The Secret to Getting More Links and Social Media Love

by Derek Halpern · 23 comments

WordPress SEO

If you want your WordPress blog to rank higher in search engines, you need links and social media shares (and lots of ’em).

You know about the “normal” ways of getting links, but you’re stuck. Guest posting, article marketing, and all that nonsense (heh) just doesn’t work that well.

So, today, as part of the WordPress SEO for Everybody series, I’ll show you an awesome way to score natural, organic links to your blog.

If You Want Links and Shares, Provoke Conversation


But how do you get people to talking?

A few years ago, I stumbled on the book Buzz Marketing by Mark Hughes. As you probably guessed, it’s all about generating buzz online, but here’s the real gem from the book:

Mark presented “The Six Buttons of Buzz,” and when you know how to use them, you can make your content go viral (more links, more social media shares, and more conversation).

And it gets better.

I’ve used these six buttons of buzz ever since I learned about them. And every time I do it, and execute it well, I get tons of new links AND social media love.

Quite simply, the six buttons of buzz are as follows:

  1. Taboo
  2. The Unusual
  3. The Outrageous
  4. The Hilarious
  5. The Remarkable
  6. Secrets

Let’s go into more detail…

The Six Buttons of Buzz Explained

I know you’re ready to start pushing buttons, but you’re probably wanting some more information about each individual button, right?


Here’s a quick synopsis of each button:

1. Taboo

Find something your audience thinks they shouldn’t do, and then do it. Or find something you shouldn’t say, and say it. (Disclaimer: don’t do anything stupid, illegal, life-threatening, or any of that jive. If you do, you hold no one but yourself accountable).

2. Unusual

Find something your audience thinks is strange, and connect it to your topic. For example, if you’re writing about weight loss, simply write an article like “Weight loss tips from someone who’s overweight.”

3. Outrageous

This is the dangerous button. It almost always works, and Hughes says that. But you must make sure your outrageous actions or comments are connected to your overall results.

4. The Hilarious

This is self-explanatory. If you make people laugh, they’ll share your stuff with their friends. For example, when I often talk about font sizes, I say “Size 14 is the new size 12,” and people laugh. And thus, people always quote me for my comment.

5. The Remarkable

You can’t engineer this. You need to write great content, but luckily, there’s certain types of articles that are perceived as “great content,” and we’ll go into that in a later article.

6. Secrets

People like secrets, and they like to share them with their friends, too. Why? Well, first, sharing secrets is a little Taboo, but people like to feel like they are “in the know.” So, calling something a secret, and delivering a secret, will work.

Now how does this work out in the wild?

When Writing Articles, Hit One (or several) Buzz Buttons

Easy enough, right?

Well, sort of…

You may think your articles hit one of these buttons, but unless you make it overtly clear, you’re doing it wrong.

I’ll explain.

If you write an article and push the “Taboo” button, you must make it clear, and explain why.

For example, when I wrote the article “The Content is King Myth Debunked,” I did just that.

Everyone parrots “Content is King.” So, when I called it a myth, I was pushing the taboo button in the eyes of my audience.

But when I built my case, the magic happened. People either agreed with me, or disagreed with me.

And what were the results?

People started buzzing, and my site scored 150 comments, 5,000 pageviews, 343 Tweets, 68 Facebook Shares, and scores of new links.

Key takeaway: If you’re going to push a button, really push that thing down. Smash it if you have to.

The Bottom Line

If you want links and social media love, write something people talk about. Hit one of those buttons of buzz, and watch the magic happen.

Have you written any articles that hit any of these buttons? Talk about it in the comments.

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

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good blog I have been a subscribed reader for quite some time. Would love to hear if you know any web developers that specialize in the thesis theme for hire. You could check out my website if you want.

Keep up the great work

Chris Pearson

Chris, we maintain a list of reputable Thesis Designers and Developers who are for hire. Give ’em a lookโ€”I’m sure they would all love to hear from you!

Geoff Talbot - Creative Flow

Hi Derek,

This is a really great blog, fully prescribing to the purple cow theory… the content needs to stand out.

