Frank Sinatra rat pack

How The New York Times and Frank Sinatra grab readers’ attention

This content marketing tip is an excerpt from Pressboard’s Epic Guide to Content Marketing. The 50+ page guide features content advice from over a dozen of the World’s top storytellers including The Huffington Post, Forbes, Mashable, Refinery29 and many more.

The New York Times is well known for drawing in their loyal readers with high caliber writing and reporting. The Gray Lady has learned a thing or two about how to grab their reader’s attention over the last 150+ years. We asked Adam Aston, Vice President, Editorial Director for T Brand Studio at The New York Times how to craft an intriguing opening, otherwise know as a lede*. Here’s what he had to say;

“We take inspiration from the best journalism and feature work out there. Usually, short, clear and punchy wins out over ornate and flowery. And in the spirit of Gay Talese’s Esquire masterpiece, “Frank Sinatra has a Cold,” the best ledes manage to surprise, inform and spur curiosity all at once.”

If you didn’t already know about Gay Talese’s April 1966 article for Esquire magazine, don’t feel bad, neither did we. Turns out that it’s only one of the most famous pieces of magazine journalism ever written. The profile of Frank Sinatra is a seminal work of New Journalism and is still widely read, discussed and studied. Esquire has even declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.” Now you know.

*Bonus fun fact: In journalism the term “lede” was spelled differently so that it wouldn’t be confused with the metal lead (pronounced lehd), which was used in hot metal typesetting. Keep that one handy for your next dinner party or content brainstorm.

If you’re interested in even more epic content tips, stats and facts you can find them all in our Epic Guide to Content Marketing. It’s free and you can download it right now.

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