Longer headlines that have taken on leading sentences characteristics have replaced their pithy predecessors, and for good reason too.

A study from Polar of over 10,000 branded content articles found that headlines with 90 to 99 characters (like the one you just read, above) had the best click-through rate, and that click-through rate gradually rose as the headline character count rose, with the sweet spot in the 90s.

Now, before you SEO experts out there scramble to figure out if Google has updated a search algorithm again, the hard and fast rule of keeping your title tag under 60 characters still applies. What this and other studies are really showing us is that one headline is not enough. Even though the 90-character titles are gaining traction from a webpage, you should keep it around 40 characters to optimize click-through on Facebook, expand it to 100 characters for LinkedIn, and expand it even further (120-130 characters) to score clicks on Twitter, according to a HubSpot study.

Like your password strength, your headline strength improves when you use numbers and special characters. Though my inner grammar nerd prays this does not mean more headlines that end with an exclamation point (why are you yelling your headline at me?), don't shy away from the top row of your keyboard.

More than just character count, though, it's what's in those characters that makes a difference. Buzzsumo analyzed a whopping 100 million headlines, and found that the top engaging three-word headline phrases, currently, are "will make you," "this is why," and "can we guess." Incidentally, the worst performing headlines contained, "control of your," "your own business," and "work for you," which is why I left "Here's How to Take Control of Your Content and Make Headlines Work for You" on the cutting room floor.

Ready for your brand to make headlines? Create a content strategy that will help brand's headlines--whatever their length--achieve your marketing goals.

Published on: Dec 13, 2017
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