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The aim of this guide is to help your writers learn the ‘art’ of headline writing. The examples are mainly of a more sensational nature, but they have been proven over and over again to work quite well in getting readers to click.

Whether we like it or not, headlines are the first thing that people see when they come to the site and often they are the first thing that people will see on sites like Twitter and Facebook when they decide to click through to read your story.

Increasingly, studies show that headlines completely dominate the chances that somebody will make the decision to read your story further than the headline itself. That means we need to put some effort into getting them right.

Your headline is the first thing you should worry yourself about. When you write an engaging and descriptive headline first, often it makes the process of writing the article far more straight forward. Your headline tells readers what they will get in exchange for their time.

Now if you write your article first, you need to go back and think of how to present it to a new reader. On the other hand, if you make a promise in the headline, you can write to fulfil the commitment made in it. This is massively helpful for a writer in keeping their articles to-the-point and easy to read.

Fortunately for us, there are a heap of things we can do to improve our headline writing.

Advertising people have been studying headlines and their effects on readership for over 70 years and there are a lot of ways we can incorporate their knowledge into our own work. Luckily, the findings aren’t really too difficult to understand or implement.

Often times it’s simply a matter of adapting one of the many “headline formulas” that have been proven to work for other people.

In general, if your headline encompasses the following elements, then it will probably be quite successful in drawing user engagement.

  • Useful: Is the promised message valuable to the reader?
  • Ultra-specific: Does the reader know what’s being promised?
  • Unique: Is the promised message compelling and remarkable?
  • Urgent: Does the reader feel the need to read now?

Here are a few of those formulas or templates. Just replace [blank] with whatever topic you want to write about.

  • If You Don’t [blank] Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later
  • The Lazy [blank’s] Way to [blank]
  • Do You Recognize the [number] Early Warning Signs of [blank]?
  • See How Easily You Can [desirable result]
  • You Don’t Have to Be [something challenging] to be [desired result]
  • Do You Make These Mistakes?
  • Who Else Wants [blank]?
  • The Secret of [blank]
  • Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank]
  • Little Known Ways to [blank]
  • Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All
  • Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
  • Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance]
  • [Do something] like [world-class example]
  • Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
  • What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]
  • Warning: [blank]How [blank] Made Me [blank]
  • Are You [blank]?
  • [Blank] Ways to [blank]If You’re [blank], You Can [blank]

Here are some examples of solid headlines based on these formulas for a photography-oriented website:

  • Give Me 3 Hours and I’ll Give You Professional Level Off-Camera Flash Skills
  • If You Don’t Shoot It Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later
  • The Lazy Photographer’s Way to Post Process
  • Do You Recognize the 7 Early Warning Signs of Photography Addiction?
  • See How Easily You Can Make Your Portraits Pop
  • You Don’t Have to Be a Pro to Get Amazing Landscapes
  • Do You Make These Mistakes in Wedding Photography?
  • Who Else Wants Powerful Black and Whites?

You get the idea. Now don’t feel it’s necessary to stick to these exact formulas for everything you write, but remember that they have been tried and proven and it’s a great way to almost force readers onto your articles.

A Note About “Keywords” and Headlines

Keywords are the currency of search engines and it certainly helps to know a little bit about them.

Many stores ONLY go after search engine traffic, but we are a little different. But that doesn’t mean that we want to totally ignore the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) effects of keywords

Now, we don’t want to get carried away here and we certainly aren’t as technical about this process as many websites. We want your articles to be readable for people, not search engines and that is where you should concentrate.

However, a few things to remember:

  • Think about what people might type into Google to find your story
  • Try to include your keywords in your headline (preferably towards the beginning)

Please read this blog post about keywords to get a better understanding of using keywords, but just remember that for our stores we will favour the headlines that appeal to humans over the headlines that appeal to search engines most of the time – if you can strike a headline that does both then that is fantastic!

Writing Headlines That Get Clicked

Double the Ritz!

A very simple strategy to use in writing hugely popular “how to” articles is to teach people how to do two things instead of one.

The classic example of this is “How to Win Friends and Influence People” which we are sure you have heard of.

The power of that headline really came from the fact that the second benefit (influencing people) followed on logically from the first (winning friends).

There are many potential articles that use this exact formula that could be written about photography, just to use it as an example:

  • How to Impress Photo Editors and Get Your Work Published
  • How to Print Your Photographs Professionally and Get Them Hung in Galleries
  • How to Photograph Frogs and Help Save a Species
  • The possibilities for this type of “how to” article are exciting and up to your imagination.

Add An Extra Benefit

Another common and very effective tool for writing “how to” articles is to add an extra benefit to the headline (and then fulfil the promise of the headline in the content of course). The general formula for this is:

  • How to [Mundane Task] That [Rewarding Benefit]

Again, this exact formula has many possibilities:

  • How to Take Photos That Will Win Photography Competitions
  • How to Shoot Headshots That Will Get You Repeat Business
  • How to Make Landscape Photographs That Will Wow Your Peers

You get the idea.

