Headlines are important. Like… incredibly important. How a headline is written, read, and perceived will actually determine the number of people that will read and/or share an article or blog post. It’s marketing and psychology all rolled into one.
It’s true that there’s no one formula that can decide what kind of headline will work best for what kind of audience. We have a process, as many marketers do, for coming up with a headline that will do its job well, and use tools (like CoSchedule’s headline analyzer) to help back up our ideas. Some good old fashioned research also helps.
BuzzSumo did an in-depth study on the most shared headlines on Facebook and Twitter (the two most dominant consumer content sites) to get some more insight into what really makes an engaging, shareable article headline.
Facebook Headline Highlights: What the Data Tells Us
Out of 100 million headlines published between March 1st and March 10th of 2017, here are the 3-word phrases that were most engaged with on Facebook:
1. The phrase “will make you” had more than twice the engagement as the second most popular.
2. Headlines that tug at the heart strings work wonders. What can I say? People love emotion. Be careful when using it for your business, though – headlines that exaggerate or use sensational language tends to devalue the content.
3. Readers are always curious, so writing a headline that provokes curiosity in some way is more likely to prompt people to click through and read more. Using a headline that promises answers, insight, or explanations, like “This is why you should be sleeping on your left side,” are also popular.
4. Targeting is key! Headlines that appeal to a specific group of people will always grab a lot of engagement, and they’ll be more likely to share with others that belong to their “tribe.”
5. The number of words matters. Posts with 12 to 18 words in a headline (and 80 to 95 characters) received more shares and engagement than any other range.
6. Lists still work, and yes, specific numbers will make a difference!
Learn more about the science of a great headline on the BuzzSumo site.
What’s the best headline you’ve ever clicked through on? Let us know on Facebook!