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47 Headline Examples: Steal These Nifty Formulas From Popular Blogs

10 Steal-Worthy Headline FormulasDoes writing headlines give you a headache?

It’s infuriating, isn’t it?

You’ve slaved over your blog post. You’ve shared your best tips. You want to help your readers.

But now you’re stuck.

After three days of trying different versions, you STILL haven’t found a headline that sounds good enough.

Should you give up on this post?

Or publish it with a lousy headline?

You might have heard that 8 out of 10 people read a headline, and the other 2 people read the remainder of a text. These figures are often quoted to prove the importance of headlines.

But these figures are wildly optimistic because they originate from the era of print advertising. That’s before the internet amplified distractions and shortened our attention spans.

The average click through rate on Twitter, for instance, is only 1.64% (source, 2012), so 98 out of 100 people may read only your headline, and fewer than 2 of them click through.

Competition for reader attention is tough

Millions of blog posts are published each day. So your headline must stand out. Grab attention. Make people curious.

But how?

For today’s post, I used BuzzSumo to analyze the 10 most shared posts on popular blogs. I read through hundreds of headlines, and distilled the 10 formulas that are proven to work.

For each formula, I collected a series of headline examples. Each example:

  • generated at least 1k social shares (most of them generated far more)
  • belongs in the top 10 of popular posts of the blog it appeared on (most are in the top 3)
  • was published in 2015, so you know these formulas aren’t overused and worn out
  • showcases how to use the formula for tutorial-style articles in any industry

Want to know which headlines will work in 2016?

Let’s get started …

Headline Formula #1:

The Burning Question

Examples:

  1. Is Brand a Google Ranking Factor? (Moz)
  2. Do You Really Need That Exclamation Point? (HubSpot)
  3. Will Your Website Survive the Google Mobile Penalty? (Copyblogger)
  4. Fat Shaming vs Body Acceptance: Is it okay to be fat? (Nerd Fitness)
  5. How Much Do Keywords Still Matter? (KISSmetrics)
  6. How Much Copy to Write on Your Home Page? (ConversionXL)
  7. Do You Truly Know How to Love Yourself? (Louise Hay)

The formula:
Ask the most burning question in your niche

Why this formula works:
Questions arouse our curiosity.

We all grapple with tricky questions. We debate hot topics in our industries. We turn to Google to find answers. Who doesn’t want to know the answer on a burning question?

The Burning Question formula is probably the most underused formula on the list. But its attraction is undeniable: the third most popular post on Moz (8.2k shares) and the fifth most popular post on HubSpot (13k shares) use this formula. We also know from research that questions get more clicks on Twitter than statements, , and that subject lines with question marks get 44% more opens than those with exclamation marks (source).

How to apply this headline formula:
Which burning questions do your readers struggle to get answered? Which hot debates are going on in your industry? Use the question as your headline and provide an in-depth answer in your post.

Headline Formula #2:

The Classic How-To

Examples:

  1. How to Eat on Less Than $1.00/meal (Budgets Are Sexy)
  2. How to Turn 1 Idea Into 2 Months of Content Marketing (and More) (Content Marketing Institute)
  3. How to Cut a Wine Bottle into a Candle Hurricane (This Old House)
  4. How to Talk to Your Angriest Customers (Help Scout)
  5. How to Write the Highest-Performing AdWords Ads, Ever (Unbounce)

The formula:
How to [Achieve Something Specific]

Why this formula works:
The How-To headline promises us a solution to a problem. This formula works best when you make the problem as specific as possible. For instance, instead of learning how to cook cheap meals, the first example above promises you’ll learn how to eat on less than $1.00/meal. And instead of learning how to write ads, you’ll learn how to write the highest-performing AdWords ads, ever.

How to apply this headline formula:
What problems are your readers struggling with? How can you narrow down this problem to make your post more specific? If you’re unsure, ask your social media followers or email subscribers what they’re struggling with (I did this in December and readers generously suggested enough topics for the coming months).

Remember, generic headlines sound bland; specificity adds interest.

