Stop Writing Boring Headlines: 11 Types of Headlines That Pique Reader Interest

headline

You put in hours crafting a great post, but then you come to the hardest part:

The headline.

It seems like it should be easy to create a solid headline, right?

I mean, it’s usually 5-10 words long. How long could that possibly take?

So you write a few different headlines, but they just don’t quite click. They’re okay, but your audience isn’t going to go nuts over them.

And while you’re trying to come up with other headline ideas, the frustration creeps in. How can writing a single line take so much time?

Because you expect to be able to write headlines quickly, it gets frustrating when you can’t do it.

Most marketers end up just picking the “least sucky” headline and getting subpar traffic as a result.

The solution is actually really easy:

Expect to spend more time on your headline.

Copywriting legends like David Ogilvy would spend up to half of their time creating a headline for an advertisement or article they are working on.

Ogilvy once reported that he rewrote a headline 104 times for a Rolls Royce ad.

Another master copywriter, Gene Schwartz, often spent a whole week on the headline and an intro of a sales piece.

So when you don’t have a great headline after two minutes, don’t worry about it. That’s completely normal.

As long as you understand that, you won’t get frustrated, and you’ll be able to continue until you find a headline that’s right.

Your headline is the biggest factor determining the number of social shares your content gets: The fact is most people don’t read your content, no matter how good it is.

Want to draw readers attention to your headline? Then download this printable cheat sheet to learn about 11 types of headlines that pique reader interest. .

What they do is read the headline.

Around 80-85% of people will read headlines, while only about 20% will read the actual article.

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Based on the headline itself, people make the choice of whether or not to read on.

This is one of the biggest reasons why a great headline is so important.

But there’s one reason that’s even more important:

Most people will share content based on the headline alone.

It seems strange, but it’s been shown time after time.

After extensive split testing, the co-founder of Upworthy found that an excellent headline can make up to a 500% difference in shares and traffic.

Through research, we (marketers) have learned a lot about which headlines attract the most shares and traffic.

And I want to show you the 11 best types of headlines to write as well as ways to use them effectively.

You can use them immediately to increase your website’s traffic and social engagement.

Understand the potential of a headline: Before we dig in, there’s one last thing you need to understand about headlines.

Even if your headline is the most impressive headline ever written, that doesn’t mean you’ll get thousands or millions of shares.

Why?

Because there are two other factors at play:

  1. Your topic/niche
  2. The number of people who see it

Some niches just aren’t “sexy.” You’re never going to get millions of shares on an article about cleaning floors.

In addition, if you only have 1,000 followers on social networks, it’s going to be difficult to hit that viral threshold of initial shares.

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Simply put: the more followers you have, the more shares you’ll get.

One way to make up for a lack of followers is paid advertising. But you’ll need a decent volume of one or the other.

The reason why understanding these factors is important is to help you keep your expectations realistic.

In this post, you’ll see headlines of content that has hundreds of thousands of shares. You may be able to produce similar content, but you may also be limited based on the above two factors.

Your goal should be to get as many shares as possible (based on your headline). If you do this well consistently, your site will grow.

While going viral is nice, consistently maximizing your shares and traffic is what will bring you reliable success.

Ready? Let’s get started.

1. The “ultimate headline”

This first headline formula is a great way to break down headlines into specific components.

Although it’s probably been defined many times over the years, I came across it in a post by the infamous Jeff Goins. Let’s call it the “ultimate headline formula”:

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The idea behind this formula is that it can describe just about any highly effective headline.

There are five main parts to it:

  • Number – You know what a number is.
  • AdjectiveA word that describes a thing (noun). For example: best, adorable, surprising.
  • Keyword – A keyword or short phrase that tells us what the content is about (possibly also for SEO)
  • Rationale – The main way that value is delivered in the content. For example: reasons, ways, secrets.
  • Promise – What will the reader get from reading the content?

These are pretty simple, and you can probably get your head around the main components.

That’s actually the easy part—many bad headlines also have these components.

The hard part is combining the right parts together to produce something special.

And that’s why I started with this formula. Now you understand the main parts of a headline. It’s essentially an overall strategy.

However, for the rest of the headline types in this post, we’ll look at specific implementations of one or more of these components (think of them as tactics).

2. “X” Reasons why list headlines are amazing

Let’s start with the first component of most great headlines: the number.

List posts are not only highly readable but they are also very handy when it comes to writing an effective headline. You automatically have a number of items in your list to add to your headline.

In an analysis of about 1 million most popular headlines, it was found that list posts are by far the most shared.

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People love list posts.

And we have more data to prove it.

A comprehensive Conductor survey showed that people actually prefer headlines with numbers in them.

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These types of headlines make a specific promise, and the reader knows what to expect going into the content. This is likely why these types of headlines are preferred.

