Your headlines are dull as ditchwater – and it’s costing you

How do you get people to read your stuff when there are a gazillion other things they could be looking at? Link-sharing site Upworthy has some answers. Their brand of quirky headlines has won them more than ten million readers. And it’s increasingly hard to ignore. Here are a few of their biggest click-grabbing hits:

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This slideshow outlines the Upworthy masterplan. And we particularly like their advice to force yourself to write 25 headlines for every article, before choosing the most eye-catching one. Because a killer headline can be the difference between someone clicking on your link or dumping it in the trash.

Or, as co-founder Eli Pariser put it in a Business Insider interview: ‘The ethos behind the 25 headlines is this: you can have the best piece of content and make the best point ever. But if no one looks at it, the article is a waste. A headline is all about getting the article in front of people.’

Every time you write a title, you have a chance grab the attention of the people you want to reach. Does the word policy make your heart sink? Then don’t put it at the top of anything you want your colleagues or customers to look at. One of Upworthy’s biggest stories was about media consolidation. The headline? The Real Reason They Still Play ‘Mrs. Robinson’ On The Radio.

We’re not suggesting you copy Upworthy’s tone. But there’s always an interesting angle to get someone hooked – and churning out 25 headlines makes you more likely to find it. Ditch drab titles and don’t be scared to have an opinion. As our Padders says, they get people engaged. Whether they agree with you or not, if you spend a bit more time on your headlines and titles to make them eye-catching, people will be more likely to read what you’ve got to say.


You might have seen Upworthy in the news recently. There was some suggestion that Facebook changed their newsfeed algorithm to slash Upworthys traffic. But according to the Huffington Post that doesnt look likely. Instead, Upworthy got a couple of huge viral hits in a row – thanks in no small part to their killer headlines – and then dipped back to more regular figures. Either way, they seem to be doing something right.

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