Why Every “Twitter Tips” Article You’ve Ever Read is Essentially Worthless (or Worse)

There is a time for basic information. Everyone needs to know what an RSS feed is, how commenting works on blogs, that guest posting is sometimes a viable strategy for gaining visitors and that WordPress is probably your best choice of content management system. You should also know when Twitter is important and that you can use a Facebook page to spread your message.

Unfortunately, that information alone is essentially worthless (or worse) when it comes to actually building an audience. It is what I like to call just part of the cost of admission.

Knowing all the basics and $2.25 will buy you cup of coffee but not much more.

Great writing and great content are also just the cost of admission. There are millions of blogs and websites out there. You are likely competing for readers and customers (whether you like it or admit it or not) with hundreds or thousands of other sites. You need outstanding content to stand out.

And that’s where the typical basic information fails you. All the generic social media and blogging information in the world won’t help you achieve what you’re hoping to. Knowing Google Analytics inside and out won’t do a damn thing to actually build your audience.

If you subscribe to typical strategies, you’ll end up with typical results, and typical means failure online.

When I resolved to write epic shit, I immediately knew the most important thing I had to do. Writing epic shit to me means helping you build a real, thriving audience that can become the foundation of a successful business or important project. Producing epic stuff means saying what matters, giving you the information that can change your business and your life and doing everything I can to make sure I’m crystal clear about it.

How to Actually Build a Popular Site

The information you need to hear to really build traffic to your site, to build a group of raving fans who will support you and tell everyone they know about you, that information has nothing to do with Google Analytics or WordPress or RSS or any of the rest of the basics. The basics won’t lead to the results you need.

You need to hear that writing epic shit is how you really succeed. You need to hear that differentiation is the cornerstone of successful marketing. You need to know that being persistent is more important than being clever.

You need to hear that your site is probably not worth most people’s time in its current form, and THAT is why you don’t have enough visitors. It’s not because you didn’t tweet enough last week, sorry.

This is my commitment to you: this site is where you will hear the sometimes painful but absolutely essential information you need to know to build a real, thriving audience of true fans.

You won’t read about the same generic social media tips here because those are already being written about on 10,000+ other sites. Traffic-building advice is a dime a dozen. Useful, unique, effective audience-building advice is rare. That’s what we’re aiming for here.

If you need the basics or want to read the latest social media industry gossip, start with those other sites (here are some of the most popular: ProBlogger, Social Media Examiner, TopRank Blog and Brian Solis). It’s cool, I started there too. Most successful people I know started there also, before realizing they needed to learn much more powerful strategies to succeed outside of the social media industry.

You should learn everything you need to know from those sites in a month or less. Don’t get stuck there though; learn the essentials and move on. In fact, if you spend too much time there, it will hurt your chances of succeeding because you’ll be distracted from doing what really matters.

Then, when you’re ready to embark on the real journey, the process of learning to create things that actually impact people and learning to recruit an army of followers who want you to succeed almost more than even you do, come back here and I’ll set you straight.

There’s just one thing I have to ask of you to make this work. There is a reason so many sites publish the same generic information. Humans are naturally inclined to look for quick fixes and silver bullets. Writing about the same basic (but low-value) information works because you can write headlines like “how Twitter will build your business overnight.” We all know that isn’t possible, but the mere hope that a quick fix like that actually exists compels people to share those empty promises like crazy.

The false promise of those sites is that what they’ve done to grow their audiences will also work to grow yours. Those sites have giant audiences because either they were started years ago when writing mediocre content five days a week was good enough to attract tons of visitors or because they write about the social media industry itself, neither of which is useful to you.

I could grow my audience faster by teaching that generic stuff and constantly writing about social media, but it definitely wouldn’t help grow your audience faster. And only when I really help you will we both accomplish our goals.

The knowledge we’re talking about here takes a little more thought (and a whole lot more hard work) to put to use, but the upside is huge. I want to teach you what it takes to build a real business or even a top 10,000 site, not just a hobby or passing fad.

This is where you come in. I promise to only give you straight talk about what will actually help you build your audience, but in exchange I need your help spreading the word about what we’re doing here. Yes, I’ll write catchy headlines and promote what we publish, but the kind of stuff we’re discussing here doesn’t spread like wildfire as much as the typical “Twitter Tips” garbage.

This isn’t for everybody, and if you’re not ready to join us, that’s fine. If you are in, you can help by doing any or all of the following:

  1. Share this post with a friend (click the Twitter or Facebook buttons below)
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Finally, leave a comment on this post below and tell me what you think. This is the start of something new. Here is your chance to join.

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  • http://www.peaceandprojects.com Melissa Gorzelanczyk

    Hi Corbett,
    I love what you’re on to here. I have been feeling blah about some of my usual blog topics. I feel like I’m at a cliff wondering if there will be a wall if I jump or a river. Posts like this push me to keep looking.

    To your success!
    Melissa G.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Keep looking! Keep looking! Consider expanding your topics. It’s better to write with passion, but slightly off-topic, than it is to write directly on-topic while you’re feeling “blah” about it. What are you really passionate about right now? What do you think your readers are thinking but not saying? What do you feel like in your gut you should be writing about, but maybe are scared to?

      • http://www.peaceandprojects.com Melissa Gorzelanczyk

        I’m going to work on answering these questions. Thanks again! Love what you’re doing lately.

  • http://Www.thewatermarkgroup.org John Muldoon

    Awesome, Corbett. Someone had to say this.

    An SEO client once asked me how to get traffic for her articles about XYZ. I told her to simply write the best articles about XYZ that the world has ever seen. Do that to start with, and the rest starts to fall into place.

