How to Start a Meme and Other Blog Meme Ideas

Like most bloggers, when I first started out, there was one question that completely eluded me: What is a meme?  And once I figured that out, I wanted to know how to start a meme.  Lucky for our SITStahs, Shell from Things I Can’t Say is here today talking all about blog meme ideas and giving us the low down.

Before we dive into her wonderful how-to, let’s go over a short definition:

What is a Blog Meme?

A blog meme is a list of questions or an idea that is propagated via your blog.  It could be a writing prompt that you decide to answer and share with others. In blog land, this means that you’ll start by creating a post on your own blog and then link up to a website that can host the meme.  In the process you invite participation and engagement, and give your content the opportunity to travel further.  The nice thing about memes is, if popular, they can go viral.

Blog Meme Ideas

blog meme ideasI was actually inspired to take the leap and start a weekly link-up when I attended Bloggy Boot Camp in Baltimore in March of 2010. Which is also where I learned that I had been saying the word wrong, as Scary Mommy taught us that it rhymes with “dream.”

Every Wednesday, I host the Pour Your Heart Out blog meme, which encourages my readers to share a post from the heart. Something that they are really struggling with or celebrating or an issue they feel strongly about. We get the heartbreaking and the joyous.

How to Start a Meme

If you are looking to start your own blog meme, here are a few things to consider:

1. Be Original

Know what else is out there. While you can’t possibly scour every blog to make sure that no one is doing exactly what you are planning, try to avoid copying if you are aware of an existing blog meme. Not only is this good bloggy manners, but it’s tougher to compete with something that already has loyal participants.

2. Be True to Yourself

Once you commit to hosting a blog meme, you are going to have to participate every time, too. So, choose something that you will have an easy time writing. I was already writing a post each week where I was pouring my heart out, so it was a natural extension to invite my readers to join in.  Don’t pick something that you won’t be able to stick with. I could never host a poetry link up because I could only spout poetry that I’d be willing to share with others about once every five years.

3. Know Your Readers

Do a lot of them already participate in a weekly blog meme? There was no way I was going to schedule mine for Thursdays because that is when Mama’s Losin’ It hosts her weekly Writer’s Workshop blog meme.  What are your readers’ interests? While people will occasionally step outside of their comfort zone, if you choose something that isn’t relevant to your audience, you won’t get many participants. You want to be original, but hosting “Cooking with Kids” if most of your audience doesn’t have kids won’t be a smashing success.

4. Decide on the Details

  • Choose a name: You want something catchy that will give people a general idea of what you are doing.
  • Choose your day of the week or even day of the month: I have started hosting a monthly themed photo blog meme that opens the second Monday of each month in addition to my weekly Pour Your Heart Out. The frequency is up to you.
  • Get a button designed for your link up: Cynthia from NW Designs does a fabulous job with all of my blog meme buttons.
  • Choose a linky system: There are free ones like Inlinkz or subscription services like Linky Tools. I currently use Linky Tools, though it was free when I started using it. Check out other link ups to get a idea of which one you like.
  • Make an announcement about your blog meme a few days or a week ahead of when you plan to start: If you wait until the day of, most people will already have their post done or planned for the day and you might hear crickets. So, give people notice!

5. Go For It!

There is much to be said for enthusiasm. Jump in. Maybe even beg a friend or two to participate in your first blog meme.  Visit and comment on everyone participates in your blog meme. Tweet out some of the links. It’s your blog’s baby, so take care of it!

About the Author:

blog meme usShell uses her blog, Things I Can’t Say, to share all the things she won’t say out loud. It is her space to write exactly what she wants. Everything you read is always completely open, honest, and real. Shell is also a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom to three little boys (ages 6, 5, and 3). Please don’t ask her if she is going to try for a girl. She’s had three kids in the span of less than 3 1/2 years. She’s done.

More Blog Meme US and Writing Ideas:

Before jumping into the world of blog memes, it is a good idea to have a few basic writing skills down pat. Here are several posts you want to be sure you don’t miss:

About Francesca

One of two behind The SITS Girls and Bloggy Boot Camp. Believer that this community is a movement, and not just a website. Currently on a quest for unending free WiFi & stronger caffeine. I'd love to get to know you better: Find me on Twitter @FranBanducci and on Google+.
How to Find a Niche You Can Love and Serve
How To Get the Most From Your Google Reader



  1. says

    I LOVE Shell! This is all great advice! Most of which I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. I am totally pronouncing meme wrong! Who knew?
    Great feature!

  2. says

    OMG, all this time I’ve been pronouncing “meme” wrong! I’m not a HUGE meme person but I’ve loved participating in your PYHO memes. It’s been extremely therapeutic and the other posts I read from fellow PYHO’ers have been very touching!

  3. says

    Some of the most powerful posts I have read have been on your “Pour your Heart Out” . You, are an inspiration…oh and an incredible twitter twin:)

    • says

      LOL Most of the ones I saw on Wednesdays were photo ones- and you know I don’t have your fabulous photo talent!

  4. says

    Great tips Shell!! I should have read these before starting mine a few weeks ago… maybe I’d have had a few more participants 😉 At least I have some tips going forward though – and it was pretty silly of me to plan it for Thursdays – especially as I sometimes link up with Mama Kat’s WW, but it’s hard to have a “S.H.I.T.-SoHappyIt’sThursday” linky on a day other than Thursday 😉 oh well!! Live & Learn :) I’m definitely enjoying your monthly photo memes – and am hoping to join in regularly with PYHO – my first received a great response, THANK YOU!

