The Secret Sauce That Made These 7 Blog Posts Go Viral

The Secret Sauce That Made These 7 Blog Posts Go Viral

Admit it…

You dream of going viral.

In fact, the thought of writing a post that blows up on social media is what motivates you to keep blogging.

After all, one viral blog post can turn an obscure blogger into an internet celebrity in a matter of days.

But how do you make it happen?

One way is to keep writing and hope that one day the viral gods decide it’s finally your turn.

Good luck with that.

An altogether smarter way is to look at posts that have already hit the big time, and see what they have that yours don’t.

If you want to discover the secret sauce that’ll send your writing through the roof, you need look no further than the following posts.

Viral Post #1: Marriage Isn’t For You

This article is the real deal: aside from the fact that it has received over 1.8 million shares on Facebook, it has also been featured on The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, MailOnline, Cosmopolitan,,, The Matt Walsh Blog, Deseret News,, The Today SHOW, KSL News, TheBlaze, and Fox & Friends.

The post’s author, Seth Adam Smith, has made several appearances on national television and has even landed a book deal as a result of the popularity of his message.

If you’re one of the few remaining humans who haven’t read it, it’s essentially about how society has got marriage somewhat backwards – that if we were all a bit less selfish, we might have better marriages.

Why did this resonate with so many people? Let’s take a look.

It Evokes Curiosity Using Surprise

First of all, the post has a great title. It makes you curious.

You think, “What’s the deal with this guy?”

“Is he a commitment-phobe?”

“Is this just shameless clickbait?”

And maybe even…

“How dare he! Marriage is for everyone. What a selfish jerk!”

But then you click the headline anyway. Because it provoked a reaction and it got you thinking. Your curiosity demanded to be satisfied.

It Makes a Statement That Readers Want to Support

This is a biggie when it comes to hitting it big-time with a blog post, because the psychology of social sharing is pretty straightforward – if the content makes us look good, we’re much more likely to share it.

In this case, despite the provocative headline, the take-home message of the post is actually, “Marriage isn’t about you, it’s about giving of yourself to someone else.” And this acts as a strong motivator for social sharing. Sharing this post makes a clear and positive statement about the sharer.

Sharing the post is another way of saying to people: “I believe in unselfishness.” It’s also an easy way to give a gift – the gift of happiness – and giving makes us look generous.

Whatever the exact motivation, sharers perceived that the post would reflect well on them, so they shared it.

Want some of this secret sauce? Consider this question:

What could you create that might make those who shared it look good to their peers?

Viral Post #2: How to Crack a WiFi Network’s WEP Password With BackTrack

With 4.8 million shares, this post by Gina Trapani tops the list of the most viral posts ever published on the Lifehacker blog. It didn’t create the kind of media buzz the former post created, but it went viral for quite different reasons.

Gina’s post isn’t nearly as emotionally charged as the first example; it’s really just a tutorial. Sure, the fact that it’s about hacking into someone else’s WiFi connection could create a bit of controversy, but when comparing this to “Marriage Isn’t For You,” it’s not hard to guess which was the more newsworthy.

So how can two such different posts both get such incredible results? Well, this post simply had a very different (but equally effective) flavor of secret sauce.

It Tempts Us into Murky Waters

There’s something not entirely legitimate about cracking someone’s password, and most people are at least a little curious about activities that are ethically dubious.

Just reading this post could make some readers feel like cyber-bandits operating on the fringes of society, and that’s exciting.

Even if you don’t use the advice to get free Wifi, it’s kinda cool to know how, right? After all, you never know when you might need it, right?

Making readers feel a little rebellious is a great thing for your viral coefficient. People love to share insider tips like this one, especially when it makes them feel like they’re getting away with something that’s frowned upon, but not necessarily illegal.

Of course, when sharing they can take the moral high ground by implying, “Of course I’d never do this, but just in case you would, here’s the info.” But the point is that they still share.

Bottom line? People love to be the first to hear a secret, but the real fun starts when they can show that fact off to their friends.

It Solves an Interesting Problem (Before Anyone Else)

It really does pay to be the first person to solve (or highlight the solution to) a very specific problem. In this case, enough people wanted to crack WiFi passwords to get this post off to a good start.

