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Lessons learned from House of Cards

28 Dec

House of CardsHouse of Cards is an American remake of a BBC drama featuring the oh so Machiavellian Francis Urquhart or old FU (BBC) renamed for the US series as Francis Underwood and starring Kevin Spacey.

Both series are well made and gripping in a politico thriller kind of way. And Kevin Spacey is just amazing playing an amoral, unethical and complex Washington power broker.

One of the main characters is a young journalist with an eye for breaking news which she isn’t even getting close to on the big, traditional newspaper she works for.

Sick of covering C grade stories, she hungers for something more.

She is also aware that traditional print newspapers are losing ground to online forms of news.

Without giving the plot away, she finds herself being a conduit for real news. She talks the editor into running her stories. She gets some recognition. She leaves the paper to join an online blog.

Here’s the lesson I learnt from A House of Cards:

“Will it get me in 8 seconds?” The blog editor asks her regarding a proposed post

“That’s all we have.”

8 seconds to hook the reader.

Can you hook them in 8 seconds or less? I’m sure I lost you in the first paragraph.

Now I don’t think that short grabs work for everything. Long copy works for some products and some stories. People still like to read.

Think it through. What are your key objectives?

And, here’s to old FU!