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Ten Expert Tips for Creating a Viral Article in 2018

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Creating an article that goes viral is often the dream of business owners and content marketers everywhere. With just a single piece of content, a viral article is often able to generate more traffic than months or even years of publishing other content.

However, the internet is a fickle beast, and there’s simply no predicting what content will achieve virality. With that said, there are a few things you can do to drastically improve the odds of your content going viral.

If you would like to have your next article shared on social media platforms everywhere, consider following these tips.

Tip #1: Invoke an Emotional Response

People are much more likely to share an article that invokes some sort of emotional response as opposed to one that only presents them with the facts. Think about the articles you see frequently shared. Chances are a large majority of them are either humorous, worrying, or touching in some way. To illustrate this point, consider the fact that the most shared article on the New Yorker’s website in 2015 was one titled “Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans”. It might not be breaking news, but it is humorous, and humorous gets shared.

Tip #2: Lists are More Likely to go Viral

No matter the topic, people love lists. Perhaps it’s the fact that the list format breaks up an article into manageable chunks, or perhaps it taps into our love for structure, organization, and rankings. Whatever the reason, you’ll stand a lot better chance of creating a viral article if you structure it as a list and give it a title that lets people know it’s a list.

One of the more popular articles on this blog, is this one focused on 20 list building tips. People just tend to live articles that are written in an easy to follow list style.

Tip #3: Strive for Originality

With so many content creators continuously churning out new content, it can be difficult to come up with something that is truly original. Nevertheless, if you hope to create an article that will go viral, you need to strive for something that people haven’t already seen a hundred times. One way to do this is to try and stay on top of recent trends and news. If you can be one of the first people covering a new topic or at least approaching it from a new angle, it’ll increase the odds that people find your content interesting enough to share.

At the same time, no matter how original your content might be — you still need to tap into an existing audience. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of #hashtags on social media. To see some of the top hashtags trending right now, be sure to check out this resource.

Tip #4: Create Well-Written Content

No matter what topic you are covering, your content must be well-written in order for people to deem it worthy of sharing. Your prose doesn’t have to sing like Shakespeare’s, but it does need to be engaging and enjoyable to read. If you’re not comfortable in your own ability to write in a way that is a pleasure to read, you may wish to hire a talented freelance writer to craft your article for you.

If this is an option you would like to explore further, you can head over to freelancemyway.com to find a talented freelance writer for hire. Some of the most popular and most-read blogs and content sites in the world today are run by teams, yet most of the content is actually outsourced to different writers around the world.

Tip #5: Don’t Shy Away from Controversy

Controversy scares many content creators. However, keep in mind that there is some truth to the old adage that says “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. The truth is that people love controversial topics. Just be careful not to fly too close to the flame; covering a controversial topic is one thing, but angering your audience for the mere purpose of creating controversy isn’t likely to achieve the results you were hoping for.

Tip #6: Spice Up Your Content With Visuals

Just because you are creating an article doesn’t mean that written words are the only medium you have to work with – studies show that articles which incorporate visual content such as images, infographics, and imbedded video are more likely to go viral than articles that are comprised of nothing but text.

Everyone knows visuals are preferred heavily over text these days. Just take a look at the massive drop in desktop and search usage. Now it’s all about video and grabbing the interest of your audience as soon as possible. If you want to spice of your content and improve the chances of going viral, be sure to include images and video wherever possible.

Tip #7: Consider Influencer Marketing

Many times, what causes an article to go viral isn’t how interesting the article is but how interesting the person who shares it is. A single share from an influencer who has a multitude of followers is often the shot of rocket fuel that boosts an article into virality. Of course, getting influencers to share your article is often easier said than done unless you have the right connections. However, many influencers are now selling their article-sharing services.

If you can afford the price tag and have crafted an article that is worth investing in, you may want to consider paying an influencer in your field to share it on their social media profiles. For anyone that doesn’t have a budget for this type of advertising, be sure to consider your options with expert roundups. These take a decent amount of time, but definitely are still one of the best ways to create content that gets massive shares and attention.

Tip #8: Publish Your Content on Tuesday

There isn’t much underlying logic as to why an article that is published on Tuesday is more likely to go viral, but studies show that more content is shared on Tuesday than any other day of the week. In fact, according to one study, articles published on Tuesday received over twice as many shares as articles published on Saturday or Sunday.