And of course it helps to share your secret on a site that already has a huge audience. But not every post on Lifehacker (or any other big blog) goes viral, so the topic was the key.

Here’s where the secret sauce helps again. If you can solve a problem a big blog’s readers are desperate to solve (or didn’t even know could be solved), landing a post on that blog should be a breeze.

Want some of this secret sauce? Consider these questions:

What specific problem could you solve that no one else is addressing yet?

How can you make your readers feel like they’ve got the inside track on something (just a little bit) edgy?

Which blogs already attract the people who are most likely to share your idea?

Viral Post #3: Content Is King Myth: Debunked

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers cites this as one of his most popular posts, and it has attracted nearly 2,000 social shares. It contains some great lessons for bloggers, too.

When he published the post, “content is king” was (and still is, in fact) one of the biggest buzz phrases in the marketing community, so he cleverly piggybacked onto a conversation that was already happening.

In fact, Derek took advantage of several key “secret sauce” ingredients.

Here’s how…

It Puts the Cat Among the Pigeons

Derek deliberately took a controversial stance on a hot topic.

However, his post wasn’t just a shallow attempt at a contrarian view. Derek’s post stole the spotlight by using academic research to prove a contrasting point: that according to the study he cited, design actually wears the crown when it comes to building credibility.

Controversy always attracts attention, and when a controversial view turns out to have a solid basis, it’s a powerful cocktail for virality.

It Makes Sharers Look Like Thought Leaders

As we saw with our first viral example, blog posts get shared more when they make the sharer look good. This one provides a different way to look good: thought leadership.

By sharing a post like this, people are seen as being part of a thought leadership movement, and some of that cleverness reflects back on them.

So when someone publishes a piece that could make us look like we’ve got the inside scoop while our competitors are missing the boat, we’re pleased as punch to add it to our social calendars.

It Enables “Slipstream” Promotion

This post wasn’t written on a whim. Derek knew exactly what he was doing when picking his topic, and he already had one eye on how the final post would be promoted. He calls it the “drafting” technique and it’s based on a pretty great sports metaphor that explains how it worked.

In a bike race, competitors will often “draft,” or ride close behind or beside those they’re trying to beat, in a space called the “slipstream”. Aerodynamically, this gives them an advantage because it puts to use the momentum created by the person in front.

Similarly, Derek was strategic about his outreach when it came to promoting this post. He researched publishers who had written on the “content is king” subject and emailed them to let them know that he had found some research that proved a contrasting point.

In doing so, he was able to capitalize on the existing momentum of the subject matter. Pretty brilliant, right?

Want some of this secret sauce? Consider these questions:

What are people already talking about in your niche?

What new insight can you bring to the conversation?

How can you integrate the drafting technique into your promotion strategy?

Viral Post #4: Here’s a Quick Way to Get More Likes On Your Facebook Page

Rapidly approaching 3k social shares, this post by Scott Ayres from the PostPlanner blog is no slouch.

Like some of the other posts mentioned here, long-tail SEO (targeting longer, more specific search queries like “how to get more likes on my Facebook page”) has certainly contributed to its success.

However, this post has a few other great “secret sauce” ingredients that have sweetened the deal for its readers.

It Harnesses the Power of Visual Content

Infographics (the good ones, at least) get shared like crazy because people love visual content as an antidote to long blocks of text.

The attractive, professional-looking infographic which accompanies this post makes for the perfect addition to the social media queue for a massive and content-hungry audience: anyone who wants a little more attention on Facebook.

But while infographics can do well on social media, not all go viral. So what’s the difference between this and other infographics that were less successful?

In this case, a major contributor was likely the broad appeal. Almost anyone who’s active online, regardless of their niche, will be interested in building a larger Facebook following.

Though it’s true that niche-specific content can still go viral, in this case mass appeal coupled with great design definitely worked in PostPlanner’s favor.

It Promises to Be Quick

Nobody wants to waste their time.

We’ve all got cat videos to get back to, for heaven’s sakes!

The use of the word “quick” in the title of this post reassures potential readers that clicking won’t send them down a time-draining rabbit hole.

It essentially says, “Don’t worry, you’ll be back to your news feed momentarily.”

