Copyblogger is one of the biggest success stories in the history of blogging.
Arguably, Copyblogger is a blog about a niche topic: how to write good blog posts. Yet with a global Alexa rank of around 2,000 (around 1,000 in the US), it’s one of the most popular websites online.
How did this happen?
There’s no single reason for Copyblogger’s success – but a range of factors that came together beautifully to make the website what it is today.
Let’s demystify Copyblogger. Here’s what set them apart from the crowd:
Willingness to Take a Gamble
When Brian Clark founded Copyblogger in 2006, he had no idea that it would end up where it is today. How could he? But he had an inkling that a blog covering the intersection of copywriting and blogging could prove popular.
As Clark said in an interview with HubSpot:
I didn’t think a blog about copywriting would be successful, but I did think a blog about the intersection of copywriting and blogging might have a shot.
He thought that it might have a shot. So he ran with it, dedicating hours every week to writing, editing, and publishing.
Writing Every Day
Back in 2007, Clark revealed his writing habits.
So writing seems important, huh?
Why write every day?
First, because that way you create a ton of content. Content is what keeps your blog kicking and breathing. No content, no blog.
Second, because practice makes perfect. The more content you create, the better you’ll get at creating content.
And if you need more inspiration, check out Copyblogger’s rules for writing first drafts:
Writing Damn Good Headlines
Writing good headlines gets you noticed.
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing attributes the whole of Copyblogger’s success to headline writing. Jantsch explains:
The secret to Copyblogger’s success is that they write better headlines. That’s it, pretty simple, right? They write headlines (blog post titles) that are irresistible and can’t be skimmed in your RSS reader. Their titles feature words, phases and emotions that reach out and demand your attention.
Of course, these days few people use an RSS reader. But headlines are just as important for winning clicks from social media.
Jantsch gives the following examples of Copyblogger’s “must click” headlines:
- How the Explosion in Online Education can Revolutionize Your Business
- A Ridiculously Simple Way to Get More Revenue and Build Your Audience
- How to Discover Your Hidden Remarkable Benefit
- 7 Links That’ll Make You a Better Writer and Online Marketer
- The 7 Bad Habits of Insanely Productive People
- How to Increase Your Blog Subscription Rate by 254%
- 5 Landing Page Mistakes that Crush Conversion Rates
Fortunately, Copyblogger is willing to lift up the hood and show you exactly how they write such awesome headlines.
Finding the Right People
Chris Garrett and Jon Morrow both started writing for Copyblogger in 2007. Sonia Simone joined the team in early 2008. All three of them have proved instrumental to Copyblogger’s success.
From the outset – and to this day (think Robert Bruce, Demian Farnworth) – Copyblogger has worked with some of the best in the business.
Yes, having money helps when you’re looking to hire, but good partnerships go much deeper than money. Who could you team up with to make something great? You’ve got to create before you can earn an income.
Copyblogger’s meteoric rise to fame (from unknown in 2006 to a relatively big player in 2007) wasn’t only due to creating awesome content. Back in 2007, Jim Kukral wrote to Brian Clark saying:
I know a bunch of other excellent bloggers who also write amazing high-quality content, and who have been blogging longer than you, but have nowhere near the success you have in terms of readers.
What else did Copyblogger do other than create great content? They networked with authority figures. This included a joint venture with Joe Vitale, where a Copyblogger eBook was bundled in with one of Vitale’s products.
Forging the right relationships goes a long way to helping you get ahead.
Listening to Reader Needs
Copyblogger is about becoming a better writer and marketing. It’s about creating awesome online content. And they share almost all this information (including many eBooks!) for free.
So how do they make money?
They listened to what their audience needed. What were their readers stuck with? Designing and coding stunning, SEO-optimized websites.
Brian Clark didn’t know how to code. So he got a team of coders together to create SEO-optimized, gorgeous-looking WordPress templates. StudioPress, Scribe, and Synthesis were born.
Being Generous and Authentic
Okay, it’s time for us to ‘fess up. We didn’t really need to demystify Copyblogger because there’s no mystery.
As Brian Clark wrote back in 2007:
I haven’t done a single thing to develop or promote this blog that I haven’t shared with you. There are no secrets.
In other words, all the “secrets” to Copyblogger’s success are already on Copyblogger. They’re open and honest about how they achieved their success. You can find out everything you need to know by reading the archives.
What do you love about Copyblogger? What would you say are the key ingredients of their success?