    This is my new favorite “Twitter Tips” article. :)

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      People always seem shocked when (as an SEO expert or online marketing person) you don’t have some magic fix that will drive millions of visitors to a crappy site. Great content comes first. Who knew?

      • http://www.thewatermarkgroup.org John Muldoon

        Absolutely. So many people spend their time looking for a “secret shortcut to success”. The real secret is that there is no shortcut.

        I’d wager that your readers understand that better than most.

      • http://tourdefrancetips.com Tim

        Yes, great articles AND basic SEO research (e.g. targeting low hanging fruit with low title competition but good traffic numbers etc).

        I have great content, but it wasn’t until I did some Market Samurai-based research (hat tip Ben @ Scratch Media) that the numbers increased.

        Good post, though, spot on. You’ve got a new fan. Am writing an ebook on getting implemented, will refer to this.

        Melb, Australia

  • http://wilsonusman.com wilson usman

    Oh shit I got to say man, gave me goose bumps.

    Reading this was like hearing a president give a speech or @garyvee “gary vaynerchuk” for those who don’t know him at the Web 2.0 Keynote.

    I really love it man,

    You’re a straight shooter, and that’s the best way to be.

    I can’t disagree with you in any point, I know that’s kinda cliche but you shot from the heart on this post I can feel it.


    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Hey Wilson, thanks a lot! I’ll take any Gary V. -inspired compliments you can dish out.

  • http://www.fuelthemuse.com Debra

    Corbett, I think you’re onto something here, and I appreciate your urging to write about what means something, not just more of the same. The same-old, same-old isn’t going to cut it.

  • http://byderekj.com Derek Jensen


    This post truly is a small manifesto for ThinkTraffic and I completely agree with what you said on a 101% level. Why? I’m going to take what you said, agree with it, and come back for more.

    What really hit home for me was how you said yes you need to know the basics from these sources but I want to tell you how to actually make a change in your business. I rarely come to ThinkTraffic just because I thought it was just another “make money online” site but this proves otherwise.

    You will see me around here more often. ;)

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Awesome, Derek, that’s the kind of support I love to hear. Keep coming and I’ll see what I can do to crank up your agreement from 101% to 110%.

      • http://byderekj.com Derek Jensen

        Sounds like a deal! :)

  • http://www.alemja.net/blog Alex

    This is the kind of no-nonsense stuff that comes forth and slaps people in the face, and most of us need it. While some people will go home and cry a bit, others will get the sudden realization and can do nothing but thank you.
    You are one of those people that really inspire me to keep going and pursue the things I actually love doing.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      I’m always happy to have inspired, Alex. Thanks for reading.

  • http://www.itinerantentrepreneur.com/journal/ Robert Dempsey

    I’m with you here Corbett. I’m tired of reading blogs that spit out the same old crap that doesn’t do much. Luckily I’ve found more lately that have some serious ninja action that’s helping me get ahead, but I need MORE of it, and it’s hard to find. Even the products out there promise tons and deliver very little.

    Based on past experience here this will be better than much of that. I am hoping to see more of it.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Ninjas are awesome! We need more real ninjas and less Cobra Kai dojo bullshit ;)

  • http://www.unleashthewealthwithin.net/embed-professional-hd-quality-videos-without-spending-a-dime/ Azzam

    I hated the article. I will tell you why?
    It gave me a wake up call, one that I am afraid to hear!
    I thought I could just churn out tons of content, do some seo and watch the traffic flood in.
    I think I have been indoctrinated by a false mindset, the one that tells you there is a magic button and you press it and its all go, go, go!
    Here is my promise to me, since I owe to myself. Find a topic and then write epic shit. I will spend as much time as it needs and then start to tell everyone about it.
    Thanks for the eye opener Corbett

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Sorry for the wake up call, but I know you’ll be happier in the long run. Let’s do this!

      • http://www.unleashthewealthwithin.net/embed-professional-hd-quality-videos-without-spending-a-dime/ Azzam

        No need to apologise for that at all.
        I needed to hear it and re-evaluate things.
        Sometimes we need to hear these things

  • http://www.internetgenerated.com Jay Mcleod

    Excellent post Corbett, but I want to add another perspective on part of your post…

    “You won’t read about the same generic social media tips here because those are already being written about on 10,000+ other sites. Traffic-building advice is a dime a dozen. Useful, unique, effective audience-building advice is rare. That’s what we’re aiming for here.”

    For those just starting out with Twitter, and Social Media as a whole, it may be good for those people to use that type of information as practice. Instead of screwing up potential good stuff, why not get your feet wet with posting the information that may be basic and not very original?


    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Hey Jay, I see where you’re coming from. Like I mentioned in the article, there is definitely a time for basic information. Everyone needs to practice and get their feet wet. Unfortunately, people get used to turning to certain sources for tips and inspiration and they keep going back long after they’ve outgrown those sources. The sources themselves are happy to keep people coming back even though they’re really best suited for beginners.

      Bottom line – don’t wait a year to start writing your best stuff. Learn the basics in a month or so and get to work solving real problems for your readers and customers.

  • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa

    One of my “favorite questions” (AKA you make me stabby and I want to poke you multiple times with a spork til you feel my pain) is “How did you do it?” Like I just checked off about 100 boxes on a to-do list and VOILA built a writing studio.

    First off, you’re insulting, and it’s hurts my soul a little that you don’t realize that.

    Secondly, I started exactly where you were. I worked my ass off. I was a sponge for information (from sites exactly like you noted.) I wrote a lot of really epic stuff and a lot of really crappy stuff and learned the difference by falling on my face, making those mistakes, and having the perseverance to get back up and do it all over again.

    That sounds mean and preachy, but if I meet with one more person for “a Skype” or long drawn out emails or coffee (ok, if you BUY me coffee I’m a little less stabby) to ask me if I have some magic pill you can take that will make this all work and then fall off the radar and barely thank me for it? Well, shall I direct you back to the stabby comment?