While other days of the week such as Monday and Thursday were closer in terms of shares, articles published on any other day besides Tuesday still see considerably fewer total shares.

Tip #9: Craft Engaging Headlines

Your headlines are the bait that lures readers in. If that bait isn’t enticing, they’ll likely pass by your article without so much as a glance. In fact, many people will share an article based only on its headline without even taking the time to fully read the article for themselves. When creating your headlines, your goals should be to inspire curiosity, promise value, and clearly communicate the content of the article itself.

If you can make people feel as if they are missing out on something by not clicking on your article, they’ll be a lot more likely to give it a look. Also, be sure to take advantage of current events and already trending topics. For a list of even more ideas, but sure to check out this infographic on creating engaging titles.

Tip #10: Create Opinionated Content

Think about the reason why people post things on their social media accounts. Most of the time, their goal is to communicate something about themselves to their friends and followers. That could be an update about what they’ve been doing, their feelings about a specific topic, or anything in-between. This concept not only applies to the posts that people write themselves, but also the content that they share. Sharing an opinionated article allows people to demonstrate how they feel about a certain topic. For example, a person will be more likely to share an opinion piece about net neutrality to show where they stand on the issue than they are to share an article that simply defines and describes what net neutrality is.

If you can craft content that gives people the opportunity to use that content as a platform to demonstrate how they believe and feel, it’ll be more likely to be shared.

How to Improve Your Content Creation and Marketing Efforts

There is no exact science to creating a viral article. Sometimes, the most random articles are shared across the internet while those that were meticulously crafted to encourage shares disappear into obscurity. With that said, if you follow a few simple tips, you’ll be a lot more likely to achieve a viral article and all of the value that it brings with it. The next time you sit down to craft a new piece of content for you blog, keep these tips in mind and your article may just be the internet’s next big thing.

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Black Friday is always a great time to take advantage of the huge holiday sales rush. Not only is this true with retail locations, it’s also MASSIVE for online businesses and shopping as well.

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Over the past two decade, Zac Johnson has lunched hundreds of websites, thousands of ad campaigns and has also taught his students how to make millions of dollars in the process.

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Quick and Effective Tips to Maximize Speed of your Website or Blog

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Few things are worse than when you click over to a new website or blog, and then it’s loading slow as anything. With everyone having an extremely short attention span, and so many options for other websites and entertainment online, a fast loading website is a must for every blogger, brand, or business on the internet.

There are also many benefits associated with a fast loading site, beyond just user experience. Google is now penalizing sites that take too long to load, and boosting up other sites that a mobile-optimized and running super fast.

Depending on how technical your design or WordPress skills might be, the process of speeding up your site and maximizing it’s optimization might vary. To help with this process, I’ve listed a few of the best working methods below.

Optimize your Homepage to Load Quickly

With the homepage being one of the most vital parts of your website or blog, you should be doing everything possible to make sure it loads quickly. Different things can be done to speed up your homepage such as lowering the number of posts on the main page, minimizing applications and widgets from third-party sites, and also optimizing your images so they are either loading as a smaller sized file or through a CDN service. It’s also a good idea to use an SEO friendly theme or template, as these are more often cleaner with their coding and already optimized right out of the box.

Use an Effective Caching Plugin

If you are using a CMS like WordPress or blogger, then using an effective cashing plugin can contribute nicely in the process of making sure your site is loading as fast as possible. Since caching is an apparatus for a temporary storage of web pages to diminish bandwidth and to improve page loading performance as well, it saves the server’s time to make web pages load faster. Caching plugins are easy to install and use. All you need to do is perform some research online to see which plugin is best for your site, then click a few buttons to have it installed right within WordPress. Once this is done, it’s usually just a matter of copying the account number of your CDN and letting the hosting provider and WordPress plugin do its work.

Use CDN (content delivery network)

We’ve already referenced content delivery networks or CDNs, a few times now. The way these solutions work is that they host a version of your site on their server, and then loads the content from another server that is closest to that individual’s location. More and more site owners and bloggers are using CDNs not only to improve page load speed but to provide users with a great experience to make them stay longer on the website. Also mentioned earlier, this can help with how well a site ranks in Google, while also moving your site above the competition. Moreover, if one of your server locations is overloaded due to huge traffic and visitors, then users can automatically be switched to a new server location to enjoy fast loading website experience.

