Editors should Write 25 Headlines for every Article

On March 26, 2012, a news destination called Upworthy was launched. According to the Business Insider they hit 2.5 Million Unique Visitors in July, 4 Million in August, 6 Million in September and 8.7 Million in October.

Eli Pariser, the founder and author of the Filter Bubble, provided a few insights on the impressive growth – and I would like to share a few of his comments as they are certainly very pertinent to current and future Editors on our platform.

He says that for every article Upworthy rewrites, he makes his authors create 25 headlines before hitting publish.

“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 headline is all about getting the article in front of people.” says Pariser.

He acknowledges the added time spent, but defends it with the following comment:

‘What are the things you can do to produce 6-10X the number of people who come look at something? A good headline can be the difference between 1,000 people and 1,000,000 people reading something.” says Pariser.

I think his growth and his willingness to actually go test a large amount of headlines should push some of us to do even more.

25 headlines is aggressive, but you can see the immediate positive impact of this type of strategy, but with a whole lot less headlines, through Headline Testing data from USA Today  – usage and impact from their use of the Visual Revenue Headline Testing capabilities.

Cheers :-)
/ Dennis (@dennismortensen)