    The truth is that no one method works because everyone is different. You need to work and try and succeed and fail and learn what is right for you…no “tips” article is ever going to show you that.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      That’s the exact question I had to answer at Chris Guillebeau’s SF book signing tour. Someone in the crowd asked it, and Chris asked me up to answer it (live, to 100+ people). My answer? There are no quick fixes. The “secret” is that persistance wins the game.

      It does get tiring to answer the same question a hundred times, but I think everyone needs to hear it at some point from a real person. You’re doing a great service just by repeating yourself.

      Oh, and I completely agree, there is no “right way.” Everyone’s path is different, and you don’t really start to grow until you give up the search for the perfect solution or system. Right on, Elisa!

  • http://positivespinblog.com Linda

    Thanks so much, Corbett. This is just what I need to hear. It’s a bit like the story of the King’s New Clothes. No-one was brave enough to tell him he wasn’t wearing any!
    I’d love to have an army of followers. So… I’ve got to get on with that Epic Shit of yours. (That’s my new mantra…)
    This whole new campaign of yours is inspiring!

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Welcome to the club Linda! I’ll do my best to help anyone who will really listen and put in the necessary effort. Glad to have you in the group. Hopefully we can all learn from each other as well.

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog/how-i-can-teach-you-to-succeed-with-cash-gifting/ Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Corbett,

    A powerful post and the main reason I follow your blog.

    Your viewpoint is different than most other bloggers. Not for the sake of being different but for the sake of making a meaningful positive impact that does changes blogger’s lives.

    It’s difficult for bloggers to resist the temptation to rehash content because as you mention it will grow your crowd. This is the point where the World Changers ask themselves the question:

    “Do I want to grow a crowd or make a positive impact on the lives of others?”

    You could have 1000 readers yet make a tiny impact on each reader, or you can have a smaller number who adopt and implement your creative, innovative strategies. These people were impacted, and they will be forever grateful to you for changing their lives. And you? You will experience the greatest feeling a person can experience, knowing that you made a huge difference in the life an individual.

    You can write to increase the # in your RSS feed or you can write knowing that you’ve inspired someone to crush their limitations and design the life of their dreams. It all comes down to whatever intent you set.

    Thanks for making an impact on me and keep rocking on Corbett!


    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      I have to say Ryan, I’m not completely altruistic in this change of direction. Honestly, I believe that helping people really succeed by telling you the truth is the best way for me to succeed as well. Most of the crowds gathering around the social media gurus are formed on weak connections that will crumble when the fad passes or when enough followers realize they haven’t actually gained anything from following the person.

      My goal is to build a real, sustainable, long-term business for myself by helping people achieve meaningful and life-changing things. I’ll look out for myself by looking out for you essentially, but the bottom line is, there is definitely something in it for me by doing so, only part of which is the feeling of having actually made a difference.

      Thanks for the insightful comment Ryan, I really appreciate it.

  • Phil

    Amen. “You need to know that being persistent is more important than being clever.” Very true.

    “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

    • John Muldoon

      Phil, that quote is so damn awesome.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      I second that. Thanks for the AWESOME quote. I can’t believe I’ve never heard that one before.

  • http://justinhamlin.com/2011/01/17/5-reasons-why-i-will-not-miss-my-job/ Justin Hamlin

    Corbett –

    Another great post and yet another shining example of why I keep coming back to your blog. Brutal honesty is so lacking in the online world. Everyone is an expert, everyone has a silver bullet, and 99% of them are bullshit.

    Thank you for telling it like it is.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Cheers, Justin. Telling it like it is should be everyone’s goal. Sadly most people don’t bother.

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com Srinivas Rao


    Definitely some very thought provoking ideas. From the experience of having talked to 100′s of content creators, I can easily say nobody has every said the same thing twice. Sure, there might be similarities. I think that people spend a good amount of time searching for a magic bullet or some sort of “advice” and try to follow it step by step. The thing that I realized is that the advice is just a framework or a blueprint. The ideas in it need to be adapted for your own use and for your particular situation. I think every single person brings something unique to the table. After doing this for about 18 months, I can easily agree that there is no “magic” that will make things happen. I see it as an going experiment in which you continually push the limits of what’s possible.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Great way of looking at it, Srini. I love the perspective you get after talking to lots of successful people. I’ve found the same thing, that there is no “right” way and that everyone finds their own unique path to success. The shame is when people sell one-size-fits-all solutions they know won’t really work.

  • http://www.hanuiloa.com Jeff

    Corbett, THX for offering more than the frozen, disingenious tv-dinner type of automated, small thinking, one size fits all advice! WHEW had to say it! Seriously! count me in!

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Consider yourself counted!

  • http://onelifethatshines.com Jackie Lee

    I feel like we’re kindred spirits Corbett. About the same time I found this blog I was going through this metamorphosis. I had been, for the last few years, spoon feeding people who were looking for a 6 point magic list. I was burnt out, frustrated and realized I had to change. I realized the magic bullet ~ for me was to start creating real valuable content ~ not that gave people a 6 point list to follow, but content that got people thinking ~ for themselves, looking inside themselves, looking for what’s going to work for them. (and sometimes giving them a good kick in the butt to get moving on it)

    I am really grateful I found this blog… because writing 6 tips for more twitter followers is easy… and getting more followers, and comments and tweets doing that is easy… and some days, writing epic shit and being epic in my life and business is hard.

    You help me move through it and keep going.


    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Absolutely Jackie, I’m glad we’ve connected here. And like I said, there is a whole lot more work involved in doing what actually matters, but it will lead to better results for you and everyone involved. The social media bandwagon B.S. is not sustainable or profitable for most.

