If you’re a regular reader of online news sources like the Daily Mail you’re probably familiar with the firestorm that erupted over an April 2 (2012) column from Samantha Brick that appeared on the Mail Online website. In the column Brick opined about how tough it was to be an attractive woman. She claimed that men fall all over her because of her alleged good looks while other women seem to hate her just because she’s beautiful.
Now, I won’t weigh in on whether I think Ms. Brick is truly attractive – beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. But I will say this: I think she pulled one over on the UK online community in a brilliant move that has already generated more than 5,000 reader comments. As you know, the column elicited tons of vitriolic responses from those who are convinced Brick is both ugly and conceited. But the number of hits of the story received is an all-time high for the author as far as I can tell. Her follow-up column was equally popular as she defended her first writing.
To all of you who produce Web content for living, let me ask a question. When you boil down your work to its most basic elements, what are you trying to accomplish?
All of us are trying to drive traffic to our websites in order to generate advertising dollars for clients. The Mail Online has its own advertisers that smile from ear to ear when readership goes up. Any piece of content that can drive so many people to a single column translates into a captive audience for all sorts of advertisements. This particular column from Samantha Brick is a potential gold mine for any advertisers connected with it. Whether you agree with Brick’s high opinion of herself or not, she did what she’s paid to do.
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That said, many of us write anonymously for websites not nearly as popular as Mail Online. Nonetheless, it doesn’t prevent us from using our topics wisely to create content that will generate a buzz. Certainly it’s not an easy thing to do, that’s for sure. It takes a little bit of skill and practice to learn how to effectively write and generate a buzz without being offensive. Those who are really good at can do a very good job for their clients. Those who aren’t have to use other tactics in place of it.
At the end of the day I applaud Samantha Brick and Mail Online for a publishing coup. In the meantime I’ll continue to write my own content with the hope and expectation that I will meet my client’s objectives. You’ll probably never see a column from me on how handsome and debonair I am, which is okay, because you probably wouldn’t believe it anyway. But when I do get the opportunity to generate some buzz by bringing up a somewhat controversial topic you bet I will.
Just one example before I leave off.
I write a regular series of articles on the foreclosure market in the United States. Unfortunately, the vast majority of my fellow countrymen are terribly ignorant about the realities of the U.S. housing market and what caused the crash of 2008. So I relish the thought of writing these articles because it gives me the opportunity to set the record straight.
I can pretty much guarantee you that those who read what I write probably disagree with me because the American media has been lying about the situation for so long. But if it drives readers to the client’s website, I’ve done my job. In the meantime I’ve enjoyed being able to write about a topic that genuinely interests me.