Last month (June 2013), my Patheos blog broke all previous records for page views, visitors, and unique visitors on the blog to date.
(1) What I Did Differently
Here’s my usual routine — the one I use every month for every post on this blog.
* I post a new blog article every day.
* I tweet the post using my Patheos Twitter account of a modest 730 (to date) followers.
* I post the link on my Patheos Facebook page of a modest 350 (to date) friends.
* Sometimes I’ll post the link on the various Patheos Facebook Channels.
* I post the link on my Google+ page (which few people actively use).
* If I write a post that I feel is unusually timely and significant, I’ll send the link to a few friends and ask them to tweet it.
Now here’s the kicker:
I do this same routine for all my posts every month. And I’ve never gotten near 350,000 pageviews.
So it wasn’t my routine.
(2) What Google Analytics Tells Me
According to Google Analytics, the post that garnered the most views in June by far and away was Bono on Jesus.
The major source of traffic was Facebook. Second was Twitter.
In June, the post was shared 45,000 times on FB, 3,000 times on Twitter, and had 49,000 overall shares.
(3) Was the Secret That I Wrote About Bono?
Why? Two reasons.
* Others have written on Bono’s more recent interview with Focus on the Family and the blogs I’ve read that treated it didn’t come near the FB or Twitter shares that my post generated. Note also that my post was from an interview that was done in 2004. The Focus on the Family interview — which I never covered — was much more recent.
* I wrote a follow up post on Bono and very few people shared it. Go figure.
(4) What Happened, Then?
Answer: I don’t have the foggiest idea!
The best I can tell is this . . .
When I asked some of my friends (less than 10 in all) to tweet my post, a few people with HUGE Facebook and Twitter platforms found the link on their twitter feed.
(HUGE = 500k to 1 million followers and/or “friends”)
These people then reposted the link on their massive Facebook and Twitter accounts.
This caused a large number of people to see the post in a short time. And many of them, feeling the post was beneficial, shared it also.
The result: it went viral.
(5) Candid Disappointment
While I’m glad the post got so much traffic — because it does contain many interesting and helpful ideas — I’ll candidly admit my disappointment.
I would much rather that any of these posts had as many views and shares because, to my mind, they are more important by far:
Question: Why haven’t any of those with HUGE platforms reposted any of these posts?
If you know the answer, let me know.
(6) Lessons Learned – The Bottom Line
If you want a post to go viral, I think you need four ingredients:
1. Write a post about a celebrity or a hot issue that has the nation’s or world’s attention.
2. Title it with an intriguing heading.
3. Make sure the post contains quality content – meaning, it’s unique, helpful, thought provoking, and/or controversial.
But all of that isn’t enough. The most important ingredient of all . . .
4. It must be picked up by at least one person who has a HUGE platform.
I’ve written many posts that I regard to fit the top 3 elements. But 4 is the one that determines if it will go viral or not.
So it seems to me, anyway.
Those of you who blog, what do you think about this and can you add anything to my observations?
Sneak Preview: I plan to publish a post about another well known celebrity and his views on Jesus which are little known. We’ll see how it does.
If you find this post helpful, you are free to ADD A LINK to it on your blog or website. But don’t copy and paste the post as this violates Google’s guidelines.