Thursday, April 8, 2010

Exclusive: Is Nick Denton Into Crazed Sex Crimes?

The short answer is "yes."

Thanks for clicking over to find out why.

Nick Denton operates the very successful web sites, Gawker, Kotaku, Jalopnik and Deadspin. In an internal memo sent out by Denton, he reviews what is successful in high traffic blog posts at his sites. We have exclusively analyzed this memo and reached the following conclusions about what Denton thinks are the keys to becoming a great blogger.

1. It is okay to claim exclusivity of a non-exclusive story, psuedo-exclusivity drives traffic:

Denton writes:
The pseudo-exclusive. We can take ownership of a story even if it nisn't a strict exclusive. In case of both Tiger and Peaches, other sites (the porn star's site and Reddit, respectively) carried the original material. But we added context and packaged the stories up.(See Choire Sicha's piece on The Gawker Exclusive: How the Internet  Works, but I can't find it on the web.)

2. Question marks work for blog headlines:

Questions-as-headlines are a no-no in newspapers. On the web they work rather well. You set up the mystery -- and explain it after the link. Some analysis shows a good question brings twice the response of an emphatic exclamation mark at the end of much the same headline.

3. Sex - crimes are the best stories:
Scandal sells. Deadspin's outrageous Tiger texts and Gawker's Peaches pics both hit the top ten. And Kotaku's knife attack story was pretty dramatic. The staples of old yellow journalism are the staples of the new yellow journalism: sex; crime; and, even better, sex crime.
Remember how Pulitzer got his start:

4. Verbs:

Explainers. When remotely possible turn news into explanation Straight how-to and why stories -- such as Kotaku's excellent Farmville guide -- obviously resonate. But you can turn a news story into an explainer, as Lux did with the sexting scandals. And sometimes you can turn a mediocre news story into something that passes for instant reference simply by removing a verb. e.g. Mark Zuckerberg Teen Hacker instead Mark Zuckerberg Accused of Hacking Accounts.
Imagine you're writing a headline for a magazine (one with tightdeadlines) rather than a newspaper.
5. But, above all, make sure it's a good headline:
The stories that hit the Big Board in the office are usually pretty well packaged; but there are still so many that could make it and don't because the headline is too bloggy, too insidery, too clever,too complicated or too opaque.It's tragic: a few minutes of thought about the headline and a bit of maturity could save that story you just sweated over.

(Via the Village Voice)

No comments:

Post a Comment