7 Viral Marketing Strategies to Get Massive Traffic Spikes

by Jason Acidre on March 25, 2012 · 58 comments · Content, Search, Social

There are times that you get surprised to see a sudden spike in traffic when you check your site’s traffic stats in the morning, and you often wonder where those visitors came from and how you were able to pull it off by accident. Well, what if you can replicate that result whenever you wish to?

It’s very possible, given that all it really takes is to have a really awesome content that people will voluntarily share and to have a plan on how you can put that content in front of that particular kind of audience (to people who will really share your content).

This post will mostly cover the promotional techniques that you can do to drive massive visitors to your content. But to start off, I’ll just share some ideas of what a solid and share-worthy content should look or feel like:

Data Visualization:

LRA Crisis Tracker from Invisible Children

Video (Documentary, Short Films, etc…)

Everything is a Remix – by Kirby Ferguson


Mashable Awards

Research-based Text Content:

From LifeHacker

Most of these successful materials have resemblances in terms of attack, and some of their most common characteristics are:

  • Design-driven
  • Offers high-value information/experience and have a unique concept for the content
  • Topics have high share-rate

There are also other formats and types of content that can be used for viral campaigns, but sometimes, the real work and real source of success comes from the backend – on how a great content can efficiently be promoted to its target audience – which I will be sharing below.

Media Coverage

Getting press mentions for your site or your site’s content by having it cited as a resource by high-traffic news sites or authority blogs can certainly send massive referred traffic to your site in a day. Though getting featured by these authoritative sites is not easy, as you’ll need something newsworthy for your content or your brand to be mentioned by these types of sites.

Basically, you’ll need a material that people from the press will find useful to create or back their stories up. Sharing your own data is one of the best ways to do it. Here are some of the steps that you can take when planning for this kind of outreach.

  • Prepare a newsworthy content that authority bloggers and columnists can cover for their next piece.
  • Make a list of the columnists and bloggers who write about your industry, including their contact details as well as the sites where they publish their content. You can start by identifying and listing at least 50 different writers in your field and use Excel spreadsheet to organize the levels of priorities for each.
  • Know your targets by researching more about them, particularly those who write for bigger online publications, as this can help you create a more personalized copy for your email once you start pitching the story to them.
  • Craft a powerful email copy and start sending. Personalize each copy (based on your list’s level of priority). It’s best to keep your email copies short and have an element that will make them more engaged while reading your message (like giving compliments to their previous works and offering a news angle that will really make them interested to cover your story).
  • Keep track of your conversations as well as with their responses and try to build relationships with them, as this can help benefit your campaign’s future efforts.

Chris Winfield, from Blueglass, recently wrote an in-depth guide on how to get press coverage for a brand, which covers most of the things that will be needed to have a business featured by journalists on their columns.

Stumbleupon’s Paid Discovery

Most of Stumbleupon’s users are social-media savvy and can easily be engaged by what they see, so if you’ll provide their users with content that’s really amazing and targeted to their interest, you can almost effortlessly multiply the reach of your content, as these viewers have tendencies of sharing your content through other social networks as well.

Stumbleupon Paid Discovery normally costs $0.10 per page view (and they also offer other packages). Investing $50 – $100 for a day (probably on the day that you’ll launch your content) can get you 500 – 1,000 highly engaged visitors to the page you are trying to promote. And you can also expect for those views to multiply considering that a good fraction of those visitors will have high probability of socially sharing your content.

The great thing about this service from Stumbleupon is that the campaign can be easily modified, particularly in targeting the right audience and demographics for your content through manually modifying the age, gender, location, device and/or interests of the audience you are seeking to acquire.

Lastly, it’s important to make your social buttons within the content very visible (make this as the content’s call-to-action) to ensure that the visitors driven through this method will be enticed and compelled to share your content.

Get Featured on other Bloggers’ Newsletters

Connect with bloggers in your industry that have large lists of email/newsletter subscribers, since these bloggers have followers/readership that will most likely be interested with your content.

Pitch your content to these bloggers before launching it and try to offer something that will benefit both parties (perhaps paying for the link placement or to have the content featured in their newsletters).

However, establishing connections before pitching the idea will make it more interesting to them or much easier for them to approve the request, and that’s why building relationships is very vital to any online-based businesses these days.

Make sure that your content will be useful to their followers, and not too promotional, to improve your requests’ success rate. Incentivize the pitch to make it a win/win situation as well.

The schedule of sending out the emails also plays a big part to get that viral effect, so if you can discuss this part of the campaign to them as soon as they’ve showed interest, the better.

Pro Tip: Start with bloggers that you already have built connections with (exchanged of emails, conversed through social networks, have previously linked to your site/content, etc…).

