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Putting Your Audience into Motion with Content

Looking for a new bookmark to add for 2014? Make it Upworthy.

Deemed the “fastest growing media site of all time,” Upworthy works in a pretty simple way: the site is chock full of uplifting, moving and powerful viral videos and news, bound to have you experiencing a million different feelings in a matter of minutes. But how does it do it?

Think of the site as a more meaningful Buzzfeed – complete with cute kitten videos, but with a splash of more profound news. The content is direct, quick, and highly shareable; its business model thrives on quality over quantity, and judging from the vast audience it reaches, it certainly seems to be working. In fact, the site received 87 million unique visitors in the month of November alone.

All content is fact checked by its staff of 40 or so “curators,” so you won’t see any hoax articles about celebrity deaths or fake empowering stories of photoshopped images. Everything posted is hand selected, with carefully crafted headlines and short, but sweet copy that is picked apart before going live.

Upworthy chooses to use vague, somewhat ‘vanilla’ titles that don’t give away what a post has in store, enticing the audience to take action and check it out for themselves.

In a world where content is king, Upworthy is hitting the nail on the head.

Upworthy is also effective in encouraging its readers to get into action – its content tends to stick with you after you read it. You’ll most likely find yourself wanting to share it, sign a petition, or just click on related content because you felt something from what you just read or watched.

In other words, there’s a desire to weigh in and go further down the rabbit hole.

“But why does this matter? As marketers, we sell things –

we want customers, not activists.”

It matters because Upworthy has cracked the code in making an impact on its audience – and its content model of quality over quantity is killing it!

The site follows simple rules that we, as marketers, can put into play for our own content:

  • Attention to detail
  • Clever, but not excessively controversial
  • Avoidance of offending or “turning off” their readers
  • Making each piece compelling, without giving it all away

By utilizing a/b testing, links and Facebook demographics, the staff obsesses over analyzing the content and its popularity, conversion rate, click-through rate, shares, and more. Each each post and headline is optimized to ensure the highest possible chance of “going viral.”

The takeaway: As Upworthy has demonstrated, by being passionate publishers and marketers, and providing high quality content that’s focused on helping or entertaining (instead of strictly promoting), we have the opportunity to start earning our readers’ trust and gaining their business as online ambassadors or customers. So stop the one-way marketing, and start connecting with your audience in a more powerful, engaging way.

Ready to take your content to the next level? Check out our free eBook, Content Marketing Secrets to learn more about creating compelling content that puts your audience into motion.

All the best,

Julia Giacoboni

Julia is the Social Media Team Leader for Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.

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