How to Create Your Most Popular Blog Post of All Time

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There’s a secret I used when writing one of my most popular blog posts of all time.

Every successful blogger knows it and has used it. I bet you even saw a few posts implementing it while scrolling through your social media timelines today. Some know how to use it to produce compelling content that drives blog traffic and gets referenced and linked to. Others, not so much. They fail big time and end up hurting their brand reputation by looking like a tool.

Secret to writing blog postWell, not you. Not your brand.

Today I’m going to share that secret and how to do it the right way. And, it all starts with an episode of VH1’s “I love the…” series.

Say what?! Keep reading. I’ll get to that in a moment.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, the secret blog post type is the round up list of all the most influential, must-follow, kick-ass, and greatest people, products, or blogs of all time in or around your industry. You know, the ones that you secretly wish YOU were mentioned in like:

When I came to the online scene, I noticed that highest ranked websites on Google within my industry were round-style posts. So I figured that if I wanted to rank for certain keywords in my industry, I’d create my own list.

Selfish, I know. It worked.

So what does VH1 have to do with any of this? Okay, let’s get to it…

The round-up technique isn’t new. People are catching on and that means these superlative list posts are starting to get played out and boring.

With mass appeal comes mass mess-ups centered on laziness:

  • Not putting in the research
  • Posting links to dead accounts or websites
  • Not even referencing why they selected the honorees or who they are.

That’s the brand killer. These people need VH1.

When the “I love the 80′s” series took off in the early 2000s, I was glued to my TV set (like everyone else) reminiscing about pop-culture nostalgia from my childhood and laughing my tush off with the comedians making fun of it all. Hello, Michael Ian Black!

Why was this show so popular? With flashbacks of people, music, movies, TV shows, products, fashions, fads, trends and major events that defined pop culture for each featured year, who couldn’t resist tuning in? Like, totally.

7 Must-Haves for Your Superlative List from VH1’s “I Love the…” Series

  1. Title. The show’s title says it all. You know from the get go you are going to re-experience all of the things you loved about that decade. Take Action: Make sure your superlative title is click-worthy and intriguing.
  2. Anticipation. They included nostalgia you were expecting. Otherwise, you’d tell your friends how much the show sucked. Take Action: Include the heavy hitters on your list that your readership expects to demonstrate that you know your industry basics.
  3. Discovery. You can only remember so much, so when VH1 threw in parts of the past that had been forgotten, it rekindled your memory and felt like you had discovered history for the first time again. Take Action: Include the new and unexpected that demonstrate your ability to dig deeper within your topic or industry.
  4. Commentary. Each clip was brought to life with observations and antidotes from celebrities and comedians that lived through it, adding an extra layer to the program. Take Action: When creating your lists, add your own remarks and comments as to why you are including each person, blog, or product.
  5. Interactive. In between segments, fun games and trivia were featured that engaged the audience and made them return to the program after each commercial break. Take Action: Don’t just simply end your list, engage your audience by including action steps that helps the audience solve a problem and ties the list together.
  6. Visuals. The video clips and photos are what made the “I love the…” series rock. Take Action: Include pictures, videos, audio, and any other visual element you can think of to make your post stand apart from all the other lists out there.
  7. Bonuses. The show further engages the audience by featuring bonus clips on their website. Take Action: Include additional ways your audience can engage with your list content. For instance, if you make a twitter following list, create an easy way for them to follow everyone with a list on your Twitter account.

Your turn… leave a comment with a link to your favorite list post AND the reason why it rocks.

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Kimberly Bordonaro
Kimberly Bordonaro is a brand strategist and the founder of Brandspiration, a blog that uses ridiculously fun lyrical references to explain how everyday entrepreneurs can create their distinctive brands.
Kimberly Bordonaro
Kimberly Bordonaro
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  1. dogleadermysteries says:

    Thanks for this fabulous and rocking advice for gaining recognition and readers on a crowded World Wide Web. Starting now, I am making my lists of "Lists" and looking forward to what comes to mind.

    I write for families and kids about understanding and treating dogs with kindness, wrapping it in fiction. What about a blog post like "Best loved Story Books About Dogs?" Taking this back to classics like "Lassie, Come Home," "Adventures of Rin, Tin, Tin," then all the way to "Marley and Me."

  2. Oh man, nostalgia! The one sure fire subject to get noticed.
    Thanks for giving us the formula for a truly epic post every time!

    I'm a movie and sports guy so I'm a fan of "Best movie villans…" or "10 reasons the Detroit Lions suck" type lists.

  3. L-O-V-E it Kimberly. Not just the post, but the Vh1 show too!

    I've also noticed the trend in "list posts" lately, so I recently wrote "4 Easy Ways to Help your Social Media Agency Succeed" that I'm very pleased about as it incorporates much of what you outlined in your post.

    For example:
    -Title: "Easy" and "Succeed" really helped the post be click-worthy
    -Discovery: Dug deeper into a topic that's not usually covered
    -Interactive: Ended the post with a question that tied the list together
    -Visuals: I made a custom image in Photoshop to stand out from typical stock images

    By taking the time to add all of these elements I noticed an increase in social shares and users even left comments elaborating on my post. Their comments let me know that I had created a resource and that's why it rocked!

  4. Your tips are all that and a bag of chips, Jacob. Totally. :)

    Thanks for sharing your tips, article, and sharing this post. I appreciate it. YOU ROCK.

  5. choiceoneconsulting says:

    Great article! Thanks, Kimberly. It's great to read these reminders.

    My most popular post is this one about what dogs can teach us about business. Almost everyone can relate to dogs, so it has universal appeal.

  6. Great post – my personal tip would undoubtedly be Demian Farnworth's Content Marketing Codex – an amazing work of reference from Copyblogger, linking to a whole library of content marketing articles:… – really well researched – a veritable treasure trove!


  7. Yes, what I really like about Demian's post is that it also serves as cornerstone content for copyblogger.

    If you are going to create a superlative list, making it a piece that is repeatedly referenced and bookmarked for accessing valuable info is the way to go.

    Thanks for stopping by with that link, Sue!

  8. Descartes: "I think, therefore I am." Filip och Fredrik in their latest podcast. "I link, therefore I am.

  9. Thank you, Kimberly for a list that will be a keeper for sure. Your "Take Action" ideas are terrific!

  10. Caelan Huntress says:

    Great formula. I'm going to write a roundup post this week!

  11. Thanks! I'm new to blogging and love learning more about what makes it work. Thanks for your post, it was super helpful. I loved how you dissected and explained what made the 80's series work, and showed how to apply it to blogging.

  12. Hi Kimberly. Thank you for sharing your secret for creating the most popular blog post and getting a lot of traffic. In my blog, these are also the kind of posts that are attracting search engines and social media. I believe that posts which have a lot to offer and well researched are shared by many people on social media, and that it also creates a signal to search engines to rank your post higher.
    My recent post 7 Types of People You Must Have in Your Team

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