Social Outreach

It’s easier for your content to reach more people when influential individuals in your industry (that have robust following on social networks) are putting your content in front of your target audience.

Reach out to influencers and ask if they’ll be interested to see your content, but don’t directly ask them to share your content, as they’ll normally spread it if they find it useful for their followers.

Social outreach is mostly effective if it’s planned ahead. You can first start by making a list of at least 50 influencers in (including their contact details) your industry before launching your content. Assess your content if it will be something that these influencers will really take time to review. And to increase your response rate, you might also need to have another reason for contact, such as:

  • Asking for feedback.
  • Notifying them that you’ve mentioned them as a source in the content.

The important thing is to offer a very unique content that can genuinely benefit their readers/followers, and leverage that aspect to get them to share your content.

Promote through Reddit

Reddit has been one of the most highly-utilized community-based news aggregator sites in the world, and certainly a powerful web marketing tool for businesses, if they can make it on Reddit’s front page, where millions of visitors can see a referring link every day.

Yet, it’s not that easy to be featured in their front page, as you’ll mostly need to understand how their story ranking algorithm works. Here’s a great article by Amir Salihefendic on examining Reddit’s default story and comment rankings.

There are other alternatives that you can do to get massive referred traffic from Reddit:

  • Build a solid community that will help you make your story more visible and possibly make your story rank on the front page, by getting scheduled upvotes from your community.
  • Use Reddit’s social button on your content to make it easier for Reddit users to upvote your content.
  • Purchase Reddit’s sponsored link or self-serve advertising (this will cost at least $20 to display sitewide or $30 for an entire day to run on specific Reddits).

Pinterest Marketing

Pinterest has been tremendously growing in terms of usage and sharing these past few months, which prove that getting viral through this channel is very feasible. Personally, this blog has received a lot of referred traffic from Pinterest, through the images (mostly infographics) that some of my readers have shared and pinned through that social platform.

If you’re launching a content that will contain compelling and design-driven images (such as infographics, photography, etc…), then Pinterest is definitely one of the best arsenals that you can have to increase the amount of traffic that your content could be getting.

Marketing through Pinterest is quite similar to how you can market your brand on other social platforms, wherein you’ll need:

  • To build a strong following in your industry within the network, so people can easily check the images you are sharing.
  • To utilize Pinterest’s social button (Pin Button), to entice page visitors to pin and share your images.
  • And to personally share or add your images on the social platform and work your way for people to repin it and make it on the popular images by categories or in the Popular section.

Colby Almond recently shared his experience with Pinterest (viral) marketing and on how he almost got 50,000 page views in a day through the help of Pinterest. It’s a great guide that you should definitely look into.

Multiply Traffic through Social CTA

Strengthen your content’s shareability by allowing your social buttons to serve as its primary call to action. Make them more visible to your audience by placing it on perceptible positions (preferably above the fold).

This is a vital process to make out of the most of the traffic that you’ll acquire from your external marketing efforts, as when you compel your new visitors to share your content, you’re able to increase the chances of getting more traffic to your page and multiply the amount of unique views further (gauging if unique viewers will continuously spread your content through social media).

You can also customize your social buttons (depending on your campaign’s prioritized social channel for a specific type of content) like adding Pinterest button for posts/pages that have high-quality images, Reddit button for materials that you’re pushing to rank on Reddit’s front page and/or giving more importance to Twitter/Facebook/Stumbleupon/Google+, depending on the network(s) where your target audience spend their time the most.

Scaling your Viral Content

Always think of your content’s future and on how you can benefit more from it once its viral effect and your feast in traffic has ended.

It’s important that you sustain the traffic that you have generated through that campaign (or a portion of it) to be able to sell your products/services and build your brand as a leader in your industry. There are many ways that you can do to nourish these relationships to your business and to have long term advantage from your content such as:

Optimize for Search and Social Sharing

Use keywords that get enough search volume from your target market (for your content’s title, permalink and within the body of the content), so you can have better chances of ranking for those keywords on search results. You can also augment and modify your content to be evergreen (after launching it) to still obtain social shares from future visitors to that page.

Second Wave Coverage for Links

Try to get coverage and links from smaller blogs to improve your viral content’s search rankings as well as to own the SERP for particular keywords (especially on events and tools that is associated with your brand).

Optimize the content’s Call to Action

Try to contain the visitors that you’ll be generating by attracting them to avail for your “middle of the funnel” offerings, such as signing up to your newsletter, subscribing to your blog’s RSS feed, following you on social networks and/or signing up for your product/services’ free trials.