On top of that, the survey also had participants rank the clarity of different types of headlines.

As you might have guessed, list posts were viewed as the clearest:

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While we’re on the subject, list posts not only attract extra attention (because of their headlines) but they are also typically read more.

Lists are much easier to read, and readers can skim them, moving quickly from one section to another to see if there’s anything they’re interested in.

List post headlines in action: Take a few minutes to visit some of your favorite sites. If they have a “popular content” section, pay attention to which headlines are list posts.

In most cases, a large portion of them will be.

If you go to Boost Blog Traffic, about half of their most popular posts (in the sidebar) are list posts (the number at the start makes it obvious):

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In addition to the already mentioned reasons why readers love list headlines and posts, there’s one more great aspect to them.

You have the option of creating incredibly long lists.

Long lists automatically make people value the content higher.

Let’s say you saw these two headlines:

  • “3 ways to lose 20 pounds”
  • “178 ways to lose 20 pounds”

Which one would you be more drawn to?

In most cases, it’s the one with the bigger list.

Many bloggers have taken advantage of this to create content that automatically gets extra shares and traffic.

For example, Brian Dean made a list of all known possible Google ranking factors. It’s accumulated over 10,000 shares to date:

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An article about five ranking factors wouldn’t be impressive. But 200? Wow, that’s incredible.

And that’s exactly why it has been shared so much.

Making your own list post headline: The good news is that one part of your headline is decided for you.

If you have a list of 25 items, then “25” will go into your headline.

So, that just leaves the rest. The other tactics in this article will help you fill in that part.

3. “How to” write a descriptive and interesting headline

Another effective type of headline is a “how to” headline.

The general format is:

How to + Action (do something) + Unique benefit

For example, How to Fall Asleep In Under 1 Minute, which is actually a real post.

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To say that it went viral on social networks is an understatement. It’s received over 300,000 shares on Facebook alone:

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In this case, the “action” is falling asleep, and the unique benefit is that it can be done in under a minute.

The real selling point comes from the unique benefit. It has to be something desirable.

With this example, people are desperate to fall asleep quickly, so if you have a solution that works fast (as the headline claims), readers will be interested.

If you actually have a good article to back up your headline, it will get shared.

Why it works: There are a few reasons why more bloggers should be using “how to” headlines when possible.

First, they’re simple to write.

Break it down into the two main components:

  • the action
  • the unique, desirable benefit

The action is usually pretty straightforward, but spend a few minutes looking at different ways to incorporate it into the headline.

For example, with the action of falling asleep, you could follow “How” or “How to” with:

  • “I learned to fall asleep”
  • “Fall asleep”
  • “Get to sleep”
  • “I nod off”

The reason why the first one won in real life was because it included the word “learned.”

Think about it from the reader’s point of view. They don’t really care about your falling asleep quickly—they want to do it themselves. If you were just born with the unique ability to fall asleep quickly, it wouldn’t be an interesting article.

However, if you’ve learned how to do it yourself and can share that solution, all of a sudden the headline becomes much more intriguing.

Now, to the second part of the headline. This is a bit harder.

Make a list of all the potential benefits of the action you’re telling the reader to take. Again, try to focus on it from the reader’s point of view.

Let’s come up with a few for our example:

  • “In under a minute” (the original)
  • “In less than a minute” (a variation)
  • “In under 60 seconds” (another variation)
  • “No matter where you are” (a different benefit)
  • “And wake up energized” (another benefit)

You could come up with a list of 20 headlines pretty easily, composed of different benefits and different ways to describe them.

It still takes practice and experience to be able to create and pick the best option. But at least this way, you have a formula that you can repeat over and over again and improve your headline writing skills.

4. Three common mistakes of headline writing

Okay, time to come clean…

This section isn’t actually about mistakes of headline writing.

But admit it, it made you curious.

What this is about is incorporating the word “mistakes” into your headline. It’s a magical adjective that draws the attention of just about any type of reader, which makes it versatile.

In general, people are afraid of making mistakes.

No, it might not be a crippling fear—many understand that everybody makes mistakes.

However, it’s ingrained into almost everyone that we should try to avoid making mistakes whenever possible.

So, when you see a headline with the word “mistakes” in it, you want to make sure that you’re not doing something that might be considered foolish.

Here’s an example:

20 Beauty Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Even if you’re not in that audience, you can understand the allure of that headline.

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So far, that post has over 204,000 shares on Pinterest.

Here’s another example:

Eight mistakes parents make to teach discipline

So far, it’s received over 148,000 likes and shares on Facebook:

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I encourage you to go look at this second example. The content is very mediocre. However, the strong headline, combined with a solid social following was enough for this post to get viral traction.

What mistakes should you write about? The good news is that you have one word in your headline already decided for you: mistakes.