Headline Formula #3:

The How-To Case Study

Examples:

  1. How I Built an Online T-Shirt Business and Made $1,248.90 in 3 Weeks (Shopify)
  2. How We Increased Our Facebook Traffic by 332% in 2015 (Syed Balkhi)
  3. How I Paid off $46,500 of Student Loans in 2 years (Budgets Are Sexy)
  4. How Zapier Went From Zero to 600,000+ Users in Just Three Years (Groove)

The formula:
How [I/We/CompanyX] [Achieved Something Specific] in [Time Frame]

Why this formula works:
This is a variation of the Classic How-To headline. The headline arouses curiosity by sharing a story about a specific person or company. Of course, as readers, we hope to learn something from this case study.

Note how the headline examples are all ultra-specific. How to Build an E-Commerce Business would have been generic and bland; it doesn’t arouse curiosity. In contrast, the case study variation makes the headline far more interesting: How I Built an Online T-Shirt Business and Made $1,248.90 in 3 Weeks—this was the most shared post on Shopify in 2015, generating 9.6k social shares.

How to apply this headline formula:
Can you share a client case study? Can you interview someone for a case study? Or would your readers be interested in a story about your business? Remember to add specific results for credibility and interest.

Headline Formula #4:

The Unexpected Comparison

Examples:

  1. Why Content Marketing Trumps Advertising (Heidi Cohen)
  2. Why Strong Customer Relationships Trump Powerful Brands (Harvard Business Review)
  3. Why You Should Be Building Trust, Not Traffic (Convince and Convert)
  4. Why Exercising Is a Higher Priority Than My Business (Entrepreneur)

The formula:
Why [x] trumps [y]

Why this formula works:
We all have to make choices in life. Do we need to spend time on Facebook or SlideShare? Should we drink beer or coffee? Should we do Yoga or go jogging? Can we boost productivity by working more hours or fewer?

The Comparison headline promises us an answer to those difficult choices. It appears to work best when you try to bust a myth—when suggesting people should go for A, when everyone thinks B is better. This formula was used for the most popular post on Heidi Cohen’s blog (1.6k shares) and the second most shared post on Convince and Convert (4.6k shares).

How to apply this headline formula:
Which one persistent myth can you bust? What’s the most difficult choice your readers have to make? Use this formula to provide the definitive answer to the most heated debate in your industry. While you can write how-to and list headlines all year long, save this formula for the hottest debate in your industry this year.

Headline Formula #5:

The Guide

Examples:

  1. The Compact Guide to Grammar for Busy People (Boost Blog Traffic)
  2. A Brief Guide to Fixing Your Old, Neglected, and Broken Content (Copyblogger)
  3. A Data-Driven Guide to Creating Viral Content (Backlinko)
  4. The Noob Guide to Understanding Pay-Per-Click Marketing (Unbounce)
  5. A Scientific Guide to Saying “No”: How to Avoid Temptation and Distraction (Buffer)

The formula:
The [Adjective] Guide to [Specific Topic]

Why this formula works:
The Guide formula is another old classic, but be careful how you phrase the contents of your guide. Use unusual words and make the topic specific to avoid sounding like all those definitive and ultimate guides already gathering dust on the web. In a reader survey, Moz found that nobody wanted to read another ultimate guide. In contrast, “The Compact Guide to Grammar for Busy People” was the most popular post on Boost Blog Traffic in 2015, generating 2.1k social shares.

How to apply this headline formula:
Which reader problems can you solve? Don’t try to solve all problems in one go; instead narrow down your topic as much as possible.

Headline Formula #6:

Goofs, Errors, and Mistakes

Examples:

  1. 9 Landing Page Goofs That Make You Lose Business (Copyblogger)
  2. 5 Common Mental Errors That Sway You From Making Good Decisions (James Clear)
  3. 7 Deadly Car Seat Mistakes Even Experienced Parents Make (Babycenter)

The formula:
[n] [Topic] Goofs That [Lead to Damage]

Why this formula works:
Words like errors, mistakes, and goofs are power words, attracting our attention. We’re all afraid of making silly mistakes, so a list of mistakes arouses our curiosity, encouraging us to find out whether we’ve been silly, too.

Note how the second part of the headline often gives us an extra incentive to click through, either because it highlights how we can hurt ourselves (losing business or making wrong decisions) or because it stresses we’re making these mistakes, too (even experienced parents make these mistakes).

How to apply this headline formula:
Think about your readers and consider what mistakes they make. Or consider the errors you’ve made when starting out. Make sure your post also explains how to do your topic right.