The pairing in the headline of “quick” with a strong benefit like “more Facebook likes” is a winning combination. Not only can the reader determine right away that by reading they’ll learn something of value, but they also determine that they’ll be able to learn it without losing too much time.

Want some of this secret sauce? Consider this question:

How can you assure your readers that they won’t have to sift through thousands of superfluous musings in order to get the solution you promise in your headline?

Viral Post #5: Color Psychology in Marketing

Julie Neidlinger, the author of this post published at CoSchedule, credits the opposite of “quick” for its success, noting that the site’s long, meaty, in-depth content has historically garnered many shares.

Furthermore, CoSchedule noted, “During the past year, this post has steadily grown (not waned) in traffic and shares, making it the #2 result for ‘color psychology marketing.’ That means that once you reach a tipping point, your momentum increases. Additionally, overall Pinterest traffic to the CoSchedule site is increasing (more than 15,000 pageviews) due to this post alone.”

It Fuses Ideas to Make a Unique Topic

This topic effectively combines color theory, psychology and marketing – three topics you wouldn’t normally expect to find together.

But the result is a highly distinctive post with great practical benefit, perfect for anyone who’s ever wondered, “What colors should I use in my design?”

The inclusion of psychology is a stroke of genius, too, because readers love the idea of using scientifically backed information to get better results.

It Dives Deep into Detail

Although its title doesn’t claim to be so, it’s likely that many sharers view this post to be an “ultimate guide” of sorts on the subject of color psychology in marketing. Something of a niche-y subject, color psychology makes for an interesting and valuable topic to cover.

Length alone, of course, isn’t enough to make a post great. This post sets itself apart by being chock-full of helpful insights, not fluff.

The post is really valuable not just because it’s long, but because it’s so clear and understandable.

This post will likely reign for some time as another writer would find it tough to beat.

Want some of this secret sauce? Consider these questions:

What unexpected combination of topics could you use in your next post?

What specific problem could you create an in-depth resource to solve?

Viral Post #6: 29 Life Lessons Learned in Traveling the World

Benny Lewis’ blog is pretty unassuming. To look at it, you might never guess that it has a  post whose share count blows even some of those mentioned here right out of the water, including more than 53k shares on Facebook alone!

What is it about his post that allowed him to make such an impact?

It Uses Videos to Heighten the Emotional Connection

Embedded video, when carefully chosen, can add virality to a post, helping us to engage on an emotional level. The more a post resonates with us emotionally, the more likely we are to share it. And there’s nothing like seeing a person on screen and hearing them speak to forge that emotional connection.

This post has three embedded videos, but only one was created by the author himself (which attracted over 250K views on YouTube). The others are just great videos that made sense with the subject matter, each with its own inherent value. Any video can help your post engage with more of the reader’s senses.

Was video the only thing that made readers connect with this post on an emotional level?

Definitely not. The 29 life lessons he outlines in the post certainly play a huge part in why the post went viral – who doesn’t want to learn more about life?

That said, the videos helped to lift what would otherwise have been a less interesting and engaging post. And arguably the main video is an even bigger viral success than the post itself.

It’s Not Afraid to Tell Readers What to Do

Another brilliant stroke that contributed to this post’s success was the fact that Benny specifically asks his readers to share his video on their Facebook walls.

He gives them crystal-clear instructions at the top of his post, instead of waiting until the end of the post, which many bloggers do.

It’s always wise to explain clearly the next step you want your reader to take, because the more readers have to guess, the less likely they are to take the action you desire.

Want some of this secret sauce? Consider these questions:

How can you help your readers have an emotional connection with your content?

Once they’ve made that connection, how can you more clearly guide them to the next step you want them to take?

Viral Post #7: Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps

This post by Jay Baer has been cited as one of the most successful posts on the Convince and Convert blog.

With 860 shares on Facebook, 578 on LinkedIn and 366 on Google+, this post must have some secret sauce, right?

Let’s see what it is.

It Makes Readers an Offer They Can’t Refuse

You’ll have heard a hundred times that headlines make all the difference. But in this case, was Jay’s headline particularly clever or sensational? Nope, not at all.

But it was straightforward.  And sometimes that’s all that matters.

