The established script of most men’s publications is “how to get bigger biceps and six-pack abs” or “how to understand women.” Media and marketers have long ignored producing thoughtful, deep and truly valuable content for men, and played instead to the shallow, male/macho stereotypes of male sexuality, physicality or competitiveness.
Enter the online magazine Art of Manliness.
The Art of Manliness features articles on helping men be better husbands, better fathers, and better men. While they play to a historical sense of manliness—handlebar mustaches, turn-of-the-century illustrations; the Art of Manliness is decidedly for the modern man.
In their search to uncover the lost art of manliness, husband-and-wife team Brett and Kate McKay look to the past to find examples of manliness in action. “We’ll analyze the lives of great men who knew what it meant to ‘man up’ and hopefully learn from them.” They also post articles about the skills, manners, and principles that every man should know.
The website began back in 2008 when Brett was still in law school. “The inspiration for the site came while I was browsing magazine covers in the Men's lifestyle section at Borders,” recalls Brett on his inspiration to start the website, “I was just tired of the men's lifestyle content being put out. My goal with AoM is to create the substantive, useful, and approachable content that I've always wanted to read in a men's magazine.”
So Brett decided to start the men's magazine that he always wanted to read. On a shoestring, Brett bought the website domain for $10, learned some CSS and HTML and launched Art of Manliness in January 2008.
Soon, the word started to spread like wildfire across the social web. The site is now receives 6 million page views a month, and has over 135,000 daily RSS and email subscribers.
The Art of Manliness attracts men (and their fans) of all ages, but has struck a cord with an audience of young, college-aged men (M18-24) attracting them with useful content like study tips, dating advice, career advice, style advice, and how to live a manly life, on a budget.
“We write top-notch, thorough posts,” Brett describes how they deliver the quality, deep content of the site, “While many big blogs will crank out five 500 word fluff pieces, we publish just one well-researched and substantive post a day. We try to be as helpful as possible in our posts. When people send you letters telling you how your site has changed their life for the better, you know you're doing something right.”
The content for Art of Manliness is written by Brett and Kate, “We pretty much team write most of the content on the site. One of us will start something off and hand it off to the other to provide their input. It goes back and forth like that until we get a finished product.” They also add articles from authors like Antonio Centeno who is a custom suit tailor and writes most of the site’s style content, and Darren Bush who runs an outdoors store and canoe guide business.
In addition to the website, they’ve published two books based off the Art of Manliness theme. The first, The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man, was published in 2009; the second, The Art of Manliness Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom and Advice on Living the 7 Manly Virtues was published in 2011.
“Our goal is help men, no matter where they are in life, to become better men,” says Brett, “That's what drives us every day.”
And, here is Brett on stage at our good friend Mario's IdeaMensch Road Trip telling his story: