Content Formula Checklist for your Content to Go Viral

Not all content is created equal.

We’ve all seen some terrible pieces of content, as well as content so great it blows our minds so much that all you want to do is share and link to it.

Over the years, we’ve created some epic pieces of content. Some of them to go viral, and some of them to bring in traffic for years and years through SEO.


Recently we wrote a piece, that went viral and got 73 000+ page views over 3 days, that took less than an hour to create. See below.


Going viral is only temporary… and often does not really achieve our long terms goals.

No doubt it’s an amazing feeling, but it’s the consistent increase in sales and traffic that gets everyone feeling awesome.

Some pieces of content can take a few months to reach that kind of figure. Like this one below.

The first image was an informative and shareable piece of content for South Africans, that we wrote at 3 am and took less than an hour, while the other was created for SEO and took a long time to rank.

The one thing that remained consistent – the formula I used.

In this blog post, I release my formula for how we create consistent content and have found it to bring some of the greatest ROI for our business.

And the only thing you have to do is tick 6 of the 12 criteria on the checklist.

Let me introduce the content QUESTIONAIRE checklist, my secret to creating awesome content.

Q – quality – is it the best quality you can give?

U – unique – is it unique, is it better than any other content on the web or subject?

E – easy to read – Is it optimized and easy to read?

S – shareable – Would people share it?

T – time – Does it relate to some kind of time?

I – informative – Does it offer value to the reader?

O – organized – Is it formatted and easy for the reader to skim and still understand?

N – no bullshit – Is everything in the article factual? Does it link out?

A – authoritative – Do you sound like you know what you talking about

I – immediate – Does it trigger an action?

R – responsive – Can it be seen all nice screens and does it look good?

E – evergreen – Can this be read in 3 years’ time and still be relevant?

Quality Content

If content is king, quality is queen and we all know that behind every great man is a great woman.

“Content is king, but marketing is queen (and runs the household).” – Gary Vee

Quality is such a broad concept, so let’s break down the kingdom of content.

If you tick 6 of the things listed below, you definitely have a quality piece of content, and in one way or another will be awesome…

Unique content

-Search Engines hate plagiarism and you need to add some sort of differentiation. Most people refurbish content and combine information from a few sites to make it creative, unique, and more valuable to the reader; but don’t just copy and paste something you found on another web page.

If you need to check your content is not copied you can use Siteliner or Copyscape or Small Seo Tools

Easy to read

No one wants to read novels on the internet. It’s important to know how quickly the reading generation is diminishing.

We want information that is fast and easy to read, not some Lord of the Rings novel. The Hemmingwayapp is my go-to; it helps me stop writing bloated content and makes my writing easier to read.

Don’t lose your reader because your content has incorrect spelling or grammar. You will be surprised how quickly you can lose credibility from a reader if there are spelling mistakes.

Try not to over complicate things. It is important to break things down for those who may be looking for something specific, for those who are not at your level, or even for those who are not at the level you expect them to be. For people to enjoy reading, they need to understand it.

How can you make sure you have easy to read content;

  • Really short paragraphs
  • Small sentences
  • Images or visuals


Make content that’s easy to share and that people want to share.

The best way to get your content to go viral and generate good SEO is through sharing – if no one knows about it, no one is going to find it, read it, and link to it.

Make sure that it has shareable buttons and share it yourself on every platform you can. Make sure you give it every chance possible to be seen by as many people as it can.

I created a list of 200 places to share your content to help it hit the ground running – after all, they say its 20% creation, 80% promotion.


Time has so many variables and is one of the most important parts of great content. I’ve made the mistake of waiting too long to post stuff, always feeling like it wasn’t ready.

Now, most of my posts are only 90% complete and I finish them up at a later stage with links, and maybe a little bit of additional information from user data or readers’ suggestions and comments.

Dated posts

I don’t like normally putting a date on posts but sometimes this can be very beneficial, we’ve used this on posts like Valentine’s day or New years, you can imagine that a post with the year in it like “Things to do for Valentines Day in 20xx” is much more clickable and relatable than something with no year or just the word “best”.

