10 tips from Upworthy on creating content that goes viral

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Photo: Steve Rhodes (Creative Commons)

Love Upworthy’s headlines? Here’s the secret to their success.

Actually, scratch that. Recently, Upworthy—the left-leaning viral content website and the fastest growing media site of all time—provided some helpful tips on how to create viral content.

But before you follow Upworthy’s tactics, it’s worth considering a couple of things:

1. What are you trying to achieve?

This all goes back to your business goal in mind. Are you trying to get as many clicks as possible—or are you trying to establish your credibility and/or sell stuff? You are your headlines—so choose them carefully. 

Content marketing is not necessarily about clicks. It’s about providing value to potential customers. A clear, but not-so-clever headline might suffice.

2.Who are you trying to reach?

Upworthy is a media site, but you may not be. (Yes, some people believe all companies are media sites now, but that’s probably another discussion.) Having a clever headline might get you increased traffic, but the people visiting your site may not be the right audience. If your target audience includes CMOs and other people in the C-suite, does it make sense to have sensational headlines?

Upworthy, in the Slideshare presentation, reveals that their main target audience includes moms who use Facebook frequently; unless this is the exact audience you’re trying to reach, it may not make sense to follow Upworthy’s tactics.

This said, Upworthy has some great tips that are applicable not just to media sites, but to most companies who use content to reach their target audience. From Upworthy’s Slideshare presentation, below are some insights about content creation that marketers should consider.

10 helpful tips from Upworthy about content creation

  1. Find or create great content. Apparently you can’t make crappy content go viral.
  2. Write at least 25 headlines—simply because your first one will likely suck.
  3. Avoid giving it all away in the headlines. Also, don’t give it away in the meta-description.
  4. Get someone to optimize your website for social sharing. The photo, title, and description should be optimized for Facebook and other social networks.
  5. Edit headlines and descriptions on Facebook, if necessary. For instance, you can change the photo that goes with your article. You can also edit the title and description—no coding required.
  6. Be visual. “If you aren’t making your images big enough to be visual, your content ranking will probably suffer,” according to the Slideshare presentation.
  7. Do A/B testing, even if it’s a simple one using just Bit.ly.
  8. Let analytics be your friend. Use Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to see what works and what doesn’t.
  9. Create more content. Always. Because more content means more chances for a huge hit.
  10. Include a strong call to action (CTA). Do you want people to click? To share on Twitter? Nudge people to do something.

See Upworthy’s full presentation below.

© 2014, KC Claveria. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please link back to kcclaveria.com

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