House Speaker Tim Moore is in North Carolina’s top echelon of elected officials using digital content for political advantage. His team regularly posts updates on the SpeakerMoore.com domain explaining actions the General Assembly has taken or celebrating successes.

Moore’s most popular post of the year came right at the end, posted December 19 with the headline “N.C. House Overrides Voter ID Veto.” In short order, it racked up more than 6,000 Facebook shares — likely more than any news story on the same topic.

How did Moore and comms director Joseph Kyzer accomplish this? There’s no specific formula to viral success, but there are common ingredients.

Here are 5 of them.

1. Laying the groundwork

Before I get in to the specific reasons this post in particular got so many shares, I have to give credit to Speaker Moore’s overall strategy.

Moore has invested heavily in his campaign website, not treating it as a static placeholder. He’s collected email addresses and distributed content. He’s regularly updated the blog for nearly two years. And he’s kept his Facebook page current along the way.

Without this baseline, no single blog post would be able to get traction. Content is a long game.

2. A straightforward headline

News outlets are still trying too hard to copy Buzzfeed- or Upworthy-style headlines with questions or inane phrases like “You’ll never guess what happened next” to get people to click. Audiences are already way too sophisticated to fall for things like that, and they’re often counterproductive.

The pendulum has swung back, and straightforward news headlines are much more likely to be shared. Moore’s blog post accomplishes that, clearly and concisely outlining what the piece is about.

3. A clean, compelling header image

When you share an article, Facebook automatically grabs the lead image and includes it as part of the post. That’s why having a header image that grabs the reader’s attention is so important.

Sometimes, this image can just be a great photo. This type of post doesn’t lend itself to that, so Moore’s team chose the next best thing: A text-based graphic that a reader can synthesize quickly. I’d guess that a decent percentage of people who shared the story didn’t even click through, but had enough of a reaction to the image itself.

4. A personal victory

Social media is inherently … social. That means it’s about people and about emotional connections. Giving a piece a hero or somebody to root for makes it much more sharable.

This post does just that, casting Speaker Moore as the underdog in this fight even though he’s one of the most powerful people in North Carolina politics. Overriding this veto became not just a procedural political maneuver but a personal victory.

5. A villain

The other side of that same coin is giving the post a villain, or somebody to root against. Gov. Roy Cooper provides a convenient foil here. Moore’s team took a little bit of liberty in describing Cooper’s position, but not over the top — and the loaded language on his part is real. This section draws an immediate emotional reaction.

I don’t have access to pageview data for this post, but I’d guess it ranked right up there with news stories from North Carolina’s leading media outlets on the voter ID issue.

It goes without saying that those versions are much more negative. The success of this blog post shows that you can have just as much impact — if not more — by becoming a publisher yourself rather than trying to convince “mainstream” outlets to treat you fairly.

Want to learn how to do this yourself, for your campaign or organization? We can help.

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