Headline Formula #7:

The Classic List Post

Examples:

  1. 32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home (The Penny Hoarder)
  2. 7 Sneaky Ways to Bring Your Dialogue Alive (Writers’ Village)
  3. 15 Simple Ways to Spread Kindness in Your World Starting Today (Positivity Blog)
  4. 52 Ways to Tell Someone You Love and Appreciate Them (Tiny Buddha)
  5. 9 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler Without Using a Smartphone (The Art of Manliness)
  6. 3 Creative Ways to Hear Your Inner Truth (Louise Hay)

The formula:
[n] [Adjective] Ways to [Achieve Something Specific]

Why this formula works:
Getting tired of list posts?

Think again.

List posts continue to be amazingly popular. The post “32 Legitimate Ways to Make Money at Home”, for instance, generated an unbelievable 1.8 million social shares, making it the most popular post on The Penny Hoarder.

How to apply this headline formula:
Which tips can help your readers? Which quick wins can solve your readers’ problems?

Don’t write a superficial post. Instead, include specific tips that readers can implement straightaway. For added interest, include interesting or emotional words in the blog title like legitimate, sneaky, kindness, love, or truth. A high number can also help boost social shares.

Headline Formula #8:

The Why

Examples:

  1. Why Good Unique Content Needs to Die (Moz)
  2. Why SEO Is Actually All About Content Marketing (KISSmetrics)
  3. Why Going Outdoors Makes You Smarter, Stronger, and More Spiritual (Michael Hyatt)
  4. Why Having to Start Over – AGAIN – Is Great (Nerd Fitness)

The formula:
Why [Surprising Fact]

Why this formula works:
When I started learning how to write headlines, I was told that people were interested in how-to’s, not in why’s. But this formula shows this isn’t true. We want to understand why things are the way they are. Why do children ask questions like Why is grass green? Why do people get sick? Why is water wet?

This formula was used for the most shared post on KISSmetrics (22.4k shares), the most shared post on Moz.com (9.4k shares), and the most shared post on Nerd Fitness (6k shares).

How to apply this headline formula:
This formula only works when you prove a surprising standpoint in your post. For instance: Nobody wants to start over again, so why do you argue it’s great? Everyone thinks we need to write unique content, so why do you say it needs to die?

Headline Formula #9:

The Reasons Why

Examples:

  1. 8 Reasons Successful People Are Choosing to Wear the Same Thing Every Day (Becoming Minimalist)
  2. 13 Reasons Why Blog Ads Are a Silly Monetization Strategy (And What to Do Instead) (Boost Blog Traffic)
  3. 11 Reasons to Drink More Lemon Water (Steven Aitchison)
  4. 5 Reasons I Don’t Give An Eff About Swearing In Front Of My Kids (Scary Mommy)
  5. 10 Reasons Why You Should Always Go For The Girl Who Drinks Whiskey (Elite Daily)

The formula:
[n] Reasons Why [Surprising Fact]

Why this formula works:
This formula is powerful because it combines a list (numbers attract attention) with reasons why a surprising fact is true. The most popular posts on Becoming Minimalist and Scary Mommy use this formula, generating a whopping 199k and 644k shares, respectively.

How to apply this headline formula:
If you have one overwhelming reason why most people are wrong, then use formula #8, but if you have more reasons then use this variation to gain even more shares. You can use this formula to stir up a bit of controversy, boosting comments and shares. But be sure you argue your case well.

Headline Formula #10:

The Twins

Examples:

  1. How to Improve Your Google Rankings: 9 Steps to Rank Higher Fast Using Analytics (Orbit Media)
  2. How to Overcome Frustration: 3 Simple but Effective Steps (Positivity Blog)
  3. How To Be Consistent: 5 Steps To Get Things Done, All The Time (Marie Forleo)
  4. How To Attract Good Luck: 4 Secrets Backed By Research (Bakadesuyo)

The formula:
How to [Achieve This]: [n] Steps or Tips

Why this formula works:
Combine the two most popular headline formulas—the how-to and the classic list—and you get the Twins. How could it not work? This formula also works particularly well, because it’s “frontloaded“—within the first few words readers know what they’ll learn.

How to apply this headline formula:
Start with writing a super-short how-to headline for the first part of this formula—highlight the key problem your readers are struggling with. Then summarize how many tips or steps you’ll share in the second part of the formula.

The art of writing headlines

Composing irresistible headlines doesn’t start with applying a nifty formula.

Instead, start with getting to know your readers.

Understand which issues keep them tossing and turning at night. Find out why they can’t make up their minds. Ask them what they’re struggling with. Answer their most burning questions. Know which quick tips can solve their biggest problems. Help them deal with niggling irritations and soul-destroying frustrations.

When your headline uses a proven formula and addresses reader problems, you’ll see your social shares grow and your traffic soar. That’s how you become a popular blogger and an authority in your field.

Always serve your readers first.

Comments

  1. Hey Henneke,

    Happy new year . Hope you had a great holiday.

    What a way to start off the year, huh?

    An exciting post like this. I love it. Headline writing is something I practice a lot of but I’ll admit I published a post before with a lackluster headline and got punished for it. No more.

    Not publishing it unless I deem it perfect and arouses curiosity.

    Love the examples you gave, why that particular formula works and the how to do it as well.

    Great stuff.

    – Andrew

    • I think we all mess up our headlines from time to time. It’s difficult to get it right every time, so don’t beat yourself up too much!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and thank you for being the first enchanting commenter in 2016! 🙂

  2. Love it Henneke.

    This is a really practical post, (I’ve actually bookmarked it).

    But for me the best take away is “Composing irresistible headlines doesn’t start with applying a nifty formula. Instead, start with getting to know your readers. ”

    That really sums up getting attention via a headline, the formulas are great and will increase the impact, but an indepth knowlege of your audience will ensure you hit the nail on the head.

    Paul

    • Yep, so true. Formulas can be dangerous if you skip that all-important step of writing a post your readers are actually interested in.

      Thank you for stopping by, Paul. Happy headline writing!

  3. Sweet list, Henneke. Super examples – though they made it hard to restrain myself from clicking off your post…

  4. Outstanding content and analysis. Thank you, Henneke!

  5. Great work, brilliant! Thank you, Henneke. 👍😊

  6. Hi Henneke,

    That’s food for thought. I always struggle with headlines so this will greatly help me. And now I have to read a couple more posts(sigh 😉 because some of the ones you chose, are just tantalizing.
    Great start to the new year!

    • Thank you, Mariken.

      And yes, headline writing is tough. Despite (or perhaps because of?) researching this post, I still struggled writing a headline for this post and went through more versions than I cared to count.

  7. Welcome back Henneke 🙂
    We are happy to learn the #10 Formulas that define the Headlines.
    By now, we have learnt not only to serve the readers but also delight them.

    Thanks again.

  8. Thank you Henneke, I am struggling with my headlines these days. A lot and lot of good tips!

    • Even with formulas, writing headlines can still be a struggle. I’ve found it’s worth spending some time on it.

      Often the best headline idea appears on the day after I start composing a headline for a post. Good luck!

  9. Incredibly useful – thanks Henneke!

  10. This is indeed indepth and really valuable. Thanks

  11. Another great post – nothing like starting 2016 on a high note – I wonder how you’ll top this!

    On a practical point. would you say that the research would equally apply when crafting headlines for B2B emails? If you have an old post I’d be grateful for the link.

    Looking forward to your next topic

    • The same formulas also apply to B2B as you’re still writing for human beings. I’ve not included a lot of B2B titles in this post as B2B blogs tend to get fewer shares than B2C titles.

      However, the Content Marketing Institute writes predominantly for (content) marketers at companies. Shopify targets people running niche ecommerce businesses. Groove targets people running small startups, and Unbounce target marketers. Help Scout also targets small companies with their helpdesk software. So these are all headlines for B2B blogs

      The way to use these formulas is to first think about the problem you solve for your readers, and then see which formula applies. Who do you target in B2B? (Your web link doesn’t tell me)

  12. Great post! I was tempted to click on some of the links, the headlines are very catchy. Thank you for making time to share this. Have a great year!
    Bola recently posted…Attitude of Gratitude Always WinMy Profile

  13. I am going to go back and also read all the articles. Researching the research. This was really interesting Henneke. I have been reading these headlines and responding but not knowing why so interesting. Thanks so much.
    C A Hall

  14. Thank you, Henneke!
    Useful work. I’ve bookmarked it too.
    Have a good 2016!

  15. What a great way to start the new year. Definitely knocked it out of the park with this post. Much to ponder on here.
    Saleem Rana recently posted…How To Overcome A Personal CrisisMy Profile

  16. Happy New Year and WOW Henneke. A superb article and definitely your most in-depth and most valuable post ever!

    Did you have a good vacation?
    Mark Crosling recently posted…Increase Your Ratings and Reviews on iTunes Without Being SleazyMy Profile

    • Happy New Year to you, too, Mark!

