Pete Cashmore started Mashable, the online news site, in 2005 and has built it into one of the most influential sites in the world. Mashable gets millions of unique monthly visitors, has ten million followers in social media and its content regularly tops the trending lists. These are the nine reasons behind the success of Mashable.
Don’t plan it, just do it
Pete Cashmore was passionate about the social media and the social networking tools. It was a personal interest that he spent a lot of time on and he just decided to go for it and start writing about it.
“I felt like social networking wasn’t being covered to the degree it could be. I didn’t necessarily know there was an audience for it. I find it best to dive right in and learn the hard way.”
Stay focused and consistent
It took more than a year before Mashable started making money but Pete Cashmore was very focused and was constantly working on the site with 20-hour work days being a norm.
“I blogged seven posts a day, and about a year in, I started getting ads on the blog. When I got a deal for $3,000 a month to put ads on the blog, it was massive for me”
Produce immersive content
Mashable is great at producing immersive posts. They make no assumptions about their visitors and they explain everything in simple terms keeping the newbie and beginner in mind.
“Figure out blogging, short-form writing. You have to write the story in three paragraphs. We like writers who can take complex ideas and explain them in simple terms”
Create irresistible headlines
Most of Mashable’s posts have very attractive, shareable and irresistible headlines. They frequently use top list or how to type of posts. They also use many “Alerts” and “Warnings” in their post headlines. Some examples:
- 3 Great Social Media Policies to Steal From
- HOW TO: Get Real-Time Traffic Reports on Your iPhone
- WARNING: New Facebook Malware Attack Is Spreading
Appeal to a mainstream audience
Even though Mashable was originally categorized as a tech news site, they have expanded their coverage to appeal to more mainstream audience. They now focus a lot on celebrities, big events and established brands in their posts, and use these current and popular topics to attract shares and page views.
Spit out content
Mashable publishes great amount of posts each and every day. Majority of posts are pretty short, but there is something for everyone in there and that is also a reason for you to come back to their site several times a day. This leads to more shares in social media, which leads to an increase in page views. Page views are a very valuable metric keeping in that that one of their main monetization methods is banner ads.
If you publish valuable, informative and entertaining content that your visitors enjoy, they will help you spread the word to their friends and networks. In order for them to do this Mashable makes it easy by including different social media share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin and Stumbleupon. There is a lot of focus on number of shares and the share stats for individual posts are showcased very prominently.
Make content more accessible
If you read some Mashable posts you will quickly see how they track down the source of information, they check out the original report, examine the original study and write a short summary of the most interesting points. They also present the most interesting facts in social media friendly ways by using quotes, graphs and images. This makes them are a great source of information, their visitors love the accessible posts and other publishers like to link to it. In fact other sites link to Mashable’s summary posts much more than to the original reports.
“There is original reporting and there is curation, which is just as hard, saying, “This is what’s out there, this is why it is important.” Both have their places, and it’s not a case of either or.”
Be present offline
Mashable regularly draws large crowds of fans for their social media and tech events in cities around the US. Offline events are not only an income source for Mashable but they also help create loyal fans of the brand as the site connects with people in the real life and gives them great experiences.
“A lot of the benefits from running events has been in terms of greater visibility for Mashable as a brand. We are connecting our audience to other members of the tech community, and people are going away and talking about Mashable.”
Mashable is a great example of how anyone can start a site with a simple idea and build an empire with some luck and lots of hard work, consistent dedication, passion, effort and creativity. You can do it too!