Content Marketing Coup: How Social Media Examiner Grew Its List 234%

Content Marketing Success Stories

Just two years after the launch of Social Media Examiner, founder Michael Stelzner has plenty to be proud of. He runs one of the world’s top business blogs, with an email list of more than 124,000 and growing, plus over 450,000 visitors per day.

He also recently published his latest book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, that details his strategy for developing new business initiatives.

This got us curious. We wanted to learn more about his approach, and share ways that you can apply it, so we spoke with Stelzner about his book, the success of his site and the importance of email in an effective content marketing strategy.

Get the Special Report, Hear the Interview

Get the Special Report

We combined three key lessons from the book with Stelzner’s list building strategy and our interview notes, to create an all-new, free special report.

Content Marketing Success Stories: Find Out How Social Media Examiner Grew Its Email List by 234% in One Year! is free to download and share, plus you’ll get Social Media Examiner’s 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

The special report explores:

  • Why your focus should be on quality content, not just marketing messages
  • How to attract and retain subscribers
  • Why confirmed opt-in is a must
  • Why your online community is a huge asset

You can also listen to my interview with Stelzner, where we discussed his methodology for cultivating large audiences, teaming up with other subject matter experts, capitalizing on social media and why email is still so vital to marketers.

Win an Autographed Copy of Launch

We love hearing what our customers are doing (and you don’t need to have a new book or top social media blog). What will you do differently with email in 2012 as part of your content marketing strategy? How are you building your email and social lists? The best commenter gets a free autographed copy of Stelzner’s book Launch.


  1. somesh

    1/9/2012 10:31 am

    Compile 3 best posts of the month and make an e-book. Send such e-books every month to your subscribers. This way subscribers can never miss out on important posts and they will also find such e-books handy which they can refer to from their Kindle, iPad or any other device for that matter.

  2. Sarah

    1/9/2012 11:17 am

    Thanks for this awesome interview, Crystal ! Mike definitely knows what he is talking about.
    I just decided to switch my list from Mailchimp to Aweber, main reason was the better open rates and the website pop-up ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I’m planning to grow my list with exactly these techniques (pop-up, FB integration, opt-in after each blog post etc).
    Thanks again

  3. Mitt Ray

    1/9/2012 10:18 pm

    Great Interview Crystal – I really loved it. I have learnt a lot today.

    I use Aweber for both my blogs and I do use the pop up feature – Like Michael mentioned it does increase sign ups and the “Display Once” feature that places a cookie in the browser is a lot better than the one that pops up every time you click on something.

    This year I will publish many more white papers and try to get many more signups for my newsletters. I will also use the blog broadcast feature and just leave an excerpt of the post with a link leading to my website as this can increase traffic to my website.

    Another thing I would like to do is place the sign up form at the end of every post to encourage people to sign up to my newsletter and receive a free white paper as a gift.

    Thanks again for the interview and the report. Looking forward to read it.


  4. WWM

    1/10/2012 4:44 am

    Great interview! SME is a great platform for Social Media news and updates and very helpful when it comes to answering questions about social media marketing. Kudos to them!

  5. linda farah dee

    1/10/2012 1:34 pm

    Being so simple as easy as thought, but it seem need more accurate to do so…Practice makes perfect only ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. savannah

    1/10/2012 2:55 pm

    I not good at writing content.i started building a email list and got confused and just stopped.hope to get back with it.

  7. Caroline

    1/12/2012 5:58 pm

    I am not a fan of pop-up boxes and have never used one to sign up for anything. However, this report is making me re-think this attitude and CONSIDER MAYBE using one. Thank you for messing with my head ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Erin Tillotson

    1/13/2012 11:34 pm

    I love the bonus incentive!! Offering even more value after they confirm is a win-win. They get more value we get commitment. That is extremely valuable! I’m definitely adding that golden nugget in ASAP.

    A lot of my social and email list building comes 1st from live events and networking (virtual events too!). Then I’m always looking for new valuable connections, not just connect with the world. While doing this I still truly value the connections I’ve made over the last 5 years. My business is social in every way I can!

    Let’s have 2012 be the year we all grow 234% ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Chuck Bartok

    1/16/2012 3:14 pm

    Always fine information shared. Mike has done a great job and shares the HOW TO always. Winning combo with Aweber

  10. Brittney Heath

    1/17/2012 11:57 am

    A Relationship with the customer is NUMERO UNO! WE make sure their needs are taken care of by asking them to send us questions, and getting them INVOLVED! The world right now is so fast paced, and the social network and communications, seem to be the ONLY way to reach our customers. We take a different approach and GET THEM INVOLVED, let them be the one who teaches us, then after we have established an addictive connection, we start sending them little bits and pieces of our products. We also start sending them BONUSES, just like everyone else, BUT the difference with us is, we put their name in the bonuses. We work constantly to make sure they are ACKNOWLEDGED every time. It takes a lot of work, but boy does it pay off! We gather our list using AWEBER, but also GOOD OLE FASHIONED face to face marketing, and creative searches online. I promise you, with our method, thanks to studying lots of great stuff from Aweber, and adding in our flavor, we are going to do it BIG in 2012 and into the furture!

  11. Poppie

    1/18/2012 2:03 am

    Wow! He was great! Thanks so much for that. I forgot about the pop up feature, but I do remember Brian Clark from Pro Blogger saying he nearly fell over when he saw the huge difference using it had made to the number of his opt-ins. Good stuff Crystal, thank you.

  12. michael

    1/25/2012 12:23 pm

    I am so new to all of this that my umbillical cord is still attached ๐Ÿ™‚
    Just started a blog on wordpress and because I am new to all this, I am listening to and reading material, like I have found here..which is great!
    Along with Aweber and other sites, I am finding that email marketing without spamming is the way to go. I wish to bring readers and authors to my blog, so that I have material and help in furthering my message.
    My mission is to learn all I can about using email to help get my message out there. Thanks to you and also Michael Stelzner!

  13. Brittney Heath

    1/26/2012 12:44 pm

    When will the winners be announced?

  14. Reggae

    1/28/2012 8:33 am

    Very good interview!! AWeber rules ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Crystal Gouldey

    2/6/2012 10:32 am

    The winners for the comment contest are Mitt Ray and Brittney Heath! Check your inboxes for an email from me and reply back with the required info.


  16. Dr.Spencer Jones

    9/18/2012 9:08 am

    Reading about success stories like Social Media Examiner, just encourages me to focus more on offering value to my blog readers. My online income blog is still in it’s starting stage but I am seeing some great results, mainly due to one key point – offering value to readers.

    I am trying my best to offer content for free that others will not want to give away. I am also making use of aweber’s blog broadcast functionality, subscription boxes at the top and bottom of every content and also the slide up footer subscription. But one thing I am not doing is pop up.

    I just checked the open and click rates and was really happy to find that instead of a drop in open and click rates on each new broadcast, I am infact seeing a better open and click percentage each better than the previous. I know it’s all because I focused on offering value than making a sale. And like Stelzner, I haven’t yet started selling to my list, all I am doing is adding value, which I hope will greatly help in the long run.

    Also stats of 60-70% subscribers just from popup box, just made me think again. Hopefully I’ll be adding pop up subscription option soon, as I am convinced with Social Media Examiner’s results.

    Dr.Spencer Jones

  17. John Lawon

    1/24/2014 11:52 am

    I think the approach of Michael Stelzner and the Social Media Examiner is quite similar, when started, than of huffingtonpost: to have influential people (mostly free) in your team.