Page Hits, Days Online, Title – Doing Some PT Math

You may already know that I am writing for the magazine, Psychology Today, and have a blog on their website entitled, Persuade Me.  Beyond the fact that they’re actually paying me for this, they also provide page hit information on each post.  I’ve been doing this since June 4, 2009 and to date have created 17 posts.  I’d like to share with you a simple list of data that shows on each line the number of page hits, the number of days online, and the title of the post.

  1. 34       1    Persuasion Theory Explains GatesGate!
  2. 313     2    Persuasion on the Job Interview
  3. 285     5    Zeus, the Persuasion Kitten
  4. 285     6    Good Sunday Reading
  5. 1277   6    Selling Gratuitous Sex
  6. 231     9    Faith-Based Persuasion in Afghanistan
  7. 358   12    Good Sunday Reading on
  8. 786   13    Five Magic Words for Persuasion
  9. 640   18    Surviving the Narcissist Mother – Lessons from Fiction
  10. 394   19    Good Sunday Reading
  11. 278   19    Persuasion and Art: Dissonance and “Darkness at Noon”
  12. 325   26    Good Sunday Reading
  13. 353   26    WATTage
  14. 449   34    Persuasion in Love
  15. 396   37    “Why, Because” At Work – Doing the Play
  16. 603   40    “Why, Because” At Work
  17. 170   50    Green Is Good

The biggest hoot on the list, of course, is found on item 5.  The post, “Selling Gratuitous Sex,” has received 1,277 hits making it far and away the most popular post (786 hits is second place).  That post reported on a Journal of Consumer Research article by Dahl, Sengupta, and Vohs this summer.

The second most popular post, “Five Magic Words,” reported on an old influence study by Robert Cialdini published in the late 1970s.

Third and fourth place are a statistical tie with “Surviving the Narcissist Mother” coming it with 640 hits and “‘Why, Because’ At Work,” with 603 hits.  The post on the Narcissist Mother is a “cross-blog” post which means I was commenting on an article written by another PT blogger.  “Why, Because” is a post about the uses of attribution theory on the job.

Color me surprised, but I honestly didn’t expect the “Selling Sex” post to be that popular.  The research behind the article by Dahl et al. is very strong, but Psych Today is not a research resource, but a popular press outlet with a strong audience among college educated females.

Sex does sell.

Of course, there are other factors in the hit rate beyond the content and my skillful prose.  PT features blog posts – sometimes by computer rule and sometimes by editor choice – and that makes it easier for readers to find a post.  Perhaps Sex Sells! with editors or computers more than with readers?

This knowledge presents an interesting writing challenge.  Am I writing to get hits or am I writing to share knowledge I think is useful and interesting?  Sure, there can be overlap.  Hey, I find sex to be as useful and interesting as the next red blooded American male.  Just killing two birds with one stone on that post.  Really.

But, they pay me for hits.  Not a lot.  This isn’t NFL money or Malcolm Gladwell money.  But it is an obvious incentive and it appears I might be able to control it with liberal use of words like “sex” and “magic” and maybe “work” and “mother,” although that’s starting to get creepy, even for a red blooded American male.

Magic Persuasion for Sex and Mom on the Job:  Cialdini’s Reciprocity Cue!

Remember the Rules, Steve.  It’s About the Other Guy, Stupid, and All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere.

It’s not easy being a persuasion maven.  Or even a Persuasion Idiot.