So yeah, the Daily Mail is now the world's most read online newspaper. If that gives you a "so what" moment consider what was left behind to reach that spot; top properties like the New York Times, The Guardian, The L.A. Times, and the Boston Globe, to name a few.
That's an impressive feat especially considering what the Daily Mail is.
What's The Daily Mail All About?
The Daily Mail is to news and newspapers what Cosmopolitan is to feminism and women literature. For our US readers: the Daily Mail is the text-version of Fox News, sorta.
That's what beat the New York Times and I can assure you much hand wringing will follow. Woe us, the Internets are making us dumb(er), "I'm above all this and don't even watch TV", and likely someone will yell "first!" somewhere. That kind of thing.
But — they did it. And that's what counts.
How Did They Do It?
First, their home page takes cues from the long sales letter. Their home page is long. I mean, it's huge. Just how huge is it, Ruud?
The Daily Mail home page is 22,000 pixels long. More than 5 times longer than the New York Times' measly 3900 pixels (amateurs!).
I tell you; if you go there now, there's no way you'll make it to end of the page without having clicked at least one headline. Yes, even those that are far beneath you… Go, I'll wait. <10 minutes later> See, that was scary, wasn't it? That's what a black hole feels like…
The long sales letter works and the Daily Mail's home page is proof of it.
Always Be Selling
Not counting the celebrity news headlines in the sidebar, the Daily Mail sports roughly 100 headlines on its front page. The New York Times has roughly as many.
What's different is how those stories are brought to market, how they are sold.
The Daily Mail uses 4 times as many words to sell copy as the New York Times.
To sell its copy, to get its clicks, the Daily Mail uses 7900 words; almost 80 words per story. The New York Times uses a sparse 1900: no more than 19 words per story.
HUGE headlines … Really?
Part of that long copy must come from the Daily Mail's long, run-on headlines. They're famous (infamous?) for their tabloid-style headlines.
30+ words run-on headlines are non uncommon at the Daily Mail online, but the (mean) average is 17 words.
Headlines at the New York times tend to run 11-13 words; 40% of Daily Mail headlines are 15 words or less. About a third are mini stories of 20 words and more.
But yeah, those are some headlines man.
Relentlessly Be Above It All
You can laugh at the Daily Mail, sneer it, look down upon its readers and vilify it in many other ways — some of which may be creative — but the fact of the matter is that they don't look down on their audience.
Neither should you. I know, you were there today for the first time. Or maybe the second time, counting that clickthrough you did from that post your friend shared on Facebook. But to get this many readers at least some of them have to be the highly educated, super intelligent people your site goes for. Right?
The Daily Mail is never "above" getting the click. They're not of the "TV? I don't even have a TV!" crowd. Heck no; they like Damon over Stefan, think Meredith should stop whining, and that Walter is doing awfully good for a regular with this much blood on his hands.
ps: Heba Hosny knows how to write those kind of descriptive headlines too. Stuff like 7 Easy Steps To Turn Your Twitter Account Into A SEO Magnet, From a Mess To Success! 5 Twitter Time Management Tips For The "Twittaholics", or 7 Awesome Twitter Content Curation Tips Inspired By Paper.li
If you want to learn more about writing good headlines, don't miss these: