On any given day, The Drudge Report drives more traffic to major news sites than Facebook or Twitter.
Think about that for a minute.
One man with a 14-year-old, one-page, static html website sends more traffic to the CNN, Yahoo, New York Times, LA Times, FOX News and USA Today websites than the nearly one billion users of Facebook and Twitter combined.
In driving traffic to those sites, Drudge is second only to Google. The journalistic world has accordingly beaten a path to Matt Drudge’s door, all seeking just one link from the Master.
How does he do it?
What if you could replicate even a fraction of that power?
Here’s a few lessons in content marketing I’ve taken from the man in the fedora …
Curation is critical
Drudge has been called the greatest wire editor on earth.
The ability to parse the fire hose of raw digital information and craft it into the stories that your audience wants — or needs — can ensure legendary success.
Becoming a trusted editorial source in addition to your original content can make you an indispensible expert in your field.
Send them away with links to the stuff they want, and they’ll come back — to you — again and again for more.
Master the art of the headline
If nobody clicks your headline, you don’t exist.
Drudge knows this and is one of the best headline writers in the business.
On average, only 2 out of 10 people will read beyond your headline. This brutal statistic can be improved by learning how to write useful, unique, urgent and ultra-specific headlines that make a promise your audience can’t turn away from.
Don’t let your first impression be your last chance.
Develop a singular voice
We are living in the age of auto-content. No, not stuff about cars, but content you’ve read and heard everywhere else.
Drudge — mainly through the use of linking and headlines — has created an unmistakable voice. His is a voice that cuts through the unrelenting waves of information crashing on us at all times.
Be funny. Be serious. Be dark. Be outrageous. Be yourself.
Whatever you do, don’t be boring.
Keep it dead simple
14 years ago Drudge cobbled together a plain, one-page website in basic html. It hasn’t changed.
Through all the amazing advances in web development — the widgets, the social software, the rise of apps — his “little” site has remained relatively untouched. His entire site is a single landing page.
You aren’t going to be able to get away with this approach today. This, however, doesn’t excuse you from keeping things simple and solid, and keeping your editorial eye on what’s truly important.
He set it up so that he could run it alone, no matter how big things got. Though he’s employed one or two people to help out through those years, he’s generally been able to do it all himself.
One man with a laptop has altered elections, bruised Presidents, and changed the face of one of the oldest businesses born of the industrial revolution.
Use the tools available to you, don’t let them use you.
Practice maniacal consistency
It seems as if Drudge doesn’t sleep.
No matter the day or hour, if something important (or weird) is happening in the world, he shows up and shows it to his audience.
Your content strategy probably doesn’t rely on the merciless nature of breaking news, but if you’re doing things right, your audience is absolutely relying on your advice and opinion.
Grab the AP news wire. Hit Google News. Read the classics and the latest books in your industry (especially the classics). Turn all of it into an undeniable stream of opinion and expertise.
Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up”.
If your business is worth doing, it’s worth doing. So do it.
Drudge started right where you are. Most likely, with less.
The Drudge Report began as a simple email newsletter to friends. He worked for minimum wage in the CBS gift shop. The content of his early newsletter consisted mainly of overheard hallway banter, cafeteria whispers, and discarded memos he’d cull from the trash.
It grew slowly, steadily. His audience was hungry for more.
He didn’t make a dime for years. Years.
Today, his estimated annual revenue is at least $1,000,000.00. And that’s only a rough estimate.
Ignore the myth of “overnight success”. Keep working.
Drudge lives in the penthouse of a very expensive hotel.
He doesn’t do interviews anymore. You’ll rarely see him walking the streets. He doesn’t return emails.
He’s utterly unavailable.
This runs counter to the popular contemporary advice to be everywhere, be open, be … transparent.
You won’t be able to pull off Drudge’s level of eccentricity (unless you pull off his level of success), but you can learn from it.
There is power in mystery.
Doing and showing less creates desire, if you do your thing well. Yes, I’m arguing that you not be everywhere, that you not show all of your cards, that you do your thing and then go away until your next unforgettable at bat.
Find the theatre in your business and exploit it.
And remember, there’s nothing more weird (or more difficult) than simply being yourself. If you happen to be a hard-working, idiosyncratic whack-job (like me), all the better.
I’d be willing to lay a bet that eccentricity is the secret to his success.
There’s too many buttoned-down, orthodox, pressed-suits in your industry anyway.
OK, let’s hear it …
Matt Drudge is a polarizing, fascinating, powerful character.
Love him or hate him, he’s utterly dominated his industry and shown the world what one person with a laptop and an old-school work ethic can do.
In fact, the evidence argues that he’s actually changed the world. Not many without serious political or star power can legitimately say the same.
How does any of this apply to your work, to your marketing?
Give me your best shot in the comments …
About the Author: Robert Bruce is VP of Marketing for Copyblogger Media, as well as its Resident Recluse.