How does Upworthy Test Headlines?
In response to a question posted on Quora regarding viral content, Upworthy's Editor Adam Mordecai reveals his process for creating headlines that will appeal to the widest audience possible.
A few of Adam's main structural rules for creating headlines are as follows:
♦ Tell a story in your headline, but don't give it all away. (This is what makes us so successful, though some people really hate it.)
♦ Give away as much as humanly possible. The more transparent you can be with the subject matter the better.
♦ If you've got some heroes and villains, play them off each other.
♦ To optimize shareability you want to make sure everyone can feel comfortable sharing it. Think to yourself, "Would my mom share this headline?" If not, do something different. Unless you are only targeting a subgroup and don't care about shareability.
♦ Don't depress people so much that they want to give up on humanity. Negative headlines breeds negative shares.
♦ Don't curse in your headlines. Moms hate it (and are the biggest sharers on the internet by a significant margin. Mothers With Children Under 5 Most Active on Social Media [STUDY]
Adam also mentions in the thread that he writes 25 headlines
for every post, and that Upworthy has custom click testing tools to help keep headlines focused
I won't give it all away here and would encourage anyone interested in headline creation to click-through to the original thread on Quora. #headlinetips #upworthy