Proof that Epic Content Works: 6 Examples of Driving More Traffic

  • March 5, 2013 by Corbett Barr
  • 21 Comments

“Epic content is overrated!”

“If I hear the word “epic” one more time I’ll barf.”

“Sure…I have this pile of great content and this pile of lousy content lying around and I didn’t know which one to use. But after hearing this wise advice I now know that people want the *good* content and not the crappy content.”

It’s easy to dismiss the Write Epic Shit mantra if you’ve never tried it, or if you’ve never been able to make it work. Writing epic content sounds like a no-brainer, like everyone who writes online is already putting out their best stuff.

But most people still don’t get it. Epic content doesn’t just happen. It takes focus, observation and practice. It’s not easy, but it’s essential to growing a thriving audience online. It’s the difference between building a popular site and failure.

Over the weekend I asked Think Traffic email subscribers to share examples of how using epic content has helped them build a stronger online presence.

I received a ton of responses, and I’m going to share 6 with you below.

(Note: this is part of our new Sunday Morning Jumpstart series for email subscribersbecome an email subscriber to get this series of our most actionable advice for growing a thriving audience and successful business online, along with fresh blog posts like this.)

The best advice in the world is useless unless you take action. These people each read Write Epic Shit, decided to take action and got great results.

Read these examples and then consider my challenge that follows.

1. Epic posts attract 10x more traffic and deep reader engagement:

Hi, Corbett –

I’m writing to let you know that this is the best piece of blogging advice I’ve ever read — and that I didn’t just read it when it came out. I also put it into practice and wrote some of my best blog posts. Two of them were jewelry making resource lists, which have gotten ten times more traffic than my other posts. One of them was a post on not giving up in spite of overwhelming rejection, and it got some really deep reader engagement and helped a lot of people.

Thanks for the article! I keep it in mind every time I write. I may miss the Epic mark sometimes, but just having Epic as a goal has made blogging so much fun and so rewarding.

– Sarah of Saturday Sequins
(epic content example: Bead Embroidery Resources)

2. Epic content strategy = 83% more traffic:

Hi Corbett!

Wanted to let you know after I read your Write Epic Shit post I took it to heart and have mapped out an entire year’s worth of editorial content for my blog.

As a result, I’ve seen my traffic increase by more than 83% in the 3 month period since I’ve started writing epic shit (compared to the previous 3).

I’ve also seen a HUGE increase in the number of shares my epic content has content and the traffic from social media to these posts.

Thanks for the inspiration!

– Liz Lockard
(epic content example: The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Optimization for SEO)

3. Doubled readership in 2 weeks:

Corbett,

There are two posts that really changed my thoughts about what I write. One was Jon Morrow’s classic, moving On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas and the other was the smack-down call-out of Write Epic Shit.

I had fallen into the same pattern that a lot of self-improvement writers do: A bunch of fluff about The Problem, maybe a story about The Problem, and then fill-in-the-blank many steps on how you can solve The Problem and Live Happily Ever After.

Bleachhhh!

When I read you and Jon, I thought, “What the hell am I doing? I hate fluff!”

So, I started to write my own stuff. And some of it is pretty raw, but I like to think it’s pretty epic, too. I am most proud of On pain, tolerance, and why there are no bullet points. Yep, the title was a complete rip-off of Jon’s, but why reinvent the wheel?

I put my guts out there and I got a lot of responses from readers giving me their guts back. The posts that have followed have been well-received, too.

So, here’s the thing: Write Epic Shit not only shook me back into who I really am as a writer, it also helped me re-focus on what I really want: a tribe of readers who will wade through the muck with me as we figure out how to get to the other side. Not zillions of readers. Just those who are anti-fluff. (I need to make up a little badge that has FLUFF written on it with one of those circle/slash things on top of it.)

And I think I’m getting that. My guest posts, written in the same anti-fluff vein, have doubled my readership in the last 2 weeks.

I’ve always appreciated Write Epic Shit and I’m glad you’ve given us the opportunity to tell you about it.

Cheers,

– Bobbi Emel
(epic example: On pain, tolerance, and why there are no bullet points

4. Over 200k page views in 7 months:

I’ve been following Think Traffic for a while, but this is the first time I decide to contact you after reading your email “most influential article I’ve ever written”. Awesome content like always. :-)

A few months ago I created an “eat well – diet information” Spanish site and we have just passed 55k unique visitors per month (and growing month after month).

I just wanted to share with you where we are and thank you for being an inspiration for so many people.

– Pablo from Stop Grasa

5. Hundreds of shares, thousands of visitors:

Hi Corbett,

The reason I am writing is because you asked us to share with you our successes. And I recently wrote an article that got lots of comments, hundreds of shares, thousands of visitors and was featured in the Moz Top 10.

So, writing epic shit always works.

