A 3-Step Blueprint for a Brilliant Blog Launch


Launching a brand new blog is exciting. But it can also be awfully lonely for up to a year as you build readership, unless you plan to begin with a bang.

I’ve had several readers ask me questions related to launching a new blog, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on doing that. This strategy does not require you to have an existing audience to use as a springboard. In fact, I’m assuming you’re starting cold.

The blog launch blueprint consists of these 3 steps:

  1. Cornerstone
  2. Networking
  3. Attraction

1. Cornerstone – Build Your Blog on a Firm Foundation

Your cornerstone content is the foundation of your blog—the information any visitor needs to get the most out of following your blog. It enhances the user experience and should also be one of the primary search terms you hope to rank for. I’ve written extensively about cornerstone content already, so check out that post if you missed it.

I suggest doing a series of posts tied together on a landing page, such as I did with Copywriting 101. You’ll find this approach to be much more impressive to new visitors and the linkerati as well. This is important as we’ll see in a bit. Also, make sure you’ve written a strong “about” page before you launch.

Should you write the series before you go live? You can, but why not just turn the blog on and start posting on your own schedule? This gives you time to concurrently start working on Step 2.

2. Networking – Create Awareness and Form Relationships

You may or may not have contacts with other bloggers in your niche. If you do, let them know you’ve started blogging, and specifically point out your cornerstone series. If not, identify your competitors and blogs with related subject matter, and start leaving smart comments. Find these people on Twitter, follow them, and retweet their content. Eventually send over an email introducing yourself, but don’t ask for a link or pitch your content. You’re trying to start a relationship, not close the deal.

Also make sure you’ve got a clear picture of possible social media news outlets that are compatible with your topic. Don’t forget about traditional websites and email newsletter publishers too. You need to make sure you’re identifying potential promotional partners, but also keep in mind that if you annoy these people, you may never get another shot.

Do this while you build your cornerstone series, one post at a time. You may want to sprinkle in other posts that conversationally link to others in your niche to demonstrate your knowledge and your willingness to promote others.

3. Attraction – The Big Bang Comes Third, Not First

Now we come to the big bang—a single piece of content that is designed to get people linking and visiting in as large amounts as we can manage for our niche. It can be a PDF report, a quality Digg-bait article, an awesome video tutorial, or an industry resource that everyone in your niche will want to acknowledge. You’ll have figured out during the networking phase what approach has the best chance of succeeding, which is another reason for taking your time.

Why not simply launch the blog with your attraction content? You can, and several successful blogs have done so. But here’s why I advocate this three-step approach. Your attraction content should be about more than just getting attention. It should also be something that clearly demonstrates that your blog is worth reading on a regular basis. And to do that, you’ll want to point out your cornerstone content for reference, right?

For example, I started off Copyblogger by writing my introductory copywriting series, mixed in with other posts. Then I released Viral Copy, a thirty-page PDF on how copywriting skills can help you attract links and traffic. Viral Copy is a useful resource on its own, but it’s also designed to convince the reader that copywriting skills, and hence Copyblogger, are essential to building traffic.

Not sure what copywriting is all about? Viral Copy points people towards Copywriting 101. The cornerstone you set in the first step is now supporting (and promoting) you every step of the way.

A Blog Launch with a One-Two Punch

Taking this 3-step approach can lead to interesting outcomes. Naturally, having another prominent piece of killer content magnifies the value of your blog beyond the attraction content itself. But more than that, you end up not only pulling in links to your attraction content, but to your cornerstone content as well. And since your cornerstone content should be built around the most relevant keywords for your blog, those links will help you begin to rank well in the search engines and grow your audience further.

In my case, the links to Copywriting 101 continued to pour in months after the buzz over Viral Copy died down. Because I took the time to build a foundation for the blog before launching a promotional campaign, the attraction content did more than score links; it sold my blog and other content to other relevant bloggers.

This approach may seem counterintuitive, and it requires patience. For example, it was a full two months from starting Copyblogger to releasing Viral Copy. But if you’re in it for the long haul and really trying to create an authority site, this is a strategy that may work well for you.

For more on successful blog launches with exceptional content, check out these posts:

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and co-founder of Scribe. Get more from Brian on Twitter.

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Reader Comments (67)

  1. says

    This is a great resource – thank you!

    My blog launched about two months ago with some buzz but I think that your post here will really help to steer me in the right direction. Thanks again.

  2. says

    I subscribe to your RSS feed and always find your posts very informative. Along with this topic, I just launched a new website with 5 other librarians, called infodoodads. We launched the last week in February and already have 350+ subscribers. I think they key was 1) knowing the niche we were going to fill and 2) not being afraid to promote the site to listservs, other websites, etc.

  3. says

    Brian, have you tested putting your cornerstone content into graphic ads vs. the links you have now? I have some cornerstone content I need to post and thought if graphics work better than links I’d start with graphics first.

  4. says

    Brad, I’ve not tried that, although I think it might be highly effective. It just depends… some people tune out graphics that look like ads and yet seek out text links.

    You do get anchor text benefits from the way I do it, but you get more of that from cross-linking within posts, rather than in the sidebar.

    Give it a shot and let us know how it goes.

  5. says

    Great 3-step process! I love it when somebody writes a piece like this. I started my blog in May, and I thought I would have plenty of time to work out a WordPress theme that looked like it belonged to my website, and I would be writing for a year before picking up a few subscribers, but Matt McGee from SmallBusinessSEM.com picked up my first post and everything took off like a rocket!! I wasn’t prepared for that so I have been awkwardly stumbling along as a new blogger. I could have used this a month or two ago! :)

  6. says

    I think I’ve done one and two so far but not yet three.

