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Our friends over at Buzzsumo have given us some fantastic insight into which article headlines are real attention grabbers – or (as we like to refer to in social media) provide us with increased engagement (shares, likes, replies, etc.)

Of 100m article headlines, they’ve collated the following data, and you may be surprised at the results (and how little you’re using them in your own articles).

From the list, there’s one clear winner: the “will make you” phrase. Headlines like

  • 18 father’s day images that will make you cry
  • When kids are asked about their best friends, their answers will make you reassess your entire life
  • This young boy singing for the first time will make you feel amazing

These all pull on the heart strings…in a very obvious, and through the strong use of the “click bait” style method. Combined with an image that reinforces the articles (likely) content, and users are very tempted to see if they will cry, they do reassess their lives, and if they do feel amazing.

You can see a full list of articles that include such headlines in their software here.

It’s clear from their research that emotional responses stir up the biggest engagements. However, not fulfilling on this “promise” may lead to frustrated readers – an issue Facebook itself is tackling through the demotion of articles that “exaggerate the details of a story with sensational language” and are written “to make the story seem like a bigger deal than it really is.”

All worth considering when writing your next big article.