Today, I have a great article about making your blog go viral from Silas and Grace. They currently receive around 2,000,000 views each month, earn around $10,000 to $15,000 a month, and they've only been blogging for around one year! Below is their article, enjoy.
Finally having success is kind of weird. You keep on listening to podcasts and reading blog posts on how a certain person made it with their online business or side hustle, and then you start to wonder if it could ever happen for you.
And then it does. After hard work, lots of research, lots of experimenting and asking a ton of questions, it happens.
How it Started
It was early 2015 and my husband and I had just gotten married. We were the very definition of broke newlyweds. We both had a passion for full-time travel and we both knew that the corporate/retail world wasn’t for us. And so we decided that we were going to start researching and finding ways we could work online.
We looked into so many things such as writing articles for sites, Youtubing, becoming a virtual assistant, etc. But none of it seemed to fit us or any of our interests. That is until we listened to a podcast episode from The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loper later on in the year. He was interviewing Rosemarie Groner from The Busy Budgeter (check it out here), and the interview literally changed our lives. You can find Rosemarie's Pinterest Strategy guide here, which is highly recommended.
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Now the interview was on her blogging success, and blogging was exactly what we didn’t want to do. Every time we’d read up on blogging, everyone kept on saying that it would take years to see any substantial income. And we didn’t want to wait years, we wanted to stop working for other people… and Fast! And the fact that Rosemarie was able to work from home and make a full-time income from blogging within a year by using Pinterest amazed us.
We finally had someone who laid out exactly what we needed to do, we just needed to go after it.
Now of course it wasn’t that easy. We couldn’t even afford hosting for awhile, and the idea of me staying home instead of working a retail job (I didn’t have a college degree yet like my husband) was scary. We needed the money bad; our car kept on breaking down in the middle of winter, unexpected bills were popping up, and it seemed like there was never enough money to get by. But we decided that it was for the best.
Even if it was a struggle and things were tight (and a bit frightful), I was going to stay at home while my husband worked a soul-sucking corporate job for 60 hours a week (not to mention he’d come home and work on the blog too).
But after doing three months of pre-launch work like getting posts ready to go up on our site Chasing Foxes, my husband was able to quit his corporate job 3 months after the blog went live. Here are the results from the month my husband Silas left his job working for a large, multinational corporation, and we moved to a beach town in Mexico.
Now within those three months, I was able to find hacks and figure out ways to make sure that many of my blog posts went either viral or did really well through Pinterest. And I’ll show you exactly how.
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I Learned from the Professionals
The success I had with blogging definitely wasn’t an accident. In fact, it came from a couple things; studying the pros and constantly learning from them. They had already found the secret sauce when it came to getting people on their site, so there was no real reason for me to learn the hard way or waste precious time trying to reinvent the wheel.
I'm serious about the value of being humble enough to learn from others – this took us from barely getting by while living in dreary, sunless, South Bend, Indiana to prospering beyond what I ever knew was possible and traveling full-time.
And there were three big things I saw the pro bloggers do when it came to getting great repin rates on Pinterest and thousands of views to their blog posts. And I’ll teach you exactly what I found and applied to my own blog to make my posts go viral.
Now for the first month after my blog had gone live, I was still in the learning process. And the titles for my posts needed a lot of work. I would write a post on grocery hacks and call it, “5 Tips for Saving Money on Groceries.” Now this was… ok, and the subject matter wasn’t bad, but there were hundreds of other people writing on the same thing and titling it something similar.
But what I noticed when I started to study blogs like Buzzfeed or Upworthy was that their titles created a certain sense of urgency like,
“22 Frozen Hot Chocolates You Must Make This Summer.”
Or they give you the idea that their post can turn you into something great like,
“27 Charts That Will Turn You Into a Baking Genius.”
They were simple and easy to apply once I figured out what kind of phrases they would add into their titles.
Now if it had just been, “10 Great Frozen Hot Chocolate Recipes” or “27 Handy Baking Charts,” I probably wouldn’t have even noticed their post. So make sure you’re creating titles that will catch potential reader’s attention and inspire them in some way to click through to your site.
2. Pain Points and WIIFM
Now going back again to when I first started out (I’ll probably do this a couple more times in this post. Sorry, but there’s a lot to learn from my beginner blogger self), I definitely wasn’t a pro at choosing topics to write about.
In fact, one of my early posts was on something that no one would search for or even really care about. And that’s when I learned that I needed to make sure I hit people’s pain points and make sure I had WIIFM down.
Now pain points are the problems that people want fixed now, and you have to know how to hit them. They don’t want to know about you and your dog’s relationship, they want to know how they can lose 5 pounds in a week for their sister’s wedding. They want to know how they can cut out $2,000 from their monthly budget because they’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Another way to put this is WIIFM which means, “What’s In It For Me.” You have to act like everyone has this written on their foreheads. People want to know how this blog post is going to make a big or small change in their life. So every time you write a post, make sure you have WIIFM in mind.
