Viral Posts and Hit Songs

Blogs are a lot like bands.

Graphic that reads 'Viral Posts & Hit Songs' with Food Blogger Pro logo on the bottom

A blog takes years to build up followers, a band takes years to build up fans.

A blog needs to continually publish new posts, a band needs to continually record new songs.

A blog has viral posts, a band has hit songs.

Pinch of Yum, U2, and your future success as a blogger

Pinch of Yum has over 600 published posts, but we get over 50% of our traffic from the top 50 posts.

It’s kind of like the 80/20 rule (but not quite). 50% of our traffic comes from 10% of our posts.

I’m guessing the same idea is true for most bands. U2 undoubtedly has thousands of songs that they’ve written, but it’s their top 50 songs that are the foundation for their success as a band.

So what’s the trick to writing those popular posts?

That’s the thing.

A “viral” post comes from hundreds of posts that are not viral, just like writing a hit song comes from writing hundreds of songs that are not hits.

One of the most common questions that Lindsay and I get is “How do I get more traffic to my blog?”

It’s a tough question to answer because the answer usually isn’t what people want to hear.

While there are tips and tricks to increase your traffic by writing really popular posts, the reality is that writing a popular post isn’t what you should be focusing on. You should be focusing on figuring out how you can stay committed to your blog for the long-term.

People that stick with things for the long-term usually find success. Especially if they’re consistently improving.

If you write three posts a week for five years you’ll have 780 posts. That’s a lot of content on a blog.

After 780 posts you’ll undoubtedly have some “hit songs” that are driving lots of traffic to your blog. You’ll also be much better at writing those “hit songs,” especially if you’re trying to get just a little bit better every day (those last ten words are really important).

Focusing on the long-term allows you to have the right mindset for building a blog (or a business or a non-profit). It’s not a sprint. You’re not trying to be the next Instagram, Justin Bieber, or Ice Bucket Challenge.

Would it be nice? Yes.

Is it likely? No.

It’s much more likely that you’ll find success the way that U2 did.

U2 formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in 1976 when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. Within four years, they signed with Island Records and released their debut album Boy. By the mid–1980s, U2 became a top international act.

– from the all-knowing Wikipedia.

Seems like they were an overnight success, right? But there is actually seven years between formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School and top international act, and over 38 years between formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School and today.

I’m not saying that you won’t find success sooner than that. It’s entirely possible that you could work hard for a year and experience immediate and drastic growth on your blog.

The issue is when our primary focus becomes immediate and drastic growth. When this happens the game changes from “how do I create an awesome blog” to “how do I create lots of traffic.” Focusing on the former results in the latter. Focusing on the latter doesn’t always result in the former.

So, in list format, your priorities should look like this:

  1. Long-term commitment.
  2. Awesome content.
  3. Improve daily.
  4. Repeat

Video Recap

Did you know I had a “hit song” featured on MTV once? I talk about it in this video recap. 🙂

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  1. I always thought you were a rock star, Bjork! Now, your hit song proves you are, in more ways than one. Great post and video.

  2. Wow, had no idea you are a song writer, Bjork! You’re so talented! And this is very awesome comparison. You never know when the post will go viral, just gotta do your best every time you hit “Publish”. That’s been my biggest lesson in last 6 months. 🙂

    1. Haha. Thanks Shinee.

      So true. Continue pressing publish and finding ways to get a little better each time. That’s the name of the game! 🙂

  3. Excellent post as always. Stay committed and you are bound to get a “hit”. I believe in my blog and am in it for the long term.

  4. I must have the e-mails about FBP blog posts going being auto-archived or something, because I always miss them! Really glad to have read this one. Loved “Long Drive Home!” Totally my kind of music.

    1. Weird! Let me know if it might be something on our end. I can look into it if you’re not getting them at all.

      Thanks Beth! 🙂 It was a fun song to record. Super talented musicians on that track!