The part that requires some practice is determining if your audience is interested in a certain type of mistakes.

It’s a good idea to consider this before creating the content as well.

And to do this, you need to answer one major question:

What do your readers care about but are uncertain about?

First, your audience needs to care. If I write an article about mistakes marketers make when choosing their hairstyles, you probably won’t be very interested.

But if I write an article about mistakes marketers make when trying to sell something with email marketing, a very large portion of my readers will be eager to read it.

My readers care about revenue, traffic, conversions, social media shares, etc.

If I’m writing about mistakes, it needs to be about mistakes marketers make that could affect one of those primary goals.

Secondly, your readers need to be uncertain about it.

The parenting headline is a great example of this.

No one knows how to be a perfect parent—there’s no manual. And yet, people care a great deal about being a good parent.

So when readers see the headline about discipline mistakes most parents make, they are uncertain whether or not they’re making those mistakes. It forces the reader to read the article to find out.

If most of your readers are already experts on the topic you’re writing about, they will know that they’re not making any mistakes and won’t be interested.

This is why these headlines work best on readers with little formal education in the subject (like parents).

One other bonus: While you can write articles about a single mistake your readers might be wary of making, you’ll often create content around multiple mistakes.

Reminds you of something? That’s right, it turns into a list post.

You can combine using “mistakes” in your headline with the number of elements in your list (for the reasons I showed you before).

5. What is the secret to a great headline?

One type of headline that can help you get more social shares is a question headline.

You ask the reader a question that they would be interested in learning the answer to, and it’s implied that your content will provide the answer. The subheading to this section is a basic example.

Here’s a more complex one:

A Renowned Psychologist Says There Are 4 Personality Types Based On 4 Colors. Which Are You?

Since being published, it’s been shared on Facebook over 3.6 million times (3,600 thousand times!):

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Social media is a great platform for headlines like these to spread because they are all about the user.

It makes sense that they see headlines asking them questions on social media.

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In particular, you’ve probably seen question headlines for just about every popular quiz on Facebook.

One key note to include: The best question headlines are the ones that speak to your reader directly.

Don’t just ask them:

What is the best way to fall asleep?

Ask them:

Do you know the best way to fall asleep?

It forces them to answer the question, and if it’s “no”, it often makes them seek an answer.

6. This is the best type of headline EVER!

A famous researcher Dr. Hakim Chishti taught the marketing world a lot.

He was most interested in figuring out what causes emotional reactions in people.

And what he discovered was that certain words evoke emotion more than others.

He also found that emotion drives action.

When people have a feeling about your content, positive or negative, they will take action. It could be a comment, share, or anything else. Typically, it’s something that you want to encourage.

And most of that emotion will be stirred up when they read your headline.

This is why you should focus on making emotional headlines.

Try to get your readers to get as positively—or as negatively—charged as possible.

The EMV index: The emotional marketing value (EMV) index was created to try to quantify the emotional impact of words in a sentence (or headline).

According to an analysis of 1 million of the most popular articles, an EMV score correlates very well with the number of shares an article gets.  

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The higher the EMV score, the more shares an article typically gets.

Technically, the highest score is 100, but that’s not realistic.

Instead, good copywriters usually get 30-40% with their headlines.

To check your headline, use this EMV headline analyzer. Type in your headline, select a category, then submit it for analysis:

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It will promptly spit out an EMV score for your headline:

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How to use this tool: My best advice is to create at least 20 different headlines for your content.

Then, get the EMV score for all those headlines to determine how emotional they are.

Pick from the top scores.

7. Can’t explain complex topics? Here’s how to write headlines like…

One of the most difficult parts of crafting a great headline is figuring out a way to stand out from all the others who have written about your topic.

If you need a post about writing faster, you don’t just want to say:

5 tips for writing fast (really, really fast! I promise!)

There are thousands of articles about the topic, so even if your content is great, it’s really difficult to convey just how useful it is.

But here’s a simple solution: start name dropping.

What if you wrote a headline like:

5 tips for writing as fast as Neil Patel

Assuming that your audience is interested in marketing, just adding my name makes it easy to add emphasis to the result your content can bring the reader.

Here’s an actual example:

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It’s not the most concise headline, but all those highly recognized brands significantly up the amount of perceived value for a reader.

There’s only one key to using brands in your headlines: This is a very simple, but effective technique.

However, you’re probably wondering which brands to include in your headline. It’s crucial that the brand is well-known among your readers.

And not only that, it should be related to your topic.

8. One simple way to cure your headline problems forever

Did that subheadline get you excited?

If so, I’m sorry.

There’s no simple way to become an expert headline writer overnight. Although if you use the tactics in this article, you’ll be ahead of 90% of other marketers out there.

This technique, in particular, is to say that you have a simple way to solve a fairly complicated problem that your readers have.

