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As a writer who, on a daily basis, competes with premium and traditional news outlets for readers’ time (oh, and Buzzfeed too), I’m keen to learn how I can get you to read and share my story.

Arm-twisting and blackmail aside, I recognize one of the more critical things that gets consumers of digital content to click and share is an exciting headline.

Therefore, I’ve consulted a few marketers and members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs, for their responses on:

Q. What’s your secret for creating highly shareable headlines for your blog posts and articles?

Also, in partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Take a Trip to Your Local Magazine Store

Magazine Stand by Mannobhai

Big magazine brands spend thousands of dollars studying which headlines make buyers grab a copy from the newsstand,” says Juha Liikala of Stripped Bare Media.

Liikala recommends you, “Study those magazines from the cover photo to the headlines they use, and also take a look at the magazine’s table of contents. Chances are that you’ll instantly find multiple brilliant (and certainly shareable) headlines you can adapt to your own blog.”

2. Look for Copy that Works

Josh Weiss of Bluegala shared his foolproof tactic. “We look at companies such as BuzzFeed who are experts in making content go viral. Then we try to come up with headlines that match that style.”

3. Find the Contrarian View

This approach is a bit more bold. Brennan White of Watchtower knows, “The most compelling content is often the most surprising. Creating obvious headlines will not attract initial readership, nor will it incentivize a reader to share.

“Most social sharers of content do so to share novel or interesting things with their friends (or be perceived as interesting themselves). If your headlines don’t surprise or delight, then there is little reason for someone to share it.”

4. Make a Statement

Leaving the internet (and making a statement of it)

“Give readers a real reason to want to read your article,” says Ronnie Castro of Porch. “What are you going to give them for reading your post? Promise them something in the headline, and then deliver on that promise with valuable content.”

5. Put Them Through a Curiosity Filter

Nathalie Lussier of Nathalie Lussier Media Inc. directs you to, “Run your headlines through a curiosity filter. Would people be so curious that they’d click to find out more? If not, you probably need to get down to the gut level. That means talking about things people really think, but might be afraid to say out loud, and tabloids are definitely a great example of this!”

6. Embrace the Spoiler

Sam Saxton, of Salter Spiral Stair, is a bit more forward in his approach. “There’s little benefit in being cryptic and forcing your audience to read on in order to uncover your point. Make sure your titles give an accurate preview of both your topic and your unique contribution to this topic.”

7. Reference Stats and Data

Remember to Include Relevant Data and Stats in your Headline

When in doubt, never forget that data is on your side. “Exact stats and data will almost always create a more shareable headline than general text. ‘How I increased readership by 37 percent with one simple change’ is better than ‘How I increased readership with one simple change.’ By including ’37 percent,’ you convey that you have solid data to back up your theory and that it was tested — not just an opinion,” shares Dave Nevogt of

8. Answer a Question

Empathizing with readers, Phil Laboon of Clear Sky SEO knows, “the most important aspect of headline writing is answering a question people are asking. Even if you don’t completely answer it in the title, you can give hints that you will provide an authoritative answer. Including phrases such as ‘how to,’ ‘how not to’ and ‘X common mistakes’ are ways of doing this.”

9. It’s All About the Verbs

Making sure to catch readers’ attention, Mary Ellen Slayter of Reputation Capital suggests, “Strong action verbs make for strong writing, and headlines are no exception. Chose active, unique verbs to make your headlines stand out, and keep it short and sweet.”

10. Increase the Click Factor

Some Headlines are just more Clickworthy than Others

The most brazen approach comes from Benish Shah of Before the Label. “It’s a simple approach — if you saw this headline, would you click on it without knowing who wrote it or anything more about it? If you would, then you have a winner.”

How do you develop clickworthy and shareable headlines? Oh, and in case you didn’t get the memo, we’re hiring :)

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