How To Build Viral Content: Interview With The Blog Tyrant

Want to know how you can build a huge following for your blog or website within just a few months? I recently had the privilege of interviewing The Blog Tyrant, who owns a successful network of blogs and websites that make him a full-time income. 

Unlike most bloggers, The Blog Tyrant keeps his own identity a mystery. This has actually helped him generate a lot of buzz in the internet marketing world, and I'm excited to see how this experiment turns out. In this interview, he talks about his start in internet marketing, how to sell a blog, and some of the most important keys to his business success.

When did you first get started with internet marketing? Was it accidental or deliberate?

Picture a 16 year old kid addicted to fitness sitting in a high school computing class bored out of his mind. That was me. While other kids were learning HTML and completing projects I decided to write an eBook about bodybuilding and see if I could build a website to sell it. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing – I didn't even know what an eBook was. I sold one copy for $60. That was the beginning of it all. That was when I realized that I could make money online.

How do you stay motivated?

As for staying motivated I have to confess I am really interested in the Buddhist idea of Bodhicitta. I learned about it on a trip to India. It means that everything you think, do or say should be done with the motivation to help other people. My goal for making money is to be able to do something useful with the opportunity – help out if I can. When you make work less about yourself and more about helping others it is easier to stay motivated. I'm still not very good at it though.

Your blog is filled with valuable information about blogging and internet marketing, but features very little about you personally. What is the main reason for keeping this low profile?

This is a question I get asked quite often. Pat from Smart Passive Income actually pulled me up on it in my post about how I got 11,908 visitors in three weeks. The reason is simple: I'm releasing my identity on a strategic date. Part experiment, part marketing decision. That's all I will say for now.

Blogging is typically a VERY hard method to make money online, but you've clearly had a lot of success. What are some of your short-term and long-term goals with the blog? Are you interested in product creation, book-writing, etc?

Blog Tyrant is only one of my projects. I always make a point to have several ventures on the go in case one dries up. But 2011 is going to be a very exciting year for readers of Blog Tyrant. I am releasing something that is going to help a lot of people take their blogging and income levels to the next stage.

How do you "sell" a blog? Aren't the subscribers there to hear your voice? How do you find the right buyer, and ensure a seamless transition?

This is a very good question and something that is relevant to many bloggers. When I first decided to sell a blog in college I thought this might be an issue. Someone paid $20,000 for my content and I thought the readers might be upset. In truth they didn't even notice. It depends entirely on the style of blog you write. For example, a lot of the bigger blogs like Problogger and Copyblogger are now mostly guest posts. If Darren Rowse or Brian Clark decided to sell them I don't think most people would notice, especially if they stopped in once a week or once a month to do a post or a video. But if your blog is really about you and your take on things I think the new owner would struggle.

As for the right buyer, part of me wants to say "anyone who will pay for it" but its not true. You want someone who will carry on the goals of the blog. When I sold my blogs I made in a condition of the sale that they would not use the site for spam or anything unethical. If they did I had the power to take them to court. I think this is important for your readers.

You get a lot of comments on your blog, and you make a point of responding to every single one. While this is good engagement, it also consumes a lot of time. How do you know that it is paying off?

Great question. When it comes to business it is very important to measure your results. Blogging is no different. You need to split test ads, tweak designs and make sure your strategies are working. How do I know that replying to every comment is paying off? Because I am getting more comments, more subscribers and a deeper level of interaction from my readers.

To be honest though, it doesn't take that long. I work from home full time so when I get a new comment I just write a reply. If they had the time to write it, I feel I should make the time to reply to them. It might not always be this way though. Especially seeing as the community at Blog Tyrant seems to be so packed full of wonderful people. This post on increasing conversions got over 250 comments, most of them from amazing readers helping each other out. In this respect I am very lucky because I know there are people reading who can take care of the new readers while I am asleep or away.

Building an audience quickly is a challenge for any blogger, but you seem to have been more successful than most in just a few months. What are the three most effective sources of traffic for you?

Problogger, Problogger and Problogger. I made a point to get as many guest posts there as possible because the traffic is high and responsive and Darren's reputation is so good that it helps you land other guest posts. I spent a long time making sure my Problogger guest posts were as good as I could write and the result was a lot of traffic, links, chatter and other high profile guest posts. Find the three big players in your niche and give them your best stuff. That is a good starting point. 7)

What is the single most important thing that someone should consider when building their brand online?

What is the end result? What are you going to sell and to whom? That should be the starting point for developing a brand. Some people start a business or a blog and make things up as they go. It is a very clumsy way to proceed. If you start with the end result and work backwards you have a focus and you can make your brand fit the needs and wants of your target audience. It needs to be about them, not you.


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