How To Go Viral

posted in: Blogging, Humor, Rant 100 comments


Want to be Internet famous?

Want to be talked about by people on Twitter?

Want to have your stuff shared on Facebook?

Want to have so much traffic to your blog/ website that it crashes?

Want to generate so many comments, you give up trying to read them all?

Easy. Just do one or all of the following.

1. Write about *breastfeeding versus formula feeding. Don’t worry about writing intelligently, or with facts to back up your statements. Bonus: write like you’re a cold-hearted, snobbish bitch.

Breastfeeding versus formula feeding? Meh. That's so 2011.

2. Write about leaving your newborn behind so you can *go swan around in Mexico. Bonus: write like you are a cold-hearted, snobbish bitch.

3. Write any drivel to fuel the so-called Mommy Wars. Take your pick – sleep training, attachment parenting, blah blah blah.

4. Post a video of your child doing something stupid/ shocking. The more it shows off your terrible parenting skills, the better.

5. Criticize someone else’s parenting decisions. Don’t back up your blanket statements with facts. Or do, by referencing some vague study and interpret the results any way you see fit and be blatantly wrong anyway.

OR. You could do these things instead.

1. Be super duper awesome with a great sense of humor and disarming honesty, and always write like YOU.

2. Have really mad drawing skills and the ability to tell a good story.

3. Write any post about blogging and how to make money from it.

4. Write any post about blogging about how to improve your blog, or ask why people don’t comment anymore, or about how blogging has saved your life.

5. Write a post list of ‘How To <fill in blank>.


Thank me later.

(This post was partly inspired by a tweet by Julie (@TheMamaMash) and the conversation that followed it.

Julie tweeted: I’m all for being realistic about parenting, but it seems like some blogs are getting dangerously close to glorifying truly shitty parents.” (yeah I couldn’t figure out how to cut and paste the actual tweet, stupid Mac).

* I appreciate the irony of giving you links to such drivel, to drive even more traffic to what I consider to be badly written, terribly judgmental posts. But, you’ll ask anyway, so this saves me emailing it to you later. I’m all about efficiency. Also? Read the comments on the posts. They’re BETTER than the original post.

** Before I get angry comments, note that this post was written with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

 Any more tips on how to get your blog to go viral?

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • August 27, 2012 Julie

    Argh, you linked to that twit? Alison!

    Also, WTF has happened to Allie Brosh? I miss her something spectacular.
    Julie recently wrote…The case for a daughterMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Haha, yes, yes, I did. I’m just proving my theory right.

      Well, no, I know people will want to know who/ what I’m talking about, and that I’m not just pulling this out of my ass (or worse, that I’m bitter/ jealous/ whatever). Love me long time, still?

      I miss Allie Brosch. I hope she’s okay and still planning on writing her book.

    • August 27, 2012 Kristin

      I think Allie is writing a book? At least that was the last I heard…
      Kristin recently wrote…The Official Thomas and Friends Drinking GameMy Profile

      • August 27, 2012 Julie

        But she had gotten into a really deep depression right after that announcement. 🙁 I hope she works through everything ok. She’s brilliant.
        Julie recently wrote…The case for a daughterMy Profile

  • August 27, 2012 Rach (DonutsMama)

    Oh no! I much prefer your the second set of ways to get traffic to your blog. Actually, I know I could get more traffic by being provocative, but I think I’ll just “settle” for the few that I get, knowing that people come back b/c they like me and what I write. 🙂
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently wrote…So How’d You Meet: Tonya & ToddMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Heh. I am not even going into provocative areas. Too chickenshit to deal with the fallout. 🙂

  • August 27, 2012 Kerstin

    I saw your conversation on Twitter last night, but I was too busy with trying to come up with ways to make my blog go viral, so I could not join in. Hee hee, just kidding 🙂
    Being viral is way too much work and it does not sound very healthy either 😉
    Kerstin recently wrote…The ArchivesMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Right? Unless one is just insanely talented (like The Bloggess), it’s too much work, isn’t it? 🙂

  • August 27, 2012 Kristin

    I wrote a post once about blogging and how to make money from it. It was part of a virtual round table discussion about blogging and how to make money from it. I’m pretty sure everyone who participated in it is still waiting to go viral. 😉

    Otherwise, completely agree with you. And now I’m off to read (and laugh at) the cold-hearted, snobbish bitch. 🙂
    Kristin recently wrote…The Official Thomas and Friends Drinking GameMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Do tell me your thoughts. Nothing I like better than bashing bad writers. (ooh bad Alison)

      • August 27, 2012 Kristin

        OK, here’ s what I think: She’s either A.) a made-up persona, or B. a complete attention whore.

