how do they know you’re there, when the blog is filed away in your online filing cabinet, my confused little brain wanted to know?  The answer, it seems, is exploiting social media, and the holy grail of driving traffic to your blog is going viral. And there are very many people out there that are willing to sell an e-course on how to make a blog go viral.  I salute their cunning.  Their viral blogs are the ones that teach others how to make a blog go viral. The perfect virtuous circle!

Fascinated, I was idly researching what makes a pin go viral, and I decided to pin a picture I found to a new board.  This is the pin.

how to make a blog go viral
5 ways to make your pins go viral

Then I made a pin and stuck that there.

2015 - 1-2

The board has 2 pins.  I gained 46 followers within 15 minutes! Crazy!! We all want to know how to win the popularity stakes, it seems.

From 0 to 46 followers in 15 minutes
From 0 to 46 followers in 15 minutes

And then I started to wonder, what’s the fascination with a blog going viral? Why is it something that creates so much interest?  Why was I even researching it?

Which is when it struck me that it’s a motif for life.  And running.

Because, what I really like is a nice training session that is a few short sprints.  I had one of those on my plan: a fartlek that involved several quick sprints.  And I have to tell you, it was AMAZING.  I could hold the pace. For each of the sprints.  And at the end, it felt like I’d won the gold medal at the Olympics.  In fact, it felt like I should be able to go out and win the gold medal at the Olympics.  Because if truth be told, I just want to go zipping along, win, and get to spend the rest of the day with my feet up, eating McVities Chocolate Homewheats (the one British biscuit that truly rivals Arnotts) and being hand delivered cups of tea.  I want the quick fix.  The path of least resistance.  The easy option.

But when I was riding high on that training session, it dawned on me why I run long distance.

At heart I am a sprinter. Not a true sprinter like the ones that actually win medals.  Because they put in serious effort.  But a life sprinter. I want to take short cuts and the easy road.  But I’ve come to realise that running (and running is a perfect metaphor for life, in my opinion) isn’t like that.  Running is about what you put in.  If you want to have a good run, you have to put in some good training.  At times you have to grind it out.  Goodness knows, I know.  I’ve put in some seriously long, painful and soul searching runs in the quest for Comrades completion.  But those gruelling runs, when the only thing on your mind is throwing the towel in, but somehow you choose not to, those are the ones that are the difference.  Those are the ones that build character. They prove that you’re not as flaky as voice in your head is trying to tell you you are. And that’s when you grow. As a runner. As a person.

If you found this blog because you were looking for someone to tell you a secret, the key to the blogging door, then sorry.  You have been deceived. You have been reeled in my evil experiment to see if using the word viral is the magic ingredient to grabbing attention and getting people to drop by and say hello.

Yes, I’d love to tell you that there’s a secret formula that will give you the win with very little effort.  But, I’m not sure I can.  Quality training, quality content, quality time with the people around you – repetitively, consistently and without holding back – that’s what achieves results, whatever game you’re trying to win.

It’s time I got out of the squirrel onesie as I think I already won the internets as the Sulkiest Squirrel of the Day. So, thanks for dropping in, but I’m signing out for now. Gotta go do something worth doing. xxx

How did your tribe find you? And what’s your best tip for keeping them coming back?


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  • Kirsten McCulloch on 11th August 2015

    Haha, Love it!
    I really just popped over from IBOT because I posted on their right after you but… I am sure your title will attract others. You are so right about the “how to blog” industry! Not that there aren’t some excellent, highly successful writers in that area, but there is a LOT of dross as well 🙂

    In answer to your question – I guess I found my tribe by guest writing for and commenting on other people’s blogs in the same niche as mine. But I have never had a post go viral 😉

    • Author
      Jolly on 11th August 2015

      OOH. The rain stopped. South Australia is back in business – I have interwebs again! 🙂
      There are some very slick blogs about how to blog – I drool at their professional polish. But yeah, also some rubbish. And whilst I got a few followers for my original pin, the well dried up. I has been rumbled. 😉

  • Rebecca Bowyer on 11th August 2015

    I like Darren Prowse’s idea that “Usefulness is King”. Even if that usefulness is giving someone a much needed belly laugh. Getting a post to go viral is about a bunch of different elements but you also need a dash of good luck! Thanks for linking with #TeamIBOT.

