How to write LinkedIn headlines that will be shared: top 5 rules from the definitive research

August 10th, 2017

BuzzSumo analysed 10 million articles to see what works. Here are the key takeaways.

Take 10 million LinkedIn articles. Look at the headlines and how widely shared they were. Crunch the numbers and share your findings.

That’s what BuzzSumo has done and it makes for fascinating reading (and a great example of content marketing in its own right).

Here are the highlights for those who don’t have time to read the 3,000-word article.

1. Tell them how

Headlines starting ‘How to’ were shared three-times more than the next most successful two-word phrase to start a headline.

2. Use numbers and lists

Positions 2 to 4 in the same list of successful shares all use a number in their headlines. There’s little difference in effectiveness of ‘The X’, ‘X things’ and ‘X ways’. ‘Top X’ takes fifth place but is shared about 40% less.

Look at three-word phrases that start headlines and ‘X ways to’ tops the chart.

3. 5 and 10 rule

Numeric headlines starting with ‘5’ and ‘10’ are shared most often, and about 30% more than those using the next most popular numbers: 3, 7, 4 and 6.

4. The The

Using the definitive article is a great way to start a headline. ‘The’ at the start of a headline outperforms any other single starting word by almost 50%.

5. Name-check tech giants

Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Spotify all feature in the top 10 of words starting the headlines of most-shared articles. Perhaps sharing news about mega-brands confers some of their importance to the sharer…

There’s plenty more good stuff within the full article. Look out for their digest of the five key differences between successful B2B and B2C headlines – coming soon.

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