Lots of people want an effective social media strategy. Some people’s jobs depend on being able to create one. This headline promises to lay it all out in just a few steps.

If the benefit is appealing enough, your headline doesn’t have to be showy, just clear.

It Leverages the Power of an Established Platform

Just as Benny’s post used a video to tap into a huge pre-existing audience (in his case, on YouTube), this post does the same with LinkedIn’s SlideShare platform.

In fact, many of Convince and Convert’s most popular posts have embedded SlideShare presentations, a fact that they feel is a major contributor to their success.

Repurposing your existing content for other platforms gives you the opportunity to draw in readers from a variety of locations, not to mention to appeal to a wider variety of content consumers.

Jay’s SlideShare presentation has over 400K views, and if even a small portion of those readers had enough interest to click through and read the original post, it would be well on its way to blog stardom.

It Shows That Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Unlike other posts on this list, this one is not epic in scale. In fact, it’s just 600 words in length.

In this case that works in its favor – this post is just about as “snackable” as they come. Each of the eight steps mentioned in the title only amounts to a paragraph of explanation.

Short-form posts can be successful simply because they’re easy to read, which means that readers are less likely to give up before they get to the meat of the post.

Conventional wisdom may encourage more long-form content, but experiment with both to see which is more popular with your audience.

Want some of this secret sauce? Consider these questions:

How can you make your readers a simple promise that they won’t be able to refuse?

How can you leverage the power of an existing platform to get across your message?

Do You Have What It Takes to Go Viral?

Going viral can seem like a distant dream.

But if you really want a chance to hit the big time, you need to stop dreaming and start doing something different.

So use these examples for inspiration and add some secret sauce to your next post.

Make it surprising. Or controversial. Or visually stunning.

Make it distinctive and engaging and impossible to resist.

And some day soon you’ll wake up and find that viral hit…wasn’t just a dream.

About the Author: Brittany Bullen owns, a company that helps business owners find great freelancers (translation: she gets to geek out about marketing all day long). She specializes in saving people’s time, money and sanity by helping them do the best things first. Get her free graphic miniseries, “Do This, Not That: The Only Prescription for B2B Business Overwhelm” here.


  1. Kevin J. Duncan
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 09:55:12


    How awesome to see you here on BBT! I didn’t know you had a post here in the works. You did a wonderful job keeping it a secret. 🙂

    Uncovering the “secrets” of viral posts is the goal of many a blogger — this one included. Thank you for showing us these seven examples, and for breaking down the lessons we can learn from each of them. I’m going to bookmark this post, since I’m sure I’ll be referencing it again and again.

    Off to tweet and share your wonderful post, Brittany. Great job, and congrats!

    – @kevinjduncan

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 11:09:29

      Thanks Kevin, I’m thrilled to be here!

      This is something you’re fantastic at– your posts (and titles) are always super juicy. I really appreciate your sharing. Have a fantastic day!

  2. John
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 09:59:37

    Wao, this is cool . .
    I can go now to implement these 7 secrets without missing or changing a word therein

    Thank you for sharing – Bullen


    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 11:09:57

      Haha, John, I hope you’ll change at least a few words 😉

      Good luck!

  3. Nick Garcia
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:07:00

    Awesome breakdown of some killer posts.

    I’ve been pumping out serious content for the past month and only a couple of posts have managed to go “semi-viral” but I can’t seem to find that “secret sauce.”

    I’ll try some of these strategies, since I’m definintely not putting as much time into each post as I should be.

    Quality not quantity, right?

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 11:10:41

      Yes, quality definitely matters but there’s also something to be said for just plain being in the right place at the right time. As far as I’m concerned, promotion is even more important than construction, don’t you think?

  4. Ed Herzog
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:11:49

    Getting shares has been a consistent issue for me. My audience seems to like what I write and I receive positive feedback. But something’s missing. Will definitely study these examples to see if I can “crack the code”. Thanks Brittany!

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 11:11:31

      No problem, Ed! Some niches get shared less than others no matter what you do, so don’t worry too much about it. Virality isn’t everything. That said, let me know if/when you do implement any of this, I’d love to hear about it!


  5. Andrew M. Warner
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:13:12

    Hey Brittany,

    Huge congrats on getting on BBT here. You did a great job with this post.

