Which articles attract reader attention, bringing you more traffic, more tweets and Stumbles, more eyeballs on the page?
Which articles convert, bringing you more subscribers and sales?
And how do you roll out a strategy that maximizes the twin impact of attraction and conversion?
Head to your local newsstand. The best attraction and conversion techniques are hidden between the pages of two very different magazines: Cosmopolitan and The New Yorker.
Cosmopolitan articles attract
Why does a Cosmo-type article attract more attention?
- 77 Sex Positions in 77 Days
- 75 Crazy-Hot Sex Moves
- 10 Cheap Fun Date Ideas
- 117 Style Ideas Already in Your Wardrobe
Seriously … 77 sex positions in 77 days?
That’s a lot of daily practice — but the sex isn’t what’s actually attracting readers.
We find it impossible to walk past anything that gives us seven, seventeen, or seven hundred ways to do or achieve something. We’re greedy, and we’re attracted to articles that feed our lust for excess — even excess information.
Most of us are suckers for list posts.
Mostly the articles are just bullet points stacked up against each other that go on forever. Sometimes there’s some meat to the bullet points, but often (especially in Cosmo) it’s 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.
Cosmo-type articles are light reading. And we like light reading.
Gossip magazines sell like hotcakes for a reason. And just in case you’re thinking attraction is strictly a women’s-interest magazine strategy, you’ll find men’s magazines do it too.
Men’s Health and Money always includes light-reading articles on their covers like “How to Get Rock-Hard Abs” and “7 Secrets to a Richer Retirement.”
In fact, for years Men’s Health ran essentially the same four covers over and over again. They figured out the headlines and formats that were most effective and they just kept running the same ones.
Add light reading and a huge list together and what do you get? The promise of a lot of information without putting much work in to get it.
No wonder we find them so attractive.
Cosmo-style content gets retweeted, shared on Facebook, and sent around all the other social media channels more often, too — because everyone knows other people are attracted to this kind of format. And by sending it on, it makes the person who posted it seem more attractive by association.
If you create articles that offer Cosmopolitan-style headlines and light, easy-reading body copy, you will get the same results that Cosmo has gotten for decades on end. And those results are very good indeed. (That’s one reason Copyblogger has recommended Cosmo as a great resource for headline inspiration.)
New Yorker articles convert
The New Yorker produces in-depth, well-written articles that drive home a specific point.
When you write articles in that same style, you impress the heck out of your reader. They see you’re smart. They see you know what’s going on. And they see you can tell them something they don’t already know.
That impression is so powerful that the reader is compelled to investigate further to see what else you can tell them. The more in-depth articles they find, the more they think you’re a smart person to check in with often — and the harder it is for them to resist the Subscribe button.
This doesn’t just apply to text 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 keen you are to follow up with the source.
Those of you who have read the back-of-magazine articles at The New Yorker might be worried this means you have to write incredibly long articles. You don’t.
Being interesting is far more important than going on and on about a topic, and even The New Yorker has plenty of short pieces that still offer great insight.
For a New Yorker-type article, you need depth, detail, and analysis. Those three things empower your reader a lot more than Cosmo-style fluff.
Put more in-depth detail and analysis in your writing, and you’ll see your conversion rates skyrocket.
So which is the best strategy?
It depends on you, of course. Some blogs — just like some print publications — are driven almost entirely by Cosmopolitan-style headlines and copy. Others are driven by the New Yorker style.
But you don’t actually have to choose.
You’ll notice that even Cosmo includes at least one in-depth article per issue. And The New Yorker always has a couple short, lighter items up front. Heck, even Playboy made a name for in-depth articles and attention-getting pin-ups.
You can use both of these strategies at the same time. And you should.
A strategic mixture of both types of articles will not only attract a larger number of clients, but also get you greater conversion.
You can also interlink articles, so that a Cosmo-style short article leads to a more in-depth New Yorker-type article. Or a Cosmo-influenced headline can pull the reader into a piece with more depth than Cosmopolitan ever dreamed of.
In print, magazines normally separate the two styles. The front of the magazine has mostly short, light pieces; the back has longer, more in-depth pieces.
Online, you get to be more flexible. You can drive them from light material to deeper, more detailed content so they get a brilliant mix of both kinds of pieces (you’ll get great SEO benefits, too). They’ll be more attracted to you at the same time they’re inclined to convert and check in with you daily.
If you want to attract attention (that means more traffic, more readers, and more social media sharing), go with Cosmo-style articles. At a minimum, make sure you’ve crafted a drop-dead attention-grabbing headline.
If you want conversion (that means subscribers and paying customers), lean toward New Yorker-influenced articles, with plenty of depth, detail, and thoughtful analysis.
And if you want both, give your readers both. Copyblogger doesn’t settle for just one approach, so why should you?
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