Now there are three big mistakes I see people make when they first start out blogging (and of course I made some of these mistakes at first too). The first is that they assume that people want to know about their personal life from the get-go. Second, I see them give vague titles to their blog posts that don’t tell the reader in any way how reading it will benefit them. And third, they write on a subject that only a tiny number of people will care about. If you want to have blogging success, you can’t do any of these
For the first problem, it’s ok to write more personal posts about your life, but don’t market it on social media; it’ll just waste your time. Or just save them for when you’re more established and have a great following.
And for the second, you have to make sure that the subject is clear when people see your pin on Pinterest. Make sure that WIIFM isn’t just in the post, but also in the title or you will kill your post’s reach.
Lastly, make sure that the subject(s) you’re writing on has a big enough of an audience to get people on your site. Niched is good, but too niched (like, “10 Twilight Hidden Easter Eggs You Probably Missed”), will do you more harm than good.
3. I Changed My Pin Images
When I’m on Pinterest, sometimes I cringe at the pictures I see people use for their pin images. Why? Because they remind me of when I first started out.
There were a few general pin image rules I wouldn’t follow. Rules such as not having a face in the picture, not using warm colors, or not being picky when it came to choosing the right picture for my pin. Basically any rule that helped me get more repins, I didn’t follow. I’d find anything that would do for my post.
Here’s an example:
You can tell that none of the colors in this image stand out and make it pop. It’s a bit dark and the editing and cropping of the picture looks pretty bad.
Now when I realized that my images just weren’t working (or at the very best, minimally), I knew I needed to make a change. Again I started to look at the sort of images that bloggers like Buzzfeed or The Krazy Coupon Lady were creating.
You could say I was inspired by them. I did like they did and it turned out successful. Many times learning and doing what the pros do can benefit you in big ways (instead of trying to do it your own way as a beginner).
Here’s the Same Post with a Different Pin Image:
Now you can tell that the image is just a bit longer, brighter, and higher quality. It definitely stands out.
If you’re just starting out or you’ve been struggling with getting people to click through to your post, then I’d highly suggest that you make pins inspired by your top favorite pro bloggers. Experiment, and see what brings in the most traffic. Test and see what image does better than the other.
They’ve already discovered what works, so why not do what they do?
4. A/B/C/D and E Testing
Now many times you’re going to hear about people a/b testing their post titles or their pin images. But what I learned from bloggers like Upworthy was that more than two titles in order to gain virality was necessary.
One of the best tricks that I’ve learned when it comes to promoting your posts on Pinterest is to make multiple pins for every post. It sounds like a lot of work, but it honestly doesn’t have to take very long. Make a list of 4-5 titles that grab the reader’s attention and create a sense of urgency and/or curiosity. Then, once you create your pin image, you can simply put the different titles onto the picture and save each one. You can do this whether you’re just using one image or more.
You have no idea how many times I thought one of the pins in the group of 4-5 images wouldn’t do well and it ends up doing the best.
Here's a quick example of a set of pins that ended up doing very well!
Last (Very Important!) Note on Multiple Image Testing
I’ve found that if one pin in the group of images that’s linked to the same url goes viral, the rest will do extremely well too. Just so ya know!
5. I Chose Quality Group Boards
Now group boards are Pinterest boards where the owner (of said board) decides that they will add other contributors to pin their content. Simply put, it’s a great way to get in front of other people’s audiences. Because if you’re added onto a group board with over 100k followers, that’s a lot more eyes to put your pins in front of than if you were pinning to your own boards (assuming you’re just starting out on Pinterest).
But I noticed that the professional bloggers weren’t on just any board, they were on quality group boards with great repin rates. Not all group boards are equal when it comes to how many repins you’ll get for your personal pins. Some (due to certain factors) will just do better because the Pinterest algorithm likes them.
And so what I started to do was look at the group boards they were on, because there was a pretty darn good chance that they were on it because they were successful.
Here's a great example of high performing boards from Ruth Soukup's Pinterest, (Living Well Spending Less).
So look through some of the bigger bloggers Pinterests (that you know of), and see what group boards they’re on. Then whether it’s through their blog email or messaging them on Pinterest, politely ask the blogger if you can be added onto the group board.
A Few Last Thoughts
People want to say that the work you put in before your blog takes off is worthless, but I couldn’t disagree more. The time and energy you put into creating content and a firm foundation for success is paid back to you in HUGE dividends once your blog gains recognition. So don’t feel discouraged when first starting out, you’ll be able to pay yourself back any money and time invested multiple times over.
Lastly, just remember that in a year from now, you’ll wish you started today. This is something my husband always reminded me of. So where do you want to be in a year from now? Would you rather be surfing Facebook or watching Netflix after a hard day of work at a job you hate, or would you rather be bringing in a new income stream and working from home?
You may think that you deserve to relax after working so hard at your job, but what you really deserve is to work hard now so that you can have time and financial freedom later.
Click here to check out their blog, Chasing Foxes. Silas and Grace are two adventurers who blog about lifestyle, travel, and food. They enjoy creating awesome content for their readers, spending time with each other, and traveling full-time.
How much traffic do you get to your blog? What are you doing to increase that even further?
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