3 tricks to creating blog (and email) content that made $20,000
May 14, 2014
Creating blog content and email marketing is a marriage made in heaven. Once you create a blog post you have something to email to your audience – like this email – and you get the benefits of traffic to your blog site when the search engines pick up your post.
Here’s how accomplished online marketer Walter Chen does it:
My mantra to blogging that made $20,000: Remix, Reuse, and Republish.
For the last three months, I’ve been focused on one question: How do I publish at least one high quality article every single day that will increase sales?
In learning how to answer that question, I sold $20,000 of my product (iDoneThis) with content marketing alone. I’m going to share with you the 3 tricks to blogging that I learned over the last three months – all of these strategies can be easily applied to your ecommerce business. My mantra is simple: remix, reuse, and republish.
1. Don’t create content, remix “de-risked” content.
I used to fall into the trap of thinking that every time I sat down to write a blog post, I had to rewrite Ulysses from scratch. That meant that I usually just stared at my screen, unable to write down a single word.
Leo Widrich of Buffer advises the exact opposite approach: “Copy the hell out of others.” While you should never steal another person’s writing, you should always look at what content has been successful in your area and mimic it while making it your own.
I wrote a blog post that over 30,000 people read in less than an hour using Leo’s technique. My product, iDoneThis, helps make people and teams more productive. So I knew that I wanted to write a blog post about personal productivity. Instead of racking my brain for ideas, I took to Hacker News, a popular link-sharing site, and searched “productivity”.
The two links that got by far the most attention were: Marc Andreessen’s Guide to Personal Productivity and Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret. I pulled out one interesting tip from Andreessen’s guide on how he stays productive and made that interesting nugget an entire blog post. Then I played on the title of the successful Seinfeld post by calling my article, “Marc Andreessen’s Productivity Trick to Feeling Marvelously Efficient.”
I had no doubt that people would love my post because the content had already been de-risked. Sure enough, tens of thousands of people read, shared, and learned a valuable productivity technique from the article.
2. Reuse, reuse, reuse: One successful blog post is another successful blog post that’s yet to be written.
Writing just one blog post that strikes a chord with your audience is a huge accomplishment. Given how hard it is to write a single blog post that tens of thousands of people love, I used to feel paralyzed by the huge challenge of writing yet another post.
Then I began to wonder, had every single one of my potential customers seen my blog post? Wouldn’t that snippet of knowledge that I’d shared also be useful and interesting to people who weren’t on the receiving end of the distribution channels that I’d initially used?
This is how I began to realize that if I wrote just one successful blog post, I had the seeds to write many more successful blog posts.
For example, I wrote this blog post for my company blog: Silicon Valley’s Productivity Secret, which over 40,000 people read, but I struggled for months afterwards to write another post that would achieve comparable success. I started to think I was a one-hit wonder.
That’s when I realized that there were many people out there that hadn’t read that one hit. I rewrote the article, condensing the originally longer narrative post into an easily digestible, useful “tips” post. It was published on Business Insider as 4 Secrets To Silicon Valley’s Productivity where over 2,000 people read it:
The best part about all of this? It took less than an hour to write. As this process becomes more and more natural, you’ll produce content that’s of higher quality because it will become more and more refined around what’s interesting about the article. And remember, it’s absolutely vital that you never unexpectedly give a publisher content that has been published elsewhere, because that will make your contact look foolish and that channel will likely be closed to you.
3. Republishing creates leverage – It’s like creating clones of yourself.
The deeper I got into this content game, the more I noticed how professional content publishers leveraged the techniques I described above. Buzzfeed and Business Insider are two publishers that have elevated content remixing to an art form.
When I was browsing around Business Insider one day, I was surprised to discover that much of their content is actually republished content from other publishers. In turn, Business Insider articles are also republished on other sites.
I had an idea: even though my company iDoneThis was not in the content publishing game, wouldn’t it be awesome if the iDoneThis blog could get in on this republishing game plan? Then I wouldn’t have to remix or reuse articles, and they would automatically get republished for broader consumption.
I pitched the contributors editor at Business Insider with a simple value proposition. I have 5 articles that 10,000+ people have read, and I’m producing more high quality content every single day. Do you want my valuable, de-risked content for free?
She said yes, and now our best articles go on to Business Insider regularly, which helps spread the word about what we’re doing at iDoneThis to thousands of people every day, and I don’t have to lift a finger.
Conclusion: More content, more community, more profit.
Content helps you stand out from the fray, creates communities and trust in your voice, improves search optimization, and gets the word out and people in the door, whether that’s a virtual or brick-and-mortar door.
Use the remix, reuse, and republish strategy to leverage the existence of great original content and your resources to maximize the ability to pique people’s interest to click, try, and buy, and understand who you are and what you do.
Walter Chen is the CEO and founder of iDoneThis, an easy way for companies to track and celebrate what’s getting done. He blogs about productivity, management, and starting a company on the iDoneThis Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @smalter.
Don’t forget your quickest way to create email newsletters in Gmail is Flashissue.
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