        One thing I can confirm, however, is that she’s a terrible writer.
        Kristin recently wrote…The Official Thomas and Friends Drinking GameMy Profile

        • August 27, 2012 Alison

          I did think she might be made up too! Or if she’s not, then definitely B AND a terrible writer. How do these people get paid to do this????

  • August 27, 2012 allison

    Funny – I was just trying to remember her name the other day. Kind of reassuring to know she’s just as big a narcissistic twit as ever – some things are constant. I’ve given up on going viral. I’m going to try going bacterial. May I lick you?

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      *snort* Here, lick away. 🙂

  • August 27, 2012 Courtney Kirkland

    You forgot marry a Multi-Million Dollar Ranch Owner and spend your days talking about/writing about food. 😉
    Courtney Kirkland recently wrote…Motherhood Robbed me of my Social SkillsMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Haha! Yes, that too!!

  • August 27, 2012 Susi

    I hadn’t read those posts yet and I’m kinda glad I missed them. I don’t understand why people have to use that tone… it’s just not inviting! Thanks for your tips!!! I’ll stick to being myself and being nice to people! 🙂

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      You do that! 🙂

  • August 27, 2012 A Write Relief

    I absolutely agree and am so thankful you’ve written about it! I sometimes read blogs and think I must be the snob because I find the content so obviously “N OT” good parenting. I’m definitely sticking to your latter suggestions for getting my blog known, much more MY style. Have a great day!
    A Write Relief recently wrote…Postnatal Depression: Couples therapy feedback… Is this good or bad?My Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      No, we’re not the snobs 🙂 You have a great day too!

  • August 27, 2012 Barbara

    This post had me laughing. I am now going to have to go and brush up on how to be a snobbish bitch!
    Barbara recently wrote…WTF Wednesday – Canine editionMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      It’d be very difficult for naturally nice people like you! 🙂

  • August 27, 2012 Jessica

    I’m off to read those posts now, but just guessing about their content, you’re right. Those posts go viral every time. It’s annoying.

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Totally annoying. What irks me is, these people get paid to write crap!

      • August 28, 2012 Kathy at kissing the frog

        I agree with you Alison. There are some sites I won’t read anymore because I think they post controversal things just to generate comments, even though those comments might be from hateful trolls. I also agree that I stay away from controversy just because I am too soft-hearted to deal with haters, too. I think we’re all in this blogging thing, this mama thing and this woman thing together so why alienate each other?
        Kathy at kissing the frog recently wrote…Ummm…Now What?My Profile

  • August 27, 2012 thedoseofreality

    God, I love this post!! Mostly because I LOVED our conversation on Twitter and because I especially loved her ridiculous posts and the even better comments that followed. And probably because I am really well-rested from the having my night nurse…I mean sure my youngest child is 4 now, but you just never know when a kid might wake up and need something, so better safe than sorry, right? 😉
    Meanwhile, I am trying my own version of “going viral” today on my blog and that is by sharing the writing of GOOD writers! 🙂
    thedoseofreality recently wrote…Sharing Is Caring, Right?My Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Thank you for your wonderful and thoughtful sharing is caring post!!

      I just love how Twitter conversations spawn posts. Heh.

  • August 27, 2012 Lady Jennie

    I hope people can figure out that was sarcastic.

    Sigh. Such a hard uneventuful life being nice.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…A Sunset Near BordeauxMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Jennie, if they can’t figure it out, they are at the wrong blog 🙂 And I know right? Being a bitch is so much more fun (more sarcasm).

  • August 27, 2012 Vanita

    omg i died laughing here. also? click on the tweet Details link, it will take you to just the tweet and there’s a link that says Embed this Tweet it will give you the code to add to your post. not trying to be a smart ass, but i saw people doing it and not sharing how and it took me a while to figure out. my one tip would be…oh wait, i don’t know how. LOL
    Vanita recently wrote…Why I Want to Teach Moms SEOMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Thanks for the tip!! I knew how to do it before but apparently, I’ve been rendered senseless from having a baby, because once I read this, I was like, I knew that! DUH.

