Playboy announced last week that their print publication will no longer feature images of nude women beginning next March. The announcement raised a stir across media outlets and avid readers alike, many alluding to the common punchline:
“No one reads Playboy for the articles.”
But, is that really true?
No. In fact, their website saw a staggering increase in traffic after removing nude images in August 2014. It seems that people were more drawn to the site after ditching their signature nudes than they were before. But, why?
What Playboy, and so many others, are discovering is that an organic audience is deterred by overdone gimmicks. Audiences these days are driven by one thing: quality.
The magazine has always featured quality content: stories by top authors including Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury; interviews with top influencers including then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter; and more. Unfortunately, this content became overshadowed by the taboo of a nude magazine.
For technical communicators, content strategists, and marketing writers, it’s all too easy to develop a Playboy complex. We need to attract an external audience, so we develop a gimmick and commit. If we just make the content more engaging, more entertaining, we just might get people to pay attention. We get so committed, that it becomes our identity.
The trouble with gimmicks in this day and age is that audiences are able to find precisely what they’re looking for at the click of a mouse. By adding a shtick, we are deterring our desired audience and attracting a new audience who has no interest in our primary goal. That is, by trying to allure more readers, we do exactly the opposite.
We need to all take a page from Playboy’s book, step back, and strip down. Develop quality content first and foremost. If you build it, they will come.
About the Author
Greta Boller is a technical writer located in the Washington, D.C. area. For more information, please visit her bio page.