Improve Your Hosting Plan

If you have a slow loading website or blog, it’s likely due to your hosting plan. If you are pushing a lot of traffic through your site and making money in the process, you should definitely upgrade from a shared server. Shared hosting is often fine for new site owners and bloggers, but as your site gains more attention, backlinks, and traffic, it will also likely be using more server resource. On a shared server, your site is also sharing the server resources with many other sites — sometimes hundreds, or even thousands! Upgrading your hosting plan to a VPS or dedicated hosting package can greatly improve the performance of your site as well. So, if you are still using a cheap web hosting plan with an average price below $5/mo and receiving massive traffic from search engines, then it would be the right time for you to upgrade your hosting plan with a better one to speed up your website loading speed.

Use Optimized Images

Big images take up a lot of space and resources when it comes to loading data from your site. This is especially true with very high-quality images. While these images are going to play a big role in the beauty and engagement on your site, there are still ways to optimize such large images so they load faster and put less stress on your server. There are many plugins are available that can drastically reduce the file size of an image without reducing the quality. Image optimization will not only help you boost website load time but will also save disk space for more files and media. If you really don’t want to overload your website with plugins, then you can also use online image reducer apps and software to optimize image before uploading to the media library of the site.

Minimize HTTP Redirects Requests

How and where content is being loaded on your site can also affect its overall performance. You may need to use redirect requests to redirect the web browser from one URL to another. There are a variety of reasons as to why you might want to do this, such as to specify a new URL location, to track visits and clicks on the site or to connect different elements of the website with each other. Since redirects might be necessary to enhance overall UX of the website, you should only be using the redirect requests that are most important because excessive redirect requests can have an ultimate impact on the loading speed of your website/blog.

Don’t Leave Your Audience Hanging

When browsing the internet, few things are more annoying than accessing a slow loading website. It’s hard enough to get someone to visit your site, let alone stay for a few seconds. Don’t give them a reason to leave right away because your site isn’t loading as fast as it should be.

Follow each of the simple and effective site speed optimization tips above to make sure your site loads as fast as possible, ranks higher than the competition and also doesn’t disappoint your audience when they hit your site.

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7 Examples of How to Rank Higher in Google for Your Name

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Your name is important and when someone searches for it online, you want to make sure they find your correct information. This isn’t just about reputation management, it’s also about looking your best and delivering a great first impression.

The key thing to remember here is no matter what someone is searching for online, they are likely going to start with a simple Google search. Since most people share their name with hundreds or even thousands of people in the world, having your content rank for your name might be quite a challenge. This is especially the case if you share a name with a popular celebrity, politician or well-known personality.

The good news is that when it comes to ranking for your name in Google, anything is possible. Implement each of the seven methods below into your content creation and marketing efforts to see your own site and content start ranking higher for your personal name.

Create a Website or Blog with YourName.com

The most effective way to rank in Google for your name is to simply create a website or blog and have the domain as your personal name. ZacJohnson.com is a perfect example of this.

It’s not just about creating a site and putting it out there, it’s also about making sure the site acts as your main hub for everything you do online. This means you should be creating original content for the site, linking to your social media profiles and also referencing back to your site when contributing to other sites or getting quoted/referenced.

zac_johnson_-_Google_Search

Once you have a platform in place, it’s something that will continue grow and develop with your personal brand over time — while also gaining in authority and SEO power as well.

Promote Your Social Profiles

Speaking of social profiles, Google loves to rank sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter right at the top of their search results. Depending on the competition around your name, your social profiles might already be ranking at the top of Google, even above your own websites.

You can see an example of what currently ranks in Google should you search for “Taylor Swift” below.

 taylor_swift_-_Google_Search

With millions of sites and new content pieces covering Taylor Swift every single day, it’s her social profiles (Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) that continue to dominate the search rankings.

This same method works for all names and not just celebrities. If you want your social profiles to rank higher, just keep sending more links to them using a variation of your name as the anchor text.

Boost Profiles and Authority Sites

As mentioned in the beginning of the article, ranking at the top of Google for your name is important if you want to deliver the best and most accurate information. If you are having trouble ranking your own site or want to focus on ranking other high authority content in addition to your own, this is a perfect option to explore.

For example, let’s take a look at Warren Stephens, who is an entrepreneur and has multiple bios and articles written about him online. His Wikipedia profile ranks first, then a bio on Forbes and another based around “Warren Stephens net-worth” on TheRichest. While Wikipedia and Forbes are both mega-huge outlets, TheRichest is still quite powerful to be ranking number three for his name.