  • August 27, 2012 sarah

    I’m with you and julie. I am all for funny and honest and raw and real. I don’t like the glorifying shitty parenting or bitchy attitudes either. P.s. I was sooo curious who were talking about, so I had to click :/ icheers to taking the higher ground!
    sarah recently wrote…the sunday spill–barbies, princesses, and pink pink pinkMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Exactly. One just needs to be funny, honest, raw and real. Some people *cough twit Eckler cough* just doesn’t get that. Unless she’s made up and not real.

  • August 27, 2012 Mirjam

    Haha, the sarcasm, I had to wipe it of my screen before I could read the post!

    What can I say. Being a blogger makes me proud, not only because of my blog but also because of all the great stuff other bloggers are producing every day. But you know, there will always be those who will try to bring it down. It’s a shame.
    Mirjam recently wrote…HopeMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      It is, and the worse thing is, they are totally unapologetic. So there’s that.

  • August 27, 2012 Maureen

    LMAO! I love your sarcasm, woman! Off to read the links now.
    Maureen recently wrote…These Numbers Don’t Lie – Burn Phase CompletedMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      See how I’m sending traffic to them and proving my theory right? 🙂

  • August 27, 2012 Katie E

    Ugh. That woman’s the worst. Love the post, Alison!
    Katie E recently wrote…After BedtimeMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Thanks Katie!

  • August 27, 2012 Kimberly

    So basically we just have to be a complete asshat. Awesome. 😉
    Kimberly recently wrote…Essence Of NowMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Hah! Yes, exactly (not).

  • August 27, 2012 Mama Pants

    Went off to read those links. My blood pressure is up now. Thanks for that 😉 List one #5 is just infuriating! lol You were totally in my head on this post.
    Mama Pants recently wrote…Sunday’s PearlMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Hah, oops for getting you all riled up 🙂 And #5 on list one is totally what happened. I didn’t want to link to that post because it’s on BlogHer and I run their ads, so I didn’t want them to think I was bashing them. Ahem.

  • August 27, 2012 Jackie

    OMG…. I knew that I was doing something wrong all these years! Thank you for the awesome tips! I shall call you my hero now! LOL!
    Jackie recently wrote…On being a parentMy Profile

    • August 27, 2012 Alison

      Haha! You’re er, welcome, Jackie. Who knew, that just being an asshat could get you so far? 😉

  • August 27, 2012 KalleyC

    Now I need to go ahead and read those posts that you link. *Sigh* the downside of a curious mind. I think I’ll go with the second list on how to go viral than the first one. Just a hunch 😉
    KalleyC recently wrote…Recipe: Green Beans and Chicken in Black Bean Garlic SauceMy Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      Heh. Sorry for sending you to waste your time on drivel. But it needs to be read just for the terrible writing. And yes, the next 5 tips are better 😉

  • August 28, 2012 Carolyn

    I think this post went viral. Good job 😉
    I’m afraid to click those links….
    Carolyn recently wrote…Make Your Own Wrap BraceletsMy Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      Hah! Yay my theory worked 😉

  • August 28, 2012 Kyla

    Great post Allison. I love your sarcasm.
    Kyla recently wrote…Top 10 Reasons Why I Hate The Park…My Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      Thank you, Kyla.

  • August 28, 2012 Jessica

    Wait, what? We are supposed to be wanting traffic to our blog posts? Shit. I’ve doing this wrong the whole time.
    Jessica recently wrote…Essence Of Now: Home {Pants Optional}My Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      Right?? Time to stir some shit up!

  • August 28, 2012 Kim

    My husband is fixed… So I’m gonna have to find some random stranger’s baby to leave while I flit around Mexico. Also, can I just go to New Mexico instead?
    Kim recently wrote…One Good Hangover Deserves Another…My Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      Haha!! Best comment ever.

  • August 28, 2012 Katie

    Those posts fricking made the morning talk shows and Inside Edition. SO STUPID. Horrible writing all over the place from form to vocabulary to structure to content. BAD BAD BAD.

    Also, I wrote about blogging stuff AND about formula feeding. None of my shit has gone viral. I call shanenigans on your theory, yo.

    Either that or the key is just to write defensively and poorly. Maybe that was my issue; I wrote my posts well.

    DAMN IT! There go my millions.
    Katie recently wrote…taking care of me FOR meMy Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      See, exactly. You have to be a bitch and a bad writer. You’re neither, so…….