    All of the 7 you mentioned here are great articles and they all are so different. Which tells me that yes you do need some secret sauce but you also need to have the right people speeding the word and getting promotion going.

    Because not every article can incur curiosity like the first two. But if it does, look out.

    Superb job with this one Brittany.

    Have a great day and week.

    – Andrew

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 11:12:31

      Thanks Andrew! Great to see you again!

      That’s definitely true. Most articles can’t hit all (or even any) of the viral “buttons” I’ve talked about here. And yes, promotion makes a HUGE difference. Where are you having the most success promoting your stuff these days?

  6. Don Purdum
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:17:10

    Hi Brittany,

    Excellent examples and tips on going viral!

    I looked into most of them because in addition to your insights I kept thinking to myself that there had to be more… and there was one common thing I noticed among the articles I looked at.

    The one commonality is an engaged community.

    We never know who is sitting in our community and the influence they have over an audience; no do we know who is in their community when someone from within that community shares it out.

    Just a thought… but I think that could be a really important factor to creating momentum and helping a post go viral; again in addition to your tips which I couldn’t agree with more!

    Have a great end to your week Brittany!!!

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 11:13:46

      That’s really interesting, Don, I hadn’t noticed that so thanks for that awesome addition to the list!

      As someone who’s somewhat biased against blog commenting these days (for time reasons) it’s definitely a bit of a wake up call for me. 😉

      I appreciate the share and as always, great to “chat” with you!


  7. thekencook
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:19:10

    These are indeed excellent posts. However, it’s not the title, the content, or any gimmick that gives any of them the punch. These all are found in locations where momentum is already high. Put these same posts on a little known blog by a little known blogger and get diddly squat. That said if any blogger consistently puts out this quality of content, stays as active online as the authors/sites, and the chances of “going viral” increase exponentially.

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 11:15:06

      That’s a really good point, Ken, although I’m not sure that’s true in the case of all 7 posts.

      I think you’re absolutely right, though, that in most cases you need a certain threshold of traction to get this kind of momentum. I appreciate your bringing that up.

      Thanks so much for commenting!


  8. Clement Lim
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:49:10

    Hi Brittany

    Excellent examples and analysis. I’ve not been able to make a blog post go viral to the extent of the examples you mentioned. However I had one very successful blog post last year which was shared my several top names in the content marketing niche. In my case I would attribute my success to: catchy headline, highly detailed content, and publishing on a major blog.

    I will study your post carefully and see if I can do better this year.

    Thank you!


  9. Laurel Bern
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 11:45:05

    Brilliant, Brittany Bullen! Really brilliant! I think that topic definitely makes a difference as well as niche. Mine, interior design is one that doesn’t generally inspire one to share and there can be only so many “20 common household cleaners that will kill your children” posts.

    My last post, is probably my most viral post to date in terms of it just being a few days out. I wanted to pull out the stops for a big birthday blog bash!

    After two years of serious plugging away, have finally found my tribe and they have been good to me. Then, I spend time in the shower ;] coming up with ways of doing things that no one has ever done before. Actually, it’s not too difficult; most interior designers are not really into blogging and just churn out the same old, same old. yawn.

    But, I love your ideas! They have given me some new ideas for further strategy. By the way… Perfect headline! Great post! ~ Laurel

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 12:56:53

      Thanks, Laurel Bern! =)

      As far as what “going viral” means for you, I would think that Pinterest would be your bread and butter. On Pinterest, it’s all about the photos. Have you experimented with Promoted Pins, by any chance?

  10. Will Edridge
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 11:51:03


    The whole post was incredibly insightful and the point that got me was in Viral Post #3 – Making sharers look like thought leaders.

    That’s ingenious and I’ll be testing that out with some of my posts for my new side project.

    I can see it working especially well on platforms like twitter where its mostly robots talking to robots and people will happily share a link that might get them retweets 😛

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 12:57:32

      Absolutely, Will. Couldn’t agree more. I’d love to hear how it goes! Send your next post my way @nerdygirlbritt– I’d be happy to share it!

