This week, New York magazine has a profile of the website we all love to hate: Upworthy.
Upworthy is the bane of many a journalist’s existence. It peddles in clicks, and has people sharing, painlessly and by the millions, pieces of content that concern topics we actually want to report on. A 10-page feature or package with video on the effects of poverty takes months to prepare and weeks to garner attention on Twitter. They find one video on the topic and it has thousands of views. It’s more BuzzFeed-y than BuzzFeed; they at least have a news team. You should read the whole piece, though, because there are lessons to be gleaned from their success.
1) Ah, the infamous Upworthy style headline. In one part of the feature, they talk about ‘click testing,’ where they run through possible headlines and then see how clickable they are out in the wild. If it’s not clickable, they tweak. Every media outlet can do this, and if you want to garner more traffic, you should. If you feel icky about changing the headline after it’s originally published, just add a note. I see good digital outlets doing this all the time. Slate stories, for example, often have one headline when I see it in the morning and another by the afternoon when I actually get around to reading it. If it requires emails or write offs to tweak a headline or re-run and write a new social media tease to make it more interesting — you’re doing it wrong. Read more