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This Side Project for “Lazy” People Has Over 40,000 Backlinks

40,400 Backlinks / 1,860 Referring Domains

If Detailed isn’t your first introducing to my writing, you may be familiar with Gaps, where I once did a challenge to build a profitable startup in 28 days.

In my article revealing the niche I was tackling, I went into quite a lot of detail on the topic of ‘condensed learning‘ and the companies that were making a lot of money from it.

Today’s example – (the DR stands for “Didn’t read”) – gives you something else in a more consensed format: The Terms of Service forms you agree to when you sign-up to popular websites.

While this side-project has no doubt succeeded because it provides a genuinely useful offering, in my last link I’ve shown they’re not the only site to have became hugely successful from condensing longer information.

  • Philosophers Notes condenses the best business books and reaches millions of people per month
  • BBC’s two-minute daily podcast recapping the news is one of their most popular
  • Blinkist is generating millions of dollars by making it easier for people to get the main points of a book
  • Youtube channels around animated book summaries are exploding in popularity

What is often produced in long-form content that you could condense for other people?

Books are a bit of a saturated market, and we know Terms of Service’s aren’t an option either.

I truly expect you to have better ideas than me of other ways to implement this, but a few thoughts off the top of my head:

  • 5-minute summaries of the best podcasts in your space (that typically go on for one hour or more)
  • 300 word briefs of the best political articles (e.g. New York Times 5,000+ word articles, summarised)
  • The key points of the best free eBooks in your niche
  • Rate restaurants by the first sentence of every single critics’ review

This one is a little more tricky for me as I remember struggling with it back when I started the case study. Funnily, my own version of summarising content proved to be a little too popular.

Hopefully in the niche you’re working in there’s some ‘obvious’ long-form content (whether that’s text, audio or video) that you think your audience would love to see produced in a more digestible way.

If so, you may be on to something special.

A Simple Reddit ‘Trick’ for When You Need Content Marketing Inspiration

The Power of Reddit

I’m slightly hesitant to write this article for two reasons. The first is that if you already know the ‘trick’, today’s update may feel a bit disappointing.

The second reason is because I have to admit that some days I have absolutely no idea what content to write for my own sites or my client sites that might get people talking.

To combat the first point, let me share another tip that you might not know about. If you add a ‘+’ to the end of a link you can see how many clicks it received. I still find them being used a lot on Youtube and Twitter and I’m always curious how big and active someone’s reach really is.

For example, New York Times World (@nytimesworld) has a link in their Twitter bio. If we add a ‘+’ to the end we get this, which shows that their profile link has been clicked over 17,000 times in October alone.

Getting back on topic…

Yesterday I was struggling to come up with some good content ideas in the automotive niche, and going through my usual tools of Ahrefs and BuzzSumo didn’t really give me much inspiration.

Fortunately, Reddit quickly came to the rescue. Or more specifically, Reddit’s ability to show you the most shared content from any domain, in any sub-Reddit.

As I was looking for inspiration in the automotive niche, I decided to check the top posts from Car (I once interviewed their founder).

All I did was go to and then I could instantly see the most shared posts from their site in any sub-Reddit.

To take it a step further, you can click on ‘Top’ and then ‘All Time’ to rank them by popularity. If you would like the URL, it looks like this:

You can do this for literally any website and likely find some good content inspiration (unless the site is really new).

This little trick is also useful for finding sub-Reddit’s that might be interested in your content as well if you’re looking for more traffic.

Sorry if this wasn’t new to you, but I really hope you enjoy it if it was.

Either way, Happy Halloween!

The Power of Literally Asking People to Judge a Book by its Cover

11,100 Facebook Likes / 193 Referring Domains

I had to place today’s case study in the ‘Favorites’ category as there are just so many possible applications of this idea.

Play Judgey allows you to do what your teachers and parents advised against: Literally judge a book by its cover.

With a sliding scale star-rating system, you’re presented with the cover of a book and have to see how close you can get that to the overall ratings of the actual book contents.

At first I didn’t really get the concept. I thought I was judging the cover of a book rather than the book itself.

Then when I started to play I realised why this game has become so viral: You are seeing whether you can predict whether the topic of the book resonated with its readers.

It’s actually quite addictive, and it also opens the doors to a lot of similar ideas.

Some other applications of this I could see working well include:

  • Showing a picture of a car and guessing its top speed
  • Showing a picture of a celebrity and guessing their age
  • Showing a DVD cover and guessing the IMDB rating of the movie
  • Showing a picture of a painting and guessing if it’s from a child or a professional artist

I realise I may be a little cruel with that last one but I think that’s something that could definitely go viral.

While I accept my suggestions slightly miss the point of the original idea, I think a fun twist on this concept would be to not focus on comparing your answers to the real answer, but to compare your guess to everyone else’s guesses.

That way you can either try to predict what other people would have entered, or just submit your true feelings and see how close you were to the average.