      And yep, I had a quiet, relaxing, great vacation. I’m feeling inspired and energetic again (although this post depleted my energy quite quickly) 😉

  17. Henneke, I only recently “discovered” your site. I’m not sure what took me so long. 😉 The timing couldn’t be better for me as I work on a blog redesign *shudder.* Time to learn from past mistakes. 🙂
    Cathy Miller recently posted…27 Ways to Add Zing to Your Business CommunicationMy Profile

    • Nice to meet you here, Cathy. 🙂

      And yep, we all keep learning, and we all look back and cringe at our own writing. Good luck with your redesign!

  18. What’s awesome about these tips is that they can be put to use practically almost immediately.

    “Understand which issues keep them tossing and turning at night. Find out why they can’t make up their minds. Ask them what they’re struggling with. Answer their most burning questions. Know which quick tips can solve their biggest problems. Help them deal with niggling irritations and soul-destroying frustrations.”

    And I’m pretty sure you follow the above before you write and this entire post is a clear proof of that.

    Well done!

    • Yes, I put myself under quite some pressure to walk the talk. 😉

      Thank you for your kind words, Syed. Happy headline writing!

  19. Thanks for the article! I have a question regarding numbers and lists. The text title of this article says “47 Headline Examples…”, but the image title is “10 Steal-Worthy Headline Formulas…” Is there any research indicating that higher or lower numbers are more effective? For instance, when I saw 47, I assumed a longer, but less in-depth article. Initially, I wasn’t too interested because I thought I’d have to spend more time reading it with the risk that I couldn’t possibly retain 47 pieces of information. However, upon seeing 10, I thought that I could spare the time to read the article and that I could retain 10 pieces of information. Do we associate more value with a higher number than a lower number or do we find a higher number more intimidating?

    Thanks in advance!

    • I’ve heard several bloggers suggest that long list posts perform better than short list posts, and I’ve had the same hunch, but I’ve not seen it proven. It also may vary depending on the audience. It’s easy to argue both ways. Long list posts tend to be seen as more comprehensive and perhaps as useful checklists, but they can also be a little off putting as you suggest.

      There’s been some research to suggest that odd numbers work better than even numbers (https://medium.com/i-data/29-reasons-youre-reading-this-article-fbf4671327e3#.q6fsvw16h).

      • Thanks for the response and link, Henneke! I’ve heard something similar about odd numbered lists as well.

        Best wishes for a happy 2016!
        Tara

  20. Happy New Year, Henneke! A fitting post to start the year. Headlines… They’re a pain and can sure kill an article. But when you have a good one…. Boom! Your blog comes alive!
    I once wrote an article in one of my blogs with the title “How to survive in the corporate jungle” Useful stuff for exec assistants but… Silence. I changed it to “Do you have the queen bee complex?” 500 subscribers in 3 days. The power of a headline that hits the spot.
    I regularly check my dead posts after that and try to make it more…. Enchanting. 🙂

    Thanks for the tips. 🙂
    Eeva
    Eeva Lancaster recently posted…What Authors Should Know About Book Formatting – PART 2: Flowing Text or eBook FormatMy Profile

    • Wow, 500 subscribers in three days? That’s brilliant!

      Thank you for sharing your story – it’s a great example 🙂

      And Happy New Year to you, too, Eeva!

  21. Hey Henneke,

    Happy New Year!

    It’s been a while since I’ve been here and I’m glad that I stumbled upon this pist.

    I’m always looking to improve my headlines and these ideas take the cake. I use headline analyzer like EMV and coschedule’s which have been a great help.

    But one thing you mentioned which makes a lot of sense is to base your headline off of the wants of your audience. Knowing your audience makes a difference and makes you more competent to them.

    Thanks for sharing and you have given some great ideas for headlines here! Have a good one!
    Sherman Smith recently posted…My Top 6 Posts For October and NovemberMy Profile

    • Yep, using the best headline formulas doesn’t work if your headline doesn’t address something your audience is interested in. It’s easy to get carried away with these formulas, and forget whom we’re writing for. It has happened to me, too.

      It would be interesting to see how the headlines in this post perform in a headline analyzer, wouldn’t it? I’ve found that the headlines of some of my most shared (guest) posts often score badly.

