There are few things more intriguing than getting to go where we shouldn’t be allowed. Regardless of just which “scene” we go behind, we’re very likely to think its at least interesting to see how the proverbial sausage is made. Recently, the New York Times published an entertaining piece about going behind the scenes at the Met. Like most museums, the Met puts its best face on for visitors, leaving pretty much all operational, janitorial, curatorial and other jobs to happen at off hours or behind closed doors. The article not only wins on thoughtful storytelling and cool tidbits (such as the “Yield to Art in Transit” signs), but also because it instantly makes a reader want to see this place with fresh and secret knowledge.
While we are used to exposes, breaking celebrity news and other scandal-driven “secretive” content, the relatively ordinary details of the Met are interesting in that they are hidden in mostly plain sight.
Behind the scenes pieces offer an opportunity for cadence change, a different kind of editorial honesty, and a chance to learn something truly new. They also allow you to capture the real story behind a product, company or place, with special details that will likely resonate with readers. If you are looking to insert a new way to present products and content, follow the Times’ lead and get into the not-so-juicy crevices of something that deeply interests you in order to show it in a different way.
Some tips for a great behind the scenes piece:
- Pick a topic that might have a few delightful surprises to share.
- Look for great photos to add to the piece to further illustrate.
- Work hard to gain access to out of the ordinary parts of life: what happens at the offices of fashion magazines after 10p, what does it really look like backstage at the ballet, where do all the real chefs in your city really eat, how does that favorite pair of shoes get made? Extremely random? Yes. Worth reading? Absolutely.
- What happens behind the scenes of your day is always up for grabs. What does your journal or closet or “top shelf” look like, or that of someone whom you admire? Long running BTS colums to check out are from Into the Gloss, My Stuff from Vanity Fair, and many many more.
- The more mundane, the better. The Met might not strike everyone as a place with 10,000 fun and interesting secrets, but the Times article proves that the charm is in seeing things we might have seen every visit in a different way. What can you refocus for your readers?
- Maybe you really love succulents, or cactuses, or something else that you think is too boring to talk about. Not. Too. Boring. Use the angle, write about it, and give your readers something different.