  11. Plamen Ivanov
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 13:13:21

    I am always amazed how such articles go viral… According to my experience, always title that look INTERESTING and catch our eyes can go viral much easier than a strong and a serious title 😉

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 13:46:00

      Totally agree. I’m a big believer in colorful titles! Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Ed
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 13:55:25

    Thank you Brittany – this is a great guide for people like me. You know, the BBT type of reader that knows virality is a real possibility, but just haven’t managed to get there yet.

    What better than clearly defined type of posts that can actually get you there? This is the kind of stuff I keep coming back here for. Keep it up!

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 11, 2016 @ 14:56:00

      So glad you enjoyed it, Ed. Best of luck!

  13. Wuyen Hsu
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 15:08:31

    Thanks Brittany! Enjoyed the post a lot.

    Loved all that you shared, and you are right, there is always some grandma secret sauce in every viral post. You really have to put them together, side-by-side, to recognize it. Kind of like food tasting: if you don’t test all the dishes side-by-side, you don’t notice that they share the common ingredients.

    When I was going through all 7 posts, I realize there is always the surprise element, in one form or another. For a post to go viral, it needs to catch other people’s attention in 8 sec (maybe even less on social network). There’s no better way to draw attention than catching someone off guard, whether it’s being controversial to common knowledge directly in the headline, like post #1, #2, #3, or adding in unexpected features like infographic, video, and slideshare. The surprise element is like the spice in the dish, making a powerful stimulation in your first bite. Regardless if you like it or not, at least you remember it.

    Again, thanks for sharing. Heading off to Tweet it right now.

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 12, 2016 @ 11:32:41

      Thanks Wuyen!

      Definitely, the element of surprise makes a big difference and I’m glad you found that through line. Well done and thanks for the share!

  14. Ivy Shelden
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 15:42:24

    Having one (or more, of course) of my blog posts go “viral” is a dream of mine I hope to accomplish sooner than later. I have been thinking about the subject a lot lately, and I just had to click on this post!

    I know the type of headlines that make me want to click. I am a sucker for the ones that peak my curiosity (even if I don’t care about the subject matter at all), but I hadn’t really thought about how all of us like to share posts that make us look good…of course! If Mark Zuckerberg can make billions off the human ego, I surely can get a viral post out of it. Haha.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 12, 2016 @ 11:33:24

      Haha yes, it’s all about the ego!

      I love looking at Cosmopolitan’s cover for headline ideas, how about you?

  15. Deepak Gera
    Feb 12, 2016 @ 02:25:08

    Great post Brittany, Still most of newbie blogger are influenced by statement like “Content is king” but now I think time is changed. initially we used to write content and then promote that to target audiences but now it works other way round, We decide target audiences and then draft according to that.

    Now Its not only about what we want to deliver, Its about what we can deliver with what they want to read.

    Great information. I think I need to reconsider my writing style and thought process. You got me lot of work to do but its for good.


    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 12, 2016 @ 11:34:25


      I hope I haven’t given you too much to do! I do think content is important, but I actually think design is king– no amount of great content can make up for poor design. Just my two cents =)

  16. John Banks
    Feb 12, 2016 @ 02:26:22

    Great stuff! I also believe that the current audience you have plays a big part in this. We have several sites across several niches and the same posts around the same topic seem to get shared more than others (based on data from our FB page).

    Once you find the right type of audience you are speaking too – getting shares and posts to go viral can become a tad easier.

    We all know FB has dropped the organic reach somewhat – but what we do it post our links etc up as normal then see which ones get the most organic reach. The ones that get say over 20% organic reach are the ones that we promote via retargeted audiences or new interest-related audiences.

    It works!…..

    Thanks for the cool post!

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 12, 2016 @ 11:35:29

      That’s a really good point, John, and I love that you’re using data to make smart decisions about what to put money behind. That’s really smart.

      I really appreciate your comment!

  17. Rajkaran Singh
    Feb 12, 2016 @ 10:31:30

    Hi Brittany
    Really a great post. You have shared highly effective tips here. Bookmarked it and I am definitely going to follow these. Thanks for sharing

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 12, 2016 @ 11:36:05


      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I really appreciate it.