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing, Sherman.

  22. Hi Henneke,

    All great food for thought as usual. I like the ‘guidelines’ formula a lot. Never thought about that but will give it a whirl. Thanks.
    Laurie recently posted…6 Reasons I’m Sorta Freaked Over 2016 (but One Strange Reason I’m Hopeful)My Profile

  23. Annnnnnd, another Henneke post full of usable tips is going into my Evernote file on writing tips. Great job as usual 🙂

  24. Dave LeBlanc says:

    Henneke,

    A fine post I will refer back to often this year for ideas. Thank you.

  25. Henneke,

    This is a great way to help writers to craft better titles. People need to see examples to help get the concept.

    Thank you for including me in your examples!

    Keep up the useful information!

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

    • Thank you, Heidi.

      Examples are a powerful, yet underused element in blogging (and perhaps in any educational material?). I love using examples, and I know you do, too 🙂

      Happy blogging!

  26. Happy 2016 Henneke, and thanks for this super informative post. Timely as usual. I appreciate the research and investment you put into your work and can learn a lot from that too. Cheers!

  27. Happy New Year, Henneke!

    This really is a great way to start 2016. I’ve been struggling with headlines but I keep telling myself to just publish my posts without trying to make everything perfect. I’ll definitely be using these suggestions in the future (I actually just implemented Headline Formula #9 in a guest post I’m currently working on!)

    I think you’ve added a lot to this topic and you’ve done it in such a clever way by incorporating other great headlines from fellow bloggers.

    Thanks!
    Eric

    • Happy New Year, Eric!

      When running out of time for a post, I try to focus on the most important parts: headline, intro, final paragraph, and subheads. But sometimes we all have to settle for “good enough.” Composing a good headline can guzzle up a lot of time.

      Thank you for your great comment. I’m glad you found the post useful!

  28. Hello Henneke

    I hate to sound like a pedant, but your final formula, #10 “The Double Whammy” needs another title.

    As my mother (bless her), frequently points out to me, a “whammy” is a bad thing. The dictionary definition is “an event with a powerful and unpleasant effect; a blow”.

    A bit like coming down with the measles and the flu at the same time, and so the (mum again) phrase “win-win” would be more apt.

    Apologies for the English lesson (I get them all the time).

    Damien

    • That’s a good point. It’s like hitting readers on their head, not once, but twice.

      I’m not sure about win-win. What about The Twin Formula?

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your lesson, Damien! 🙂

  29. Now you’ve done it!
    I’m going to have to stop procrastinating and write a post! So many great titles are swimming around in my head! 😉
    So happy to see you back. Mmm…:)
    Thanks for a great list post! Quite a nifty title, too! 🙂
    Katharine recently posted…Wives and Lovers?My Profile

  30. Amazing post, Henneke! Can’t believe how actionable it is. The fact that the stat that 8 out of 10 only read your headline is from the time of print advertising is completely new to me, somehow I hadn’t realized that. Thanks for correcting that misassumption 🙂

    • I think the quote comes from David Ogilvy – it keeps popping up in blog posts without proper attribution.

      The CTR on Twitter I quoted is slightly outdated (from 2012); it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s even lower now. Of course, the CTR on Twitter is also impacted by things like images and @mentions, so it’s not just the headline that defines the click.

      Having said that, I’m pretty sure that the figure of 2 out of 10 is optimistic.

  31. Thank you Henneke,
    I’ll print this post and put it next to my computer 🙂
    Beste wensen voor het nieuwe jaar!
    Petra

  32. Well done!
    Analyse the best 100 or 500 or 1000 and there you go.

  33. Great post! Thanks for all the ideas.

  34. Excellent. Brilliant.
    This is so helpful.
    I love this post, Henneke.
    Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  35. I loved this post thank you sending it to me
    have a Happy Healthy Wealthy 2016
    Robert

  36. This is a great post, Henneke and “wow” is the word that came to my mind. Interesting to see how the posts falling into nice categories.

    Will revisit (or more likely print and save this into a folder for reference).

    Are you tempting us with a Part II on 10 (or more) tips we can steal on how to write great posts that deliver on the headline?

    • That’s a great idea. I’ll add it to my list 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words, Louisa!

      PS There were headlines that didn’t fall into these categories, but these categories were the most common for the headlines I reviewed.