You can choose to update this part of your content after its successful launch, or you can also include this right away to capture leads along the process of gaining new visitors to your site.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed or follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

sad March 25, 2012 at 4:18 am

Hello Kaiser,
Sometime I do get a sudden surge of visitors. But it does not happen frequently. One more tip I like to share is commenting on another blog. That happened to me. There are always more ways to improve traffic. What is important is a hard work and also smart work. So your tips are really great and of big help. Thanks.


Latief@Blogging Tips March 25, 2012 at 4:19 am

Yes, using all internet sources, free and paid are really great strategy but not all blogger can do that at the same time. What is your recommendation for a small business owner with small budget to get the mass traffic? Thanks


Kaiserthesage March 25, 2012 at 6:45 am

Hey Latief,

Thanks for dropping by. Regarding your question, I would highly recommend the manual social outreach method for small businesses and stumbleupon’s paid discovery (they can actually spend $10 – $15 per day to generate highly engaged users to their pages with that amount).


Arwin March 25, 2012 at 5:03 am

Another valuable information from you. I agree that the use of Social Media leveraging is one of the best tactic today to gain massive referral traffics aside from search engine optimization.


Rick@Targeted Website Visitors March 25, 2012 at 5:12 am

Interesting article. I didnt even know that stumbleupon offered a paid service like that. It could be very interesting to hear from users who have actually used this service and get a few reports or numbers regarding visitors behaviour, like conversions, time on page, bounce rate etc.


Ella Turgeon March 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I am loving all of these tips! Getting featured on bloggers’ newsletters is great and it’s something that I never thought about! I can’t wait to pitch this to my manager and see how it goes. Thanks so much for the great article!


Alex Berdos March 26, 2012 at 4:40 am

Another useful information from you. I totally agree with your ideas. Thanks so much for the great post! I’ll be following you. :)


Ari March 26, 2012 at 5:06 am

Interesting post! personally redit has helped increase traffic volumes to my site, as for the other techniques i agree, everything is useful, you just need to try different strategies and see what works for you.


Sanjeev@Make Web World March 26, 2012 at 5:24 am

You have covered many options here, I agree stumbleupon paid discovery is a great way to get targeted traffic for your content. It’s can work great with the launch of new product or service to get some social shares.


alex March 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm

what brilliant advice, never thought of getting featured on bloggers’ newsletters, a quote comes to mind my dad used to say…..work hard and work smart cheers mate


John March 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I think media coverage is a great marketing strategy for a site, and it’s easier than you think to prepare a newsworthy content if you have good writing skills. I am going to look into Stumbleupon’s Paid Discovery because that’s a great idea. Not only will eyeballs see your content, but the search engines will love it too.


Abhinav March 26, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Really all seven marketing strategy are very helpful for increasing site traffic. But i like most your marketing strategy is StumbleUpon paid discovers.I think this strategy more helpful incensing my site traffic. thank you so much for sharing this post.


Jack Sander March 27, 2012 at 3:13 am

Personally I use the social media networks to bring traffic to my site. Nevertheless, I consider that the other techniques are as useful, taking into consideration that every blog is unique. It is important to test and use the methods that work best for you.


Oliver March 27, 2012 at 5:14 am

Pinterest is for me the best “viral marketing”. The artcile on SEOmoz show it. The “Instructographics” are the best way to drive traffic but the bounce rate will be enormous too.


Traxis March 27, 2012 at 6:53 am

Everybody in IM forums right now are claiming social signals are the new thing in order to get top google rankings, which means a page must have a lot of likes, tweets and google +, which also means that a website has to be promoted through facebook and twitter.


Larry March 27, 2012 at 8:52 am

Just wanted to tell you I really found this post interesting and I’ll be pinning this!


Andrew Miller March 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

This is a very nice and interesting post. I didn’t have much idea about these marketing strategies. Great tips. I believe they will come very handy in future.

Thanks for sharing.



Don March 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Another great article! I love how your posts are so thorough and include so many examples. Keep up the great work… I’m definitely a fan!


Braden Conn March 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I just started my SEO activities and I am seeing more and more the importance of social media in the SEO process. I feel like looking organic and natural to Google should be priority number one an done of the best ways to do this is switch up your backlinking networks. I’ve found this helpful for me. Great blog, keep it up!



Shahid March 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Well said specially the Reddit and Pinterest one cause i have started my Back linking campaign recently so this post helps me a lot. Your post length and track of the topic is really awesome and examples you gave is surely be unique. Thanks for share man.


Jessie April 2, 2012 at 12:29 am

Thank you Jason, I have recently been searching for information about Viral marketing strategies for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon so far.