The Best Newsletter I’ve Seen in a Really Long Time

7,900 'Claps' on Medium

Today my friend Jesse shared on Twitter one of the best newsletters I’ve seen in a really long-time. The site barely has 30 words on it yet I signed-up instantly.

While his recommendation no doubt holds a lot of weight to me, I honestly believe I would have signed up just as fast without it.

The site is barely 100 words but their focus is clear: They’ll show you before and after case studies of how some of the world’s biggest websites could look with just a few simple UI changes.

The graphic on the homepage (shown above) really sold me on the concept.

What’s really smart is that their newsletter updates send you straight to Medium, which tends to boost post which pick up external traffic, helping the Refactoring UI developers reach more of the tens of millions of people who find themselves on Medium each month.

Here’s the first article they’ll send you after joining which went viral on Medium.

Not long ago I shared one the best articles I’ve read in a whole – primarily because it broke down concepts in a really smart way – and this almost seems to be the newsletter equivalent of that.

I already know how powerful offering reviews and feedback are (I’ve raised over $2,500 for charity with mine) but I never thought of turning those reviews into documented guides that anyone can follow and learn from.

I didn’t sign-up to the newsletter to become some kind of design god that can charge clients thousands of dollars (I would hate to offer web design as a service) but instead to pick up simple tips to improve my own website.

Is there some angle in here that you could use to offer your own readers?

If you have a running blog, could you analyse people’s running styles on video and recommend changes?

If you’re a top photographer, could you offer critiques of how people could have framed or composed their shots better?

If you’re a great copywriter, could you break down some of the best articles in any niche and show how they could have been ‘tidied up’?

The most popular posts on Detailed tend to be the ones that make me the most excited to replicate them for my own projects, so I hope you have a few sparks firing in your brain over the weekend, because I know I’m going to be taking action with this one.

P.S. We’ve just had our plugin approved by WordPress (after two disapprovals) so I’m happy to say that Gaps will be coming back really soon. Thank you for your patience!

Collect 10X More Emails and Empower Your Subscribers with a Private Challenge

2,100 Facebook Likes / 149 Referring Domains

No matter what you think of ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’ founder Ramit Sethi, there’s no denying that he knows how to create content that get people talking.

I could probably write 10 different Detailed updates from his blog alone, but today I want to focus on an ingenius idea he had for a squeeze page: A challenge for his readers to save $1,000 in the next week.

As you probably know, email subscribers are incredibly valuable to have (that’s why every site asks for your email address) and starting a challenge with your audience is a great opportunity to help grow them.

I have a feeling that Ramit’s challenge is completely automated these days since it’s ‘starting’ in three days yet has been around forever, but that doesn’t take away from the concept. In fact, it probably makes it more enticing as it’s something you can keep running continously.

While the page has picked up a respectable number of links and likes, I’m sure Ramit is more concerned with how many people it brings into his community and how empowering them with such a relevant concept is a sure-fire way to make people stick around.

What’s something you could challenge your audience to achieve in one week or one month?

Lose 10 lbs? Write 10 words per minute quicker? Bench press 30lbs more? Land their dream job interview? Get a raise?

Whatever your answer, instead of turning your advice into a blog post, why not map out a week of email updates that give people concrete, step-by-step tips they can use to make it happen.

If you use an email marketing service like Drip or ConvertKit, you can also automate the entire thing so every week (or month) the challenge ‘starts again’ for a whole new batch of readers.

I really like the idea behind this one so don’t be surprised to see me starting an SEO or content marketing challenge pretty soon 😉

Why Your Links Should Never Say “Click Here”

472 LinkedIn Shares, 129 Referring Domains

I think this is the first time in the history of Detailed updates where I have used the same headline for my article as the case study that I’m discussing.

When I first read the headline I thought “This guy is trying too hard to be controversial” but when I dug deeper, the author – Anthony – actually makes a number of great points in his few hundred word article.

Though the post was published back in 2012, it’s still picking up links today, primarily because it still challenges a common habit that we all have.

And that’s really the key to today’s case study: Can you point out something that a lot of people in your industry do that they probably shouldn’t be doing?

Don’t just try to point something out that couldn’t be improved, but if you constantly find people making the same “mistake” over and over again, it could become the basis for an article that gets people talking.

To give a few examples of how this could be used:

  • Why You Should Never Start Keyword Research With Software
  • Why You Should Never Learn a Language By Purchasing a Dictionary
  • Why Teenage Sprinters Should Never Use Starting Blocks
  • Why You Should Never Tour a Country by Following a Travel Guidebook
  • Why Beginner Programmers Should Never Start with C++

Again, you really have to believe in what you’re saying rather than just saying it for the sake of controversy, but I’m sure you hold an unpopular belief that most people in your space wouldn’t agree with (at least on the surface).

Who knows, maybe you’ll even truly educate people with your content. I know I won’t just be writing ‘click here’ in my links anytime soon.