  37. Hi Henneke,

    Enjoyed this post. Partly because I love headlines and I do spend time most days practising headline writing, like a certain Jon Morrow advises. Often I take inspiration from people in forums, for example, complaining about things that are frustrating them: “It’s hard to sort through the **** to find advice that works”, is one gripe from someone frustrated by advice online that doesn’t work. I used this line to write a headline on my blog. It seems to work because it’s one of my popular posts so far.

    Have you got a favourite headline, or one you wished you’d written yourself?

    -Tom
    Tom Southern recently posted…How To Start Getting Traffic To Your BlogMy Profile

    • That’s a great way to use the phrases your readers are using, too, and making sure your headlines connect with them! Thank you for sharing that, Tom.

      I don’t really have one favorite headline. There’s so many good ones around! My favorite formula is not included in this list as not many blogs use it, but I’ve found it performing extremely well both here and on Copyblogger. It’s using a short question first: No Time to Write? These 4 Routines Cut My Writing Time By 50% (It’s a shortened version of the PAS formula that Dan Kennedy advocates).

  38. Human-centric Henneke! Love the reminder to connect with and start from the point of view of the humans in waiting in your audience.

    Appreciate the explanations why each formula works and when to use – Headline Alchemy 🙂 A handy go-to guide making its way to my swipe-resource file.
    Cheers and keep the steal-worthy content coming.
    Happy New Year.
    Nicole recently posted…Start Creating the HR Experience Your Business Needs TodayMy Profile

    • Yes, you got it. Always be human-centric and focus on your readers. People sometimes get carried away with such formulas and forget to connect with their readers. It’s easily done. It happened to me, too.

      Happy New Year, Nicole! And happy blogging in 2016!

  39. Hi henneke.

    This post is super awesome, i like it very much.

    Just a little question, is this formula of headline suitable to use in social media post?
    Nas recently posted…Capai Rm 1 Juta Pertama, Peniaga Lupa Proses Ini Memerlukan KepercayaanMy Profile

  40. A good post on how to write effective headlines never gets old. And in your case, they’re better than most. I admit, I have gotten tired of doing list posts. Sort of the been there/done that mentality. But clearly, its value stays strong. Thanks for a great post!

    • Yes, list posts still work. You might want to try a different type of list post – make it more in-depth with a lower number of tips, or make a longer list like a checklist (and add links to other posts on your site or elsewhere on the web). A list of examples can be nice, too 😉

  41. Hi Henneke,
    Awesome post again.
    So sorry I’m late to the party. But a headlines post never goes old, especially when it’s super helpful and bite – sized. Some are just overwhelming. 😀
    I found that running mine through the headline analyser (coschedule.com or the advanced marketing institute) helped me craft my headlines better, to convey more emotion and be less plastic.
    Thanks for this. I’d definitely keep it close.
    have a great week ahead.
    Ruth

    • I used Co-Schedule’s headline analyzer to review the 47 headlines in this post (after I had published this post). Only 15 of the 47 headlines received a green score (70+), two even got red scores (49 and 51).

      I know a lot of people find headline analyzers useful, but computer programs still seem to struggle to appreciate the nuances of language and engaging readers.

  42. Henneke – Everyone else has said what I was going to say! Another great piece of insight and invaluable analysis work. Thank you, and a happy and healthy New Year to you.

  43. Thanks for this, Henneke,
    I keep popping back to this blog post for inspiration. Very helpful!

  44. Yes! I struggle with headlines. I know lately I have been too worried about keywords and SEO. I’d rather stop being overly concerned about that and write my headlines within one of these 10 guidelines. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Kathleen Desio recently posted…SuperBAG Weekend Flash SaleMy Profile

    • Yep, I agree. Focus on your readers first. And if possible, optimize the headline for SEO. Headlines often become dull when you do it the other way around.

  45. Hello There,

    Once we can figure out what keeps your audience awake at 3 a.m. we are on your way.
    Like so many other things worth having this takes a lot of effort and some of that effort is, at times, sitting and thinking.

    If we don’t know what the problem is how can we even get close to a solution.

    Another helpful post. Thank you.
    Barry recently posted…SHARE SUCCESS RESOURCESMy Profile

    • Yep, we need to know what the problem is first. Having said that, I don’t often write about topics that keep my audience awake, so that’s not always necessary!

  46. I feel like these tips are going to breathe a whole new life into my blog post titles. Thanks for this information.

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