Which articles convert?
And which articles attract?
And how do you roll out a strategy that maximises the twin impact of attraction and conversion? Hah, you can learn everything you need by just scanning a New Yorker and Cosmopolitan.
Cosmo-type of articles are great for attraction. New Yorker type articles are great for conversion
That's right: If you have an article that sounds like something from the cover of Cosmopolitan or Men's Health, then you potentially get the following:
1) More tweets than non-Cosmopolitan like articles.
2) More people forwarding on Facebook and other social media sites.
3) More readers forwarding it to friends via email.
But why does a Cosmo-type article attract more attention?
Look at a Cosmo article (yes, I took it from their Web site): 77 S’ex Positions in 77 Days, 75 Crazy-Hot S’ex Moves, 10 Cheap Fun Date Ideas, 117 Style Ideas Already in your wardrobe.
Seriously…77 S’ex Position in 77 days?
I mean that's a lot of daily practice—but it doesn't matter, as you can tell.
We humans find it impossible to walk past anything that gives us seven, seventeen, or seven hundred ways to do or achieve something. So we're greedy. That helps the attraction factor. Cosmo-type headlines are also kinda ideal in the sense we know it's going to be “light reading”.
We like “light reading”. Which is why gossip magazines do so well too. And just in case you think this is restricted just to Cosmo, it's not—Men's Health-How to get rock-hard abs; 101 Must-Haves for your PC.
The reason it creates a lot of traffic because most of us are suckers for endless ways to do something.
We love those numbers, and mostly the articles are just bullet points stacked up against each other that go on forever. And some times there's some meat to the bullet points, but it's mostly just points. This of course gives you the feeling that you're learning something—and you are—but there's no depth to the knowledge.
Guess what: It doesn't matter!
If you have enough articles that run in a sort of Cosmopolitan style of headlines and body copy, you will get the same results that Cosmo has gotten for decades on end. And what are those results? Very good indeed. And that's great attraction. But what's good for conversion?
In-Depth (New Yorker type articles) are outstanding for conversion
If you read an article that drives home a specific point, you impress the heck out of your reader. And that impression is so powerful that the reader is compelled to investigate further. The investigation then leads to more in-depth articles and then it's almost impossible for the reader to ignore your subscribe button.
And this doesn't just apply to articles, but to video and audio as well
An in-depth piece in text, audio or video sucks you in. The more time you spend reading, listening or watching something, the more you're keen to follow up with the source. But make no mistake.
We're not necessarily advocating length of the content, but rather depth of the content. Detail and analysis is what we're talking about. Detail and analysis that empowers me a lot more than skinny bullet points. When this detail shows up in your audio, video or text, you will see a difference in the conversion rates.
So what's a good strategy to have?
It depends on you, of course. Some blogs/newspapers are almost always driven by Cosmopolitan style headlines and copy. And some are driven by the New Yorker style. So which one would you use? I did say it depends on you, but I'd recommend you use both. And the way to use a sprinkling of both as a matter of strategy will not only attract a larger number of clients, but also gets you greater conversion.
And there's more….
You could interlink articles, so that a Cosmo-like article leads to a New Yorker type article. It's a strategic push when someone reaches your Web site or blog. You're driving them from light material to deeper, more detailed content. And here's where you really shine. Here's where you really show your expertise.
But do you have to follow this strategy?
If you look at Cosmo, Men's Health and all of those magazines on the newsstand, you'll find that they mix it up a bit for a reason. It's all very fine to have light articles and bullet points coming out of your ears, but light articles can rarely stand alone. Think about it: Even Playboy has in-depth articles once you get past the “attraction” stage. So yeah, it's worked offline for years and it will work online just as well. And now that you've noticed it, you too can implement it into your article-writing and publishing strategy.
If you want the attraction: Go Cosmo.
If you want the conversion: Go New Yorker.
It's a pretty good strategy. Now use it.
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Jef Menguin says
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This will definitely help in writing my next articles.
For a second I thought you ripped this off of Copyblogger, than I noticed that YOU wrote the article for Copyblogger. Very nice – I guess the fact that I remembered it so well proves that this is useful and awesome advice (which was my original impression when I first read it too).