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Cosmopolitan’s Online Strategy

Amy Odell, editor of Cosmopolitan’s website, participated in an interesting interview with The Business of Fashion today. The entire exchange is worth checking out, but below are our favorite quotes.

On the importance of humor:

The first thing I wanted to change was the voice [of Cosmopolitan.com]. I wanted the voice to be stronger. I wanted people to go to the site because they wanted to read what we were saying and not just get there by accident. I said from the beginning it needs to be funny. It’s the Internet and people read things on the Internet that are funny. It’s the easiest way to build a following.

On straddling the line between sharable content and “click bait:

When I worked at BuzzFeed, I saw the power that social networks have and the mobilizing power the audience has, so we started just doing some simple things that can help make your post more sharable, like saying to yourself as you’re writing it, “Would I post this on my Facebook page?” That’s not to say that we are only click bait. I think there is a trend right now of sites gaming the viral system and I don’t want to be that.

On building strong relationships with other websites:

All of the successful web editors are very friendly and there isn’t the same competitiveness that print editors have. Can you imagine the editor-in-chief of Vogue and the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar getting together to swap ideas? If there was someone who was enemies with every other blogger, I guarantee you their site would fail.

On crafting editorial content:

You can think of news as what’s in The New York Times today or what’s inThe Wall Street Journal. What are today’s stories? It’s a one-dimensional way to think about it. Or you can start with that and then ask, what are people saying about this over here? And what kind of photos are people sharing on Tumblr about it? What’s the conversation on Twitter? What are people sharing on Facebook? If you look at the news in that way, it’s just a different way of thinking.

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