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A Cheat Sheet for Writing Blog Posts That Go Viral

Ever wish you could get the Cliff Notes for writing popular posts? You know, just go straight to what works, and forget everything else?

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About Jon Morrow

Posts by Jon Morrow:

How I Wrote Posts That Touched the Hearts of More Than 5 Million People

How I Wrote Posts That Touched the Hearts of More Than 5 Million People

You know that feeling you get right before you publish a post?

The angel on one shoulder says you’ve written a post of enormous importance and depth, one that will change the lives of your readers forever. Meanwhile, the devil on the other shoulder calls you a halfwit with the writing talent of a chimpanzee doped on acid.

Well, it was a few days before Christmas in 2009, and the devil was winning.

“Please don’t publish it,” I sobbed into the telephone. “The post is crap. It’ll ruin me.”

Sonia Simone, one of the most respected editors in the world, listened politely on the other end of the phone. The night before, I’d sent her a post I’d been working on for months, confident of my writing genius, but mere hours later I was on the phone having an epic freak-out.

The good news is, after working together for years, Sonia was well accustomed to my neuroses, and she knew exactly how to handle me. “Darling, you are the most talented writer I know, and this is your most brilliant work to date.”

My sobs stopped. “Really? You think so?”

“Yes. Now let me get back to work, so we can make you famous.” Click.

For the next hour, there was nothing to do but sit at the computer pressing the “refresh” button over and over again. I trembled. I prayed.

And then the post went live (click here to read it).
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An Open Letter to Bloggers Struggling to Get More Traffic

An Open Letter to Bloggers Struggling to Get More Traffic

It hurts me to write this.

For years, I’ve been “the traffic guy.” Not only because I’m good at getting it, but because it’s the question on the top of every blogger’s mind:

“How do I get more traffic to my blog?”

To some degree, this entire site is an answer to that question. You’ll learn more about getting blog traffic here than maybe anywhere else on the web.

But there’s one giant problem…

It’s the wrong question.

And I’ve known it for years.

And I’ve said nothing.

Not because I’m an asshole (well, maybe). No, the real reason is I felt like we were serving the needs of the market. People wanted to know how to get more traffic, so we created courses teaching them how.
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7 Warning Signs You’re Suffering from Small List Syndrome

7 Warning Signs You’re Suffering from Small List Syndrome

Never heard of it, right?

You might even think I’m pulling your leg.

Honestly, I wish I was. I wish this entire post was just a tasteless joke written for my own amusement.

But it’s not.

The truth is Small List Syndrome is real, although I’m just now coining the term. I’ve watched it spread for years, slowly but surely infecting thousands of my students.

Not just clueless beginners, either. Smart writers, smart businesses, smart bloggers across the globe, all working hard to create good content, all doing everything they should be.

Except… none of it works for them.

Not because they’ve made a mistake. Not because their ideas suck. Not because they’re lazy.

It’s because they have a tiny email list or even none at all. It’s like a sickness, quietly devouring their traffic, revenue, and engagement until there’s nothing left.

And the scary part?

There’s a good chance you’ve caught the sickness too. After all, just how much focus are you giving your email list?

Just a little? None at all?

That’s bad news, my friend. Ill tidings indeed.

The good news is Small List Syndrome is curable. First though, we have to see whether or not you are infected.

Here are the symptoms:

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How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers

How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers

Note from Glen: As a kid, I remember my mom rubbing antiseptic ointment onto my bloodied knee after a fall. “It hurts!” I sobbed. “That means it’s working,” she said wisely.

Sometimes what’s good for you hurts a little too. And that’s how I feel about this post by Jon.

We’ve gained a ton of new readers since it was first published, which means thousands of new patients for Doctor Morrow. So tell me, are you ready for your medicine?

Can I be painfully honest with you for a moment?

Not thank-God-he-told-me honesty, where somebody points out you have spinach on your teeth. No, I’m talking about the sucker-punch-straight-to-the-face brand of honesty.

It’s brutal. It’s ugly. It’s unexpected.

And I can almost guarantee you will NOT enjoy it.

In fact, I’ve been holding off telling you for years now, hoping somebody would do the dirty work for me. But no one has. So, out of respect to you, I want to tell you the truth.

So here it is.

You know how you’ve been struggling to get traffic? Tried everything, and it’s just not working right?

Well, it’s not because you haven’t found the right traffic strategy. It’s not because you need to change your domain name. It’s not because the Google gods have turned against you and cursed you to wallow in anonymity forever.

It’s because you’re dumb.

And if you ever want a chance in hell of anyone listening to you, you’d better smarten up.
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On Gluttony, Selfishness, and Unleashing the Power Within

On Gluttony, Selfishness, and Unleashing the Power Within

People are getting more selfish every day.

Have you noticed?

In the US, today is Thanksgiving. Traditionally, it’s a holiday about thankfulness and family and generosity, a day to remind yourself of all the good things and people in your life.

But that’s changing.

It’s becoming more and more about gluttony. Not just sharing a meal with your family, but eating until you put yourself in a turkey-induced coma, waiting a few hours, and then doing it again. Or, if you’re really impatient, you just go into the bathroom and make yourself throw up, so you can eat some more.

Oh, and then there’s shopping. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the best deals of the year, anywhere. You can finally buy all that stuff you don’t really need because, hey, you’re getting a deal.

Personally, I find it disturbing. Not the meals or deals, but the change of focus.

Getting food, getting full, getting a good deal, getting a discount, getting a break. Getting, getting, getting.

But what about giving?

What about focusing on other people?

What about selflessness and service and gratitude and appreciation?

It’s disappearing. Not just on holidays but in people in general.

And it bothers me. So today, I decided to take a stand.

I’m not eating a Thanksgiving meal. I’m not going shopping. I’m going to try not to think about myself at all.

Instead, I’m going to be thankful. You know, what the holiday was originally supposed to be about.
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