The decision to like, heart, or upvote something is visceral. It happens in a flash. That’s why learning how to make something go viral is so difficult.
But it doesn’t mean you can’t use science to improve your odds.
Below are a few simple tips that will take your post on any community and make it more likely to get traction.
The biggest key to creating a post that is likely to go viral and get traction, is to know what the community you’re sharing to wants – and give them that.
If what you’re sharing isn’t interesting, or asking a useful question, or teaching something valuable – no amount of craft will save it.
So, what are members asking about? What are their pains, hopes, fears and dreams? What can you share that taps into this?
Nobody’s going to read your post unless they first decide to click your title, so it needs to be enticing. Luckily, that’s easier than it sounds. Some rules of thumb:
Describe your post clearly
People don’t click links they don’t understand. Describe your post in the title using something close to a full sentence. You don’t have to be clever here.
If you’re asking a question, put your question in the title. If you’re giving an opinion, put that in the title. If you’re sharing advice, state the advice. If you’re looking for feedback, say so.
The vast majority of people on (community name) are merely reading and upvoting. As I said earlier, they want to read interesting and useful things. Your title should make it clear how they’ll get that:
How I figured out direct sales
Progress report #2933
Even if you’re asking for help, you can often ask in a way that’s useful to everyone, not just you:
What are the best tips for converting blog readers into subscribers?
I need to get more subscribers for NameOfMySpecificBlog
(community name) members are busy people. They have things to do, and they’ll click the back button if your post is too long or rambling. If possible, keep it short.
If you’re writing a long post, put the important, interesting stuff up top. Write as if nobody’s going to read past the first 5 sentences, because in many cases, they won’t.
If you absolutely must write paragraph after paragraph, put blank lines between them. Nobody will attempt to read a bunch of paragraphs smashed together.
[community name] rewards posts that generate the most discussion, because we want more people to see the best stuff.
One way to get more comments is to post inside the relevant group, as group members will see the best posts for the day in their email digest.
Also, don’t be shy about sharing posts on Twitter or with colleagues. You can do this from the bottom of any of your posts.
Channels are sorted by top posts by default. Spend a few minutes browsing for inspiration if you’d like to see what other members find helpful.
Business writing is about clarity. Keeping your writing simple is the easiest way to keep it clear.
A good post in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant post in a hundred sentences. So don’t fight it.
Simple means getting rid of extra words. Don’t write, “He was very happy” when you can write “He was happy.” You think the word “very” adds something. It doesn’t. Prune your sentences.
Humor writing is a lot like business writing. It needs to be simple. The main difference is in the choice of words. For humor, don’t say “drink” when you can say “swill.”
Your first sentence needs to grab the reader. Go back and read my first sentence to this post. I rewrote it a dozen times. It makes you curious. That’s the key.
Avoid putting multiple thoughts in one sentence. Readers aren’t as smart as you’d think.
Learn how brains organize ideas. Readers comprehend “the boy hit the ball” quicker than “the ball was hit by the boy.” Both sentences mean the same, but it’s easier to imagine the object (the boy) before the action (the hitting). All brains work that way. (Notice I didn’t say, “That is the way all brains work”?)
That’s it. You just learned 80% of the rules of good writing. You’re welcome.
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