For example, how about a “simple way to cook rice that could halve the calories”?

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Or how about “5 simple and healthy ways to cut portions”?

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It’s no secret that if you want to add value to your readers’ lives (and get the rewards of that), you need to solve problems in their lives that they care about.

However, what’s just as important is the way you solve them.

The vast majority of people want a simple solution.

If someone needs a computer, they don’t want to learn how to build one from scratch; they want to know which one to buy.

They’re both solutions, but one is much easier than the other.

And that’s why using “simple” in your headline is a great way to capture attention.

The second benefit of simple solutions: When you’re creating your headline and describe a solution as simple, it forces you to define the problem really well.

You can start with something like:

I’ve discovered a simple way to (solve a problem).

People want a solution to one problem at a time. Otherwise, they get overwhelmed, so this works perfectly.

Try to get as specific with the problem as possible.

9. A way to combine headlines and subheadlines

The reason why creating great headlines is so difficult is because your goal is not only to induce curiosity but also provide clarity.

If you read about copywriting, you already know that being too clever is a bad thing.

At the same time, a certain level of cleverness is how you create the intrigue.

So, you need a bit of both.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to write a really short clever headline and include a more traditional subheadline, all in one.

I do it fairly often for my blog posts.

Here’s an example:

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“Get more out of Facebook” is a little abstract, but it’s a phrase my readers would use, and it provokes a bit of curiosity.

That part is immediately followed up by a more traditional headline for a list post.

That post, in particular, was shared over 1,000 times on just Facebook and Twitter alone.

10. Social proof works everywhere, especially on social media

Here’s a very simple way to write a good headline.

You can’t use it all the time, but it does work well consistently.

Start your headline with “Who else wants…”.

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The reason why it works is because it shows that at least one other person wants something already.

Most people follow others, so if they’ve approved an idea or product, most readers will give it a chance.

The second reason it works is because it asks the reader to join a group. Do they want to join this group of people who want something?

People are social creatures and like belonging to groups, which draws even more attention to your headline.

11. Make your headlines SHINE with this method…

A final check that you can do to make sure your headline covers all of its basis is to see if it meets every point on the “SHINE” list.

SHINE is an acronym often used for headlines. It stands for:

  • S: Specificity
  • H: Helpfulness
  • I: Immediacy
  • N: Newsworthiness
  • E: Entertainment value

1. Is your headline specific? It should be clear that your content is about one specific topic.

Consider the headline, “What’s the best way to cook it?”

That could be about anything.

A better headline would be, “What’s the best way to cook steak?”

Now, it has a specific subject.

2. Does it display helpfulness? At the heart of every piece of content, there needs to be something of value to the reader.

Your headline should make it clear that your content will solve a problem or provide something else useful.

3. Is there some sort of urgency? There should be something that encourages the reader to read the content right away.

If a reader isn’t compelled to do it right away, it’s unlikely that they will later.

If you’re solving a big problem, the urgency is built in.

Otherwise, you need to promise some sort of immediate benefit that a reader will get out of the content.

4. Does it need to be said? All content should have something new in it, no matter the topic. Otherwise, why should someone view your content when they could have seen it in the past?

What is about your content that’s newsworthy?

To show that you have something of value to share, use the following words:

  • dates (e.g., an SEO guide for 2016)
  • “updated”
  • “discovered”
  • “new way to”

5. Does it sound fun, even a tiny bit? Unless you have extremely motivated readers, no one looks for content that bores them.

If they get the impression from the headline that your content is boring, they’ll likely pass on reading or sharing it.

Some topics, admittedly, are a little dry. Use adjectives to spice up your headline to make it sound a little more fun:

  • “attract”
  • “clever”
  • “fun”
  • “inventive”

Conclusion

Your headline is the most important part of your content when it comes to getting traffic and social shares.

But creating a great headline isn’t easy; it takes a lot of practice and knowledge.

I’ve shown you 11 different ways that you can immediately apply to start writing better headlines.

Start using them as soon as possible. You’ll improve right away and will continue to improve as you use the tactics over time. 

Do you have any questions about what makes a headline great? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

  1. April Books & Wine :

    Thanks for sharing this, Neil. I am currently in the book blogging niche and my blog revolves around reviewing books. I am thinking that I need to re-examine how I write my headlines and make them more exciting than Book Title | Author | Review.

    This definitely gives me food for thought. I’ll have to do some re-evaluating for sure.

    • Glad to help. I think testing out headlines is essential for long term success — once you get into a groove that works for you, you can achieve some great results. Let me know if you need any other help along the way. Best of luck!

  2. Neil… Dude

    This post is gangsta!

    I just sent a video to my list the other day talking about how so few people deliver quality content on their blogs. You were one of the 2 examples I gave of people who do; and this post proves my point!