  • http://virtualmathtutor.blogspot.com VMT

    Indeed, there is much information noise in blogosphere. Agree completely.

  • http://www.briangerald.com Brian

    Amen. So over the generic, cliche noise. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose), you and I don’t seem to be the only ones wising up. Pretty soon “I’m not going to post twitter tips, I’m going to write epic shit” articles will be the new generic twitter tips. Let’s make sure we back it up!

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Right, Brian, THAT is the challenge. Feel free to keep me honest if the truth doesn’t keep flowing.

  • http://hearmumroar.com Hear Mum Roar

    You know, I studied all those tips last year like a good little blogger. All I found was, like you said, it’s all about the content. Also, reading these ideas and implementing them was a total time suck, and didn’t work! I could’ve been writing.

    It’s SO freeing to know that twitter and facebook have thier place, but you only need to use them like a normal person, LOL! It’s freeing that this year I know I can spend more time doing what I do best: writing the content. It also makes blogging fun again.

    Thanks so much for this, it needed to be said.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Yes! I started having way more fun myself after worrying about all the distractions too. Yes, there are techniques you should know (mostly in the psychological/persuasion arena), but the technical/tactical stuff shouldn’t take too much of your attention at all.

      I guarantee, if you’re having more fun with your project, people will respond to that and you’ll grow much faster.

      • http://hearmumroar.com Hear Mum Roar

        Thanks so much for helping so many of us put it into perspective:)

  • http://www.creativeguidetolife.com Susan

    Finally. I’m sick of generic social media speak. That’s what I do at work for a living anyway, I’m more interested in epic shit.

    What I’m looking for is an abyss. Where all our collective badassery can be pooled and collected for the common good. Where we know what to tap for inspiration, for information, to get uncomfortable, to reflect. If you’re going to write about all that, then we need to quit leaving generic comments that don’t reflect the value of what sparked the conversation in the first place.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Well put Susan. I’ll be sure to ask people to “bring it” in the comments on future posts. For the most part people have been great about adding value. And to be honest, I don’t publish some comments that are obviously just looking for a cheap link.

  • http://www.transforme.com.au Suellen


    What a refreshing post! I clicked on a tweet expecting to find the SOS (same old s*#t) and was pleasantly surprised to find instead this honest post.

    I’ve been playing in this sandpit seriously for a couple of years, following along, reading blogs, trying to put it all into practice. I don’t expect instant results but I do expect a return, otherwise it’s time to get out of the sandpit.

    The thing I’m really intrigued about is whether ANYONE is actually making a living online by doing anything other than teaching other people how to make their millions online. I’ve been searching and I haven’t found anyone yet. Without meaning any disrespect, you’re another one that falls into that category aren’t you? If you know of anyone, or if any or your community know anyone who has a successful online business services or products – please let me know.

    Will be reading your posts and following along to see what’s coming next.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Suellen, uou haven’t found anyone yet? You just need to dig a little further. Here is a short partial list of people I know (most of them personally) who earn a full-time living online by selling things other than advice about making money online:

      Adam Baker (http://manvsdebt.com/)
      Steve Kamb (http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/)
      Danielle LaPorte (http://whitehottruth.com/)
      Brett McKay (http://artofmanliness.com/)
      Andy Hayes (http://www.sharingtravelexperiences.com/)
      Nathalie Lussier (http://rawfoodswitch.com/)
      Leo Babauta (http://zenhabits.net/)
      Joshua Becker (http://www.becomingminimalist.com/)

      These are mostly people with businesses built around blogs. They sell primarily products (self-published books, information) and some services. If you need more examples of specific types, let me know. Success stories online exist in every possible niche, and more are being born every day.

      • http://www.transforme.com.au Suellen

        Thanks Corbett,

        Some of these I was aware of but put them, perhaps incorrectly, in the category of making money through self-published books, info, affiliate marketing, courses etc. primarily punted to the online entrepreneur. So making money online by teaching people how to make money online.

        Other really good examples here so thanks for the list. It gives me hope and a determination to make that list v. soon.

  • http://www.quietentertainer.com/free-download/ Quiet Entertainer

    This is humbling. As I continue to look at internet marketing, lifestyle design, and blogging sites to find a way to combine all of these in order to kickstart my music career, maybe the real thing I’m missing is: my music isn’t epic enough. “Write epic shit,” right? I still feel as though I should learn all of this stuff, but perhaps I’m focusing on the wrong thing. Good post. Looking in the mirror.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      I think of all the online techniques and tactics (SEO, social media, etc.) a lot like all of the tricks and gear you can involve in your music. They amplify and add to your message, but they aren’t the message themselves. Sure, the latest amp or effect might make your sound richer or more unique, but gadgets are never a substitute for the music itself. Both are important, but the false promise is that with enough tactics (or “gear”) at your disposal you’ll succeed no matter what.

  • http://facebook.com/M2Community Luc

    Awesome Job Corbett!
    It’s my first time visiting your blog and great to see you’re not a mindless zombie like a lot of other bloggers out there. It shows true leadership and commitment to bringing value and building a solid long term business that will be around for years to come.

    I love this paragraph…
    “You should learn everything you need to know from those sites in a month or less. Don’t get stuck there though; learn the essentials and move on. In fact, (This is Key —> if you spend too much time there, it will hurt your chances of succeeding because you’ll be distracted from doing what really matters.)”

    This is so true. The basics are foundational but a house isn’t built only by laying a foundation. You need to get the nails, the wood, etc… and get to work putting everything together uniquely the way you want it, for it to become what you’ve envisioned.

    Thanks again buddy :)

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Hey Luc, thanks for stopping by.