How 377 Words and 5 Images Resulted in 1.6 Million Facebook Likes

1.6 Million Facebook Likes

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but it’s not the images in today’s case study – no matter how critical they were to the success of the piece – that I’m concerned about.

While the article in question was useful – How to Get Rid of a Headache in 5 Minutes Without Pills – I’m much more interested in the headline formula to go with it.

The structure is simple: You tell people how to achieve something important to them, and then you take away the most commonly expected answer to making it happen.

Let me give you a few examples earlier on in an update than normal to clarfiy what I’m talking about.

  • How to Improve Your Soccer Skills, Without Touching a Football
  • How to Bench Press More, Without Hitting the Gym
  • How to Become Fluent in French, Without Visiting France
  • Knock 10 Seconds Off Your 800m Time Without a Running Coach

While the article was helped by the fact that it’s on one of those ‘viral-news’ style sites that seem to go viral with any old update, I still think the headline formula is powerful enough that it can be used in even the most professional of applications.

Remember, the key is to offer the promise of something and then removing the most common solution that people would instantly think of in their head.

Doing that alone can get people to click on the headline of your article and share it with others.

Of course, as with any “headline formula” I share here on Detailed, be sure to back up the headline with actual useful information relating to your promise. Don’t claim you can improve someone’s French without them visiting France if you don’t actually have any tips or data to back up your claim.

Hey Designer Shows How Even The Simplest Ideas Can Pick Up Links

966 Backlinks

Though I’ve shared a number of content curation success stories on this site, it still surprises me how well it can work.

Hey Designer put together a separate blog-like page on their website which simply curates the best resources related to Flexbox — a framework for web designers.

Despite its simplicity, the page has picked up 966 links from some of the biggest sites in their niche like, and even the official site,

If you’re in a niche that is saturated with content on the same topic, this could be your chance to not only add value, but stand out in your space as well.

The best part is that you can reach out to everyone you’ve linked to and let them know about the page as well.

Some other examples of how you could replicate this idea include:

  • A curated collection of the best keyword research resources (SEO)
  • A curated collection of the best guides on where to go in Japan (Travel / Tourism)
  • A curated collection of the best homebrewing beer guides (Drink / Lifestyle)
  • A curated collection of the best curated collections (Internet Marketing)

OK I’m joking with the last one. Maybe.

Keep the design clean and simple and be sure to include a solid number of sources so that your offering has more value and you have a greater number of webmasters to tell about it.

Detailed 3.0: A Slightly New Approach Starting From Next Week

I'm Getting There...Eventually

They say that if you aren’t making mistakes, you probably aren’t pushing yourself hard enough.

It’s fair to say that I’ve made a few mistakes in the short history that has been online. While I would have liked to have launched this site with the perfect ‘approach’ in mind, this daily project of mine has involved an absolutely huge learning curve.

You may know that Detailed started with the aim to become a daily blog and podcast on content marketing case studies that I constantly find each day. Even though there are now over 125 successful examples on this site, my spreadsheet of things to write about still has more than 300 rows in it.

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MacRumors’ Buyers Guide Has More Links Than Their Homepage for a Clever Reason

90,000 Backlinks / 3,830 Referring Domains

At first glance, the buyers guide on the popular Mac Rumors website looks like any other product review / recommendation page.

Yet, if you take the time to read the small print on their website, you’ll see it has an interesting twist: They tell you when the best times are to purchase (or ignore) Apple products.

I’ve never seen another site adopt this approach before and think it’s really interesting.

If you run a technology site or even an Amazon affiliate site (which are tough to build links to) then this could be the angle you’ve been waiting for.

How to Delight Your Audience By Telling Them to Give Up

61,000 'Claps' on Medium

I don’t mean this in some backwards way that you become successful because you no longer have any goals.

I mean literally giving up all of the distractions that stop you focusing on what you need to get done in order to become the best in your space at anything.

Today’s update was inspired by a Medium post which received over 61,000 claps (their version of Likes) and is the sixth most shared post on the website. Ever.

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The Ingenious Way This Bicycle eCom Store Got People Talking

Picking Up Links in Tough Industries

I’ll be honest: Today’s case study isn’t going to blow you away with how many links or social shares it picked up.

In fact, the example I’m about to share with you “only” picked up 67 links from 10 different websites, which is possibly the least successful piece of content marketing I’ve ever shared here.

That said, those 60 links were from some powerful and highly-relevant sites, and it’s never easy to get links to internal pages on an eCommerce store like they did.

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How to Combine This Idea + Your Niche to Pick Up Thousands of Backlinks

4,370 Backlinks / 1,450 Referring Domains

As you’ve likely seen time and time again with my updates here at Detailed, some of the most successful content marketing case studies are incredibly simple.

That rule rings true with todays example from, who provide a tool that gives you suggestions on which fonts go well with any other font that you input.

If you don’t trust your own creative eye when it comes to web design, Canva help make sure your site has a clean look throughout.

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