The Mystery of Going Viral

There’s a couple guaranteed million dollar ideas out there… but figuring out how to make something go viral MUST be one of them. If you could plug something (a product, article, news item, game, etc.) into a website box, and make it go viral, you would most certainly be a millionaire (or, more likely, billionaire).

The problem is, getting process of something to go viral is mysterious. I had the best example for that this weekend. I have tried very hard to blog on an almost daily basis – new content, high quality content, and consistency was my recipe for increasing readership. Slowly but surely I climbed in the number of views that my blog recorded. However, I never had ‘it’ – that tipping point that made it go viral.

Low and behold, this weekend something strange happened. I haven’t published anything since Thursday/Friday morning. Between then and now (3 days), my blog has recorded ~600 hits, more than 10% of my total traffic EVER. In one day, I recorded almost 400 views (Saturday), almost 7% of my total viewings EVER. The other big find: 75% of them were from the US, which isn’t where I typically get my strongest readership (it tends to be Canada). Here’s the kicker: I haven’t published anything new in days. The article that drove the visits (yes, I can see that level of detail) was an old post. My guess is that someone with a significant following shared the link, and BOOM – you get a record viewership day.

It goes to show you that, in my humble opinion, getting something to go viral is akin to luck – there’s no formal way to create it, but you can improve your odds. Putting out good content regularly, spreading it the best you can, and staying in touch with your community (in this case, responding to comments), may not result in guaranteed viral activity – but it can increase your odds. Do that for long enough, and you’re bound to catch a break somewhere – like I did this weekend.



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