“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 subscribers – become 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.
2. Epic content strategy = 83% more traffic:
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:
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.
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.
– 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:
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?
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.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below and tell me how this strategy worked for you. I want to know.