  • August 28, 2012 AnnMarie

    I did not see these posts but my God, they are awful! I much prefer the second set!

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      Aren’t they?? Tsk tsk. Pshht.

  • August 28, 2012 By Word of Mouth Musings

    Needed this chuckle tonight.
    Good Lawd, I will never be famous ….
    By Word of Mouth Musings recently wrote…Write your story, from beginning to end.My Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      But you already are, Nicole!

  • August 28, 2012 Keely

    I was just about to repost and tweet this…and then it hit me that THAT WOULD BE IRONY! Or “meta.” I can’t remember which.

    Either way, hilarity would abound.
    Keely recently wrote…Too Busy For Hygiene.My Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      Hee! Hilarity abounds daily in my world. It usually involves poop though.

  • August 28, 2012 ilene

    I will have to stop glorifying my “truly shitty parenting.” I am being sarcastic…Maybe not so much. 🙂
    ilene recently wrote…Six Months of FierceMy Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      Eh, you’re not shitty or glorifying it 🙂

  • August 28, 2012 Felicia

    This post made my morning! Maybe I should try criticizing some parents to get my blog some attention. Seriously though, I couldn’t help but chuckle at your first set of tips you had posted about. I don’t really have any advice on making your blog go viral considering I can’t get my own to go viral, so I’m really the last person you should ask, haha.
    Felicia recently wrote…10 Ways to Spice up Your Sex LifeMy Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      I think your last post might go viral – 10 ways/ list posts usually get around. And yours is about sex! 🙂

  • August 28, 2012 JDaniel4's Mom

    It looks like I need to add the words How to… at the beginning of my posts. I just need to decide how to do write one and what to write about it.
    JDaniel4’s Mom recently wrote…Taking Time to Play- Rainy Day MumMy Profile

    • August 28, 2012 Alison

      I think if you write ’10 ways to…..” or simliar, you’ve it it on the head 🙂

  • August 28, 2012 Tomekha

    LOL LOL LOL …. that’s all I have to say. … I shall take these tips and go forth and be awesome! 🙂

    • August 29, 2012 Alison

      Yes, you go do that! 🙂

  • August 28, 2012 My Inner Chick

    I have noticed that people who write about making “money from blogging” are VIRAL Monsters!

    btw, I think the word “BREAST” goes viral every single time.

    For my next blog, perhaps I’ll name it “”BIG BREASTS.”” I bet I get LOTSA hits. Haaaa

    Luv to you, Mama.
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…FLIRTING WITH ANTONIOMy Profile

    • August 29, 2012 Alison

      Hee hee!! YES, do that! If anyone can make a post titled Big Breasts interesting, that’d be you, and I mean that as a compliment! 🙂

  • August 28, 2012 Carrie

    I love this. And it’s so true…how many times have I clicked on a link to some controversial breastfeeding post only to think , “WHY DID I even try to READ that drivel??”
    Carrie recently wrote…The Beginning of Fall, Texas-StyleMy Profile

    • August 29, 2012 Alison

      Right?? So infuriating.

  • August 29, 2012 Alma

    Thanks for the laughs. To be honest I know who they are but I purposely do not follow these “popular” blogs. You are a rock star in my mind.
    Alma recently wrote…CaracolMy Profile

    • August 29, 2012 Alison

      Aw thanks Alma! I don’t follow the ‘big’ ‘popular’ blogs either. More often than not, it’s just bad writing dressed in some sort of bling.

  • August 29, 2012 Mrs. Weber

    Super entertaining. Great work! And you’re right. I see how that Mexico one went viral because it kinda pisses me off. But, alas, I am *trying* not to pass judgement 😉
    Mrs. Weber recently wrote…Letter to My Second Daughter: The First WeeksMy Profile

    • August 29, 2012 Alison

      Thanks Lauren! I don’t judge her choices – I just judge her terrible writing 😉

  • August 29, 2012 Nina

    This totally made me laugh! My first blog post EVER was before I even had a blog. I wrote a guest post for Scary Mommy early in her “society” days. We’re friends from college and she was generous to give me a taste of blogging before I even had my own. Anyway, I wrote a “letter to my mother” apologizing for what a “know it all” I was after my first baby. I wrote it after baby #3 and I said things like, “You’re right, I don’t have to make my own food, etc.” I also made a comment about how she was right that formula wouldn’t destroy the babies. (I’d nursed #1 and #2 for much longer than #3 . . . and #4.) Anyway, that comment got SO much discussion going . . . a few people were nasty, most others were defending me. And you know–I was HOOKED on blogging. Though of course I NEVER got that volume of comments on my own blog.