      The “basic” information you find on those sites doesn’t even really help you lay a foundation. They merely teach you some technical and/or promotional skills. A true foundation on the web is built on identifying a market, developing your brand, USP and differentiation and communicating all of that through design and clear writing. Most don’t bother teaching that stuff though, since it doesn’t appeal to the masses.

  • http://www.mikeziarko.com Mike Ziarko

    Well said Corbett. This is one of the best articles I’ve read in awhile, very eye-opening.

  • http://lenguaslenguas.wordpress.com Georgina

    You’ve blown my mind.
    And the truth you say already hurts. But in some kind of good way. You’re the first and only traffic building site I read and thanks to this post I see I’ve made the best choice.
    Thank you.
    I think you’re already writing epic shit.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Thanks Georgina!

  • http://www.activo.com/ Activo

    Nice! I see so many of these tips all over the place and it is easy to spot the reason why they wrote it. Very rarely it is because they really ‘reveal’ something. I must say that in some cases I consciously think of the same when I post article to my own blog. While I am not trying to create a blog in the same sense that you have committed to – I do want to reveal and make a difference out there.

    Keep it up!

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      It’s funny when a headline hooks you based on a promise, and then you forget about the promise and never realize it wasn’t ever fulfilled in the article. That seems to go on a lot around the web, and few people bother calling B.S.

      • http://www.loftenberg.com peter

        yep, it’s much easier to just leave the site and never go back :)

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  • http://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/ Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Corbett,

    I enjoy your articles – thank you!

    Question: do you know how to access your least viewed or least popular blog posts? Is there a plugin for this…or does Google Analytics tell you? I can’t figure out how to do this.

    Thanks for your help,

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Sure Laurie, there are a couple of ways to find out. First, you can install a plug-in that will show the most popular posts in your sidebar. One I’ve used before is this:

      If you just want to see for yourself the most popular pages / posts, in Google Analytics click on the “Content” link on the left hand sidebar. Next, Click on “content by title.” This will show you the most popular content during the time frame you’re looking at.

  • http://OurDevelopingMind.com Marco Lee

    Twitter is dead, in other people’s point of view; mostly internet marketers cause most of the people that they also follow are also internet marketers who will sell them stuff.

    The essence of twitter has gone for them. For some they are actually thriving. These are the twitter accounts of celebrities and or/ web celebrities who have a thriving audience.

    The key is to give people what they enjoy or want. They they’ll become a fan and that’s how they start to connect with the artist/creator. As for the blogging industry it’s the “epic shit” content (and sometimes charm) that gets people to engage with the blogger.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Actually, I was looking for a way to identify my LEAST popular posts! And I found a great plugin called My Worst Posts.

    Thanks Corbett – I’ll be back :-)


  • http://www.loftenberg.com peter

    thanks for this post – actually these are things everyone should know at heart. Simply knowing these is quite easy, admitting it and starting to work based on the consequences are both harder and much more powerful.

  • http://www.selfimprovementedge.com Anass Farah

    Great Call To Action At the End, but I’m In, yes I’m in. Because I’m ready to invest the energy and the time to really create things that matter, I’m ready to hard work, I don’t want to be saturated by those quick fixes and overnight success blueprints, This had a very bad impact in my life, in my studies and more things.

    Very Inspiring article Corbett ! Thank You

    Anass Farah

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  • http://beyondgrowth.net Duff

    One of the most time-tested ways to stand out isn’t to have outstanding content, but have flashy but superficial content and get the attention of powerful popular people for whom you can ride their coattails. Outstanding content is often too deep for popular consumption and requires more training, knowledge, or expertise in a field to be understandable. Outstanding content is also something that is often the culmination of one’s life work. Blogs rarely have any outstanding content at all due to the nature of the medium which emphasizes frequency of content. Outstanding content stands out through the course of time by definition–a blog might be outstanding, and it’s content consistently good, but only a handful of posts will stand out looking back after many years time.

    For example–which is more outstanding: Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, or Heidegger’s Being and Time? I give Outliers ten years max before nobody reads it ever again. “Popular” and “outstanding” are almost exact antonyms with very few exceptions.

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  • http://www.anunleashedlife.org Samantha

    Hi Corbett,

    Thanks for your posts and THIS ONE in particular. I am brand new to creating my own web presence and feel at times how Melissa Gorzelanczyk does – not always sure what to post.

    But, like you I want to write “Epic” stuff and really help my followers and my causes. Writing smart, witty, helpful material that is unlike the majority of what is out there is what has always kept me off the blog space. Well not anymore. I am leaping in and figuring it out as I go.

    Thankfully, I found you early :-). I know following you will propel my learning curve at super sonic speed.

    Thanks again for what you’re doing,

  • http://mybrooklynreport.com Michael Corley

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I’ve read this post 3 times to date and it had me stoked after the first read.

    I actually thought I was alone in this position. Seeing so much of the blogosphere regurgitate the same shit just got on my nerves and rather than retreat and give up on blogging, I went the opposite direction from the herd.

    I forced myself to write what matters and not the “10 ways to use twitter for real estate” crap. I stopped worrying about getting “retweeted”, “stumbled” or “shared” on facebook.

    The moment I stop worrying about writing those “formula posts” and focused on the quality of the content in each post, the more readers took care of the rest.

    It feels good knowing I’m on the right track after reading your manifesto. I’m encouraged and confident as a result.

  • http://www.hotdogstories.com Hotdogman


    The thing most people trying to get traffic to their blog/site don’t get is that it has to start with “epic shit.” Yeah, you do need to know all the mechanics etc and there are a gajillion sites with that info. I read all the sites you mentionede (and more) when I got started. All of them at one point or another say something to the effect of “provide good content or none of this other stuff will matter.” The bottom line is you need to provide value to your reader. If you are too concerned with how many FB friends you have (I don’t WANT 1200+ friends) or how many twitter followers or any other followers you have, then you are missing the point. The internet is very democratic; put the “like” button on your site and carry on with writing epic shit and the rest will take care of itself.