  5. says

    I think yours was the first meme I ever linked up with. I had no idea what a meme was either–I’d never even heard of the word! I do like participating in them and just a few weeks ago started my own that I co-host on Fridays. I’ve been so happy with the response it’s gotten too!

  6. says

    Great tips Shell! Having just started a weekly meme, it is definitely something that needs to be thought out well in advance! And you my friend, are a pro!!

  7. says

    Great tips Shell! I always thought it was pronounced as me-me. I would like to start my own one day and these tips will certainly come in handy. Thanks!

  8. says

    Shell is definitely my bloggy idol. I love her memes. She is so creative and such a wonderful writer. I also love that she genuinely cares about everyone and makes it a point to check out every link-up. Not everyone does that.

  9. says

    I’m thinking of starting one, but am trying to figure out the specific topic. I’m leaning towards either “Prayers for our babies” or “Babies and Bumps”. Thanks for the advice.

  10. says

    Thanks for the tips. I participate in a couple of meme’s from other blogs, and I do some weekly posting events (not really memes), but I’ve been thinking about a book-related meme to go with my blog. I wasn’t sure exactly where to start. I’ll be sure to keep all of this in mind.

    • says

      It does help if you have somewhat of a following before you start one, otherwise no one will see it to participate. You don’t have to have a ton, but some regulars who you think would join in would help. SITS has great advice on growing your blog.

  11. says

    I wish there was a clearer distinction between a meme (a writing/photographic theme) and a blog hop (linked up posts either related to a theme or not). Most memes have become glorified blog-hops where comment is king and content is pauper.

  12. says

    These are great tips. A meme seems like such a straightforward thing, but it can be done well or badly. Shell is the Meme Queen, of course, so how awesome that you got these tips from her! Lots of great things to think about.

  13. says

    I had no idea that meme sounds like “dream”! I’ve been saying it wrong all along! Very informative and helpful post Shell! Thanks!

    • says

      I think most of us said it wrong!

      Lots of photo linkys out there- and lots of people who join in those, too!

  14. says

    So thaaaaat’ what it is! Sheesh I was even pronouncing it wrong!
    Cool idea. I already do something similar but I don’t have a linky or invite anyone else (although everyone is free to comment) it’s called Thankful Thursdays.

    It’s something to think about.

  15. says

    What a great post. I tried a meme for a while with showing off kid’s art work but it didn’t take off so I stopped.

    Can’t win them all.

  16. says

    This is very timely advice for me as my mind runs in 100 different directions. So, just to be clear, a meme repeats weekly? And a one-time link up is called…a link-up? Does that sound right? So many questions…I need bloggy boot camp. Please come to NY!

  17. says

    Thank you so much for this. A couple friend’s and I were thinking of starting one. Now we have some great tips!!

  18. says

    Great tips – I tried this for a while last year but didn’t get too many participants and decided to quit. I guess there weren’t too many green bloggers at the time.

    Have a great weekend all – peace. 😉

  19. says

    Wow. I just started a weekly “What if?” meme on my blog and wasn’t really sure how to go about the process. I’m glad to see that I have done some things correctly, but I would have LOVED this post about a month ago!!

    It’s a work in progress and I am always looking for new participants, so anyone interested in blogging about some big “what if” questions, it would be great to read everyone’s responses!!

  20. says

    Shell is a meme queen :) I love that she has PYHO to bare our souls and then the photo memes to show off our lighter sides (or heavier when it was Rockin’ the Bump).

    Great tips from a great blogger!

  21. says

    Love it!! These steps are so helpful especially when there are so many of us (or me anyway) who would be clueless! Thanks Shell

    • says

      I had no clue! Though I guess since no one knew the wrong way I was saying it in my head, I was okay. 😉

  22. says

    Thank you so much!! I had no idea what meme was referring too!! I feel so enlightened. I agree that it is important not to copy an idea that is widely known….seriously, why compete?

  23. says

    I love Shell. She always has such great tips.

    I started a meme this summer called Share Your Awesome. All people have to do is link up their favorite post from the week for a chance to be featured the following week. I host it every Friday and I love doing it, but it seems like it hasn’t really taken off yet. I’m hoping when school starts back that I’ll get more participants. Here is a link if anyone would like to join in this week:

  24. says

    Great advice! I hate when bloggers create new meme’s with no consideration for what’s already out there. There are a lot of great topics I’d like to link up to but they fall on wrong days or days that are already scheduled.

    • says

      It’s really hard to know what all is out there and when everything is. So, it’s always possible to step on toes or to choose the wrong day. But, a little research can cut down on at least some of that.

  25. says

    Think in my earliest days of blog-dom, I just naively jumped right in and created two….and thankfully, they’ve been great fun. What great tips these are….you SITStas are the best!

    Happy Weekend, Ladies!

  26. says

    Once I get myself to Japan I am hoping to start a weekly linky of sorts. I think it’s great to get your readership engaged and help boost traffic around the internet! I just need ideas hmmmmmm

  27. says

    Thanks for the insight, I had been researching them this week, but that was very clear. I look forward to trying it it.

  28. says

    Great points!

    I’ll add that it takes a lo of bravery to start a meme, and to keep it going with low numbers. I started Saints and Scripture Sundays as a way to share my faith, and have wanted to throw in the towel some days. I’m so glad I’ve kep it up, since I’m now hearing feedback from others about how much they enjoy it.

    • says

      It is hard. And usually doesn’t take off right away. I was definitely so nervous. Even now, I still feel some nerves to see if people will join in.

  29. says

    Shell provides a wonderful home for people to share their feelings, voice the fears …
    Pour their hearts out!.
    Lovely to see her here, she is a ray of sunshine in the blogosphere!