    This was all two years ago. Fresh as today. Great post!
    Nina recently wrote…What I’m Loving Now: End of Summer EditionMy Profile

    • August 29, 2012 Alison

      Well, now I gotta go and look for your post! So I am right – write anything about motherhood and all the people come out to play. 🙂

      And thank you!

  • August 29, 2012 Not a Perfect Mom

    so what did I miss?
    Not a Perfect Mom recently wrote…Naked PotatoesMy Profile

    • August 29, 2012 Alison

      Haha! Only how awesome I am. 😉

  • August 30, 2012 Eli

    I wonder what would happen if you wrote a post that included:

    Tim Tebow

    If you use those words, it really doesn’t matter what other words you use, I’ve found!
    Eli recently wrote…Dad in the kitchen? Here’s 3 recipes even you can’t botchMy Profile

    • August 30, 2012 Alison

      Um, a Republican and a Democrat walks into a Chick-A-Fil and starts debating gay rights. A fight ensues. Tim Tebow walks in, Tebows and all is well.

      How will that do? 🙂

  • August 31, 2012 Adrienne

    This is so funny!!! I want to go viral, so maybe I will have to follow some of this advice. Great job, Alison! SO clever!
    Adrienne recently wrote…The Five Year PanicMy Profile

    • August 31, 2012 Alison

      Heh, thanks Adrienne! Just rile someone up (or be so profound) and you’ll go viral, good luck! 😉

  • September 1, 2012 carla.kidwell

    I love the sarcasm. Don’t forget to include the emotionally charged topic of potty training or how to be a super mom.
    carla.kidwell recently wrote…Essence of NowMy Profile

    • September 3, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, POTTY TRAINING!! I may have a post in the making for that when I start potty training the toddler! (ack hold me)

  • September 3, 2012 Bethany

    Great post! I like your tips. I just clicked through to the Bloggess–thanks for that link! I, too, recently went public with my struggles with depression, so I’ll look forward to reading more about Kat…and I’ll also look forward to coming back here for more of your posts!! 🙂

    If you care to read my post in which I speak about my own challenges and (mostly) overcoming them, it’s called: “Let it Shine. (OR: The Post in which I Tell my Fears to F— Off.”)

    Hope you’re having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!! 🙂

    With light,
    Bethany recently wrote…Our Chances of Grammy Nomination: HIGH.My Profile

    • September 3, 2012 Alison

      Thanks for stopping by Bethany! Loved your post, it was very courageous of you to talk about what many view as a ‘scary’ topic. I hope blogging has given you your light back 🙂

      Have a lovely long weekend.

  • September 4, 2012 Robin

    BOOM! I saw mentions of those posts but hadn’t read them. But considering I’ve got the house to myself this morning I may just go do that…
    Robin recently wrote…Grace in Small Things: #7My Profile

    • September 4, 2012 Alison

      Did you? Read them? If so, were you similarly outraged or meh?

      • September 4, 2012 Robin

        I did read them. I thought the vacation one was a bit stupid and clearly self-indulgent, but I wasn’t outraged like some people. I think it does speak to her whole approach to parenting.

        The one about not breastfeeding though – that was just brutal.

        But I do agree with what one person said – she’s obviously just privileged and has no other perspective. And yes, they are totally letting her keep writing because she gets attention.

        I’m more offended that someone who can’t write at all is allowed to have a voice in a forum like that. 😉
        Robin recently wrote…Grace in Small Things: #7My Profile

        • September 4, 2012 Alison

          I agree – it’s actually the terrible writing that irked me the most!

  • September 7, 2012 Tonya

    Funny I missed each and every one of these. Oops.
    Tonya recently wrote…Class Of 2026My Profile

    • September 7, 2012 Alison

      Eh, you’re super awesome so I don’t think you missed that point 🙂

  • September 7, 2012 Galit Breen

    Nope. No tips here. Sarcasm noted. 🙂
    Galit Breen recently wrote…Mother Daughter JournalsMy Profile

    • September 8, 2012 Alison

      I know you’d totally get me 🙂

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