  18. Ronney
    Feb 12, 2016 @ 14:02:12

    I am agree by second article rankings because every one is checking now a days how to hack wifi amazing free game for every one by the way great article

  19. Elise Moreau
    Feb 12, 2016 @ 18:45:51

    Hi Brittany,

    I love that you shared so many REAL examples here! Personally I’m not as much of a fan of reading all about the theory of going viral without any real life stories to back it all up, so this is really great. I’m going to go and read every one of them.

    Can’t say that anything I’ve written has gone super viral or anything with millions and millions of views and shares, but I’ve definitely had some good viral success on a smaller scale (thanks, Facebook/Reddit!) for some of my content that has given me some good ideas about what people really want. Thanks for giving me even more valuable stuff to think about. 🙂

    • Maelan Williams
      Feb 12, 2016 @ 20:27:34

      I really needed this to take my blog to the next step. I was afraid at first about making major changes but now I feel like I have a better chance at success.

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 13, 2016 @ 23:02:35

      Thanks, Elise!

      You know, as much as it seems there’s a “science” behind virality, I do really think that there’s a certain degree of luck involved as well. The most viral post I ever had on my own blog was something I put hardly any thought into at all, so it just goes to show you never really know when it might happen. We do the best we can, eh?

      Glad to hear you’ve had some successes! Well done!

  20. Sherman Smith
    Feb 12, 2016 @ 23:02:49

    Hey Brittany,

    Now I feel like I’m getting insider secret society information 😉 This is good to know and I’m interested in creating infographics this year. I attempted my first one which was generic but looking forward to improving.

    Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend!

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 13, 2016 @ 23:03:32

      Good luck, Sherman! Infographics are really tough so good for you for attempting them.

      I’d love to see one when you have version 2.0 done. Tweet it my way @nerdygirlbritt, ok?

  21. Ravinder Dande
    Feb 13, 2016 @ 06:50:04

    Hi Brittany ,

    No doubts that Whoever wrote this viral post did great job and gave us a idea how we can do it and the way they used is really nice and practical too.But here i have one doubt that how one post can get these much share like when some one published a post and shared on social media. Did they advertise their post on social media ? I do not think without advertising post can be viral like this.

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 13, 2016 @ 23:04:48


      I do think a post can go viral without being advertised on social media, but as one previous commenter mentioned, many of the blogs cited here had large existing followings to help them along. Paid promotion certainly can help to even the playing field for lesser-known bloggers though!

  22. Camillus
    Feb 13, 2016 @ 11:10:29

    Hi Brittany,
    This is incredible. I love it.
    But my qusestion is this: what if your post is as great as these ones you mentioned above and has all the ingredients it needs to go viral. But unluckily u’ve posted it on your new blog that has little or no subscribers or followers.
    How will such a post make it through?

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 13, 2016 @ 23:06:29

      That’s a great question, Camillus.

      When you’re starting with a very small following, it all comes down to your promotion strategy and a whole lot of luck (or money, if you can pay to promote it).

      If you can afford to boost your posts on Facebook or any platform where your message might really resonate, you can gain some traction and (hopefully) shares even if you don’t have many followers.

      Until then, the name of the game is– hustle and pray!


  23. Mickiyas B
    Feb 14, 2016 @ 12:18:17

    Hi Brittany,

    Really great article.

    I like everything about this post and enjoyed reading your detailed illustrations and examples. Keep up the good work.

    Some of the takeaways for me are: apply curiosity, be conversational, appeal to a broader audience, use visual content, write something that makes people feel proud to be the first to hear and share, and piggyback on established brand names.

    Seven more powerful viral headline ideas to try! Thanks for such a valuable post.


    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 16, 2016 @ 12:18:49

      So glad you enjoyed it. Good luck! Tweet me your next attempt @nerdygirlbritt, I’d love to see it!

  24. Pankaj Dhawan
    Feb 15, 2016 @ 17:37:55

    Hi Brittany,

    This makes a lot of sense. I think we need to write on a topic that is trending or something that is controversial or non-conventional. What is your opinion?

    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 16, 2016 @ 12:19:07

      Depends on your niche. What do you usually write about?

  25. Jackson Palmer
    Feb 15, 2016 @ 19:33:33

    I really like this post and it has helped me think this through a lot. Problems wont solve themselves but with hard work you can solve them!

