One of the most intriguing web success stories of 2013 was Upworthy, which is nothing more than a news index site, but has been generating extraordinary amounts of web traffic. How it’s become so effective is a lesson to us all in marketing, and I’d recommend everyone takes a look at it. There are many analyses of what Upworthy is doing, but the key achievement is to shamelessly present stories in a way which makes them almost impossible not to click. Here are some of the biggest ones they’ve run. Be cynical all you want, but the link text is compelling enough, and when you click through to the page, you’re drawn in even more:
– This Amazing Kid Died. What He Left Behind Is Wondtacular
– See Why We Have An Absolutely Ridiculous Standard Of Beauty In Just 37 Seconds
– Dustin Hoffman Breaks Down Crying Explaining Something That Every Woman Sadly Already Experienced
So, what are the people at Upworthy actually doing? There’s a fair degree of hard work and science going into all this, but perhaps most of all, they’re constantly testing everything. Here’s a slideshow about what they do. If you can’t pick up just one idea from it, I’d be very surprised. But the overwhelming message is: don’t just dash off some article for your website, spend 10 seconds on the headline, ignore how it’s presented and never look at it again. Because if you take that attitude to it, your readers will too.