Brian Clark is the founder of Copyblogger, a blog about using copywriting and social media for online marketing. It now has over 60,000 subscribers and is ranked as a top blog on Advertising Age and Technorati.
1. How did Copyblogger get started? What made you think a blog about copywriting would be so successful?
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. Put another way, it's the intersection of content and marketing, and I had been using online content marketing since 1999 to sell everything from professional services to software. Now the term "content marketing" has come into vogue, and that's what Copyblogger has really always been about.
2. What are the three most important things you've done to help you build your blog -- to build subscriptions, inbound links, and recommendations from other bloggers?
1. Great content that is designed to spread.
2. An understanding of how social media works and changes.
3. Real relationships with those who can help get the word out.
3. How should bloggers balance the desire for a broad audience with the need to focus on a specific topic? Too specific, and your audience is limited; too broad, and you'll have few original insights to offer.
It's true that being too specific can hurt you, but only in the extreme. A strong focused niche audience will prove more valuable than a general unfocused audience of larger size. One shouldn't water things down as far as subject matter or personality just to attract a larger audience.
4. Marketers are very concerned with the quality of the traffic on their site. What can you do as a business blogger to make sure you have quality traffic?
Stay on topic. Find a way to make your content sexy AND on point rather than going off track to attract traffic that is ultimately worthless.
5. Many bloggers deliberately post controversial opinions in order to gain attention. Is this a good strategy for a small business blogger?
I think positioning yourself so that some will love you and others will ignore you or even dislike you is smart. If you stand for something strongly, that will naturally happen. And if you do that, you don't have to purposefully be controversial. Often bloggers attract the wrong kind of audience when they purposefully try to be controversial in an opportunistic way. Stand for what you beleive in and don't back down, and things will naturally happen without being ugly.
6. Business bloggers need to get value out of their blog. What's the best way to get this value -- and to measure it?
Sell something and count how much money you make. ;-)
7. What are your favorite business blogs? Why?
Seth Godin - Always thought provoking ideas about smart marketing.
Chris Brogan - For a popular business blogger, he has an amazing "beginner's mind" that allows for any and all possibilities.
Michel Fortin - Just a damn good copywriter who also seems to get social media.
SEO Book - Aaron Wall is an SEO ninja, but he also understands that ranking well in search engines is a function of strong marketing and an understanding of human psychology.
Louis Gray - For those who can't deal with the noise from Tech Crunch et al, Louis tells you what's important about Web 2.0 and new tech.
8. What do you read online regularly?
See above. The rest of the time I'm reading books. And often, they have nothing to do with marketing or business. That's where my best ideas come from.
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