Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Making it easy for readers to feel smarter key to success of Mental Floss

The New York Observer has an interesting profile of the magazine Mental Floss that essentially says prosperity can come from telling readers interesting stories about interesting things they didn't realize they were interested in; off-beat rather than insidery; breaking all the rules. Co-founder Mangesh Hattikudur says "“Everything is still about trying to make you feel smarter, without feeling like it’s a chore.”
“This is going to sound kind of like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet, but I really think in some ways Mental Floss invented the culture of lists,” editor in chief Jessanne Collins crowed. 
The magazine, which tells stories that are easily converted to dinner party anecdotes, slowly developed a cult following, helped along by book deals with HarperCollins, board games and t-shirts.
Now publishing 10 times a year, the magazine started out in a dorm room conversation at Duke University in 2000, grew until today it has 160,000 circulation in print. It has a Youtube channel that recently hit a million subscribers. The publication was snapped up in 2011 by Felix Dennis, the (recently deceased) British magazine publisher.



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