the content

How 377 Words and 5 Images Resulted in 1.6 Million Facebook Likes

1.6 Million Facebook Likes

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but it’s not the images in today’s case study – no matter how critical they were to the success of the piece – that I’m concerned about.

While the article in question was useful – How to Get Rid of a Headache in 5 Minutes Without Pills – I’m much more interested in the headline formula to go with it.

The structure is simple: You tell people how to achieve something important to them, and then you take away the most commonly expected answer to making it happen.

Let me give you a few examples earlier on in an update than normal to clarfiy what I’m talking about.

  • How to Improve Your Soccer Skills, Without Touching a Football
  • How to Bench Press More, Without Hitting the Gym
  • How to Become Fluent in French, Without Visiting France
  • Knock 10 Seconds Off Your 800m Time Without a Running Coach

While the article was helped by the fact that it’s on one of those ‘viral-news’ style sites that seem to go viral with any old update, I still think the headline formula is powerful enough that it can be used in even the most professional of applications.

Remember, the key is to offer the promise of something and then removing the most common solution that people would instantly think of in their head.

Doing that alone can get people to click on the headline of your article and share it with others.

Of course, as with any “headline formula” I share here on Detailed, be sure to back up the headline with actual useful information relating to your promise. Don’t claim you can improve someone’s French without them visiting France if you don’t actually have any tips or data to back up your claim.


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