    • Author
      Jolly on 11th August 2015

      OOH. The rain stopped. South Australia is back in business – I have interwebs again! 🙂
      Thanks for popping over Rebecca. And I like Darren’s advice. Just to find my “useful” then… 🙂

  • Katherine on 11th August 2015

    The best way to go viral, I find, is to post pictures of yourself in a squirrel onesie.

    • Author
      Jolly on 11th August 2015

      I knew you’d understand. 😀
      I tried to comment on your blog the other day – but it wouldn’t accept me as an actual person, so it spat me out. Love what you’re writing. xx

  • Maxabella on 11th August 2015

    All the yeses – I’m visiting from Jess’ IBOT but I probably would have clicked on your post anyway, even though I KNOW that the way to go viral is to talk about how to go viral. Just like those seminars on “how to get rich quick” and we all know the answer is to host a seminar called “how to get rich quick”. It’s that ‘quick’ word, just as you say. I think I’d rather be a long distance runner. Being “viral” is just traffic. I’m more interested in having a chat with people and traffic just makes it too noisy to talk.

    Also, Just laughing over Katherine’s response… x

    • Author
      Jolly on 11th August 2015

      Thanks Maxabella x It does make me chuckle. But I think I’ve been rumbled – after the initial rush of interest, it’s all dried up now they realise that it’s all empty hogwash…
      You’d love Katherine’s blog, too. She is one very witty lady 🙂

  • Hugzilla on 11th August 2015

    Writing about Thermomix did it for me…

    • Author
      Jolly on 11th August 2015

      So that is the magic word? Not viral?!! 😀

  • JM Peace on 11th August 2015

    Lol! I’m astounded by the whole blog business and the amount of traffic some people’s blogs get. Clearly some people have the secret. Aside from the word ‘viral’. Oh, and cat pictures. 🙂 #IBOT

    • Author
      Jolly on 11th August 2015

      Viral – I know nothing about. Cat pictures? Don’t tell Oscar that – he’ll be posting himself all over the interwebs. Oh wait. He already is… 😉

  • Kathy on 11th August 2015

    You clever girl. I clicked from the IBOT link too, but I must admit that viral word is enticing. Which is sort of strange when you think about it as no-one wants to catch a virus! Attention and admiration are too very different things aren’t they, traffic is very different to engagement and celebrity far removed from connection. I used to be a very ordinary runner but now yoga is my ‘running drug’. And it the patient practice, the subtle changes, the deeper awareness that I’m chasing (or I should say surrendering into). Nice to find your blog.

  • EssentiallyJess on 11th August 2015

    I’ve never wanted to go viral. I’m possibly one of the odd ones like that.
    I’ve also never wanted to run a marathon, so again, maybe I’m weird… 🙂
    Also saw your comment about no internet in SA. Whereabouts are you? I’m on the EP and we were down for about three hours!

    • Author
      Jolly on 12th August 2015

      I’m also on the EP Jess! And snap – we went down for about the same amount of time. 🙂

  • Natalie on 11th August 2015

    Very amusing! Although you do realise you will peeve some people off 😉 Imagine a post titled “How to make your Thermomix go viral”. Now that would make the internet melt!

    • Author
      Jolly on 12th August 2015

      Haha, it was a little bit naughty, but as my blog continues to be visited mainly my my mum and my cat, I don’t think I’ll have stirred up too much of a stink. (If I were a bit wittier, I’m sure I could have made a thermomix pun there, but my brain has curled up in a corner somewhere and refuses to come out of hiding this evening). 🙂

  • Becky from BeckyandJames on 13th August 2015

    Ooohh that’s an interesting thought. I, personally, don’t really want to go viral but I would like a little bit more exposure. I’ll be interested to hear how your little experiment went.

    • Author
      Jolly on 13th August 2015

      I don’t think I really want to go viral, Becky. I’m not sure I could cope with the confrontation that seems to come from being mainstream! But I’ll let you know how I go. (I have a very teeny reader base, so anything more than Mum and the cat is going to register as a result!?!) xx

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