Cheesecake Photos

Do they come for the pictures or the words?

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

Decades ago before pornography was a ubiquitous reality in current-day society, men used to buy Playboy Magazine and stash it where the kids and wife couldn't find it. And when somebody inevitably did, the guy would claim he bought the magazine to read the stories — and not to ogle the photos! A hilarious concept to be sure — which I discovered from my own experience.

Once upon a time, I ran an escort blog that featured a bevy of bodacious women who advertised on the sidebar — and daily stories I’d write about the business — or almost anything I felt like — in the body of the site.

My little project became popular enough that the ads worked well for my customers — and the authorities arrested me for promoting the girls’ “activities.”

At a certain point during the endless process of defending myself, I pulled the ads off the sidebar (at the advice of counsel) but continued blogging away, curious as to how adversely the lack of cheesecake photos would affect my traffic.

I figured to lose between 50% and 67%. I was kidding myself. I lost 90% of my audience. I’m sure Playboy would have fared better in the same situation. But my point is: when your boyfriend tells you he bought the magazine for the stories, he’s more than likely jerking off to the photos.

I raise this seemingly silly issue today as it applies to garnering viewers for your internet stories. If a picture doesn’t speak a thousand words, then maybe it speaks two thousand! You get the idea.

I know we’re rarely talking t & a when it comes to a Medium story. But the image is still really important. Maybe even more paramount than your title and tag line — if that’s possible.

I know it’s a pain in the neck to search various sites for an image. And it can take time that doesn't make you feel as if your creative genius is being rewarded.

But with an inferior image, readers won’t even click to find out if what you have to say is worth reading. Thus, like it or not, we all need to search for that perfect image.

And when I say that, I don’t mean we should sacrifice the time and effort required to write a compelling title, tag line, and body for the story. They’re all really important. I just think that sometimes, people don’t concentrate enough on finding the most effective image. I know I didn’t. And I learned that lesson recently.

A lot of eyes went to my publication. And it was the stories with provocative photos that got the views and member reading time. What was in the body of the stories kept people reading — or not. But the photo made them click! And if they don’t click, they don’t read! You get the idea.

And now I have to go find a really good photo for the piece of cheesecake!

I’m just an old lump of coal. But I’m gonna be a diamond someday!

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