Choosing a good topic to write about, is one fourth of the work done. I believe this with all my heart.
No doubt, the success of your blog post depends on many other factors. However, a topic braced with good keywords and right timing is most likely to succeed on the internet.
This, I’m talking with credible evidence. Because it happened with me.
Yes, I went viral and the topic played the pivotal role. Let’s see how it happened.
Image Credit: PIXABAY
Unfolding of a Viral Post
It was May, 2008.
My job was only a compulsion. It was only providing me a ‘one salary-cheque to next salary-cheque’ sort of life.
I badly needed a side hustle to earn a residual income. Writing was my first love, although online writing was quite alien to me. It was then that I came to know of things like ‘Going viral’ and ‘organic traffic’.
Back then, I had only written for some miniscule Indian blogs.
Trying hard without any courses and coaching didn’t cut ice for me. But I never said die. I kept sneaking into successful writers’ posts and googling for tips to write at least one viral post.
Still, no success. And the scene continued…..and continued.
Then came May, 2013.
Yeah. I recall the auspicious moment like that.
I penned a post for hubpages website. I had been writing for the site for sometime. Perhaps I was 3 posts old on hubpages when it happened.
This is the link to the post:
JEE Advanced (IITJEE): Ten Tips to Get Selected With a Good Rank
It was about how to secure a good rank in JEE Advanced even if you started late. Arguably, JEE Advanced (earlier known as IITJEE) is the most severely competed entrance exam in India.
Did I Plan a Topic to Write About?
JEE Advanced is the entrance examination in India for admission to the best technical colleges for undergraduate course in engineering. In India everyone talks about it.
A blogger friend had advised me to look for the most searched words which ‘Google instant’ would indicate when you typed your keywords in the search bar. At that time I didn’t know that keywords or the topic to write about matter so much.
So, I didn’t plan anything more than that.
After Publishing the Post
The beginning was not good.
I remember the beginning. It didn’t show any signs of a viral article. Or I didn’t know anything about that. For the first 10 days or so, there were hardly 30 to 40 clicks.
No wonder. I was used to glancing such things.
But when I opened my post a few days later I was stunned. It had about 300 clicks. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
And you know? There were 2 comments.
I sat in disbelief. Perhaps the fever was gripping. There was something.
That day I opened up my post 12 times and each time I opened, the numbers were moving up.
In a matter of a week, the views crossed thousands.
Must read: How to Go Viral: Create Content Using Tips From Great Authors
It was a Fluke I Confess
I mean it. It was in fact a fluke. Not all, but definitely, 90% of it.
Why I say so? I had only known some things by then, about why or how articles went viral. That one must write a scintillating headline and use keywords etc. However, I didn’t exactly know what a keyword was.
Even so, writing academia was natural to me. Second, IIT entrance exam is one topic everybody chats about in India. So the topic dawned naturally in my mind. And I didn’t toil or research in the least when I penned the article.
I wrote whatever I liked. Didn’t bother about ornamenting my language or supplying deep facts. I would advise many about the exam tips. And so I did here.
But dude !! there was something…there was.
Or else you don’t get more than 500K views and 273 comments. Of course a fifty of them would be my own replies.
So let’s find out what could have cast the abracadabra spell.
The Traffic Funnel
Though I’ve admitted it was a fluke but nothing happens without a reason. So what was the cause of it?
I believe, apart from luck the following were perhaps the possible causes of the traffic funnel.
A popular website
A part of the virality definitely belongs to hubpages. There’s no gainsaying, it’s a hugely popular website and anything that goes on it, is likely to be looked at by many in the least.
Moreover, in the ‘Waterloo’ days of the post, after it had scaled heights and was slipping down the hill, when I also had stopped giving it attention, hubpages applied ‘Hubpro’ editing to it.
Hubpro is a kind of expert editing which hubpages applies to its highly successful posts to make them crisp and to improve their quality.
An evergreen subject
As I’ve already told IITs are not only the aim of every student but also of every parent in India. Some parents start modelling their kids for this entrance exam even when they are in the sixth standard.
Naturally enough there was a crowd waiting for such an article. So the issue of a target audience didn’t exist at all.
A very useful, call-to-action post
Generally the candidates prepare for the exam with a 2 year time frame in mind. However, there are a huge number of students who, due to various factors, are left behind.
The post called for an action that would fetch the result in one year. This was an unusual, unique gesture.
Above that the post promised a good rank for the candidates. A good rank means a good college and desired stream of engineering.
All this was enough to stir action in the reader. There was hope hidden in the post. There was a call-to-action.
Now let me allow some credit to myself. I’ve already told the Google instant story. So I had some words which, now I know, are called keywords.
I knew that most students talk about IIT JEE or JEE Advanced because I also used to discuss this exam since the time I was in 7th standard.
Further, I firmly believed that the exam could be cracked with a serious preparation of one year. So I was writing what I believed from the core of my heart.
I used to give exam tips to my juniors from the school days. So I believe I had a knack for the subject. This, for sure, provided the necessary confidence to write. In a way, I had a hidden skill out there.
The Benefits That I Reaped From my First Viral Post
With the rain of luck pouring in my favor, I reaped a good crop. It consisted of the following:
- Traffic to the viral as well as linked posts
- Side income
- Backlinks from other websites/ blogs
- A good reputation (though in a restricted niche and a limited audience) as a web writer.
I Learnt From it and Experimented
Even though it was a fluke, it taught me many a thing. When it went viral I tried to read into the post and decode the mystery behind its skyrocketing success.
A naysayer at that time, I didn’t understand much. Nonetheless I performed some experiments with my next posts. The experiments were partially successful but the mystery was not quite clear.
Later only in my web- writing life I came to know what SEO was and how you could tweak an article through SEO to earn a good Google page rank.
What I Missed And Lessons From A Viral Article
If only I had known the SEO at that time I’d have used my viral article to my advantage in manifold ways. I would have:
- Understood the science behind its ‘going viral’ and penned several other viral posts.
- Better linked it to the outside world and used to build my entire freelance writing career.
- Have become an expert in academia and earned high-paying writing contracts in the genre.
- Used the comments from my esteemed readers as testimonials.
And many more advantages that I really missed out.
Making Serious Efforts in That Direction
Maturing on the net takes time. But it’s never too late. I’m trying to do now what I couldn’t then. I believe luck gives you chances but if you don’t cash in on them, it gives you more.
Yes that’s it. Believe me.
Did The Story Strike A Chord?
Do you have a story on going viral? Or that of ‘a topic to write about’ that can help readers? If yes, feel free to share in the comments.
Sharing it with the world will be gainful for you, I bet. People value experiences because success and failure are both occasions to learn from.
Plus, it will lighten your heart. Once I didn’t share anything and endured the pain.
But no more. Share and get cured.