The Two-Pronged Approach Responsible for The Week’s Record Traffic

StevenKotkoHeadshotThe Web stats are all going in the right direction.

In May, per comScore, registered 7.7 million unique visitors across all platforms. The Google Analytics numbers were even higher (ten million uniques). Meanwhile, for the first half of 2014, The Week will be reporting at the end of the month to the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) its highest-ever circulation total. Those stats will be publicly released August 7.

So how did they do it? “It’s really two-fold,” explains The Week and Mental Floss CEO Steven Kotok (pictured) during a recent phone conversation with FishbowlNY. “We’ve completely remade the content of the site in the last six to nine months, and there were two prongs to that.”

“On the one prong, we just went on a hiring spree and really wanted to hire the best, young opinion writers in the country,” he adds. “People we love to read and also, people with more ability on social media. Most of these people were brought on full-time; a couple have permanent freelance arrangements.”

Kotok says that this new opinion content has, in turn, generated major referral traffic from Andrew Sullivan, Real Clear Politics, New York Times‘ Ross Douhat and others. The other traffic driver is something The Week dubbed Speed Reads. Prominently tagged on the home page, this is content designed for people on the go – at the beginning, middle or end of any given week.

TheWeekSpeedReads_0717“For the meatiest topics, we take deep dives with these opinion writers that we’ve hired,” Kotko explains. “For everything else, we address it with Speed Reads. This is really the social and mobile [component] for us. We do about 60 Speed Reads per day.”

Kotok says the redesign of The Week website will be completed by the end of the year. Beyond that, there will be some even more exciting developments.

“We’re currently looking at other potential acquisitions,” Kotok notes, with Mental Floss having been redesigned after Dennis U.S. acquired it in 2011. “We’re pretty confident we’ll be launching something in the first half of 2015.”