How Accurate is CoSchedule Headline Analyzer?

  • CoSchedule’s headline analyzer is a popular tool among bloggers.
  • I tested it with 82 blog posts of mine that were published in the Startup Publication.
  • The scores of the headlines don’t correspond to the number of views of my post.
  • Still, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from the tool.

The Three Most Recommended Tools

Two weeks ago, I analyzed my Medium stats and published a series of posts about the results.

Getting published in a major Medium publication is the biggest factor in getting views. The title of a post is the second biggest factor. I published a few posts to come up with titles that get clicked.

After I published those posts, I received a lot of recommendations for three tools.

  1. Grammarly.com
  2. The Hemingway App
  3. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

The Hemingway App was so good that it entered my standard toolbox.

Grammarly

I still have to try Grammarly. I’m postponing this, because it doesn’t have an easy access trial version like the Hemingway App.

Grammarly requires installing a plugin in my browser. Firefox warned me against that. Installing the plugin means that Grammarly can see everything I type into my browser.

As I have explained in my post about privacy, I don’t want that. I’ll find another way to try out Grammarly.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

Today, I wanted to give the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer a try. The results are mixed. It has its strengths and weaknesses.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer didn’t enter my standard toolbox. Yet, I’m going to use it from time to time. There are lessons to be learned from it.

What is CoSchedule?

CoSchedule is an online marketing management tool. You can use it for the following purposes among others.

  • Plan and automate your marketing efforts.
  • Track your results.
  • Manage your team.

The Need for an Automated Marketing Management Tool

I haven’t tried CoSchedule yet, but I get the need for such a tool. I’ll write a separate post about automating marketing management. I could use such a tool, but I want to write down my requirements first.

Promoting Your Online Business with Free Tools

It’s a shrewd strategy to promote your online business with free tools. People like to use such tools and they recommend it to each other.

The headline analyzer is one of the tools in the toolbox of CoSchedule. They give free access to it in exchange for your contact information.

Headline Analysis Criteria

I expected this tool to give me a score and a few tips. It gave me a thorough report besides the score. It checks the title for the following factors.

  • Word Balance
  • Headline Type
  • Length Analysis
  • First Three, Last Three Words
  • Keywords
  • Sentiment
  • Google Search Preview
  • Email Subject Line Preview

Some of the factors have links to blog posts with more details. I haven’t read those blog posts yet, but they are now on my reading list.

Let’s go over each factor and let me share my observations.

Word Balance

The idea here is that you have four types of words in your title.

  1. Common
  2. Uncommon
  3. Emotional
  4. Power

You need to balance those word types in your title. The tool recommends a certain percentage for each word type. Please check the tool for specific percentages for each word type.

I like the idea of balancing word types, but the tool doesn’t categorize all the words in my titles. As a result, the total of the words in each category doesn’t add up to 100%. That makes me question the accuracy of the final score.

Moreover, it categorizes words such as “skill” and “focus” as emotional.

The tool doesn’t recognize words conjoined by an apostrophe. For example, it recognizes “re” at the end of “you’re” as a separate word.

Headline Type

The tool recognizes several headline types. It recognized the following types in my titles.

When it recognizes a headline type, it gives you a green tick. If it doesn’t recognize a headline type, it gives you a warning sign and calls your title “generic.” I don’t like that conclusion.

First of all, it suggests that all blog posts should fit one of the predetermined templates. Sure those templates can help you come up with new blog post ideas.

Why should I follow them every time I write a blog post? Where is the creativity in that?

Moreover, “how to” titles don’t perform well in my experience. I believe that they are overused and people became immune to them. They don’t stand out in the crowd of other blog posts.

Length Analysis

This was one of the most insightful of the factors. The headline analyzer recommends titles that are approximately 55 characters and 6 words long. That makes sense to me.

If you want to include more information than that, break the title into two. Add the second part as a subtitle in italics to the content. That way, the title is not too wordy and the subtitle is still featured in preview cards.

First Three, Last Three Words

This was the absolute eye opener for me. People tend to read the first and last three words of a title. Do those words say enough about your post? Or are they common words?

Keywords

I get that you have to include strategic keywords in your blog post title. But the keywords that the headline analyzer pulled out didn’t convince me. It featured “I” and “re” of “you’re” as keywords among others.

Sentiment

I agree with the idea behind this factor. The more emotionally charged your title is, the more readers it’s going to pull in.

The headline analyzer tells you whether your title has a positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. Having a negative sentiment isn’t bad, because that has an emotional charge too.

Sometimes, I’m criticized for using too strong words in my titles. For example, This Is What I Learned from My Most Hated Blog Posts. Nevertheless, those strong words pull readers in.

Google Search Preview & Email Subject Line Preview

I find both previews helpful.

How Accurate Is It?

This is the most important question about this tool. I can only answer it according to my own data. I tested it on 82 blog posts that I have written and that were published in the Startup Publication.

As I mentioned above, the details of some factors are not accurate. The overall score reflects those inaccuracies.

I compared the view numbers of my posts with the headline analyzer scores. The correlation was only 11%. You can see in Fig. 1. that there are no relations between both data.

Fig. 1. Scatter Chart. Headline Analyzer Overall Score vs Number of Views

This result might be my mistake. I normalized my data by using posts only from one publication.

I could normalize the data for the day of the week as well, because posts published on Monday tend to outperform the rest.

In either case, I expect a high correlation between the number of views and the overall headline score. Without that correlation, I won’t use this tool on a daily basis.

Conclusion

An automated headline analyzer is a great idea. I learned some important lessons from it. I’m going to visit it in the future to learn more. Yet, there is some room for improvement in this tool.

Points of Improvements

  • Categorization of words in Word Balance
  • Recognition of words conjoined with an apostrophe
  • It recognizes some simple words as keywords.
  • The overall score has almost no correlation to the view numbers of my posts.

If CoSchedule addresses these points, their headline analyzer can be a useful tool.

Positive

In some extreme cases, it gave me accurate points:

It’s an educational tool. I learned about the optimal word balance, title length, and the importance of the first and last three words.

Future Work

Here is a follow up action list for me. I’m especially curious about #2 and #3. I’m going to post about them as well.

  1. Read the blog posts linked by the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.
  2. Use and Review Grammarly. What’s the added value on top of MS Word grammar and spell checker?
  3. Write down my requirements for an automated marketing tool.

Your Turn

  • Have you used CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer?
  • What do you think about it?
  • Do you use it for every post?
  • Are there other tools that you use and recommend?
Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.