This is the third in our 5 part series on leveraging sharing for your business. If you haven’t already, read parts 1 and 2 prior to continuing. Check back next week for part 4 in the series.

Part 3: Framing Your Content for Visibility

Creating and finding engaging content is only half the battle. For your content to be shared, it must stand out from the drivel. It doesn’t matter if you create the most interesting content in the world, if it’s not compelling enough to click, it won’t be shared. Framing your content with a good headline and image will help your post rise to the top.

The Headline

A great headline can mean the difference between 10,000 or 1,000,000 views. Here are some guides for creating great headlines:

Headline Don’ts

  • Don’t give it away – create a curiosity gap
  • Don’t be shrill or too opinionated
  • Don’t bum people out
  • Don’t over sex (PG-13/mom approved)
  • Don’t be too clever

Headline Do’s

  • Create a curiosity gap – a curiosity gap leaves the users intrigued and curious enough to click for more (see Upworthy example below)
  • Identify user pains – keep it user focused. For instance “Hate paying airline baggage fees?”
  • Create 10 headlines per piece
  • Test

Headlines are mass indicators of whether or not something is working. The viral media site Upworthy mandates that everyone writes 25 headlines per piece. While this may be a challenge for organizations with limited resources, the takeaway is that often the best headlines come from writing and rewriting. Ten headlines per piece is a good goal to work towards. From there, take your top few and test against each other to see what gets results. Not convinced that headlines matter? See the image below where Upworthy shows the difference that writing a good heading can make (1 million views vs 17 million views).


Along with your headline, a great image can make the difference in who shares and sees your content. Here are some guides for creating great images:

  • X vs Y – People love dichotomies
  • Heavily annotated images see results. Have you seen those Willy Wonka and Most Interesting Man Alive images with the big letters that are so pervasive? Love them or hate them, they get clicks.
  • Video symbol (where appropriate)
  • PG-13 – Middle-aged women are the biggest sharers online.
  • Screenshot
  • Cute / excitement factor

Check back next week for the fourth part in the series where we’ll focus on distributing your content.