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9 Tips for Making Your Content Go Viral From Gawker's Most Successful Writer

For the past two years he’s worked at Gawker, one of the world’s biggest blogs. Month in and month out, he generated more traffic than all of Gawker’s other writers combined. He just got poached away from Gawker by Whisper, a hot social networking startup in Los Angeles, where he will be editor-in-chief. Learn more here: http://hub.am/1fEhJVV

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9 Tips for Making Your Content Go Viral From Gawker's Most Successful Writer

  1. 9 Tips for Making Your Content Go Viral From Gawker's Most Successful Writer
  2. This guy is the greatest viral content genius on the planet.
  3. For the past two years he has worked at Gawker, one of the world’s biggest blog networks.
  4. Say hello to … Neetzan Zimmerman
  5. Zimmerman is obsessed with finding viral content that has historically generated huge numbers of traffic for Gawker.
  6. Zimmerman is obsessed with finding viral content that has historically generated huge numbers of traffic for Gawker. He’s very, very good at this.
  7. How good?
  8. Of the top 10 posts on Gawker in 2013, 9 were by Zimmerman.
  9. Examples:
  10. Examples:
  11. Examples:
  12. In November, his posts drew 17 million unique visitors for Gawker.
  13. In November, his posts drew 17 million unique visitors for Gawker. That’s more than 80% of the site’s total visitors. It’s more than all of Gawker’s other writers combined.
  14. So how does he do it?
  15. So how does he do it? We asked him to share his secrets …
  16. 1) Put in the hours •  Zimmerman works 12 hours a day, from 7 a.m. To 7 p.m. •  Finding viral content is not his job, it’s his obsession.
  17. “It’s good old-fashioned elbow grease. That’s the key to success in this business.” Tweet this!
  18. 2) Cast a Wide Net •  Zimmerman monitors a database of about 1,000 websites every day, though he's constantly adding new sites and dropping old ones from the list. •  Every morning he scans roughly 500 posts to find the golden pieces of content.
  19. “I can tell just by reading the title or a short description whether a video is going to be worth my time. Sometimes I don’t even watch the video before posting.” Tweet this!
  20. 3) Aspire to Inspire •  Human interest stories and stories that inspire people “are the bread and butter of the viral internet,” Zimmerman says.
  21. “Stories that evoke very primal emotions tend to work best.” Tweet this!
  22. 4) Play the Percentages •  Zimmerman posts 10-15 items a day. Most don’t go viral.
  23. “I don’t post anything unless I have 100% trust that it will be a success. But it’s a fairly regular occurrence that I put my trust in something and it ends up not fulfilling my hope.” Tweet this!
  24. 5) Study the Data •  At the end of every day Zimmerman reviews his posts and studies the traffic data, trying to figure out why each post did or didn’t work, and how it might have been improved.
  25. “‘Why didn’t this work? Was the headline too wordy?’ There is a lot to be gained when a post doesn’t do well.” Tweet this!
  26. 6) Think About Timing •  There are two golden time slots where posts perform best: 9 a.m. and noon, EST. •  At 9, East Coast workers are arriving at the office and don’t want to start work right away. At noon the same thing happens on the West Coast, and the East Coasters are breaking for lunch.
  27. “I never post anything around rush hour. Nobody will read it.” Tweet this!
  28. 7) Package It Well •  It’s not just about finding great stories. You also need to choose a compelling angle and write a great headline.
  29. “If something can be sensationalized in a certain way to provoke a certain feeling in the reader that tends to do the best.” Tweet this!
  30. 8) Be Social •  Things go viral when they take off on social networks and people start sharing them. •  Gawker promotes posts on its own Facebook and Twitter accounts, but Zimmerman doesn’t promote his posts on his own social profiles.
  31. “Getting on Reddit’s front page is still the best way to inject a post with a burst of traffic that, while short-lived, could be of epic proportions.” Tweet this!
  32. 9) Be Patient •  Some posts don’t take off right away, but then months later they will suddenly bubble up on a social network and go crazy. Other posts just build traffic slowly. •  Zimmerman’s biggest post last year was about a reality TV star who made a sex tape. The post drew 11 million views, but did so over the course of seven months.
  33. “At any given moment there were 200 people looking at that post. This went on for months. When I write a post I ask myself, ‘Will this keep going around on Facebook and Twitter for months?’ My focus is on playing that long game.” Tweet this!
  34. Finally …
  35. “A lot of people have called me up and asked me, ‘What’s the secret?’ The good news is that it’s so much easier than people make it out to be. I don’t feel special in any way.” Tweet this!
  36. For more content tips, click here: Tweet this!

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For the past two years he’s worked at Gawker, one of the world’s biggest blogs. Month in and month out, he generated more traffic than all of Gawker’s other writers combined. He just got poached away from Gawker by Whisper, a hot social networking startup in Los Angeles, where he will be editor-in-chief. Learn more here: http://hub.am/1fEhJVV

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