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How the headline influences content sharing


How the headline influences content sharing

One of the main goals of content marketing is to have your blog posts, news and articles shared. According to Garrett Moon, founder of CoSchedule, only 11% of content is shared more than 100 times.

The headline is one of reasons that people share content. Moon has analysed over one million headlines to discover phrases and factors within headlines that make them more likely to be shared.

The top 10 headline elements

According to Moon, the top 10 headline elements are:

1. List Posts
2. You/your
3. Free/Giveaway
4. How to
5. DIY
6. I/Me/Why
7. Easy
8. Win
9. New
10. Ways


The number one headline element for sharing is lists. Example headlines would includ “10 ways to…” and “5 things I learnt about…” Moon found that list content is very popular on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin and encourages content creators to write and publish more list articles.

You and yours

Headlines that contain the words you or yours score more highly than ones containing I or Me. You and your headlines directly address the readers who like to feel that an article is targeted personally to them.

A better life

Many of the headlines in the top ten suggest a promise for a better life or to lift the mood of the reader, which is why words like free, win, easy, new and ways work well. Headlines that promise a better way, offer something free or reveal new ways of doing things are seen as life improvement tips and as a result gain more shares on social media platfoms.

Targeting headlines

Headlines can be targeted to particular social networks as each platform targets a different demographic. Headlines focusing on the home are best suited for Facebook and Pinterest whereas more business type headlines are best for Linkedin and Twitter.

Facebook is still the largest social network online with over 1.7 billion active users. Content shared on Facebook have the potential to reach a huge number of readers.

Analyse your headlines

The Advanced Marketing Institute has an Emotional Marketing Headline Analyzer – http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/ – where you can enter a headline, elect its target audience by industry and it will provide an Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) which it claims measures the impact of the headline.

Achieving a high Emotional Marketing score may not guarantee content sharing, but it can be a useful tool for testing out headlines. Moon tested many past headlines that he had used and found that a high EMV score for a headline did correlate with a high number of shares.

Content is not just headlines

Garrett Moon has demonstrated the importance of the headline for sharing content. This does not mean that the content below the headline is not important. If a headline promises something, whether than be information, help, or suggestion, then the text must fulfil the promise contained in the headline or readers will feel let down and will not share the content.

One example of how the headline promise can be broken are headlines that promise something for free, but then the content reveals that the free gift is dependent on buying an expensive item or subscription. This could cause readers to feel that what is being offered is not actually free and they are unlikely to share the content.

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