My friend Rob Madelmayer decided a few months ago to start building his personal brand via blogging – and his very first blog post, The Death of Business Casual, went viral on LinkedIn. Check it out, and you’ll see almost 114,000 views, 436 likes, and 400 comments (as of this writing).
Rob’s experience is the stuff legends are made of. In fact, the holy grail of marketing is undoubtedly viral content. So many people are constantly seeking this elusive prey that if you conduct a Google search on the topic, you’ll get 30 million results.
I just got off the phone with Rob to find out how he did it. Here’s what you can learn from a first-time blogger’s viral blog post:
Q: What made you start blogging?
A: There are a lot of things I notice on a daily basis that I wanted to get off my chest. I didn’t want to write about something related to what I do for a living for fear that people would think I was writing for the wrong reasons – just to get more business or something. I want to be a better, more well-rounded person and start improving my skills in different areas. I thought writing would be one way to go.
I also wanted to make sure that when someone Googles my name, they find content I want them to see rather than pulling up irrelevant search results.
Q: Why the topic “The Death of Business Casual”?
The name was catchy. I like the idea of killing something – that gets your attention.
I noticed that the general male population doesn’t know how to dress properly. It’s a reflection of the current state of fashion. If you go to Italy, men dress a lot better. I think the sloppy dressing in the U.S. shows a lack of pride – and that bothers me.
People ask me all the time where I get my sport jacket or shoes. I began realizing that what I was wearing was being recognized as relevant and attention-getting in a good way.
Q: Why publish on LinkedIn?
I was writing on Medium and I didn’t have a big following, but I have a lot of connections on LinkedIn. The way things get shared on LinkedIn, it’ll show up on the news feed so it has the best opportunity for mass exposure.
I also wanted people I work with to see that I’m more than just a robot who can help them with marketing and engagement. I go on rants just like they do!
Q: So it was a great way to put yourself out there in a very authentic way.
Exactly. Another thing I also find is that it’s very easy to have thoughts and comments and keep it to yourself or inner circle or sphere of influence. To put it out there where people can throw stones from behind the wall of the computer – it’s harder.
Q: What was your reaction when you saw it going viral?
Scared – the initial feedback was not good. People were bashing me and asking me why I had the nerve to talk about fashion when I don’t even work in the industry. So I talked to a few bloggers, and they said that you can either engage with everyone or engage with nobody. I decided to engage with nobody.
I didn’t want to [do it halfway], and it would take too much time to address all the comments. Plus it could fuel the fire of hatred and I didn’t want to get into that.
Q: Did you go out with the intention of pissing people off?
Not at all – I just wanted to share. But, as it turned out, this is a polarizing topic.
Q: Did people reach out to you after seeing your post?
Clients LOVED it – they already know me and how I dress and how I carry myself. A lot of Fortune 500 clients reached out to say, ‘Thanks, I enjoyed it” and, ‘I’m going to show this to my husband.’
I did have people ask me what I’m going to write about next, so I decided to do a “death of” series. My next one was The Death of the Resume, and I have a few more ideas. My idea is to do something different to stand out in a positive way. The resume post wasn’t polarizing enough so it didn’t get as much attention.
Thanks, Rob! My takeaways on writing a viral blog post:
- Use a really catchy title
- Write on a topic you are passionate about – and take a strong stand
- Take the high road when/if people go negative
- Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
- Share your content on a platform where you already have a strong presence
What do you think about Rob’s tips and my takeaways? What would you add to the list?
Want more assistance growing your business online? Join the Web.com Small Business Forum for free access to our library of ebooks, the latest industry news and support from other business owners, entrepreneurs and working professionals. Join a Group to ask questions, share your opinions and grow your network! Visit Web.com to learn about our full range of affordable website design and online marketing services.