10 headline-writing tips from around the web

The importance of headlines

Headlines are the most important part of any publication, be it a blog post, a newspaper article or a free report you create as a downloadable asset in exchange for your customer’s email address – aka a lead magnet.

On 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. 

David Ogilvy

A good headline can make the difference between a publication that is completely ignored to one that is a huge success.

One well-known real-life example that demonstrates the impact of a good headline is the book published by Naura Hayden in 1982 named “Astro-logical Love” which was a complete failure. A few years later she took the same book, made minor changes and named it “How to Satisfy a Woman Every Time…and Have Her Beg for More!”

This one became a #1 bestseller.


Since the point of great copy – whether that’s on your website or your blog – is to build a relationship with your customer online, but you can’t create that relationship if your customer doesn’t read what you have to say. A great headline is what entices your customer to read more!

Headlines that convert

In any case, the goal with a headline is to entice people to want to read what you have to say.

As Jacob McMillan puts it in his article on the Daily Egg blog:

“Effective headlines make a promise. They create urgency or offer access to must-know information. They are specific and targeted intentionally at a the desired audience.”

Whenever a visitor to your website or blog comes across something you’ve written, they’ll ask themselves why they should care about what you wrote.

Your headline should provide the answer to that question.

Writing excellent headlines is the start of building that relationship. To help you write the best headlines for your copy, we’ve compiled the best headline formulas from around the web to get you started.

The best headlines formulas from around the web

Here are some of my favourite formulas provided by some of the top online marketers out there. I broke these examples into categories so you can choose the best type for your needs.

How To

Formula #1: How To [Accomplish Something] In [Short Amount of Time]
Example: “How To Craft High-Converting Headlines In Less Than 60 Seconds”
Formula #2: How To [Accomplish/Benefit] In [Short Time Period] Without [Expenditure]
Example: “How To Land Higher Dollar Clients In The Next Hour Without Spending A Penny”
Formula #3: How To [Accomplish Something] Like [Famous Example]
Example: “How To Fast Track Your Startup Like Elon Musk”

Reveal the Secret

Formula #4: The Secret of [blank]
Example: “The Secret of Getting Your Home Loan Approved”
Formula #5: Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank]
Example: “Here is a Method That is Helping Children Learn to Read Sooner”
Formula #6: 10 Little-Known Ways To [Accomplish Something]
Example: “10 Little-Known Ways To Get A Bachelors Degree Without Debt”
Formula #7: What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]
Example: What Everybody Ought to Know About Airline Tickets’ Prices

Offering a Guarantee

Formula #8: The Guaranteed Method For Avoiding [Common Mistake]
Example: “The Guaranteed Method For Avoiding Another Crappy Job”

Ask A Question, or Do Something Completely Different

Formula #9: Is [Something Most People Do] Causing [Something Bad]?
Example: “Is Your Email Campaign Causing Would-Be Clients To Say “No”?”
Formula #10: [Do something] like [world-class example]
Example: “Speak Spanish Like a Diplomat”

Headline sources: CrazyEgg and Copyblogger

Find the formula that works for you

As with almost any digital marketing techniques, testing is the key to success. To craft headlines that resonate with your audience means trying out several different types, and seeing which ones elicit the best response from your audience.

Make your headlines and your copy relevant and informative, and you’ll have the best chance at turning a casual reader into a customer for life.

About the author 

Michelle Castillo

Michelle is an online marketing expert , passionate about helping business owners to benefit from today’s online technology. I provide my clients with hype-free concise advice and services about the reality of what online success requires.

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