How the New York Times Used the Opposite Effect to Win the Attention of the Internet
Four days ago on September 1st, the New York Times launched an article titled "When I'm Mistakenly Put on an Email Chain, Should I Hit 'Reply All' Asking to be Removed?." It was an interesting headline, but certainly nothing out of the ordinary.
Yet something about this article garnered it attention from all over the internet.
(See the image to the right.)
If you guessed that it was the urgent demand for an expert opinion on this niche topic, unfortunately, that's not the case.
What this New York Times writer, Daniel Victor, did was implement The Opposite Effect.
The Opposite Effect is a theory of mine that suggests when it comes to winning attention from your audience, look at your competitors, identify the one thing they all do the exact same and do the exact opposite.
If you haven't guessed it by now, his article was just one, powerful word. He answered the question. "No." That was it. Yet, when you consider all other articles and publications online, they include hundreds of words and flowing paragraphs.
This article? None of that. One word. On a draft-board, I'll bet many would have aimed to veto this idea. But here we are, talking about it.
Daniel Victor and the New York Times did the exact opposite of everyone else and because it was so revolutionary that an authoritative brand like the New York Times would dare to challenge the status quo as they did, it became the talk of the town.
I continue to urge industry leaders to challenge the everyday items you have become so accustomed to. If you really dare to turn the tables on your audience, they will have an uncontrollable urge to be the first to share it.