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5 steps to creating the ultimate blog post

The following blog will teach you a highly effective blogging & outreach blueprint that is proven to dramatically increase your brand & blog exposure.

The strategy I am going to share with you works. By using this strategy, my blog has been shared by key marketing influencers with huge online audiences (millions in total) allowing me to dramatically increase my own exposure online.

These include Social Media Examiner, Jeff Bullas, Content Marketing Institute & more.

- You can achieve this too!

The blogging framework involves curating a list-style blog which includes the most viral content, developed by targeted key influencers on a specific topic. The outreach strategy then focuses on reaching out to the featured influencers and prompting them to share the post.

List-style blogs have been around for a while, however ‘viral’ list-style blogs are still relatively new. Buzzfeed are a great example of an online business using the traditional list-style blog format successfully.

The two examples below have received over 11,000,000 views and 1.7 million shares!

However, this is 2016 and we want to use a new, more innovative approach to the list-style blog: The Viral list-style Blog.

The launch of Buzzsumo has made it easy to prioritise content using its social share count.

If you haven’t used Buzzsumo before, it’s super easy; this 2 minute tutorial will show you how;

Why use this blogging framework?

Simply put: IT WORKS!

Check out some of the key marketing influencers who have shared my blog posts due to this strategy below;

Learn from our 5 most viral posts from last year, curated by KPS Digital Marketing via BuzzSumo:

Posted by Social Media Examiner on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Step 1: Select a viral blog topic

Choosing a viral blog topic is simple, just go to, type in your competitors/ industry leaders URL and click search.

This will bring back the most viral topics your competitors/ industry leaders are creating content about, relative to your niche.

We have used Social Media Examiner as an example below. You can see that two of their most viral posts are about social media tools. Therefore, in this example, we will create a viral list-style post about ‘social media tools’.

Using a blog topic which incorporates the most popular (viral) topic sited from one of the most popular industry publications is kind of logical right?

Step 2: Select targeted influencers to feature

Strategically selecting which targeted key influencers are featured in the blog will increase the chances of your blog firstly being shared to their networks, and secondly reaching more of the right audience.

Using ‘social media tools’ as a topic example; featuring the most influential social media tools expert with the largest social media following would be gold dust.

How do you find this ‘gold dust’?

I use a three-pronged approach. Firstly, use your knowledge of the industry to seed a list of relevant key influencers. Using the ‘social media tools’ example again, I would be thinking of key marketing influencers like Jeff Bullas, Mike Stelzner, Matthew Woodward etc.

The second approach is to use a great tool called Followerwonk – a free tool which can help you find the most influential Twitter users relative to specific keywords (no need to sign up).

Simply click on ‘Search bios’ and then enter keywords relative to your blog topic/ industry in the search bar (we searched ‘social media tools’ first).

Now you have a list of Twitter accounts relative to your keywords, click the ‘Social Authority’ tab to bring up the influencers with the most social authority.

What we are looking for now is the most authoritative influencers with the largest amount of followers. I find that individuals are much more responsive to outreach than companies, but you can try and test different influencers to see what works for you.

Ian Cleary (one of my favourite marketers) hits the ‘sweet spot’ in this example as he is an individual, with a high social authority, and a large Twitter following.

The third approach focuses on using buzzsumo to find the most viral blogs on the blog topic you are using. This not only finds you influencers to feature, it also finds you the blogs to feature in your viral round up blog.

Simply go to, type your blog topic in the search bar and find the most viral blogs on that topic;

Step 3: Source the most viral content

Once you have a list of 5 – 15 relative influencers within the ‘sweet spot’ you need to go and find the most viral content they’ve published covering your blog topic.

The easiest way to do this is to find the influencers blog URL, paste it into Buzzsumo and find the most shared content covering your blog topic which has been written by the influencer;

Here’s an example using Ian Cleary’s URL, you can see his most viral blog is also to do with social media tools – great!

Unfortunately when using Jeff Bullas’ URL, there are no ‘social media tools’ related posts. However, don’t panic!

If you cannot find content related to your blog topic initially, then type keywords related to the blog topic after the URL.

E.g. I typed ‘ social media tools’ in the example below which returned Jeff Bullas’ most viral ‘social media tools’ related blog post.

Step 4: Construct the Blog Post

Once you have sourced 5 – 15 pieces of content to include in your viral round up blog, you need to effectively construct the blog. Using the following blog structure will increase the chance of key influencer shares.It is tried and tested – it works.

However, if you feel there is any way of making it better or ‚adding your own touch‘ – then do it!

If you prefer visuals, simply skip down the page slightly and you’ll see a visual of how the blog should be constructed.


