Cracking the Code: How to make your next post go viral

Top Secret

Viral Post

Over 37K Shares in One Week

I believe that the overall appeal of Family Safe First is the honesty that I deliver with each article. If that were not the case, believe me, friends, and especially fellow cops and co-workers, would call me out in a second.

Especially when one goes viral.

Which is odd because one of the very platforms that I use to deliver this content has everyone fooled.


“We want to create a world that connects people in a way that unites everyone and offers old friends a way to re-connect” or something similar I have heard Zuckerberg pine.

What he should say is this;

“We want to create a world where our algorithm dictates who and how many of your friends actually see your wonderful thoughts and posts.”

Don’t get me wrong.

He is the creator and one who literally changed the way people communicate with one another. Does anyone remember how ridiculous long distance phone calls used to be?

Now, because of this great thing called Facebook, if my brother sees that I am on, he can use the call feature to talk to me.

From Australia. And it’s free!

Technology is a beautiful thing isn’t it.

Note: this post contains affiliate links

No more free lunch

Most everyone knows by now that Facebook makes you pay to increase your reach. Depending on how much you want to fork over dictates how many people get to see your post or ad.

Early in my blogging career, which has been a whopping six months, I would spend money to “boost” my content. Twenty bucks here, thirty-five bucks  there. I was a willing disciple at the altar of “to make money, you have to spend money”.

For 99 percent of the blogging world and other companies trying to convert this way, it is a complete waste of your time and money.

I picture Zuckerberg, every time I hit that boost button, laughing uncontrollably to the point of collapse.

See for yourself.

The next time you scroll down your Facebook feed, just look at all of the sponsored posts that show up. What you are actually seeing are dollar bills.

Dollar bills for Facebook.

Improvise, adapt, overcome..

Life is not about how great you are at any one particular thing or how smart, funny, or wealthy you rare. It’s about how well you handle the curve balls that all of us have trouble hitting (first baseball analogy).

In the beginning, I would post one of my articles to my own timeline and sit back and wait.

And wait.

I knew that if I didn’t get almost instant engagement the algorithm would push it down to the Facebook garbage heap. Also, out of the few hundred or so followers I had, only a fraction would even have the opportunity to see my article.

I still remember, after setting up Google Analytics, staring at the real time screen and seeing 0.

Maybe I hadn’t set up the code correctly on my site?

There had to be a glitch.

I just posted a killer article (and yes, we all think we are the next Ernest Hemingway). There is no way that not one person on earth is reading it. This went on for weeks.

No one was reading my content.

Worse, no one was seeing my content. This is where a lot of new bloggers throw in the towel.

It made me more determined then ever.

How to make your post go viral

Before we get to this I wanted to make a small disclaimer.

None of these tips or tricks should be confused with building a steady, consistent following to your site.

This is done with a lot of grunt work like developing other social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Flip board etc. Also, you have to have killer content. The kind of content that either challenges assumed viewpoints or affirms them.

Also, your content, especially the post that you intend to go viral, should have a little bit of shock to it. You have only mere seconds to get the attention of the reader.

Which brings me to what I consider the most crucial aspect of making your post go viral.

The featured photograph.

It has to spark an emotional response. Preferably a powerful one. The photo below was used for my last viral post.

retired cop

We can all relate to this photograph. Maybe it reminds us of our aging parents or grandparents. Or it evokes a fear of growing old that we all fear on some primal level.

Next, your title has to be an attention grabber. Remember, your article is essentially a four car pile up on the side of the road. You want everyone on social media straining their necks to see what all the fuss is about.

The next big attention grabbing secret I offer is this.

The hook.

The next time you are in your car listening to your favorite shock jock or sports radio guy, pay close attention. Just before cutting to commercial or a station break, the good ones, will almost always give you a perfectly orchestrated teaser.

“Don’t go anywhere, you won’t believe what this star quarterback got caught doing when no one was watching”…or “a credible source has just revealed that a new study just came out and you won’t believe the results”..

Your post or pin should have exactly that to accompany your article.

“You won’t believe how simple this trick is to make your post go viral”..

(This is from my Google Analytics showing the number of pageviews I received from my article)

viral post

Page views after 6 Days

Facebook groups and when to post

This is where it gets a little tricky. So I talked about how you have to pay to play to be heard on Facebook. Well, there is a way around that if you are willing to a do a little work.

Facebook groups. Preferably closed groups.

Whatever your niche, be it family safety or how to start a blog, you can find a group for it on Facebook.

A lot of these groups are small but with diligence you can find ones with members in the thousands. Also, make sure to look and see if they are still active. I have found some groups that have’t had any activity for months.

This usually means that the admins for the page have lost interest or started their own page.

Okay everyone, pay attention.

What I am about to tell you is extremely important.

Be VERY careful what you post and how often you post in groups. Being labelled a spammer in social media is the same as being branded with a large capital A. Just trust me on this one.

It can be difficult to resist the urge to think that more is better.

It is not.

I posted “Why Cops get to Retire Before You” around 3 o’clock on a Friday afternoon to a group I belong to. After posting it,  I walked away thinking that it would get decent traffic.

It blew up.

Within 24 hours I was averaging between 250 to 280 real time pageviews at any given moment. I’m not going to lie. It was intoxicating. I couldn’t believe that my tiny little article had gained so much traction so quickly.

And it didn’t slow down for almost a week. Even as I type this it is still consistently getting the more views than my other articles.

A lot of you may already know what I have discussed in this article. Heck, you probably know little trade secrets that I have never heard of. I would love to hear from you and learn new strategies.

Also, please share success stories that you might have.

Some of you have reached out and want to share your story with others. A blog like this one is a great way to reach those who could benefit from your experience and interests. Blogging has changed my perspective and my life.

It could do the same for you.

Here is a video by Gary Vaynerchuk that expresses what I have been saying for years. You get ONE LIFE! If it’s starting your own business, getting your college degree, or starting your own blog, Don’t wait.

Just start.

I highly recommend HostGatorwhich in my opinion is the simplest and fastest way to get you started on your blogging journey. If you have any questions about starting a blog or a website, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly at

A 23-year veteran police officer, Bart spent time as a patrolmen and a violent crimes detective (specialized in strategic intelligence and research analysis). Aside from this experience in high profile case investigations, he has received training from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in Advanced Intelligence Analysis. Bart also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Strategic Intelligence (Magna Cum Laude) from Liberty University. As a father of four, husband and law enforcement officer, he wants to share his knowledge on safety with you. Bart is also a contributing writer for Law Enforcement Today.


  • katecampion May 9, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Are there any specific Facebook groups you’d recommend?

    • Bart Proctor May 9, 2017 at 8:11 am

      It really depends on your niche Kate. And believe me, there is a FB group for practically every niche you can think of.

  • Amy Jones May 11, 2017 at 9:27 am

    What does the dude in the video mean when he talks about “unlocks”? Is he talking about different ways to get to potential customers or what?

    • Bart Proctor May 11, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Yes. It’s about understanding human psychology and “un-locking” what motivates people, be it sales or just in general. Great question Amy!


Leave a Reply