Emotions Drive Popular Marketing Blogs
There has been a lot of hype around headlines lately. This is due to many things, but one of the key drivers is the Buzzsumo study that analyzed 100million headlines from 2017.
Want to skip my preamble and jump right to the results? Scroll down to “The Results” section.
I recently analyzed many of the top performing headlines mentioned in the Buzzsumo article, however, many of the headlines were B2C and mainly shared on Facebook.
Though I have performed emotional analysis on a group of B2B headlines before, I have never analyzed multiple outlets in one study. To fill this gap, I decided to perform some sentiment analysis research on 15 of the most popular marketing blogs.
For this experiment, I wanted to look at headlines that performed well on LinkedIn. The performance indicator for a headline was the total number of shares on LinkedIn. To determine this, I pasted the blog link into Buzzsumo and ranked the posts in order of highest to lowest for LinkedIn shares.
I took the top 5 performing headlines from each outlet. With each headline organized in a Google Sheet, I could easily copy and paste them into the Boost Editor. This allowed me to check each headline for it’s percentage level of Joy, Anger, Fear, Sad, and Disgust.
The Top List
I follow many of these blogs on LinkedIn and Twitter so it was easy to find them, others were referred to me as reliable resources by fellow content marketers. The following outlets are the 15 selected for this study.
In order from most popular to least. Marketing Profs, TrackMaven, Marketing Land, Moz, Hubspot, Kiss Metrics, Convince and Convert, Copy Blogger, Adwords Google blog, Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, Emarketer, Content Marketing Institute, Quick Sprout, and Top Rank Blog.
What emotion is behind the most shared headlines of the top 15 marketing blogs?
For 10 outlets, the top performers were predominantly a Joyful tone. 1 was predominantly Sad. 1 was split between Anger and Joy. 1 was split between Joy and Sad. 1 was split between Joy, Sad, and Anger. 1 was split between Anger, Joy, Fear, and Sadness.
In total there were 75 headlines analyzed, 60 headlines were Joy, 9 headlines were Sad, 5 headlines were Anger, 1 headline was Fear, and 0 headlines were Disgust.
What is the emotional spread of the top 5 blogs?
I noticed some very interesting results when answering this question. The top 3 blogs all shared the same emotional spread among their most shared headlines. Things became even more interesting after looking at the analysis of 4th and 5th most popular blogs. Have a look at the results:
4 of the top 5 posts were likely to elicit Joy. The 3rd most shared headline was a Sad tone.
4 of the top 5 posts were likely to elicit Joy. Again, the 3rd most shared headline was a Sad tone. The headline with a Sad tone was eerily close to FOMO. Have a look, 2017 Marketing Conferences You Don’t Want to Miss.
4 of the top 5 posts were likely to elicit Joy. Once again, the 3rd most shared headline had a Sad tone.
It was very interesting to see this consistent structure throughout the top marketing blogs. From #4 on there is a change in the trend of Joyful and Sad tones among the top 5 most shared headlines.
Moz was very unique in that the headlines emotional spread was very sporadic. The top 5 headlines included Fear, Anger, Sad, and Joy. Also, the language of headlines from Moz were very different from the other top blogs. Here are 2 of the most shared Moz headlines.
- How to Craft a Remarkable SEO Strategy for 2017 (Joy)
- It’s Time to Stop Doing On-Page SEO Like It’s 2012(Anger)
After some thought there are two conclusions reached about the Moz blog. 1st, Rand Fishkin likes to call marketers out on bad habits and this can lead to various emotional tones. 2nd, for Moz in particular, relying on a single emotional tone doesn’t produce the virality they’re looking for.
Hubspot’s tone was predominantly Joy, but one other emotion appeared twice in the top 5, Anger.
Many of us, including myself, know Hubspot as a happy go lucky company with a smile always on it’s face. However after this analysis, I started to see an interesting trend among the most shared headlines. For the first time, an Angry tone was performing well. Here is a top performing headline with an Angry tone. 21 Things Recruiters Absolutely Hate About Your Resume.
A conclusion to reach here is that Hubspot’s writers have seen Anger perform well and so they continue to use it in their headlines. Anger often leads to shock value which can drive the audience to share the headline or click into the article.
What is the emotional spread of the less popular marketing blogs?
The emotional spread of the less popular marketing blogs was predictable in relation to earlier results. There was a consistent trend that a Joyful tone was dominant among all other marketing blogs in the study. One difference to note is that Sad and Angry tones were more rare in the less popular blogs.
An interesting trend did arrive in the less popular. Unlike the most popular blogs, the most shared headlines from 70% of the less popular blogs were all Joyful tones. This means that all 5 of the most shared headlines were only using a Joyful tone.
Which emotion consistently leads to the most shares?
To answer this question I reviewed the most shared headline from each blog. The results show that 12 of the most shared headlines were a Joyful tone, 2 were Sad, and 1 was a combination of Anger/Sad.
This information tells us that Joy is the best emotion to optimize for when looking to increase the likelihood of shares.
An interesting result appeared when analyzing the most shared headline from the #6 blog, KISSmetrics. Their top performing headline was a Sad tone, have a look at their headline that received 1200 LinkedIn shares. Why You Should Dump Your “Analytics Person” (And Do THIS Instead…)(Sad)
There are quite a few lessons learned from this emotional analysis of the 15 most popular marketing blogs.
First, a Joyful tone seems to do a well in headlines that are meant for LinkedIn. In previous studies of headlines on other social media outlets, Joy was less frequent among the top performers.
Second, when consistently producing content for a blog, it would be wise to stick to the top performing tone for your audience. For example, Hubspot is doing very well with a combination of Joy and Anger. It may take some time to find the best tone for your blog, but once its present, stick with it.
Third, many people double take when pondering the production of a Sad headline destined for LinkedIn. Research suggests you shouldn’t stress the possibility of a negative impact. A Sad tone has proven to help headlines achieve a large amount of shares.
Fourth, a similar recommendation to the previous, don’t count out an Angry tone. Hubspot uses it and it could help your headlines achieve more shares on LinkedIn and other outlets as well.
I hope this study helps the marketers out there get ever closer to mastering the craft of writing headlines.
Contact, comments, concerns, @jefnwk