So without further ado I present my interview with Mr. Copyblogger himself:
Joe: You have mentioned several times that you are a “recovering attorney”. Is that like recovering from a hangover? And, what prompted this “recovery” from the legal field?
Brian: Recovery in that sense may not be the right word, because at least with a hangover, you had fun at some point, right? Although law students and lawyers tend to drink dangerous amounts, that never did it for me. But on the other hand, combined with what my mother thought was a worthless college education (psychology major, sociology minor), law turned out to be the perfect primer for what I do now. Everyone’s in the persuasion business, and I got the advanced course.
Joe: You started your blog in 2006 and since then, it has exploded with popularity. Are you magic? If not, whats your secret to blogging success?
Brian: Yes, I’m magic. Okay, no I’m not. All I did was apply very basic fundamentals in the new context of online marketing. I also worked very, very hard.
Joe: Where did you learn to write?
Brian: In part, I learned from reading, a lot. At the same time, reading great writers always intimidated me, so it wasn’t until I just started sitting down and consistently writing that I really learned to write. If it wasn’t for the internet and the immediacy of online publishing and feedback, I don’t think I would have ever started. And I certainly wouldn’t have gotten better.
Joe: You talk a lot about content marketing, what exactly is it? Why do you think its so powerful?
Brian: It may feel like a sound bite, but content is the new advertising. Advertising is not what people want, unless it’s an entertaining diversion that costs millions but doesn’t sell a company’s product, or an immediate solution to a pressing problem. People do, on the other hand, want useful information that solves whatever problem they have in general. And that DOES sell. That’s content marketing, and it’s the only thing other than pay-per-click (which robs you of control and keeps getting more expensive) that I’ve found really works online.
Joe: I have noticed that you tend to partner with a lot of entrepreneurs for different projects. What are some of the lessons you have learned from doing this? Is this a smart move for other entrepreneurs?
Brian: It’s the smartest way to build a business without traditional capital I’ve found. If you can build an audience online, you can partner with people who can do things you can’t to have something valuable to sell. Can these relationships go sour? Yes. But in my experience, 4 out of 5 people you make rich via your audience will appreciate it, and the fifth doesn’t matter much.
Joe: You recently launched Copyblogger Media what can we expect from your company in the future?
Brian: Copyblogger Media was the merger of 3 of my companies, plus Brian Gardner’s StudioPress (creator of the Genesis Theme Framework for WordPress). What we’ve done is consolidate all the tools we use to produce our own new media enterprise, plus the education and access to make it happen for others. That’s the only authentic way I can think of to help people in an online world full of “make money online” hucksters, and that’s our goal — no bullshit, just what we truly use and believe, based on 12 years of me screwing up and learning the hard way.