As always, Gawker is a step ahead. Just as its blog redesign anticipated the transition of blogs from journals to publications, so its new editorial strategy anticipates the future of online media as one that mixes link-bait with hard news.
This kind of experiment-engaging, headline-obsessing, data-driven mindset is sorely needed in corporate communications. If you’ve ever worked in one of these shops, you know all too well that this is where ambition and adroitness go to die. “We’ve always done it this way” is the default response—er, rejection—to new ideas.
Specifically, corp comms privileges “news” over “fluff.” Of course, this is why so few people read their e-mails. Whether it’s an unexciting subject line that implicitly says “Open this or don’t—I don’t care,” or a lifeless intro that says, “This is important enough that it doesn’t need jazz,” the message they’re communicating is one of utter lack of respect for the reader.
If you care about engaging your employees, you don’t need to use impossibly cute teaser text, but you do need to market and package your products. You need to identify ways to connect that aren't sneaky but savvy.
Addendum (3/30/2012): Success!