People & Dogs: You’ll Love This Research

You know you want it.  We all want it.  An email or social media post that goes viral.  There is no quick and easy formula to writing headlines that get clicked—but I’m happy to report, there is data.

The folks at Ripenn studied 2,616 headlines from four different sites that have mastered the art of writing “clicky titles” including Buzzfeed, ViraNova, Upworthy and Wimp.  They learned some very interesting things:

Words matter: You, your, this, what, who, when, where, why, people, video, photo and—dog—are among the most common words in the most clicked headlines.

Namedropping works:  Within reason, link your message to popular people and current news events.  A little Lady Gaga or Beyonce might be just the ticket.

Longer Can Be Better:  Don’t be a slave to the rules about headline length.

Get Emotional:  Signaling a bit of emotion in your title just might do the trick.

For even more insights, and access to their open source data, read the full story here.

Granted, as nonprofit organizations working on serious social issues, we can’t rely as heavily on the humor and celebrity power that drives sites like Buzzfeed.  But there’s still something to be learned from paying attention to their work—plus it’s fun!

P.S. We’re putting the Ripenn research into action and using 5 of the study’s top viral words in our headline for this blog. I hope you are inspired to share it with your networks—and your canine friends.

– Posted by Kathy Swayze, CFRE

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One Response to People & Dogs: You’ll Love This Research

  1. Thanks for the shoutout, Kathy! I love seeing this research translate into marketing for the non-profit sector. Keep up the great work, and keep us posted (@ripenn on Twitter) as to what has worked best for you all!

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