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You Want to Go Viral? Then Say So - Here Are 3 Simple Tips to Increase Your Site’s Traffic

There Is Nothing Wrong About Asking Your Readers for Help in Getting Your Word out - Time to Reach out to Your Super Connectors

If you want your work to go viral then ask for it
Source: Lucas Amunategui

Asking for Help

You have well-written and useful content, you have a loyal readership, and you aren’t pulling any dirty-sales trick, then, in my opinion, you are primed to ask your readers for help beyond thumbs-up, claps or likes.

And that’s exactly what I did on my applied data science blog The site gets between 5 to 10k sessions a month and I singled out five of my most popular posts and added this:

Lets work together form
Let's work together - asking your readers for help

And the response box with a shareable and trackable link:

Lets work together form
Let's work together - response form

Adding custom forms is easy if you control the HTML on your website (see How to Create Your Own Free Email Signup Form and Enjoy 100% Creative Freedom). But, heck, even if you don’t have that control (like on Medium), simply go for the tongue in cheek with something like “for good luck, share this with 3 of your friends today!”.

The point is, we all are super connectors but sometimes we need a nudge or reminder that it is time to exercise some of that power. And to those that give good content, asking for it is totally acceptable. Not everybody will respond but some will come out of the woodworks. I honestly didn’t expect much from creating these forms (though I was very interested in the experiment). After five years of running, I know who my super connectors are, but this still surprised me by uncovering new friends.

For a great post on super connectors, see Seth Godin’s classic: First, ten.

How’s Your Piggybacking?

This is an easy one, and I am guilty of abusing this every day. When you make a post, you shouldn’t see it as just a post, instead, you should see it as an actor in a much larger play on marketing your brand. I will write one version of a post on one of my sites, a large one with many details, examples, and links. I’ll also make a medium sized on for Medium :-). And I’ll also make a smaller version for Linkedin and Twitter. I’ll even make a visual one of YouTube. Though this may seem like a lot of work (and it is definitely more work), it will pay off by giving you a broad coverage where everybody will be able to get something tailored to their liking. Technical folks can get all the details on my sites while those in a hurry will get the gist on Medium.

I imagine the big players, the Vaynerchuks and Altuchers, have the staff to blanket their bases, but for the solo producers, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Next, depending on the topic you cover, you should post a mention on Hacker News, Quora, Reddit, etc (I’ll admit to never having done that yet, but from the comments I’ve read, folks swear by it!).

For more on this technique, see “Multitask? Why Divide When You Can Multiply Yourself? The Art of Multi-Purposing Your Work”.

How’s Your Title?

In the digital world, a title is the equivalent of a traditional book cover; it has to work a lot harder to convey meaning. This is even a bigger deal in the era of stock-art images that don't necessarily yield any clues about content. In Shane Snow’s great book Smartcuts:

Shane Snow Smartcuts
Shane Snow’s Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

There’s a chapter about how Upworthy increased the visibility of Zach Sobiech’s touching story and message by almost 200%.

It’s a tough and strong video about a boy with terminal cancer that decides to live life to its fullest and make every day count. The original film title was “My Last Days”. Upworthy noticed that it wasn’t getting the traffic it deserved. They tested a series of titles and finally settled on “This Kid Just Died. What He Left Behind Is Wondtacular”. By adjusting the title to something that resonates with most viewers, they helped the video reach over 17 million viewers and allowed the cause to raise 750 million dollars for cancer research. This highlights the importance of a well-crafted title, especially in light of calls-to-action or raising awareness for good causes.

This is one of the most critical parts of any web content. A title is the hook or door of your piece. You fail here, everything under it won’t matter as it won’t be read. You need to make sure that it clearly states what the article is about, no mystery or vagueness. If you want to rely on organic searches, there are some harsh realities we all have to accept. If you relish the classics or spent your school days in writing class, sorry, it’s time to let that stuff go. When I started writing on Medium, I wrote mysterious, open-ended, and contorted titles. Yep, I killed it then, and I mean that in the actual sense of the word.

A title is measured by how many visitors it attracts to your content, not on how pithy it is. For more on writing titles, see How to Write the Perfect Title That Ranks High on Searches and Generates Lots of Traffic.

Note: for those interested in learning applied data science, check out my new free eBook and course: How to Create and Sell Your Machine Learning Product Online

How to Create and Sell Your Machine Learning Product Online

Thanks for reading! And please share this article with a friend or colleague or two :-)

Manuel Amunategui,
Curator @ and ViralML

Your Applied and Entrepreneurial Data Science Portal

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