By being specific you are guaranteed that people will assess it and think this is more relevant when they see the title on the Google search page…

Time of Post

If you post at 3 am, no one is going to see your post, I’ve actually found mixed results with this. Now that everyone posts near peak times, it’s so condensed with posts than if you post at prime-time.

It’s kind of like that situation in the classroom when people do presentations; you always want to go after someone who was really terrible because you know yours may be better. The same applies to this.

Be first

If you see the post about new years above, you will see that we are the first to publish it. That means that

  • We are getting relative traffic for the new years searched for the next 6 weeks before anyone else
  • Our CTR will be much higher
  • Our engagement will help our ranking and we will further increase rank as new years approaches (I screenshotted the New Years post originally it was #6, when I came to update this post a week later we were #2, we’ll be number #1 by new years)


Do your research, have great information that is concise and practical. People love great information that has good up to date and relative information.

I base my SEO on writing the MOST INFORMATIVE piece of content on the internet (that’s how the second piece of content gets 70 000 views in 6 months – by being the most informative piece of content about a tourist attraction).


Make sure that your information is structured correctly. There is nothing worse than jumbled information, make sure you have a decent lead-in, body, and conclusion.

Bullet points are great at defining things and adding to the structure of a post.

No bullshit

No one wants to read bad writing. Remove the fluff, stick to the facts, and link to them. Build trust with your audience and other websites.

Try to do two things:

  1. Give references to where you get your information
  2. Try to find writers who are passionate and are knowledgeable about the topic

This creates more enjoyment for the writer and you receive way better quality content.

I like to think of content as food, make it with love and it will be enjoyable, linkable, and worth sharing (telling other people about).


Keep within the “no bullshit” guidelines and make sure your content is coming from people who have passion, experience, and knowledge about a certain topic.

If you know your topic, your writing must show that. Include references, experiences, pictures, and anything you have to show that you are an expert on the matter at hand.

70% of anything is confidence. I like seeing an article that has a flair of confidence and appears authoritative.


Don’t delay, you will pay – Matt Davison

You are more inclined to finish a task you started on than the one you thought of and never conceptualized.

Imagine having a great idea, thinking “wow, that would make an awesome post”, only to eventually sit down having lost that train of thought.

If something appears to me, I write it down immediately, whether it’s on Google Docs, my sketchbook or with one of the whiteboard markers I have littered around my house.

Get started on it as soon as possible.

☐ Responsive

The most important points about great content are the following two things:

Getting a Response

This is mostly done by generating an emotional reaction to what you are posting. The worst thing to do is have a flat article or conversation.

Movies, series, books that leave you drained, invigorated, confused, happy, and full of emotion are the ones you remember, act on, and share.

Try to create that for your audience.

How it responds on mobile (computer, phone, tablet, etc) 

A site I was working on recently looked amazing on my computer and then I checked it on mobile. It was hideous; the sharing buttons littered the screen and the featured image looked terrible as it was not displaying at all. In general, it looked untidy.

Make sure your articles look great and perform on all platforms.


Make content that will remain popular forever, or even before its time. This is one of my favorite methods to use to ensure long-term traffic gains. I always have 1 post on a new website that will remain relevant for as long as possible.

If you nail 7 of the basics I have mentioned above you are sure to have a quality post that will generate loads of traffic. If you don’t get this promised traffic and feel you have ticked at least 7 of the things above, then contact me and I will market it for free!

Sometimes it’s hard to remember what makes great content, that’s why I use a nifty little acronym.

Picture of Matt G Davison
Matt G Davison
Matt, the founder of Travel Tractions, has done marketing for travel and tourism for over a decade. His first love is SEO, with entrepreneurship hotter on its heels than a girlfriend. When he is not looking up flights back to Asia you can find him in the garden, making excuses to walk Rusty, strategizing with the team and tinkering on sites until the early morning.

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