  • http://times3education.com Justin

    Interesting idea, looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

  • http://everythingisedible.com Louisa

    This is really helpful. I’ve been blogging for four years and feeling quite discouraged lately that so many bloggers who’ve been around for 5 minutes are so much more successful. Looking back at the start of my blog I can see that I have come along way in both content & style but I’m a total baby, if that, in the scheme of things so I am excited to hear more about how to write epic shit!

  • http://www.tothepointwriting.net Andrea Dale

    Thanks for writing this. As a marketing coach and mentor, I agree with you. Finding your voice as a writer and consistently posting relevent, intriguing and dead on content is crucial… It also shows respect and a mile deep understanding of your reader’s challenges, situations and desires.

  • http://www.bigredtomatocompany.co.uk Matthew Needham

    Corbett, just before Christmas I was on the verge of giving up with my blog, because, to be frank, it was taking up far to much time. Then I stated reading your blog and it hit me that to get more traction and more visitors the contenet needs to be much better and more compelling. And that’s the very hard thing. As you say, knowing Twitter, StumbleUpon or Facebook inside out is worthless, as is commenting on blogs. My commitment this year is to post less frequently and go for ‘evergreen’ content. Stuff that will be more valuable a year from now than it is today. I’ve already started the process and the Alexa rank is dropping – albeit slowly.

    The biggest challenge I have is not just any traffic, but quality traffic. People who want to pay for my consulting or affiliate products etc.

    I thought for a while that a lot of the advice you see on most sites is circular. For example a lot of people say to comment on 20 sites a day 7 days a week, to help build your profile and your traffic. But the reality is that it’s the same people commenting on the same websites, so people are deluding themselves that they have fans, they have people who come to visit thier sites to leave comments. In the vain hope that a title on Commentluv will be attractive enough for someone to click through.

    Social media is important, there is no doubt about that. But they are tools to do a job, not a strategy in itself.

    Thanks for another reminder, it’s taken a while, but I’ve finally realised! Quality, not quantity counts.


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  • http://wikijuanan.com Juanan Ruiz

    Hi Corbett,
    I hear about you thanks to a podcast you record with Patt Flynn from smartpassiveincome.
    That´s was a great post, very big to digest in one single sit down. I’ll come back. (Sorry for the spanglish)

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  • http://www.CodrutTurcanu.com Codrut Turcanu

    Corbett I think you are the epic shit writing master not because you claim it, but because you know your stuff; I mean, you spend so much time to understand the topic way before you write the first line, that writing seems easier, and moreover, your writing comes from your personal experience

    Nothing beats practice right!

  • http://www.secretstoultimateliving.com Susan Liddy

    A lot of bloggers and entrepreneurs are afraid of giving too much away. They keep their articles and giveaways high level so they can sell the “good stuff”. I’ve actually found that the more I VALUE that I GIVE the better my client base is. Sure, there are people who will gather all of my information and use it, and never pay me a dime. Yet, the clients who do come to work with me are a perfect “fit” for my work and they tend to become lifelong clients.


  • http://hedgehoncho.com HedgeHoncho

    I honestly don’t think that I have read a more useful article to blogging in general. This really put things in perspective and I will tweet this one out too.

  • Chelsea Thomas

    Hi Corbett

    I’m a brand new blogger. I just created my site this past weekend. This was extremely helpful information. Quick question, how do you now what content is considered as basic, low value verses “epic shit.” I mean of course I want to write about what matters, but don’t the basic tips matter as well? How do I take basic, helpful, useful tips a step further?


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  • http://www.seraibressers.wordpress.com Serai Bressers

    Hello Corbett,

    I read your traffic-school-report, through a post of Leo Babauta, one the blogs I love to read.

    I’m started to build my own job and with that on online community. I realised that I could use some help, and than you came around. So I’m very happy with your information. I’m going on a journey which is very exciting. I believe you hit the right button. Thank you for that.

    Serai Bressers

  • http://jenniferkoliver.livejournal.com Jennifer K Oliver

    Hi Corbett

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for putting a useful post (and website) like this out there. I wish there were more honest, warts-and-all discussions about building platforms/businesses, but sadly most seem to fall into that generic Top Tips category. I’ll be following your blog closely and I look forward to checking out other posts by you.


  • http://www.getting-unstuck.com/ Riley Harrison

    I think there is a steep learning curve (software challenges, who to follow, determining what defines success etc) so to me tenacity and persistence are part of the equation for success in blogging. I like what Rodney Dangerfield said “It took me 20 years to become an overnight success”

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  • http://www.plumberinmemphis.com jack

    Corbett, clearly you are blessed with a gift for writing. You present a very detailed and exacting analysis of working online. Thanks much for the insights and inspiration.

    • Corbett

      Thanks so much Jack, and thanks for stopping by!

  • http://eelsecreto.com/ El Secreto

    Man, I just got here after reading about you on Leo’s blog… I think this is the very first blog I find out that specializes on traffic, Thank you for sharing your experiences in this fast IM world!

  • http:www.itsameaningfullife.com Paul

    Wow, stumbled on to this site my accident, this is one of the first sites I have ever spent more than 10 minutes on. There is a ton of valuable information here. What I like, its factual, honest and surprise!! Helpful.

    Appreicate your work and most important your values. You have a new student…looking forward to whats next.

    • Corbett Barr

      Awesome Paul, glad to have you.

  • http://willadamsonline.com Will Adams

    Found your interesting site while searching for a different theme for my blog. When you mentioned great writing, information, etc., are just the cost of admission, the little ”My Favorite Martian’ antennas popped out of my head… When you mentioned ‘false promises’, I became intrigued.

