Pete Cashmore started Mashable, the social media guide, in 2005 and has built it into one of the most influential blogs in the world with a 7 figure annual revenue.
Mashable gets 8 million unique visitors, 12 million page views monthly, it has 1,5+ million followers on Twitter, 300,000 RSS subscribers and its articles are always on top of Tweetmeme, Digg and social bookmarking sites.
These are the 9 reasons why Mashable is the king of social media blogs today.
Don’t plan it, just do it
Pete Cashmore was passionate about the social media and the social networking tools. It was a personal interest that he spent a lot of time on and he just decided to go for it and start writing about it.
“I felt like social networking wasn’t being covered to the degree it could be. I didn’t necessarily know there was an audience for it. I find it best to dive right in and learn the hard way.”
Be focused and work hard
It took more than a year before Mashable started making money but Pete Cashmore was very focused and was constantly working on the site with 20-hour work days being a norm.
“I blogged seven posts a day, and about a year in, I started getting ads on the blog. When I got a deal for $3,000 a month to put ads on the blog, it was massive for me”
Write for the web
Mashable is great at writing simple blog posts. They make no assumptions about their readers and they explain everything, keeping the beginner in mind while writing.
“Figure out blogging, short-form writing. You have to write the story in three paragraphs. We like writers who can take complex ideas and explain them in simple terms”
Write great headlines
Most of Mashable’s posts have very attractive, shareable and clickable blog headlines. They frequently use top list or how to type of posts. They also use many “Alerts” and “Warnings” in their blog post headlines. Some examples from the last few days:
- 3 Great Social Media Policies to Steal From
- HOW TO: Get Real-Time Traffic Reports on Your iPhone
- WARNING: New Facebook Malware Attack Is Spreading
Appeal to mainstream
Even though Mashable is categorized as a tech blog, they have expanded their coverage to appeal to more mainstream audience. They focus on celebrities and other mainstream events / brands in their blog posts, and use their brand to attract attention to Mashable. Some examples from the last few days:
- YouTube Feud Ends: U2, Madonna and Green Day Videos Set to Return
- Dear Lily Allen: File Sharing Debate Now Has Lyrics [Video]
- Obama Assassination Poll Rocks Facebook
Spit out content
Mashable publishes some 20+ posts every day. Majority of posts are pretty short, but there is something for everyone in there and that is also a reason for you to come back to their site several times a day. This is very important as they want to increase their page views, as their main blog monetization method is banner ads.
If you publish valuable information that your readers enjoy, they will spread the word to their friends for you. Make it easy for them to do just that by including different “share this” buttons for Twitter, Digg, Facebook, Delicious, Stumbleupon or whatever social network your audience is part of.
Go directly to the source
If you read some Mashable posts you will quickly see how they track down the source of information, they check out the original report, examine the original study and write a short summary of the most interesting points. This way they are a great resource of information and visitors like it and other people like to link to it, in fact they link to Mashable’s summary much more than to the original report.
“There is original reporting and there is curation, which is just as hard, saying, “This is what’s out there, this is why it is important.” Both have their places, and it’s not a case of either or.”
Be present offline
Mashable regularly draws crowds of hundreds of fans in cities around the US. It is an income source for Mashable but it also creates fans of the brand.
“A lot of the benefits from running events has been in terms of greater visibility for Mashable as a brand. We are connecting our audience to other members of the tech community, and people are going away and talking about Mashable.”
Mashable is a great example of how anyone can start from scratch and build a blog empire with some luck and lots of hard work, consistent work, passion and knowledge.
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