This Company Tries Out 25 Different Headlines For Each Article To Secure Viral-Proof Content. And They Nail It. Almost Every Time.


It was probably not long ago since you clicked on something that directed you to Upworthy. Perhaps just some hours ago.

By attracting 50 millions of people that engage with them every month, Upworthy is the fastest growing news site ever.

With such impressive visiting numbers under their belt, they are today’s kings of curated content.

How to recycle content and make it go viral

The basic idea of Upworthy is that there are a lot of substantial content out there that don’t reach the audience that care the most. All because it’s not crafted, explained or packaged well enough to make people click and share on social media.

So what the crew of Upworthy really do, is to find good stories worth sharing and package them into something extremely click-worthy.

Upworthy describe themselves as “a steady stream of important and irresistibly shareable stuff“, and with the mission “to make important stuff as viral as cat videos.


The answer is headlines

Given that the content published to Upworthy most often has been circling around the web for some time without reaching any special momentum, the key to secure virality is headlines.

The company tries out 25 headlines for every article that are automatically tested to see which one attracts the most hits. The machine then labels the headlines “bestish” or “very likely worse”.

According to Upworthy’s CEO Eli Pariser:

The ethos behind the 25 headlines is 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 good headline can be the difference between 1,000 people and 1,000,000 people reading something.

Let’s have a look at the Slideshare where the Upworthy team themselves gives away their secrets for free. (The part about the viral headline formula starts at slide 23).


What make you click and share online content? Please tell in the comments below.


Headlines are everything. Upworthy shows you how to craft headlines for almost viral-proof content in the Slideshare above.

About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at

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