Using a proven headline formula will be key in driving clicks to your blog. Here are a few proven headlines you can copy, paste and publish on your own viral list-style blog.

• X most viral [TOPIC] posts from the pros in [MONTH/YEAR]

• X most viral [TOPIC] posts from [JOB TITLE] in [MONTH/YEAR]

• X most viral [TOPIC] posts that will [DESIRED RESULT]

• X most viral [TOPIC] posts that will [DESIRED RESULT] in [DESIRED TIME]


Keep the introduction short, punchy and to the point. Tell your readers the added value they will receive after reading this awesome viral list-style blog.

Featured Blog 1 Title and Share Count

Pretty simple, just include the position of the blog (1, 2, 3 etc.), the title and the amount of shares it’s had.

e.g. 1. 5 Steps to Creating the Ultimate Blog Post (100,000 shares)


There are 3 images you will need to include in this section of the blog;

1. The featured blog’s logo.

2. An eye catching image from the featured blog (preferably the header image).

3. A screen grab of the Buzzsumo share count for the blog.

Link to Original Blog and Author Credit

It is so important to fully credit the website where the blog was originally posted and the Author who wrote it.

e.g. Original Article: 5 Steps to Creating the Ultimate Blog Post (KPS Digital Marketing)

Author: Daniel Knowlton ( @Dknowlton1) from KPS Digital Marketing

Short description

Make sure you’ve actually read all of the blog posts you are featuring. Include a short, snappy, to the point description outlining why people should read it.


Repeat the previous 4 content sections until you have included all of the featured viral blogs.

Call to Action

What action do you want your readers to take once they have read the blog? This is where you need to tell readers to take that action. Here’s some ideas;

• Share

• Comment

• Subscribe

• Download

• Sign up

Step 5: Reach out to featured Key Influencers

Using a structured approach to building relationships and reaching out to key influencers will be a fundamental factor effecting the blog‘s success.

Build relationships

Building real-life relationships with key influencers takes time. Ideally these relationships would be built through a combination of face to face meetings (at events, conferences etc.) and online engagements (social media, blog, email etc.)

However, I understand it may be difficult to meet key influencers face to face. I have had plenty of success with key influencers, who I have never met, sharing my blogs.

The main thing you need to think about is how you can consistently provide value for them online (ideally for at least a month before contacting them). Here are some examples;

• Share their content across various platforms.

• Share intellectual comments and ideas in their blog comments and social media posts.

• Share links to their blog/website, tag them, and tell your network why they should check out this awesome key influencers work.

• Connect with them on social media and sign up to their newsletter/website.


Once you have published the blog, you need to send the featured key influencers an email giving them a ‘heads up’ that they have been featured in your viral round up blog.

DO NOT go for a hard sell here. It doesn’t work.

Here is the successful outreach email template I like to use. I tailor this for each influencer, make it personal!

Hey [enter name]

First off, I wanted to quickly tell you [be genuine and say something nice, how has their content helped you?]

Secondly, I thought I’d give you a heads up as we have featured your [enter featured blog title] post in our [enter viral round up blog title] post;

[insert link to viral round up blog]

[say a quick thank you, backing the nice comment you included at the start]

Best Regards,

[enter your name, job title and the company you run/work for]

Here’s an example of this outreach email in action with Jeff Bullas (I stupidly missed the spelling mistakes, but hey, it still worked).

And here’s his reply!

He shared my blog to his 414,000+ Twitter followers which was a great success!

Directly Share link on Social Media

If you don’t receive a reply to the email within a day (trust me you won’t from at least half), then send a direct Tweet with a link to the viral round up blog (giving them a heads up that they have been featured).

Check out some of the responses I’ve received from implementing this strategy after not getting an email response;


This blogging framework works and it can work for you too. I’ve used a variety of blog formats in the past and without a doubt, the viral list-style blog is the most effective. It increases the reach of your brand and blog dramatically and helps you build relationships with key influencers.

Give it a try for yourself!

Have you tried using this blog framework? How did it work for you? Do you have anything to add? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you've used this blogging framework comment a link to the blog and I'll check it out

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Daniel Knowlton
Daniel Knowlton
Dan is the award winning Co-founder of KPS Digital Marketing who was named #12 Most Influential Digital Marketer on Twitter in the world in 2016 by Onalytica. Dan is a contributor for a variety of key marketing publications including Social Media Examiner, Content Marketing Institute and Jeff Bullas’ Blog. He is also a keen speaker and has spoken at events internationally for a variety of organisations including NatWest and The Royal institute of Chartered Surveyors. Dan has a passion for helping others learn how to get to grips with Digital Marketing and is obsessed with providing value for his community.

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