Some good info here.
Great article. I skim over a lot of blogs looking for the odd gem but this is an article I'm going to take some action over. I found your point about really analysing the content of popular vs unpopular articles interesting, especially doing it to the depth of looking at the format and sign off etc.
My posts vary in their shares and views and I strongly suspect that I will benefit from taking some time to attempting to identify the popular components.
Incidentally I have also had the experience that the inspiration articles get more views whilst the informational ones get more discussion.
Again very interesting read that has me thinking.