100 Million Headlines Don’t Lie

The headline is the most important part of your content. People decide what to read based on the headline. Shared content often includes little more than the headline with the link.

Buzzsumo recently analyzed 100 million article headlines to get insight into what is most effective. The research looked at the most shared headlines on Facebook and Twitter from March to May 20.

Headlines that Work on Facebook

  • The most powerful three-word phrase was “Will make you”
  • Two-word phrases that gained a high level of average engagements included “goes viral” and “most beautiful”
  • Emotional phrases such as “tears of joy” and “shocked to see”were consistently effective on Facebook
  • Headline phrases that provoke curiosity and a sense of voyeurism also gained a high level of engagement on Facebook, such as “What happened next” and “are freaking out”
  • Many of the most engaging phrases contain numbers, and the number 10 is the best performing number to use

Headlines that Work on Twitter

  • The headline phrases that gained the most engagement on Twitter were different from those that gained high engagement on Facebook except for “will make you”
  • Top Twitter phrases have a focus on newness such as “this is what,” “for the first time,” and “things to know”
  • Emotional phrases do not resonate on Twitter

Word Count Matters Too

Buzzsumo also analyzed the number of words in article headlines and plotted this number against the average number of Facebook engagements for all headlines in our sample.

  • Posts with 2-18 words in the headline receive the highest number of Facebook engagements on average
  • As headlines get longer or shorter, Facebook engagements decline
  • 80 to 95 characters is optimal

Add Your Intel

The research also demonstrated that a headline may perform poorly on Facebook but work very well a different social network. While this research provides some great guidance, knowledge of your target customer should be used to refine your efforts.

Content Marketing Trends that Matter

Relevance online is all about content. We all need great content and we need a plan to make that content visible to our target audience online.

With this in mind, I offer some content marketing trends that will impact your efforts.

Automate with Care

The number of tools to help you automate content sharing is increasing. Use them to save you time and make your efforts more efficient. But, don’t neglect the need to be authentic.

Automate aspects of your lead generation, email marketing and social media marketing initiatives, but make sure the automated messages are yours. Don’t accept machine created defaults because, well, they come off as machine-generated defaults.

Leverage Content Aggregators

There are places that specialize in collecting content on just about every topic. Be one of the experts they tap.

They win by getting content to feed their streams. You win by demonstrating that you are an expert on credible sites that are not your own.

Proceed with caution. They key is to participate in credible networks only. Take a pass on any opportunities that don’t seem worthy. Vet opportunities and ask questions. Be selective.

Go Below the Surface

Content that provides basic information is everywhere. If you want your content marketing to be successful, you need to delve deeper into topics than everyone else. Be specific.

Keep your content narrow and deep so you can strike the best balance between going deep and not getting too lengthy for online reading.

A plan is a great road map, but you need to be able to take detours. Current events, industry news and other factors may make your plan obsolete. React and make sure you are always speaking to the current needs of your target audience.

Relevance trumps all other objectives.

Stay Committed for the Long term

To win at content marketing you need to be in it for the long term. No short-term 12-week campaign will garner the ultimate success of brand awareness, lead generation. or any other goal.

The real power of content marketing is generating long-term, sustainable, organic growth for your company. You need to commit to publishing quality content on a consistent basis over time.

A committed approach wins when it comes to content marketing.

5 Tips for Improved Search Engine Optimization

Everyone with a website has the same goal – to be found by people looking for them either specifically or in more general queries about products, services and needs. Here are five ways to improve the changes your website will be found by your target audience.

First, it is important to note that some aspects of search have fundamentally changed.

The First Search Results Page Has Changed

The traditional goal was to be in the top 10 results for specific keywords or search terms. That doesn’t work anymore.

Search engines now give real estate to more than results. There are maps, quick lists of advice, ads, and more. Even if you are in the top ten, your listing may not be on the first page.

Add to this, the impact of personalization.

Impacts of Search Personalization

Google and other search engines now personalize search results based on the location, device and search history of the person doing the search. This means that the same search performed by different people may yield different search results. Bottom line is that search rankings will differ so there is no such thing as earning a consistent search rank.

In this changing landscape, there are things you can do to support your SEO.

Tip 1: Use Google Analytics to Support SEO

In addition to visible page elements, there are background settings that impact SEO.  Log in to Google Search Console regularly to check for errors and incomplete settings. Clearing these ensures that the Google search crawler will get the best results for your site.

Tip 2: Keep Up with the Way People Search

SEO is about more than catering to the whims of Google. You need to keep up with how your target customer searches. Gone are the days of searching using logic to include or exclude words and phrases. Most searches today are informational queries formed as a question.

Search practices have shifted away from exact keyword optimization. “Long-tail” variations formed as phrases and questions are regularly searched. These commonly change by location.

Your content needs to match this way of thinking about information. Address the questions that your target audience has in mind and address the phrases they commonly use. You will improve your search results.

Tip 3: Pay Attention to Your Content

Search engines want to be the conduit to the best content. Offer the best content and you will do well. Easy!

Make sure you are providing quality content. Offer enough detail to be meaningful. Address questions and concerns. Keep it all updated.

Present the most important information first, at the top of the page. Make sure that your page speaks to the needs and interests of your target audience.

If you are a great source of information, trust me, you will rank well.

Tip 4: Practice Link Quality Control

Links to your website are still among the most important ranking factors. Focus on the quality of links rather than the quantity.

Not all links help your SEO. Be careful about who you allow to link to you. If the does not provide quality content that you are proud to be associated with, you don’t want to be linked. You can disavow links within the Google Search Console.

Tip 5: Make Your Home Page Helpful

Your home page does not need a lot of content for your site to rank well. Include enough content to state who you are, what you do, where you are location, and your core product or service. Couple that with a call to action that lets visitors know what to do next. The other pages of your site can do the heavy lifting of providing deep content to address all of the interests of your target audience.