    Seriously – I’ve paid for 30 page reports that deliver less quality content than what you just delivered here.

    Kudos to you, brother

    Devon

    • Devon, I don’t believe in charging for most information. If it’s easier to just give it away then why not — I am trying to help people out at the end of the day.

      Thanks for all the support!

  3. Just a very quick thank you for this most useful post.

    I do remember hearing that Eben Pagan had little success with his “help for men re dating” site. Then he wrote a headline offering help (and I’ll put this delicately – not just because I can’t remember the exact words). It offered advice as to the exact words that a chap could use to guarantee his partner’s immediate and delighted submission.

    Talk about emotional marketing! The rest is history as they say.

    Sorry. I had to share that with you and the community.

    • Zarayna, no need to be sorry. That is headline writing in it’s purest form — he tapped into the psyche of his audience and created an emotional response. That’s the bread and butter of how this all works.

  4. Bravo Neil.. I’ve been following for a few months now and everyday I look forward checking your blog to see what the latest and juiciest tidbit of information you have to share with the community. Definitely please continue to share all the knowledge that you have.

    • Danny, glad to help. If you need help with anything else please let me know. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  5. jeffrey dobkin :

    thanks, neil…

    great post as usual.

    I’ve written an article on an effective way of creating the best headlines also. my technique is a little different, it’s called the jeff dobkin “100 to 1 rule.” the rule says that whenever you have a line that’s so crucial to your success (headline, subhead, first line in an article, post or letter) you should write that line 100 different ways, then go back and pick our your best one.

    hey, I didn’t say you’d like it, I just said it’s an effective way to create great headline.

    you may hit the one “eureka” line after a dozen, twenty, or thirty tries – doesn’t matter. what matters is that you don’t just dash off one line, place it in the final copy, and call it a day.

    here’s my own creative process: i start out with a pencil and a blank sheet of paper (yes, paper and pencil — I know — call me old fashioned, but this works for me!) and start writing headlines. it may take me a couple of minutes, a couple of hours or a few days. then I stop and give it a rest. then come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh new creative stream, and write some more headlines. I may do this once or twice, or a few times. eventually I come up with that one, one solid headline – that’s great. when I do it’s usually readily apparent that this is the one.

    the full “100 to 1” article can be found on my website jeffreydobkin.com or in my book, UNcommon Marketing Techniques. hope this is helpful. thanks again for a great post. your’s is one of the two posts I read with regularity. thank you.

    • Jeffrey, I like your style — it’s old school and gets the job done.

      Putting pen to paper is the oldest technique in the book and it really gets the creative mojo going. Disconnecting from the internet and all distractions is the best way to write creative content and more importantly the best headline.

      I’ll definitely have to check out your website — let me know if you have any other feedback. It was great reading your comment.

  6. Neil this is a great post, although I think the approach is cart-before-horse.

    Don’t spend hours crafting a great post and then write the headline.

    Write the headline first.

    You said it yourself, the headline grabs the attention. The headline is what will get your post shared. As it’s the most important part, do it first – not last.

    I can’t claim this as my own idea… it’s David Ogilvy’s. He said:

    “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

    • Cliff,

      That’s true — I think content provides value but if you want people to come into the door you have to entice them with the best headline.

      Ideally, you should spend a good amount of time on both the headline and content — you get the best results that way 🙂

  7. Bhargav Bavarva :

    Hi Neil,

    Number, question & emotional are all time favorite.. but you have gone here above & beyond many more with detailed live example… this is some thing really so much important… once people click with headline but don’t find really in-depth content then not much impress but you come up so much in-depth that people like me about like minded topic love this….

    Thanks for sharing…

    • Bhargav, glad to help. It’s important to provide great content at all times — especially when you create near perfect headlines. It’s almost a waste if the headline is flawless but the content is junk.

  8. As always great comment. This gave me a lot to think about and work with. One thing that I will make sure to remember is SHINE. Also what I needed the reminder of is that I need to include the benefit in the headline when possible. Great post as always.

    • Bo, glad to help. If you need any other help along the way please let me know. I look forward to hearing much more from you!

  9. Mark Petticord :

    Neil, This is an excellent article with tons of useful, actionable information. Thanks! Mark

  10. Thanks Neil

    I love learning new headline formulas. I’ve had success with the list and “How to” formula, and I’m going to add some of your suggestions to my arsenal.

    One method I’m using to improve my headline writing is to tweet one of my posts – firstly with the original headline, then again with an alternate headline. If the alternate headline gets more shares, I’ll replace the original with it.

    Clement

    • Clement, that’s a brilliant strategy — you should continuing doing that. It’s the best way to test things out. Keep up the great work 🙂

  11. Neil, I have a new blog in B2B niche. i want to know that which is a better option to get started with- facebook or twitter?
    Where should I build up a following? I am afraid of choosing Facebook as it is largely a pay-to-play site now.
    Please help me.

