on life, ambitions, and dreams


How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog by Using Ryan Gosling

Hey Girl meme, CrossFit edition

There was some pretty stellar content floating around the Internet last week, but perhaps the best thing I stumbled upon was CrossFit Ryan Gosling (full set on Facebook and on the co-creator’s blog).

Ryan Gosling, the Meme

“Hey Girl,” the meme, was originally started by Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling on tumblr, and made famous by Danielle Henderson’s Feminist Ryan Gosling. The blog was started as a joke to keep track of the theorists she is studying as she works towards her graduate degree in gender studies. The content has no affiliation to Ryan Gosling, the actor, and as with most things we encounter online, it doesn’t really matter because Henderson’s content is so damn entertaining.

Like all good memes, spin offs happen, and last week I ran into the most amazing rendition of the “Hey Girl” meme and that is CrossFit Ryan Gosling.

CrossFit Ryan Gosling was created (I believe) by Gabe Billings and Robin Runyan out of Eugene, Oregon and shared like mild wildfire on Facebook last week. You can view all 21 photos (so far) here.

Why CrossFit Ryan Gosling works: A Lesson in Marketing

The reason why Feminist Ryan Gosling worked so well and is (arguably) more famous than the original is because of a few reasons:

1) Know Your Audience

People who are “subject matter experts” of the target audience created Feminist Ryan Gosling and CrossFit Ryan Gosling who these pictures were created for. The person behind Feminist Ryan Gosling is studying gender issues; the people behind CrossFit Ryan Gosling is a CrossFitter. They wrote captions for people who are like them and about things that matter.

The fact that Ryan Gosling is featured is for entertainment only.

Takeaway: Know your audience intimately.

2) Find Your Niche and Stick to it

According to Know Your Meme, “Hey Girl” was created in December 2008 but made famous by Feminist Ryan Gosling when it came to the scene in the fall of 2011 and was featured on Ms. Magazine blog, The Huffington Post, GQ, Newsweek, Bust, and about a dozen more.

Why did Feminist Ryan Gosling do better than the original “Hey Girl” in such a short amount of time? Because Feminist Ryan Gosling had a very specific purpose: feminist flash cards.

Granted, I haven’t spent much time on the original site, but the name is telling – “Fuck Yeah!” doesn’t really tell me what your site and your content is about, whereas Feminist and CrossFit does.

Takeaway: When given the opportunity, specialize and become an expert over being a generalist.

3) Do it Because You Want to

The best part about Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling, Feminist Ryan Gosling, and CrossFit Ryan Gosling are that they are all fans – of the topics they parody at least. If you want to create some great content that will have some “stickiness” to it, you have to enjoy what you’re doing and come from a place of curiosity or heart.

CrossFit Ryan Gosling was created because someone at the creator’s gym came up with the idea and the set is what they all came up with. The creators are CrossFitter themselves. They’re not getting paid and they probably did it because they wanted to. And that’s what it’s all about.

Takeaway: You will create something noteworthy if you love the topic you’re creating first.

In Other Sunday Serial News

When you’re done lusting over Ryan Gosling, here are a few other articles for you to read:

What did you read this week?

Post updated on April 22, 2012 to reflect multiple authors and the official web “home” of CrossFit Ryan Gosling to be here. Thanks, Gabe and Robin for stopping by!

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  • Anonymous

    Not even sure how I came across this (aside from the fact that I heart Crossfit and Ryan Gosling), but I love how you tied this to a lesson in marketing and content strategy.  Your blog is great, too.  Despite having worked in digital and social media for over 10 years, I just started blogging some myself.  My interests vary quite a bit and I’ve agonized over if I should make it focused on just one of my passions (social media, fitness, glbt issues), of if I should just write about what I enjoy which will likely hit on all those things and more, combine them sometimes, etc..  Clearly that strategy has been working for you.  Nice to see.

    • Thank you for this comment, Brad, it seriously made my weekend.

      I’ve struggled a lot with what this blog should be about. It started because I wanted to start a blog but didn’t really know what about, and it’s turned into what you observed — a combination of things that I’m interested as observed from me. And really it’s a platform to keep writing, and share it. Something that’s way more interesting than just journaling alone in my office.

      If you want to blog because you want to write, pick a topic that interests you. Because if it doesn’t interest you, chances are it won’t interest your readers either.

      Thank you, Brad, glad Ryan Gosling helped you find my space 🙂

  • Web and blog traffic exchange sites are GREAT for free traffic to your blog. Sites like and are free to use and can get you tons of new people looking at your blog

    •  Why thank you, Jim, that’s really sweet advice.

  • Hey Girl, great post and both & are both examples that fit into reasons to meme RyGos.You’ll never not have readers with this stellar content!

    •  Hey Girl, I love it when you lead me to more RyGos

  • Gabe Billings

    You pretty much hit the nail on the head, there.  The Crossfit Ryan Gosling pics were fun more than anything else.  I’ve seen plenty of memes take off, but I never would have expected to be the driving force behind one of them. 

    • Thanks, Gabe! And I’m happy you and Robin found my blog. I read Robin’s blog post and your write up on the CrossFit forum and it sounds like this was something that a group of you decided to do one day — kind of awesome!

      Can’t wait to see more!

  • Robin Runyan

    I was one of the co-creators of this (Gabe has the visual skills; I have the word skills). I posted them to my blog as well (, but they’re so easily shared on facebook through the CrossFit community. It was fun to tie them into bigger things that were going on in the CrossFit world. I hear about them getting pinned on Pinterest too. Fun project!

    • You all did really well with CFRyGos! Thank you for the comment and the link to your blog – I’ve updated my post to include a link and changed all of the “he’s” to include more than one person.

      You all did a wonderful job tying them into the Open. I know when I saw the CFRyGos about 12.1 I almost keeled over in laughter.

      Thank you for creating these! Though I have a question for you, will you be making any more once regionals start? 🙂