Warren_Stephens_-_Google_Search

Celebrity networth sites have quickly been gaining more and more attention lately as they continue to ramp up the number of celebrities, entrepreneurs, and well-known personalities they continue to cover. Even if you don’t think your one of the most famous people in the world, your profile could soon quickly be picked up by their platforms and covered in the media.

Just while doing a quick search through their Google listings I was able to easily find thousands of entrepreneurs including Kevin Harrington and Gary Vaynerchuck.

Celebritynetworth_-_Google_Search

How long before we see these “networth” sites ranking on the first page for many average individuals, YouTube stars and entrepreneurs?

Guest Blogging and Author Profiles on Other Sites

While you might already have a site of your own that is ranking well for your name, it’s always a good idea to try and rank for multiple positions with other relevant content. If you are an expert in your industry, a great way to secure even more page one rankings for your name is to contribute content to other high-authority sites.

We can see this working extremely well for Neil Patel, who is a well-known entrepreneur and marketer through his blogs at QuickSprout.com and NeilPatel.com.

Not only does Neil have his own sites, he is also a contributor to many big media outlets like Entrepreneur.com and HubSpot.com. Doing a quick search for his name in Google will result in not only his main sites and social profiles ranking for his name, but also each of these contributing bios on other sites as well.

neil_patel_-_Google_Search

Once again, a perfect example of how you can deliver a great first impression (and your best content) when someone searches for your name on Google.

Rank with Other Content Sharing Sites

As covered in a few of the examples above, a great way to quickly rank at the top of Google for your name is to do so with other well-established sites. In this example, we are going to look at Jeff Bullas, who is one of the most well-known bloggers and social media influencers in the world today.

His site at JeffBullas.com already ranks number one for his name, then his social profiles follow afterward. However, when you move further down the list you will see his profiles with SlideShare.net and WordPress.com also make it on the first page of Google.

jeff_bullas_-_Google_Search

Even though Slideshare and WordPress.com are two extremely popular sites, not many people consider them when trying to rank for multiple positions for their name. These are definitely two free options everyone should consider when trying to dominate the whole first page of Google for their name.

Do Interviews and Media Outreach

A common theme in this article has been the power of using authority sites and media outlets to quickly rank at the top of Google. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through interviews and getting mentioned or covered by relevant industry sites that rank well.

A quick example of this can be seen if you search for my name in Google. A few years ago I was interviewed for IncomeDiary.com, and that post still ranks extremely well for my name today.

zac_johnson_interview_-_Google_Search

The same holds true for even big name celebrities or entrepreneurs who do interviews or get covered for stories based around their success and fame. If you do a search for “Lori Greiner” of Shark Tank, you will see interview-based stories from BusinessInsider.com, Inc. and Entrepreneur.com all ranking on the first page for her name.

Lori_Greiner_-_Google_Search

Not sure how to get media coverage on sites like Entrepreneur or Inc? Simple… just look for the author bio section in each article. Share their content, build up a relationship and maybe your story is a perfect fit for their next article.

Don’t Forget About the Power of Video

Video is a fascinating beast in itself, yet one that is often overlooked by content creators that mainly focus on “text” based articles.

Here’s two quick things you need to know about video.

  1. People love to share and reference videos
  2. Google loves to rank video since they own YouTube

Now that you know that, you should definitely be using video in your content outreach and SEO practices.

It’s also not just YouTube video that ranks well either. Sites like Vimeo and DailyMotion rank very nicely as well.

Still not sure how effective video ranking can be? Richard Branson is one of the most well-known and successful entrepreneurs in the world, with billions of searches for his name annually. With all of that competition in play, do you think a video would rank for his name on Google? — The answer is yes, and even more surprising… it’s not even a YouTube video!

richard_branson_-_Google_Search

Don’t Just Rank #1 — Rank for All Ten!

The ultimate goal for everyone trying to rank in Google for their name shouldn’t be to just grab that elusive number one position, but instead to rank for multiple (if not all) page one locations.

Run through the above seven working methods again and see what type of content you may already have ranking in Google. It’s much easier to improve your rankings with any existing content that you already have ranking on page 2 or 3 pushed to page 1, versus trying to come up with new and original content of your own.

In the world of SEO and ranking at the top of Google, it’s all about getting your content in the right places and building authority links and references around them

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