    My site needs a facelift, so I’m looking forward to digging in to your site & implementing some of your suggestions into my own blog. Thank you in advance!

  • John Gizowski

    Man… am I glad I have found YOU! I have been struggling with this exact thing and it’s been a big reason why I’m gun shy to come out of the gate. When I first started my “research” I was all excited about s. media, inbound marketing and small biz. I’ve gotten somewhat jaded these days by seeing all the saturation and redundancy, but at least started giving some serious thought to my differentiation . But on the same note, I don’t want to get pigeon-holed and get bored of the same topic matter. I like what you said to one of the first commenters about being alright to write slightly off-topic. So anyway…. you see why you and this blog are exactly what I need. What you’re doing here makes so much sense and seems to fit my style perfectly. I’m anxious to dig in and learn more. So Thanks!!

    • Corbett Barr

      Awesome John, I’m glad you found us! Thanks for stopping by and definitely let us know if you have any specific questions. Cheers and see you around.

  • http://MatthewTRader.com Matthew T Rader

    Hey Corbett,

    My friend emailed me this site in an email about a week ago, and he very rarely sends me links unless they are actually worth looking at. I’ve been really getting into blogging about photography, but I also love hearing and sharing interesting stories people live out in their lives and I want to have a visual narrative with the stories. You’re site has really inspired me and helped me have a clearer vision of what I need to do. Thank you so much!!

    • Corbett Barr

      Fantastic Matthew, welcome to the site. Don’t be a stranger if you have any specific questions. Cheers!

  • http://www.learnbloggingsecrets.com Glenn


    Thanks again for the share, I’m new to the site, and only 3 months into blogging so I am glad for the useful tips and suggestions,

    Keep up the good work, man!


  • http://www.learntotradethemarket.com price action

    Corbett, as an experienced blogger and coach who has built a genuine audience and strives to provide excellent, real world information and honest insight into a very ‘confusing and difficult’ topic (trading financial markets), I resonate with this confident yet contrarian post. I drop by from time to time to read some of your posts and I find the most inspiration in your style of writing. You connect with people and deliver a unique and different message. Thanks for telling it how it is.

  • http://mysweetnewlife.com James Holland

    I have just had my first anniversary of starting my first blog and I still have yet to receive no more than about 5 visits a day. And most of those are on the “garbage” articles I just threw together. I NEED this! I am really looking forward to diving into your Start a Blog That Matters program over at http://startablogthatmatters.com

    I don’t even remember who’s email list or tweet I saw that lead me here but I am grateful that it did. Thank you

  • http://www.nichesense.com Anshul

    Got to this post a bit late Corbett but some awesome tips here. My blog is just over 4 months old but nearing 100 unique clicks a day although diversifying my content to more than just articles is something I need to implement in the coming months!

  • http://www.creativeslrphotography.com Chas Demain

    I’ve been learning and trying to put what I have learned into practice with my photography site for about a year, with minimal success. I have been able to build a list of 60+ people on my Aweber account from a couple of my EzineArticle submission that have been posted on another blog.

    I have been getting emails from Think Traffic since 4 August 2011 and have found a lot of the stuff interesting, but this has got a bit lost in the noise of the two million mails I subscribe to :-).

    I am going to trawl around this blog with a lot more attention now and will be working to push my site to the next level.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • http://www.annieandre.com Annie Andre

    I’ve really been focusing on finding and drilling my USP over the last month based on an interview i saw you do with Derek of social triggers. That video alone and this article helped me reach a moment of clarity. It’s really hard to explain but surely you must know what i’m talking about. It’s like i sudenly know what i have been doing wrong and what i have to do now. The first thing i’m going to do, is stop reading all those other sites where the material is rehashed stuff i already know and focus on only things that matter to the bottom line. Think traffic is at the top of my list of places to be and read because i always walk away with a “KICK ASS” mentality. Thanks Corbett.

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  • http://marketingwithsergio.com Sergio Felix

    Thanks for the mentioned resources on Brian Solis and Social Media Examiner.

    I didn’t know anything about those two and I think you could use the same title for any other “new” social media strategy.

    If you just know one part of the formula, you’re not going to solve the equation.


  • http://twittertoolsbook.com/blog Garin Kilpatrick (@Garin)

    Hi Corbett,

    I agree with you about the body of this article, but disagree about the headline. Problogger Darren Rowse thought that writing Twitter Tips was valuable enough to create a blog specifically about that topic (twitip.com).

    Personally, I have been able to grow a blog in the Twitter niche (twittertoolsbook.com/blog) to over a thousand visitors a day precisely because people think that the Twitter tips & tools I share are worth reading.

    I too strive to write outstanding content and this is a core reason for the success I have achieved. Keep up the work with your “epic shit” and congrats on the deserved success you have been able to achieve here at Think Traffic.


  • http://www.midnightanon.tumblr.com Christiana

    Thanks Corbett,

    I only have a blog full of my poetry at the moment, I get 0 views because I have no idea how to get people interested. I’ve wanted to start a more topic based blog and I’ve come across so many “10 ways to get everyone going on your blog everyday you won’t believe it” but really they just say tweet posts, which is hardly helpful. I’m really looking forward to exploring more of the information you have to give as this post was very realistic and has made me realise the type of attention I will have to pay. I look forward to learning more… (my website was incorrect on the first one)

  • http://www.BloggerDoc.com Amal Rafeeq

    Seriously dude,
    I’ve wasted about 5 days :D if I had counted all those times I used to read about it. They promise false offers and seeing those quick overnight examples, people jump onto that.

  • http://ajsteelmusic.com A.J. Steel

    I love it. Let’s do this thing.


