These 5 Writers Won the First Copyblogger Essay Contest …

Image of The Copyblogger Essay Contest Winners Poster

250 words is not a lot of words.

It barely fits on a single sheet of paper.

So when you answer the question “Why is online authority essential?” you must be lean and creative.

Who among you did it best?

Picking the winners

Jerod and I worked our way through all 272 entries. If every submission was 250 words, that’s 68,000 words in fewer than four days … the equivalent of reading Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

But that hard work paid off because we discovered some outstanding answers for why online authority is essential.

The winning essays did it by answering the question with a crisp, meaningful story introduced by a compelling headline.

You’ll get to read each of the winners here on Copyblogger. We’ll publish the grand prizewinning essay on Friday December 20th, followed by the four remaining essays each Friday after that.

And speaking of winners, drumroll please …

Second Prize …

Nick Evans, Joe Pawlikowski, and Mark Wayland!

Each of these fine gentlemen will get a one-year membership to Authority and have their essays published on Copyblogger.

First Prize …

Abbey Dieteman!

Abbey wins a lifetime membership to Authority and will have her essay published on Copyblogger.

And the Grand Prize goes to …

Anthony Sills!

Anthony wins a ticket to our Authority Intensive conference, a lifetime membership to Authority, and will have his essay published on Copyblogger. Congratulations Anthony!

*Thank you to everyone who entered, for your time, your talent, and your hard-fought answers. This contest was a success because of you. When you get a chance, congratulate the winners in the comments below. And start sharpening your writing chops for next time!

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Reader Comments (69)

  1. says

    Holy moly! Talk about a good thing to wake up to! I can’t believe my humble little essay was picked.

    Really fun contest guys!

    Congrats to all the other winners also!

  2. says

    Fun and challenging contest guys. Congrats to the winners! Two hundred and fifty words isn’t much, but it really helps focus your writing. Can’t wait to read the winning entries.

    • says

      Congratulations, Abbey–First Prize! I’m excited to read your and the other winners’ essays! Aldo looking forward to getting in on the action come next contest!

  3. Lena Sinclaire says

    Congrats to the winners! It was a worthwhile challenge and those who won deserve our accolades! Cannot wait to read the essays though as this is the best way to grow as a writer

  4. says

    I know that judging any contest is very subjective, but with “only” a couple of hundred entries, I was thinking that it would sure be nice to have some feedback.

    • says

      Bruce, providing individual feedback was not possible, but we are planning to do a recap post (or possibly a Google Hangout … or both) once all of the entries have been posted where we will discuss why we chose the ones we did, plus some general observations made while going through them all.

  5. Lena Sinclaire says

    Also, if I may suggest an improvement for the future contests – as I certainly hope there will be future contests – to have a different system for submission of the entries. Nothing fancy. just a simple form that actually gives one some sort of a confirmation that the entry was received.

    • says

      Lena, this is good feedback. Thank you. We always look to improve, so I’m sure the next contest (and yes, we do plan to have more in the future) will have a number of improvements over this one.

    • says

      I’d like to second this recommendation. I’d never used Google Direct and the lack of a confirmation left me wondering if I’d done it correctly. Not a good feeling at 4:58 PST.

      • Lena Sinclaire says

        I was scratching my head as well. Even send one submission to myself to see if it’s working. Yet, now I know – well, sort of – how to use Google Direct :)

        • says

          Lena, there’s a way to add yourself as a recipient/ be notified when you upload your document to Drive and set the “share” settings. Maybe not as reassuring as a manual confirmation but you can at least see that the upload worked.

    • says

      I agree, Lena. I wasn’t sure, other than the fact it said “shared,” that it was actually received. It would also be nice to be able to see all of the submissions, either before or after the contest, so we can learn from others. Lots of great talent on this site.

  6. says

    Congratulations and well done to all the winners. Looking forward to reading the essays and the recap post.
    Submitting an entry to ‘professional scrutiny’ is an ego challenge, and a motivational thrill. Thanks for providing the opportunity for sweaty palms and a racing heart while hitting send. Blog posting now seem like child’s play.

  7. says

    I’m pleased to see that many entries – it’s good to know that people will still put in the time to write decent articles – after all, surely authority sites depend on well written information..

  8. says

    Congratulations to the winners! What great opportunities the prizes are. And as for the 250 word limit, it’s more difficult to write shorter pieces. The next contest should be Haiku!

  9. says

    Super-Duper congratulations to all the winners! Jerod Morris said that I could post my losing entry on my site after the contest was over if I didn’t win anything.

    So, if any of you are interested in reading what a losing essay looks like (Blahahaha) then head on over to:

  10. says

    Winners certainly are grinners. Well done to Nick, Joe, Abbey, and Anthony.

    But in reality “well done” to all the other 267 who gave it a go simply because you couldn’t have created a short 250 word essay without stretching your capabilities.

    Thanks also to Demian and Jerod for staging the contest.

  11. says

    Absolutely! Congratulations to the winners.

    The exercise was rewarding in itself. With every iteration of my entry, I could see yet another Copyblogger axiom that would make it better. Of course, after I hit the send button, I saw a half a dozen more.

    • says

      I agree with you, Lori.

      It was a very rewarding and challenging contest. It’s funny how all the Copyblogger axioms keep coming up, especially after you hit the send button…

      Congrats to all the winners! I’m really looking forward to reading your work.


  12. says

    Great to hear about the winners and sad about not making it to the top. Look forward to read the winning entries and learn from them.

    Thank you Copyblogger for such a nice contest to participate, learn and improve.

  13. says

    Congratulations to all the winners. I am totally looking forward to reading the winning essays and to continue sharpening those writing skills. I am glad to have participated anyway.

  14. says

    Congratulations to all the winners!

    On that note… is anybody interested in publishing a free non-top 5 guest post on Authority? :)

    Looks like there are ~270 Guest Posts we can continue to collaborate on together, another fun side-effect of this competition! mwhaha!

  15. says

    Congratulations to all the winners! I hope you’re ready for the traffic coming your way. :)

    Thanks to Jerod, Demian and the rest of the fine folks here, for the chance to sharpen our writing. Crafting an effective 250-word essay is hard to do. I’m looking forward to reading the winning entries, and learning what it takes to make the Copyblogger cut.

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