– Eugen Oprea
(epic example: The “Above the Fold” Myth Debunked)

6. What do I have to say that’s epic?

Hello Corbett,

This is the first time I’ve written in although I’ve been on your list for just a bit now.

I read the post linked below in mid-2012 and nodded my head. “Of course,” I said to myself. But like many people I was inwardly frustrated. “What do I have to say that’s epic?” Self-doubt and fear crept in.

But, because I have a prejudice for action, I kept writing. One day I was struck by inspiration and wrote a post called “How Green Tea Made Me Superhuman.” It was quite personal, unlike what I usually write on my blog.

To date, it’s still the most shared & liked piece of content I’ve written.

In a short period of time it got 20 FB likes and 9 tweets (including one from the Samovar tea lounge in SF.) Because I’ve only had the blog up for about 2 months, those numbers are not as big as some. But they are a huge increase from my other articles, most of which have 0 likes and 0 shares.

When you’re just starting out, feeling like you’re shouting into the void, that kind of feedback is a powerful tonic.

So, thanks for encouraging all of us to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Thanks also for encouraging all of us to go do stuff in real life. That’s key. The Internet is a great tool for spreading good news — but the real world is where we need to create the good news.

– Andrew
(epic example: How Green Tea Made Me Superhuman)

Now to my challenge for you:

Don’t just read about epic content, put the advice to use.

See for yourself why this strategy has worked so well for us and everyone in this post. Try writing your own epic content and watch how people react.

When you write things that make people think, inspire people, change lives and create value, you’ll build a following. People will respond to your work like never before.

If you’re serious about building a following online, you must create your own version of epic content, whatever “epic” means to you.

Give it a try. Write epic stuff, then write me directly at corbettbarr@gmail.com or leave a comment below and tell me how this strategy worked for you. I want to know.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Mushfiqur March 5, 2013 at 6:32 am

This just inspired me to go and re-read the Write Epic Shit.

You see, I have read it but never took the initiative to actually start applying it. I am sure, I’m not the only victim.

‘Take Action’ is what we need and this is what those lucky bloggers out there did and hence received epic results! What I normally do is just write whatever I feel like but don’t actually think about the third person view. Have to take that into consideration too.

Content is still king and will always be no matter whatever SEO we do for our blogs/website. In short, epic content is directly proportional to success!

Cheers!

Corbett Barr March 5, 2013 at 9:48 am

Good luck :)

Ammar Ali March 6, 2013 at 12:20 am

I’m agree with your last point. Epic content really attracts more visitors. I’ve started working on producing more epic content.

Keep it up! :D

Darnell Jackson March 5, 2013 at 6:39 am

Excellent post Corbett,

I think the challenge is determining what content is epic.

Just because a post has 2000 words doesn’t mean it qualifies.

In my opinion the most epic posts are the ones that detail real life experiences and reveal the granular details that people can relate to.

LIVE step by step examples of how a niche blog was developed, case studies , how to grow a list to 1000 subscribers, etc.

This is epic.

Some of the long overly paragraphed posts I’ve noticed are just long stories.

Has the rules changed on the art of communication?

Isn’t the point to use as FEW words as possible to get your point across?

Corbett Barr March 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

Good questions Darnell. I think the rules are different for each writer and audience. The point is to create content that matters and that changes your readers’ or customers’ lives. Sometimes it takes 2,000 words to do that, other times it takes 200.

Amal Rafeeq March 5, 2013 at 6:47 am

Hey Corbett. Well put article bro :)
First of all, I’d like to tell you that , you own the Keyword “Epic Content”. When I google it, you are on the top and you are like everywhere. Now that’s an Epic Blog. Congrats.

Well, I’m not an Epic Writer, but I’m pretty sure that professionals like you are winning the hearts of your readers by throwing Epic content to them. It’s about having ‘Loyal Readership’ than gaining more traffic.

I really liked the #3. :)
And can you point out some articles written by YOU which you think they are Epic Content please? I’m so eager to read them again and again.

Thanks a lot. Good luck :)

Corbett Barr March 5, 2013 at 9:51 am

Thanks Amal.

Here’s a starting point for some of our best articles: http://thinktraffic.net/start-here

Ana Hoffman March 5, 2013 at 6:55 am

It’s always great to see the readers actually put into practice what we preach AND get great results while doing it, isn’t it, Corbett?

So glad to see your readers take action!

Corbett Barr March 5, 2013 at 9:52 am

Help readers achieve positive change and everything else becomes much easier :)

Siegfried March 5, 2013 at 7:08 am

I totally agree, but from my own observations epic content sometimes JUST HAPPENS: you wrote article about something and it just whooooooaaa…. took you to the next level. even if you wrote 10 similar articles before without any luck.

Best Regards!

Corbett Barr March 5, 2013 at 9:53 am

Absolutely Siegfried, but in my experience writing the same thing over and over is less likely to lead to epic content. It’s much better to experiment and try exploring new themes, structures, tone, etc. in your writing until you find what works.