  12. Thanks for the article , yes title should be the main thing we must optimise for any post , It drives high CTR in SERP’s and also helps to get organic visibility … Your every article is worth more than a guide

  13. Thank you for this post Neil. I have been playing with headlines all morning. What fun!

  14. Hi Neil,
    Thanks for the great headline advice. I am already doing many of these. Can’t wait to implement the others. Bookmarked.
    Janice

  15. Neil, how’s this cold week treating you so far?
    I am happy that “List posts” aren’t just a fad. Even after all these years, they still continue to turn heads.

    And of course, we also have some semi-hidden headlines that are quite effective depending on your audience — i..e. 22 Influencers Reveal Their Daily Blog Routine. I think this “Reveal” tactic speaks to the curious, aspiring blogger more than anything.

    Thanks for yet another great post, as always.
    Elvis

    • Elvis, it’s getting a bit cold here in Vegas — but not too bad.

      Headlines are here to stay and always have since the early days of print.

      Glad you liked the post and if you have any specific questions I am here to help.

  16. Neil,
    This is an awesome post. So much information I’m going to need to read it many times. Thank you for all the great information you provide!
    Cheers, Todd

  17. Great inputs Neil!

    You have covered all the aspects of the killer headline. I loved it!

    A lot of writers still write headlines for the search engines by using their keywords there with no sense. If that is going to work (forgetting that those days are gone) and bring them to the top of the SERPs, it won’t help with good CTR and shares as well.

    Again, your post was really a great reading experience, thanks for sharing!

    • Hussain, glad you liked the post.

      You want your headline to make sense, be contextual and drive actionable content. When you do that you’ll see results 🙂

  18. this is awesome. it is really good to know how headlines can impact traffic of a wesbite or blog.

  19. “Headlines Make History” and Writing Headlines is a Specialty. Am I right Neil?

    Really there are no shortcuts to craft a great headlines, it all comes from experience and consistency.

    I have also read many articles for crafting viral headlines and figured that inclusion of words from great quotes in headlines also makes it attention-grabbing.

    So, I have composed a list of great quotes from great influencers of the online marketing industry. Here is the Link >> http://candentseo.com/200-seo-quotes-to-enlighten-your-thoughts-about-online-marketing/

    Not to mention, You are also in the list Neil.

    Thanks, Neil for your Omnipresent Support.

    • Prakash, You are 100% right.

      There really is no substitute for a great headline.

      Thanks for the the shoutout and support 🙂

  20. Good insights Neil and well explained. Though it differ from one business to another but the thoughts will remain same. Thanks for sharing.

  21. pavithraravindar :

    Hi Neil,
    This is a really helpful article for me to learn how to write a headline for getting more audience.
    since i am a new blogger in http://www.techlearningschool.org/, your each blog post are like free training articles.
    Thank you so much.
    Kind Regards
    Pavithra

  22. Writing great headlines is an art to be mastered, but certainly one that’s really worth mastering. It’s best, I find, to make sure whatever headline you published is both accurate and yet really intriguing, without being sensationalist. It’s terrible when you promise too much in a title and then under-deliver.

    • Elise, great point — you want your headline to captivate, inspire, and help people. The more actionable it is the better.

  23. Shahin @ bangla news :

    Comprehensive and data driven post i saw. I am working in news company as an SEO. This has helped me lot and i will teach our news editors.

    Hope it will good for us to grab attention of new users. Thumbs up. 🙂

    • Shahin, glad to help. If you need help with anything else at all please let me know.

    • Shahin, glad you liked it. If you need anything else please let me know. I am sure if you come up with a unique headline you’ll capture the attention of your audience.

  24. Tanvir Hossain :

    No. 5 is a very tactical approach. People always seek authenticity of a news. When it comes from a trustworthy source they just accept it gleefully. From now on, I will execute this killer strategy in my blog >> http://theindustryinformant.com/

  25. Muddasar Saiyad :

    Thanks Neil for such a brilliant post. Surely, this will help me lot.

  26. Compelling post and title, I guess you’ve shared awesome tips in a single post here.

    Thanks

  27. Hi Neil, Spot on article. I want to thank you for your conscientious advice and a whole run through, you give advice, you explain the theory, then you give stats and also explain step by step how to implement it. That is some very professional knowledge spreading! I mean it is interesting that we always follow the most liked ways of writing a headline. Sometimes I feel that I wouldnt open such an email or read an article because I recognize the cliche. Perhaps we could think about a surprise and innovation element, something still on the topic but a bit more unusual? I have been trying to educate myself on these matters and I read something about effective greeting messages here: http://bit.ly/1QhvpbD . They talk about the normal stuff and the expected thank you, clarity of the message and all but then they want to make it memorable as well. Perhaps this is what I am driving at, having this something unique in a headline that makes us read it. What do you think?