What About Just “How” Articles?

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It’s true that just “how” (rather than “how to”) articles can also work very well. Something about the word “how” has a deep connection to people’s desire to know about things. A couple of famous headlines are these:

  • How I Improved My Memory in One Evening
  • How I Made a Fortune With a “Fool Idea”

Now the important part about writing these type of articles, as we mentioned before, is to fulfil the promise that you made in the title. There is no use having a great and compelling title if you don’t actually teach people what you promised.

With a bit of sculpting though, it is possible to craft a story that will have people referring to it for years.

Full List of Headline Examples

Some blog headlines are more effective than others. Following is a list that shows effective blog/article headlines. Use these as inspiration and a guideline to generate new ideas for store products and blog articles

  • Do You Recognize the 7 Early Warning Signs of High Blood Pressure?
  • 10 Ways to Beat the High Cost of Living
  • Five Familiar Skin Troubles
  • Six Types of Investor — Which Group Are You In?
  • How to Give Your Children Extra Iron — These 3 Delicious Ways
  • Free Book Tells You 12 Secrets of Better Lawn Care
  • 76 Reasons Why It Would Have Paid You to Answer Our Ad a Few Months Ago
  • Who Else Wants [blank]?
  • The Secret of [blank]
  • Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank]
  • Little Known Ways to [blank]
  • Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All
  • Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
  • Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance]
  • [Do something] like [world-class example]
  • Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
  • What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]
  • Give Me [short time period] and I’ll Give You [blank].
  • If You Don’t [blank] Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later.
  • The Lazy [blank’s] Way to [blank].
  • Do You Recognize the [number] Early Warning Signs of [blank]?
  • See How Easily You Can [desirable result].
  • You Don’t Have to Be [something challenging] to be [desired result].
  • Do You Make These Mistakes?
  • Warning: [blank].
  • How [blank] Made Me [blank].
  • Are You [blank]?
  • [Blank] Ways to [blank].
  • If You’re [blank], You Can [blank].
  • Who Else Is Lying To Us About XXXXXXXXX?
  • Life, Death and XXXXXXXXX
  • What You Don’t Know About XXXXXXXXX May Shock You
  • The Dirty Truth on XXXXXXXXX
  • The XXXXXXXXX Trap
  • The Low Down on XXXXXXXXX Exposed
  • Dirty Facts About XXXXXXXXX Revealed
  • The Undeniable Truth About XXXXXXXXX That No One Is Telling You
  • What Everybody Else Does When It Comes To XXXXXXXXX And What You Should Do Different
  • The Idiot’s Guide To XXXXXXXXX Explained
  • Unknown Facts About XXXXXXXXX Revealed By The Experts
  • The Hidden Truth on XXXXXXXXX Exposed
  • The Secret of XXXXXXXXX That No One is Talking About
  • The Unexposed Secret of XXXXXXXXX
  • The XXXXXXXXX Diaries
  • XXXXXXXXX – An Overview
  • The Ugly Side of XXXXXXXXX
  • An Unbiased View of XXXXXXXXX
  • What’s Really Happening With XXXXXXXXX
  • The Ultimate Guide To XXXXXXXXX
  • Simple Facts About XXXXXXXXX Explained
  • What To Do About XXXXXXXXX Before It’s Too Late
  • The Secret For XXXXXXXXX Revealed in Simple Steps
  • The Ultimate Solution For XXXXXXXXX That You Can Learn About Today
  • Be The First To Read What The Experts Are Saying About XXXXXXXXX
  • The Truth About XXXXXXXXX
  • Find Out Who’s Talking About XXXXXXXXX And Why You Should Be Concerned
  • Odd-Ball Tips on XXXXXXXXX
  • The XXXXXXXXX Chronicles
  • Kids, Work and XXXXXXXXX
  • Shocking Facts About XXXXXXXXX Told By An Expert
  • The Insider Secret on XXXXXXXXX Uncovered
  • What Everyone is Saying About XXXXXXXXX Is Dead Wrong And Why
  • The Insider Secrets of XXXXXXXXX Discovered
  • The Unexplained Mystery Into XXXXXXXXX Uncovered
  • The Insider Secrets For XXXXXXXXX Exposed
