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With massive amounts of information spamming our newsfeed, sometimes all it takes is one super-catchy headline to steal that click.

Some of you may have been aware of how Upworthy, a viral content website, gained 10.4 million monthly readers monthly in its first year simply by reposting dated videos or content with gaudy headlines that lead you to click on them almost hypnotically.

So what would happen if a mainstream publisher like TODAY employ such a strategy?

How would it look like?

Have a good look at my collection of TODAY’s reworked headlines below. They are all Upworthy-inspired titles. I have included brief explanations of why I wrote it in a certain way – sort of like ‘design with a purpose’. At the end of the series, I explain to you why this idea could possibly be a legitimate idea for TODAY. Enjoy!


Ahhh, this controversial logo. I included the phrase ‘not seeing double’ as the logo portrays two standing rectangles, with one only less than an inch shorter.


“Do I hear a challenge?” she whispers, “Oh, Carlos. You know I can’t resist a challenge.” This is one of the famous lines from the book ‘Rules of Attraction’ by Simone Elkeles.

In this headline, I dared to make the statement that my reader would not have thought of one of the reasons listed in the article. Are you sure, Azhar? Let me see.


Instead of sticking to a name, why not create a more ‘international’ headline? Instead of restricting to the local market, why not create something which appeals to people all across the globe?

The fact is, sadness, inspiration or emotions in general are universal.


There are three gorgeous SIA ladies in this photo. Thus, there is a visual connection, though subtly.


Going by the online sentiment here in Singapore, it is pretty obvious that netizens here are shocked that tissue peddlars are considered unlicensed hawkers. So why not tempt readers with something even more shocking?

Remember: Humans are naturally curious living things.

With TODAY’s huge database of content over the years and its relatively good online presence, it is more than able to repost old content or new ones in another set of tone on a sister site, under a different name. STOMP – which I’d like to call Straits Times’ money-making tool that appeals to the lowest common denominator in the market – already has a bad reputation.

As long as social media is here to stay, the viral bubble will float along with it too. There is massive potential with having a sister viral content website, which also targets youths and the middle-aged (sort of like Gizmodo and its newly-launched Sploid website). Quality content is obviously still key but what’s the point if no one reads it?

David Ogilvy of Ogilvy & Mather once said: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

He is right, only the figures have risen significantly.

Also read: What a hipster Straits Times website would look like

Categories: Opinions

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)