Infographic: Writing Viral Headlines, research from Buzzsumo

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The following infographic is based upon an article written by Steve Rayson and published on Buzzsumo entitled How to Write Viral Headlines: New BuzzSumo Research.  The article is based upon thousands of datapoints, looking at common headline elements on the top shared (i.e. viral) articles tracked by Buzzsumo.  The following is directly from the article:
Why did you click through to this article? Why will some people share this article without even reading it? The most important element of this post may not be the 4 weeks I spent researching the data or the days I spent writing up the analysis or deciding on the tables and graphics. The most important element is probably the headline.  

Buzzsumo Research
Here’s what I learned, from doing a bit more investigation of the article:
1. Not all sites are equal – meaning, to go viral, you need a lots of traffic, to get lots of traffic, you need a site that has lots of eyeballs.  The research bears that out also.  
2. The biggest and baddest viral articles, are shared on Facebook.  Hands-down, it is the 300 lb gorilla of sharing.  Can you get viral on other sites? Sure, but Facebook is X multiplies ahead of the other sites. Even for business articles (which may not lend themselves to mass numbers, but can become viral).
3. Quizzes are not viral.  They may work, to create interest, but if you want your content to get shared, quizzes won’t do it.
4. As much as people complain about “list” titles – they outperform all others by a large margin.  We should always look to be creative, but your fallback should be a list if you can’t figure anything else – and at least it should be in your A/B headline test.
5. Finally, be economical with your words. Attempt to be “Goldilocks” – not too many, not to few – there’s a balance when and remember, the headline is the hook, you need to bait it properly.

That’s what I learned.  Buzzsumo does a great job of sharing the knowledge and Steve does a great job of writing – go spend some time reading through their articles, it’s like getting a mini-MBA in content creation and marketing.

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