    • Bart, I definitely think you are on the right track. Having a unique selling point or proposition is vital when it comes to your headline. You’re definitely onto something 🙂

  28. Neil, I’m a new reader and have really liked your posts and get your email. You write informative and USEFUL blogposts – but they’re painful to read.

    A couple of tips:
    1. Every sentence should NOT be a new paragraph. Please make your thoughts flow better together by combining your sentences into paragraphs.
    2. Decrease the size of ALL of your images, unless the text in the image needs to be read. You’re making us scroll way too much.
    Thanks!

    • Agree – using an older version of Outlook, the images are massive – which stretches the email content. I’ve given up reading the emails, I always click through to read it online now.

  29. I’m a big fan of headlines and normally put quite a lot of work into them, but I still found a couple of take-aways here, thanks Neil.

    One point though, you’ve got a gap in your conclusion section. The key to writing a good headline is not to aim to write one.

    If you’re not very sharp with headlines yet, write 50, then pick one. If you’re getting better, write 20 and do the same.

    Or if you’re really advanced and your CMS supports it, write 50 and pick 4 to A/B test 🙂

    Then you’re really making progress.

    • Great suggestions — I always write a couple then test them out to see which work best. After you write enough you gain intuition into which ones work and which ones don’t. It’s all trial and error.

  30. Muhammad Talha :

    I try to make my headlines sexy. Adding light humor really gets the job done and immediately grasps the reader’s attention. Nobody likes to read boring essays, so I try to include interesting quotes, facts and jokes.

    A great post indeed, Neil. Thank you for your insights.

    • Muhammad, glad to help. I think making things entertaining definitely helps — it’s all about being fun and providing value at the end of teh day.

      Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  31. Wow…what a great post!
    I have been using AMInstitute headline analyzer for some time now but most of the headlines I come up with normally fall below 30%. I believe implementing most of this tactics you mentioned here will give me a better result.
    Thanks a lot.

  32. Khalid Ibrahim :

    Hello Neil,

    If there ever was an aspect about blogging that I spend the most time on is crafting good headlines. The headline is very important and I find this article very detailed in helping me write even better headlines.

    Just like AMInstitutes headline analyzer, the Coschedule headline analyzer is also very helpful too.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Khalid, glad to help. Headlines really do make a big difference. If you want the best results you really have to deep dive into the mind of consumers to find what makes them tick 😉

      Let me know if you need help with anything.

  33. All 11 ideas are superb. Another great post Neil. Today my biggest problem got solved because of your post. Every time for me it is difficult to give a perfect headline to the post. Now I’ll apply these ideas for my post. Thanks a lot.

    • Bharat, glad to help. If you need anything else please let me know. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  34. Faisal Rehman :

    Hi Neil, Thanks for putting this together, I’m following you for a few years and regularly read every post on NeilPatel.com, QuickSprout.com and your guest posts on other sites. I’ve never seen even a single mediocre article from you, so I would like to thank you for bringing great content for your readers. 🙂

    • Faisal, glad to help. I like to promote and share in-depth articles because they provide the most value to my readers 🙂

  35. Hi Neil,

    “An article which worth a book” .Very nice and clear content The way you placed the subheading and interlinks shows your expertise. I cant resist myself using the above mentioned tips. Thanks a lot for sharing 🙂

    • Sushil, glad you found the article helpful.

      I think it’s vital to have everything in line when blogging. If you need help with anything at all please let me know.

  36. Mr Patel, I’m a French blogger and I love reading your articles. They are so powerful and complete!
    Because of you and point #1, I’ve changed the title of the last article I had put online yesterday.
    I hope this will help me develop my blog about fitness since I’m quite new in blogging, a little more than 1 month. A real newborn.
    Many, many thanks!

    • Stephane, I am sure it will. I constantly test to see which headlines work best. It requires a lot of effort and testing but it’s well worth it in the end.

  37. Hi Neil,

    Great article (again) – I believe headline writing is part art form and part science – ultimately you need to appeal to the emotions of the visitor and the ultimate headline formula is bang on the money imho !

    You also have to make sure you deliver on the headline promise – no point having the world’s best headline pre-empting the world’s worst article !

    Keep up the great work

    • Pat, I agree — whenever you make a claim or spark an emotion you have to legitimately solve a problem or have the answer — else you lose credibility.

  38. Hello,

    I have gone through your article but i have a question that” if i am doing live blogging then how can i create headline by using above ideas?”

    Thanks

    • Chandan, can you be a little more specific by what “live blogging” means… ?