To create buzz though, the right influences still have to read it though? It’s just more likely to find them if your content and in particular the title “stands out”

It reminds me of tabloid marketing friend… killer headlines. I think it is important that the content matches the headline too though.

Sean Callahan

Trying to do this myself today ๐Ÿ™‚

Check it out:

Trending topics like Weiner resigning always make for a nice run with social sharing sites.

Derek Halpern

That’s playing off of popular news, and that’s another tactic, for sure.

This article, in particular, is talking about creating some of your own buzz.

Martyn Chamberlin

Ok just one question. How did you manage to create that “tweet this post” link in the email? I’ve noticed that with the #newtwitter you can’t do that status=”” thing any more (even Leo at Zen Habits eventually figured that out haha).

But seriously. What you did worked. Any magic bullet there?

Sean Callahan

Yea that’s true. In this article I have to say my favorite tactic is “The Hilarious.” Nothing gets me engaged more than really funny content. I think a perfect example of creating buzz with humor would be Matt Inmans site The Oatmeal.

What is DIY Theme’s most successful strategy?

Ryan @NoMoreBacon

I recently had quite a bit of success with the humor piece myself. I created a flowchart at my site titled “I don’t want to workout today”. People immediately connected with it, laughed, and then started sharing like crazy.

The kicker was when the links started coming in. I got a whole slew of inbound links all including the text “I don’t want to workout today.” A few from some really high traffic sites too.

The big traffic spike was obviously really nice, but even better was the fact that overnight I ranked first position (not first page, first position) in Google for the keyword search “don’t want to workout (and other variations)” and second position for “want to workout.”

I’ve found in the days since that those two searches are pretty heavily used ๐Ÿ™‚

Your article just struck a chord because this very thing just happened to me.

It’s definitely possible to generate some buzz when you, as you say, “execute it properly.”

Well done!

Danny Cruz

Hi Derek, Hmmm… I suppose I have smashed down on the taboo button recently. I released a car review about a small roadster where I say, “If you still need to prove to the world that you have a big penis, then by all means buy a big, big car.” Here: I read all your DIY email list emails, so: Not so shameless plug ๐Ÿ˜‰ Notice the “here”? Hehe. -Danny


Thanks for those 6 buzz buttons . They will be a big help for this old dude with posting ideas.


Hi Derek, I have an idea I’ve been working on that borders the
unusual and possibly even outrageous,so I could really use some
help with understanding how to make it connected to the overall
results. thanks, Ron

Derek Halpern

That all depends on your niche, and product.

lori B Johnson

Well done but be careful not to tarnish your first impression by offending your readers.

Dean Bracko

“Key takeaway: If youโ€™re going to push a button, really push that thing down. Smash it if you have to.”

I’m testing this on a personal level with this video called Canada Sucks in response to the riots

The responses so far are what I expected.
Thanks Great article.

DJ Morris

Thanks Derek…I’m loving all the latest SEO tips and the go to meeting about categories was a big help too ;).


Love the Article.
Regards and have a nice weekend.


thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.


Hi Derek,

thanx for your interesting articels!
Big Greetings from Germany


Ellen Clark, Clark Executive Search

Very useful post. I only started my blog in January and so I am amazed at the number of visitors and comments your site gets. My numbers are laughable. But I am going to think of some topic in the future that will hit one of these buttons. The trouble is my site is a very conservative business site to augment my recruiting firm’s web site. No Paris Hilton topics , I am afraid. Just boring old items about working with a recruiter and how to find a job. I could outrage one segment of my audience very easily, but I might never get a new client again. So I agree with someone above that one has to be very careful and think long and hard before writing a bordering-on-dangerous post

Rajesh@Tips and Tricks

Love the Article. Thanks for posting.


Love the โ€œThe Six Buttons of Buzz”. I’ve noticed people Facebook use this strategy too, to generate viral discussions, and to attract people to find out more about them.


thank’s for useful tips ๐Ÿ˜€ , keep share ..

Tim Love

This really is a great article on methods to generate ‘natural’ links to your blog posts. Thanks for the tips, I have signed up to your newsletter.