Nichole April 3, 2012 at 4:30 am

I guess social media does a good part in marketing business because millions (even) billions of people are into it and you can find your potential clients especially if you know how to narrow your target. With appropriate marketing strategies, you’ll surely hit the hot spot.

Thanks for sharing your valuable information.


Michelle April 4, 2012 at 6:39 am

Traffic is a major part of blogging. Whether for monetary purposes or just gaining viewership. The hard part is that many struggle to get the coveted traffic. The thing that stood out for me with your points is that traffic techniques are apparent everyday, and are easy. You just have to be aware of what you’re putting out there .ie. content. Love the post!


David April 9, 2012 at 8:03 am

WOW At The Social Growth Chart you have shared man thats like awesome thanks for providing the stats!!!


Mj April 10, 2012 at 3:30 am

Stumbleupon paid discovery and Pinterest marketing i would really recommend everyone out here as the amounf of traffic these 2 can bring you is out of control and those users are really valuable , if they like your content they would surely return .

If you have things to succeed and have quality content , my shout is to go for these 2 services .


Kraman April 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Great post Kaiser! So, considering all these tips that you have provided, what would be your step by step guide to marketing your content.

Step 1: Write a great job post
Step 2: ? (What would you suggest here? )

If you could provide step by step instructions to get the most out of blogs, that would be an amazing post!


Philson April 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm

This is one of the most effective strategies to attract immense, constant and consistent traffic. The essence of viral marketing is to reach out to as many Internet users as possible.


Pavel April 30, 2012 at 10:41 am

Not to sound like a broken record but content is key if you are to have any chance of generating a viral response. To gauge your key demographic’s interest you must first look for successful posts from people in your industry/niche that get alot of comments/retweets/share/likes and try to give the public what they want.


Megan May 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

These are amazing ideas, you covered a lot in this article. My first time visiting and first post I’ve read; now I’m drawn to go read and learn more :) Thanks for the great info Jason!


Sean May 17, 2012 at 12:02 am

Woah Jason,

That’s some intense details you’ve got there.

My head is already spinning with possibilities. But I guess it’ll make sense to implement one strategy at a time, unless we have a huge team who can handle the different viral strategies you shared.

Amazing stuff. Thanks!


Ivy Jordan May 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I usually get slow traffic on my sites. So upon reading your article. I definitely want to try all your strategies. I really want to keep up. I really do. I have never been this driven in my entire life. Just to see my website gain a lot of visitors.


Lyuben Georgiev May 27, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Thanks for all those tips Jason. I tried everything in your post and I am quite satisfied with the results. However, it appears that in Reddit you can only use their PPC program if your company is registered in US, UK or Canada. Is it possible to use this feature if you live in some other country?



Carol Reinhardt June 7, 2012 at 3:10 am

This is one of the very best techniques to entice tremendous, continuous and constant visitors. The substance of popular marketing is to arrive at out to as many Online customers as possible.


Alex June 26, 2012 at 5:51 am

Great post. Almost need it in a checklist format as there is too much to do here in one go!

Which strategy worked best for you?


baba September 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm

seriously! i never knew stumble upon do premium service. my question here is; is the premium service 100% sure?
by the way, nice info


Gel Maine January 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Hi there Kaiser,

wooww.. thats a lot.. I’m now currently using penterest marketing and i find it super good for marketing strategies specially those that are connected to images. Penterest can build traffic when sharing pictures and info graphics.

Hence, trying all of these is also challenging to do. Thanks for these information.. I’m glad that you’ve got to share your ideas with us.


Stewart@imp source March 25, 2013 at 1:20 am

When someone writes an article he/she retains the thought of a user in his/her brain that how a
user can know it. So that’s why this post is perfect. Thanks!


David Etherington - Adsengine May 3, 2013 at 1:19 am

Now this is more my type of thing :) as well as the seo / sem stuff i do I also run another “service” business. One of my competitors did one of the silly harlem shake videos a few months back. While it was just one of several thousand similar videos the amount of coverage they got locally and within there industry was fantastic. Not sure how much work it created buy it got them “out there” in a very competitive market. Now I just need to come up with the next harlem shake…ideas anyone :)


Rubi Duong July 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Thank you Jason, I also searching for information about Viral marketing strategies for a while and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon so far. :)


Abrar Mohi Shafee September 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery is now one of the amazing techniques to get targeted traffic depending on every single requirements. I used it and my campaign went viral.


Everett Dalton December 26, 2013 at 11:53 am

I can see this was very well thought out. I really interested me the part about twitter and reddit. Ill probably start using them more often.


Eric April 11, 2014 at 7:15 am

Excellent guide for beginners to use in the blogging industry. The stumbleupon technique is a great tip! Thank you jason for the valuable information.


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