      • Neil, Example: if i am covering digital marketing event and doing update simultaneously on my blog but something happens which is different from event and it takes whole day of event and end the event, you can say out of track and i have already written a title, some content as per the above ideas and specific to event , then how can i change the title as per new topic and people already reading it with my old title, i can not delete it too.

        Kindly help now

        • Chandan, it should be easy to modify the title within WordPress — just make sure it’s on topic and nothing something completely different.

  39. Thanks for Amazing Article. I am going to implement these tips for my blog.. 🙂

  40. I read the headline first and if it catches my attention then I will keep reading but if not then I won’t read it at all. So, the headline really does play a vital part in creating a post. Maybe it’s not fair to the authors to be so quick to judge, but with so many choices in content to read headlines really act as billboards to attract people’s time and attention.

    • Adrian, that’s why it’s imperative for content marketers to stand out from the pack. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  41. Great article, well put in an easy-to-digest manner. Anyone in the industry can benefit from these tips. Well done Neil!

  42. Without a doubt, the most influential factor in regard to CTR. I am always amazed by how viral article can get only because of a good title choice

  43. Nagesh K (Smooth Income) :

    Number Formula is awesome, will certainly try on my new blog post. Thanks !!

  44. Hi Neil, thanks for this really interesting article. Personally, I can’t stand number headlines and akin many of them to clickbait (especially the ones that deliberately leave out key information on rationale). I completely realise the data suggests I’m in the minority but I can’t help feeling the same way about these headlines as I did about banner advertising in the 90’s, not matter how compelling it was to click I opted out by principle! Definitely not arguing with the validity of the data though. What I am wondering is, do you know if there is any additional info out there that delves deeper into the psychological reasons why more people click on these number and how to headlines? I’m really interested to know if there’s potential to craft a headline without numbers that might illicit the same or similar result. At the very least I will read more into Dr. Hakim Chichi.

    • There probably is, but I just don’t know what it is. Similar to you, I don’t click on these type of headlines, but again I am not the norm.

  45. Mamata Awarade :

    Hello Neil,

    I have been following your posts religiously and sure enough it helps every Marketer, SEO newbie and the others to get a good grip over their techniques.

    In relation to the above article, you have described them so much in detail that it does feel writing great headlines is very easy. I had few points in mind before I read your post like Threat Headlines, Promise Headlines, Brand-related Headlines, Common mistakes related headlines, How To lists, as well as other list headlines. All seem to be very briefly covered in your article! Kudos.

    Best Regards, Mamata – http://www.varchasvacorp.com

  46. Adeel Akhter :

    Hi Neil.

    Wonder if you will get a chance to read this comment. I recently published an article on an external blog. I focused on tips you have given on making a headline.

    In addition I checked the headline score with “coschedule.com” and for the first time the score went up to 71. Previously it remained till 67 maximum.

    In addition I kept in mind the readability factor making it easier for readers to read.

    The head line was “Explore How To Learn More On Travel Hack Making Your Exciting Trips Affordable”. I would appreciate if you can check the link here http://bit.ly/1THowyA.
    By the way the article was 1000+ plus long. Unfortunately could not add images due to some reason.

    Would appreciate if you can give your opinion excluding the “images” element.

    • I would work on the headline a bit more, seems like its too many words together. Something like “make your next vacation affordable with these 5 travel hacks”

  47. Adeel Akhter :

    Ahan. Thanks for the tip. I was actually overwhelmed by the Score 😀

  48. Hi Neil, Thank you for another amazing bucket of nuggets of pure gold!! I’ve been following you for some time now. I’m a new blogger and struggle from time to time with Headlines it almost feels as though I’m trying to tame a beast and for what I can tell there is still so much for me to learn. My biggest takeaway from this post is to spend just as much time with the headline as I do with my copy. I tend to rely on a headline analyzer tool to score the overall headline quality (EMV) & CTR and its ability to result in social shares like the one you’ve mentioned above, coschedule also came up with one. It would be really amazing if there was a tool that would not only do that but also help you and give you the ability to increase the score by letting you select different word options within as opposed to just give you the score results. Just a thought.

    This could actually help a lot of people increase the effectiveness of their headlines including me. lol 🙂

    I know, this may sound “lazy” but nowadays we rely so much on technology and AI has come a long way why not take advantage of it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one out there already.

    I appreciate you and all you do.

    Thank You.

  49. my nba 2k17 cheats :

    Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum
    it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any points for beginner blog writers?
    I’d really appreciate it.

    • Sorry about that. Glad you are nejoying the blog. I would say to keep practicing and make sure you’re reading even more. After having done this for years and years, it gets easier for me to put out good content. Hope that helps

  50. Hello Neil, i also have been using the AMInstitute headline analyzer for quite sometimes now, but to be candidly honest with you, i don’t know how to effectively utilize this.

    Mine never seems to go below the 30% mark, no matter how hard i tried.

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