  • http://www.clarityapproach.com/blog Karen Mason

    Thanks Corbett, lots to consider here and probably more importantly to act on. Having blogged for over 12 months now, for me getting found can feel an insurmountable challenge at times! Here’s hoping that participating in How to Start a Blog that Matters will be the difference that makes the difference :)

  • http://Www.succinctresearch.com Bill

    Well stated, Corbett. I work in a niche that is pretty much wide open and realized a few months ago that my content is the only thing that will increase my readership. My audience doesn’t care about blogging or social media. They just want killer info that will help their careers and lives. So that’s what I starred focusing on giving them. And, my readership is steadily increasing.

    Thanks for the post. It’s exactly what I needed today

  • http://exceljet.net Dave Bruns

    Completely agree.

    The blogging world has something in common with the dieting world. To maintain good health and weight, you should eat quality, healthy food in moderation and get regular exercise. That’s the core requirement. And yet, millions of people spend huge amounts of time and money chasing the latest diet fad, looking for the quick fix. They are basically looking for a way around core requirement, and they are tempted at every turn by a huge industry that knows their weakness all to well.

    To succeed online, you need to figure out a way to create outstanding content that actually matters to people. That’s the core requirement. And you will be tempted by a never-ending stream of technical shortcuts, generated by a huge industry that knows your weakness all to well.

    Like everyone, I’m tempted too. But I try to keep focus on the core requirement.

  • http://www.atmebook.com/ Alex

    Always good to hear a motivating post, that is truthful, from a successful person. I am subscribed and ready. Thanks…Alex

  • http://Www.investfourmore.com Mark ferguson

    Great advice. I have been writing epic shit and great great feedback from my followers. However my blog is on real estate investing which is very personal to people. I don’t think people share my info as much as they might otherwise. Or I am just making excuses.

  • http://www.thingstodowithkidsmn.com Dawn Marcotte

    Great post. as usual. I must admit that I have been feeling less than enthusiastic about writing for my blog lately. I read your post on writing Epic stuff and of course immediately implemented, but I was also trying to product epic posts every other day – I just couldn’t do it. So this week I let my readers know that I will not be posting every other day anymore, but more like once a week. I am going to work harder on each post to make it the best I can, rather than focusing on quantity. Thanks again for the confirmation that this was the right decision. I really appreciate your honesty and have learned a lot from you.

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  • http://unconventionallife.net Russell Mease


    I enjoyed this article. Here are my thoughts…

    The reason most blogs fail is because they attempt to follow a formula based on “proven metrics” or someone else’s formula. This is a problem because the successful blogs are unique and original, and the writer has a passion for life and a unique voice.

    If you are looking for tips on how to drive traffic to your blog, beyond the basics that you describe, you are on the wrong path. If you want to stand out from the crowd, then live life to it’s fullest and write about that life that turns you on. Fully living is the only way your voice can shine, because only then will it come from a genuine place of your own experience.

    Do you think Kerouac could have written “On The Road”, if he sat around and attempted to copy other’s formulas for writing? Nope. He wrote that story because it was pouring out of every cell of his body after his hitchhiking trip across America. That’s what makes it original.

    If you’re stuck on writing epic shit, then put the laptop away and go live for a couple of years, then come back and write about it.

    Thanks for a great post.

  • http://www.ofthingsmanmade.com Jonathan Howard

    This quite possibly could be the only website I’m subscribed to that I actually check out regularly. There’s Likely something to that. The content you write is excellently crafted material that keeps readers engaged and informed. I’m taking notes so that I can write, “epic shit.” :P

  • http://thestrategicmama.com vanita

    Corbett I truly do appreciate and love that Think Traffic posts are always fresh and unique.

    I get a lot of flak, from a dear friend who’s also a blogger, about not writing “basic posts”. She tells me “everyone is writing them vanita” and “it’s the only way to build your content collection” and “I’ll even write them for you”.

    Though it’s tempting, and my search engine visibility would be better if I published something (not really)new everyday, I don’t want to ever be known as just another voice in the crowd.

    Thanks for making Think Traffic a role model for other blogs.


  • http://www.victorbjorklund.com Victor Björklund

    Thank you Corbett! I couldn’t agree more with you. There is to many “quick fixes” out that we all know does not work.

  • http://olivierlambert.ca/ Olivier Lambert

    Hey Mr. Barr! What you’re saying is a 110% accurate. We all know the old bullshit and I’m a bit tired to see the same crap over and over on my twitter feed. I’m a real fan and I even took some element from your website to build my own. It’s a French blog where I write about self help, business and web marketing. I’m 22 and I can really say that writing epic shit (at least trying to write epic shit) has really helped me out and I’m well ahead in my career. Live long and prosper man! You rock!

  • http://ThatGuyKC.com ThatGuyKC

    BOOM! I so needed to hear this. As a social media manager for a non-profit on the side while trying to hustle on my own audience it’s so easy to get caught up in the gimmicks and “tricks” instead of actually writing, as you say, epic shit.

    Thank you for the smack upside the head.

  • http://charlesharmon.com/ Charles

    Hi Corbett,

    I think you are right about ordinary content not helping much in the way of growing a blog or site needing content. Very interesting post.



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  • Maina

    Hi great insight!

    But even if you teach us how to to do it right, wouldn’t everyone here follow the same lead,and compete with the same techniques. I am waiting to hear that differentiating factor that can make one outstanding if it is not outstanding, evergreen content

  • muskegger

    Thanks for this… I am trying to figure out my blog and social media can be a bit of a jungle sometimes.

  • chasereeves

    Awesome, Nikki! Glad you dig it :)

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A reader asked me on Twitter the other day if I would start writing more traffic-building tips here. The implication was that I haven't been publishing content that will directly help you build a bigger online audience.

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