Viral Post Leads to Ads Windfall: Jon Negroni’s “The Pixar Theory”

Blogger Jon Negroni’s viral post, “The Pixar Theory,” was so big that it was republished on Mashable and Slate.  To date, the post has accumulated 4.4 million views on Negroni’s site.

Many of us think about readership growth as a function of regular posting, which, over time, brings in a following. Jon Negroni, in contrast, spent a great deal of time polishing a single blog post, followed by work to promote that one post.

Negroni didn’t do the work for income, but rather because the topic, and blogging in general, interested him. However, when WordPress.com’s WordAds group saw that he had a viral hit on his hands, we contacted Negroni and launched WordAds on his site so that he could profit from his hard work. He has earned thousands of dollars as a result.

We recently chatted with Jon Negroni about this exciting experience.

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Did you anticipate that your post would get that many readers?


Negroni: To be honest, there were plenty of moments where I had no idea how this post was going to be received. While writing, there were times when I would feel confident that my audience would absolutely love it. Whenever I really thought about the post from the outside, however, I would start to feel like the whole thing was a mess that would just go over everyone’s head. Luckily, I was dead wrong.

How did you first notice that it was getting attention?

Negroni: 
Twitter, actually. People started tweeting at me relentlessly, and I received countless notifications that the post had been retweeted and shared.

Other than writing the post did you do anything else to draw attention to it?


Negroni: Quite a few websites like Mashable and Huffington Post contacted me about cross-posting. Doing so probably doubled the growth and the readership of the post, especially when I see how many other blogs syndicated it.

Was there a single source for all the traffic?


Negroni: No, but the momentum was sparked by Reddit. A friend of mine shared it there and it made the front page within a couple of hours. That is when I started getting six digit numbers.

Would you have written the post any differently if you had known how many people would read it?


Negroni: Cosmetically, yes. Content-wise, I was very happy with its tone and style. I spent a year working on the ideas presented, so it was polished to my liking. Style-wise, I went back and made minor edits on the fonts and the images, but that’s about it.

Any lessons you can share from the experience of having a  viral hit?

Negroni: 
I learned that even though popularity is fleeting, the returns don’t diminish quite as rapidly as I would have expected. The post still gets a lot of attention, though I’m glad that it is a little more manageable to track. I also learned that my interests and passions can resonate with a lot of people, no matter how silly or odd the concept may be.

Stay tuned: later this month, The Daily Post will feature more stories on bloggers’ traffic growth.

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Posted by WordPress Guru