You’ll never believe what makes Upworthy’s headlines so clickable

OK so maybe I’ve used a bit of Upworthy’s click-baiting tactics to get you to click on this article, but it’s only to illustrate a point!

Kevan Lee of the social media publishing app Buffer conducted an analysis of headlines from four of the most visited websites on net, including Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Viralnova and Wimp. While there’s no one way to get your posts to go viral, a common theme with all the most clickable headlines is curiosity. If you can make your headline mysterious enough to make a reader want to know more, then you’ve done your bit for social sharing.

To illustrate this, check out the most common three word phrases used in the popular headlines from these sites.

From the list of phrases, two things are immediately. For one, everything is geared towards the theme of “you’ve got to see this or you’ll be missing out.” FOMO is a powerful concept, especially now that information is so widely distributed, and everybody wants to be the first to get it.

The other thing that sticks out is how user-centric these phrases are. Here’s a list of the single most used words:

The headlines are heavily populated with “you” and “your,” making the article of value to the reader. The headline can’t just simply state whats in the article. It has to have an element of why somebody should read it, and how it will enrich their life.

It might seem kind of scummy to randomly insert those phrases in your blog content, especially if it’s regular, B2B industry fare with a lot of technical information. But if you can find a way to personalize messages the way Buzzfeed and Upworthy do, it’ll go a long way in getting people not just to read your content, but keep them coming back for more.

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