  26. Jason Cancino
    Feb 15, 2016 @ 23:27:26

    I read your post, stopping and clicking on each website post example, so I could fully understand the “secret sauce” that you were pointing out in each one of them.

    I have been in internet marketing for over 2 years and have achieved Top 3 on the first page of Google with some of my page and posts, but I know if I would have used some of the “secret sauce” above, many more would be there as well.

    I can’t go back in time, but I will be using these suggestions in the future, thx for this.



    • Brittany Bullen
      Feb 16, 2016 @ 12:20:09

      You’re most welcome, Jason. I’d love to hear what you’ve found effective in the past– did I miss anything?

  27. Vee N Ric
    Feb 16, 2016 @ 05:52:28

    Hi Jon.

    How are you?

    First time at your blog,
    Love your post.
    Found your blog
    While searching for
    How to get blog comments
    On Google.

    We are new to blogging…
    A married couple from Mumbai, India.
    Started blogging in the first week of this year.

    Though we do blog commenting
    We find that people
    Do not come to our blogs
    And leave comments.

    This is extremely frustrating
    As we spend a lot of time
    Leaving blog comments
    And get nothing from it.

    You say to get comments
    One needs more traffic
    But then, is this not the
    Proverbial Catch 22?

    Great post
    Thanks for sharing.

    Enjoy your week.
    Best wishes and regards.

    • Deepak Gera
      Feb 16, 2016 @ 07:33:56

      It’s perfectly fine Vee N Ric, I think we all either gone through this situation or still going. I understand it’s little tough and time taking to establish yourself in this line or I’d say in any line but please make a note that nothing happens overnight. It still takes lots of hard work and more important consistency.

      So have patience, Go slow but continuously. It’ll make impact in coming time. try to implement new ideas while writing. Don’t fear to do experiments. Promote your blog as much as you can. There are no shortcuts to be successful so keep running.

      • Vee N Ric
        Feb 16, 2016 @ 07:37:04

        Thanks a lot Deepak.
        Appreciate it.

  28. James Hughes
    Feb 17, 2016 @ 16:18:02

    Started off well but got bored
    In the end.

    Dragged on too long.

    James Hughes

  29. Transport George
    Feb 20, 2016 @ 23:05:19

    To make your content effective, make sure that it appeals to human emotion.

  30. Vee N Ric
    Feb 23, 2016 @ 04:34:10

    Hi Brittany.
    Nice post you have shared.
    Honestly, there is too much hype to this
    And things going Viral.
    Simple rule…
    Not everyone can be a JK Rawlings.
    Same is thing is with posts going viral.
    No matter how good a headline…
    You cannot determine and say it will go viral.
    The above viral posts
    You have mentioned…
    One does not know what
    Went on behind the scenes
    To make these posts viral.
    Nothing is as it seems
    In the online world.
    Bottom line…

  31. P.Panda
    Feb 23, 2016 @ 07:05:36

    This is really great information and what I think secret sauce is
    How you present information?
    To whom you present?
    Do they really need that information?

    These questions need little effort to find solution before writing. Once you have correct answers I think you have the key.

  32. Nathan - The SEO Magician
    Feb 23, 2016 @ 18:39:56

    Getting shares and getting my content marketing to “Go Viral” has been a struggle of mine. My audience seems to like what I write and I receive positive feedback. But something’s missing and the engagement and social shares are not there…Will definitely study these examples and implement them to see if I can make my content marketing go VIRAL. Thanks Brittany! 🙂

  33. Lavina
    Mar 02, 2016 @ 07:47:27

    Some of the points mentioned here are great Brittany!
    Yes I completely agree, it takes time and your audience helps too…and then of course there is always the luck factor to go with it!

    Nevertheless a nice article which I’m gonna bookmark to delve into more, later! 🙂

  34. stan
    Mar 09, 2016 @ 15:36:15

    Good information!

  35. Kathy Spencer
    Apr 01, 2016 @ 08:53:42

    Hey Brittany
    Excellent article with some useful examples! Getting viral is something every blogger wants to do. But it is not that simple. One of my favorite ways is to add a floating social sharing bar on my every post. It encourages my readers to share the content in the easiest wary possible. Not only it gets me more social shares but it also improves my social presence.
    Keep writing more articles like this!
    Kathy Spencer