Sapna March 5, 2013 at 8:18 am

HI Corbett,

Awesome!

It really takes hell lot of focus, practice, learning, again practice and also knowing what the readers really desire are the key factors in making an epic content. Creating an epic content does not guarantee engagement with the readers, it has to be spread or may be served to the target audience.But it is rather not easy for somebody who is starting fresh to write an epic post or to say epic content. Who is going to read that….search engines but that too after hiatus.

So mantra goes like this, produce the content which is interesting or something readers can easily relate to(may not be epic as every post cannot be epic, I hope you will agree on this) and build the thriving audience around the blog.Keep on learning and writing and gradually with experience, Epic content is bound to come out. But there should be audience which can identify the epic content otherwise it is mere shit content.

Thanks for this great share.

Sapna

Ram Shengale March 5, 2013 at 8:25 am

I have always been a fan of your Write Epic Shit mantra and have always tried to put it into action in every blog post I write on my blog.

Although not all of them are 2000+ words long but they really come from deep of my heart in a hope that it’ll help people who read them in some way.

Thanks for sharing the success stories.

Ram

Jordan Alexander Ayres March 5, 2013 at 10:49 am

Corbett, out of interest, lets turn this on you for a second: What was your first experience of writing epic shit. In other words, when did you first write a article (and what was it?) that made you sit back and think, “yeah, this is epic shit, maybe I should write about writing epic shit?”

I’m interested.

Big Chris March 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Hey Corbett, love your Epic Shit post, I refer my customers and coaching clients to it all the time… along with War of Art, Turning Pro and Joseph Campbell’s model of the Hero’s Journey, it’s a staple

Writing Epic Shit has helped my blog posts to average 100 comments ( replies included ), some getting over 1000 Facebook shares/likes and allows to me to work from home and just write the shit I wanna write

I and did horrible in English, pulling a weak D minus

I have two blog and apply this principle to most everything I personally write these days and encourage my guest posters ( which I have on my marketing site ) to do their best to do the same

Keeping Writing Epic Shit Brother

Bobbi Emel March 5, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Hi Corbett, thanks for posting the message I sent to you. I’m really glad to share my experience with everyone!

This is a really interesting conversation here in the comments section about what Epic Shit is. I like your response that it’s whatever changes the readers’ lives. I agree with that and would add that it’s also something that is authentic – it’s written from your real experience and in your own ‘voice.’ And that can be actually be any kind of post, from storytelling to list posts, as long as it comes from a genuine place within the writer and the intent is to move the reader.

paul March 6, 2013 at 7:23 am

All I focus on in my writing is that it’s epic, useful and resonates. I don’t care about conversions, sharing, lead generation, etc—that’s all secondary. If what I write is epic, those all follow without me having to do much of anything. I’ve never spent any time on SEO, content marketing, etc—but get a lot of traffic on my site because of the articles I write. So I’ll keep writing epic shit :)

Britni Danielle March 6, 2013 at 9:18 am

I love this. It was just the reminder I needed to stop half-assing my site. Although I’ve written a few “epic shit” worthy posts (and a free ebook) that’s increased my traffic tremendously, I tend to fall off the wagon.

No mas.

I’m switching my posting to STRICTLY once a week which will give me time to ALWAYS (or almost always) be EPIC.

Today’s post is pretty darn epic, and I think many of your readers will get a kick out of it.

This Is Why You’re Pissed (and How You Can Change It) http://britnidanielle.com/2013/03/06/its-time-to-get-a-little-wild-but-are-you-up-for-it/

Thanks for the reminder!
~Britni

GG March 7, 2013 at 6:56 am

Thanks for all the great info! I am still a novice – launched by FB page Be Utterly Fly Fitness (www.facebook.com.BeFlyToo) on 1st Jan to share information on how to become the best possible version of YOU! Weight loss tips, clean eating, coaching, Tight mind = Tight behind… so far have just over 1500 LIKEs and one week had reached (according to FB over 57,000 people). My EPIC-IST :) post was seen by 1833 people. It resonated because it came from my heart, in my voice and touched the scared, judged, hurt person inside us all. YOU ARE NOT YOUR WEIGHT… you are not your failings, you are not your past, but every day you can create your future… and so it went on.

Maybe not big numbers for some, but I am learning as I go. So thanks again – website on its way too! WOO HOO!!

Galina March 11, 2013 at 6:47 am

Hey guys!
I read the “Write Epic Shit” post a few days ago and started working on my epic post (it’s about finding a mentor for online entrepreneurs). Here it is http://www.galinabelyaeva.com/3/post/2013/03/a-shortcut-to-finding-the-best-mentor-for-you.html.
I would really appreciate if you could take some time to tell me if it’s good :)

Thank you so much!

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