This company analyzed 100 million headlines to find out which ones were the most effective

Buzzsumo analyzed 100 million article headlines on Facebook and tracked how well they did in terms of shares.

In our sample the most powerful three word phrase used in a headline (by some margin) was:

“Will make you … “

This phrase “will make you” gained more than twice the number of Facebook engagements as the second most popular headline trigram. This was a surprise. When we started out looking for top trigrams, this one wasn’t even on our list.

So why does this particular trigram or three word phrase work so well? One of the interesting things is that it is a linking phrase. It doesn’t start or end a headline, rather it makes explicit the linkage between the content and the potential impact on the reader.

This headline format sets out why the reader should care about the content. It also promises that the content will have a direct impact on the reader, often an emotional reaction. The headline is clear and to the point which makes it elegant and effective.

Typical headlines include:

  • 24 Pictures That Will Make You Feel Better About The World
  • What This Airline Did for Its Passengers Will Make You Tear Up – So Heartwarming
  • 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person
  • “Who Wore It Better?” Pics That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud
  • 13 Travel Tips That Will Make You Feel Smart
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