    Number two – the networking – has been a fantastic way to build relationships and encourage a readership to my sites – I haven’t felt lonely once and I’ve only been blogging a couple of months, never mind a year.


  7. says

    Great step-by-step breakdown Brian. I think the initial phase of participating in conversations on other properties your niche is the most important step. It introduces you to the big players in your space. This way you have at least some credibility farther down the road and that spark of recognition can lead to a fast climb up the ladder.

  8. says

    We launched a new blog at blogstorm.co.uk just over a week ago and today made number 5 on the Alexa Movers & Shakers list.

    The key was having good content right from the outset.

  9. Saul says

    Great site – you have some really clear and useful advice. I will refer back to your blog as I get closer to launching mine.
    There is a conference called Postiecon coming up in Vegas soon. It is a bunch of pro-bloggers sharing their experience with the unexperienced bloggers.

    Keep up the great work,

  10. says

    Excellent article Brian.

    It sounds like it’s really not too late to take these steps even if you don’t do them immediately when you launch your blog. They can only help!

  11. says

    This is really a great resource. I’ve been reading Copyblogger for about a month and all I got was excellent tips. I’ve started my spanish SEO blog last March but just as an experiment, and it is now becoming a passion.
    Brian, thank you very much for articles like this one. They are really helpfull.

  12. says

    dugg, This was information that I needed to know. I have been redesigning my site and have decide to change the topic and focus of my blog. I have been blogging for a while so I expected to lose some visitors when I fully make the change. Now I have an idea on how to attract visitors that will be interested in my new niche. Thanks for the plan Brian. 😉

  13. says

    Brian, I really enjoyed the points that you brought up about blogging. However, if you don’t really enjoy the subject that you are blogging on the blogging is a real chore.

    God Bless!


  14. says

    These are the issues that I’ve just been struggling myself. Thanks for all the pointers! You really need to get the vision and organization done before you start the blog and keep it going.

  15. says

    Good points and great resources, Brian – thank you :o)

    I think what launch method you choose also depends on who you are, and who you know in the industry you’re launching in, and on what your blog is about.

    These are obvious points, but it’s important not misunderstand the correlation between purpose and type of launch.

    I guess what I mean is, that one shouldn’t think they HAVE to go in with a big bang, and hold off launching when a slow launch would do just as good, but would have allowed them to get active long ago… (that sounds a lot better in my head ;o)

    One other comment, I’ve recently launched my blog, and what’s astonishing is how many people online are so willing to help. There’s this unspoken ethic amongst bloggers of giving before receiving, and I think that is a very good philosophy to maintain – especially when first ‘diving’ in.

    Thanks again for the good post.

  16. says

    A very timely post Brian. I have just finished installing WordPress and adding the Copyblogger theme (You rock Chris Pearson) and now I have a very concise summary of the detail I have been reading over the last month or so.

    Top Bananna mate!


  17. says

    This is one of many posts from Copyblogger that has been very helpful in shaping our website, Boldly Going. We’re still getting started, but I think we’re on the right path to the “bang.” Thanks for sharing some great thoughts.

  18. chartreuse says

    good points.
    i also think that if you are going to launch a new blog you need to treat it like cereal.
    What makes my blog special? Is it sweet,good for you, or just a pretty box. Almost any approach can be successful but you have to subtley sell it everyday.
    There are tons of blogs to choose from, just look at the cereal isle.

  19. says

    Brian, thanks for such a great basics-with-a-twist article! I’m currently in the process of strengthening my blog and relaunching it after a time of less focused blogging, and these tips are fantastic!

  20. says

    This is excellent advice. I started my blog close to a month ago.

    Before I started networking, I created several useful posts so that people would not feel the blog was empty.

    I have to agree that leaving smart comments in other blogs generates great awareness. A couple of my posts were picked by large related sites such as Search Engine Watch and SEOmoz and that has made a huge difference in traffic and RSS subscribers.

    I still need to move to step three.

  21. says

    Fantastic advice!

    I am in the pre-launch stages for a new blog and this particular post, along with a number of your other posts more specific to actual content-creation, has really been pivotal in convincing me to take a step back, allocate a bit more time to planning and preparation and really do it right.


    Much peace,


  22. says

    I am glad I found your blog. This information is great and even though I started my blog a few months ago I am going to implement some of the steps I left out in the beginning.

  23. says

    This is a great resource, we have several clients who are joining the blog bandwagon & I think that this is a great piece for them to read so that they can really start their blog correctly. Great Job!!

  24. says

    Since signing up to NorthStarthinktank recently the level of resource recommemdation just gets better.

    This blog is clearly written just for people like me who have the enthusiasm for blogging, but not really the best strategies.

    Many thanks for some great content.


  25. says

    I have bookmarked this page for future reference, especially with the re-launch of my blog just around the corner.

    I currently lack some of the cornerstone content that keeps people coming back, and finding value in my writing.

    Off to write some now…

  26. says

    I love how a post written over 3 years ago still has just as much power as it did the day it written. That’s like 30 years in internet time :-)

    Good stuff.

  27. says

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m currently re-launching/re-starting/reinventing my blog. It’s slow going at the moment, which is frustrating, but with great resources like this, I have a better grasp on what I need to be doing.

    Thanks again!

  28. says

    Great article. I am just getting into blogging and I go to a weekly bloggers group. I find these tips useful for getting started.

    I have started to make some impact and gain readership so I will keep it up with some new tools to help my efforts.


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