  • Effective Strategies For XXXXXXXXX That You Can Use Starting Today
  • What You Need To Know About XXXXXXXXX And Why
  • Why Nobody is Talking About XXXXXXXXX And What You Should Do Today
  • The Death of XXXXXXXXX
  • The Birth of XXXXXXXXX
  • Rumors, Lies and XXXXXXXXX
  • The Most Overlooked Fact About XXXXXXXXX Revealed
  • The Forbidden Truth About XXXXXXXXX Revealed By An Old Pro
  • A Simple Trick For XXXXXXXXX Revealed
  • Simple Tactics For XXXXXXXXX Uncovered
  • What You Can Do About XXXXXXXXX Starting In The Next Minutes
  • What The Experts Aren’t Saying About XXXXXXXXX And How It Affects You
  • Tips on XXXXXXXXX You Can Use Today
  • Why Everyone Is Dead Wrong About XXXXXXXXX And Why You Must Rea This Report
  • The Ultimate Strategy For XXXXXXXXX
  • Tips For XXXXXXXXX You Can Use Today
  • How To Find Out Everything There Is To Know About XXXXXXXXX In Simple Steps
  • Shocking Information About XXXXXXXXX Exposed
  • What Everyone Is Saying About XXXXXXXXX And What You Should Do
  • The Single Best Strategy To Use For XXXXXXXXX Revealed
  • The Unadvertised Details Into XXXXXXXXX That Most People Don’t Know About
  • The Leaked Secret to XXXXXXXXX Discovered
  • Warning Signs on XXXXXXXXX You Should Know
  • The Most Overlooked Solution For XXXXXXXXX
  • Unknown Facts About XXXXXXXXX Made Known
  • Unanswered Questions Into XXXXXXXXX Revealed
  • Rumored Buzz on XXXXXXXXX Exposed
  • Detailed Notes on XXXXXXXXX In Step by Step Order
  • The Untold Story on XXXXXXXXX That You Must Read or Be Left Out
  • Hidden Answers To XXXXXXXXX Revealed
  • Instant Solutions To XXXXXXXXX In Step by Step Detail
  • Unanswered Questions on XXXXXXXXX That You Should Know About
  • Confidential Information on XXXXXXXXX That Only The Experts Know Exist
  • Shortcuts To XXXXXXXXX That Only A Few Know About
  • The History of XXXXXXXXX Refuted
  • The Basics of XXXXXXXXX That You Can Benefit From Starting Today
  • The True Story About XXXXXXXXX That The Experts Don’t Want You To Know
  • Why Everybody Is Talking About XXXXXXXXX…The Simple Truth Revealed
  • New Questions About XXXXXXXXX Answered And Why You Must Read Every Word of This Report
  • Brief Article Teaches You The Ins and Outs of XXXXXXXXX And What You Should Do Today
  • New Article Reveals The Low Down on XXXXXXXXX And Why You Must Take Action Today
  • Why Almost Everything You’ve Learned About XXXXXXXXX Is Wrong And What You Should Know
  • Unbiased Article Reveals New Things About XXXXXXXXX That Nobody Is Talking About
  • Short Article Reveals The Undeniable Facts About XXXXXXXXX And How It Can Affect You
  • New Ideas Into XXXXXXXXX Never Before Revealed
  • What You Should Do To Find Out About XXXXXXXXX Before You’re Left Behind
  • Unusual Article Uncovers The Deceptive Practices of XXXXXXXXX
  • Up In Arms About XXXXXXXXX?
  • Get The Scoop on XXXXXXXXX Before You’re Too Late
  • If You Read Nothing Else Today, Read This Report on XXXXXXXXX
  • Uncommon Article Gives You The Facts on XXXXXXXXX That Only A Few People Know Exist
  • What You Don’t Know About XXXXXXXXX
  • Fraud, Deceptions, And Downright Lies About XXXXXXXXX Exposed
  • Unbiased Report Exposes The Unanswerd Questions on XXXXXXXXX
  • Lies You’ve Been Told About XXXXXXXXX
  • The Secret To XXXXXXXXX
  • Essential Elements For XXXXXXXXX
  • Ideas, Formulas And Shortcuts For XXXXXXXXX
  • All About XXXXXXXXX
  • New Step by Step Roadmap For XXXXXXXXX
  • The New Angle On XXXXXXXXX Just Released
  • A Deadly Mistake Uncovered on XXXXXXXXX And How to Avoid It
  • The -Second Trick For XXXXXXXXX
  • The Good, The Bad and XXXXXXXXX
  • The -Minute Rule for XXXXXXXXX
  • The Biggest Myth About XXXXXXXXX Exposed
  • The Do’s and Don’ts Of XXXXXXXXX
  • A Review Of XXXXXXXXX
  • The Little-Known Secrets To XXXXXXXXX
  • The Fundamentals Of XXXXXXXXX Revealed
  • The One Thing To Do For XXXXXXXXX
  • The Do This, Get That Guide On XXXXXXXXX
  • What The In-Crowd Won’t Tell You About XXXXXXXXX
  • The Lost Secret Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Whispered XXXXXXXXX Secrets
  • A Secret Weapon For XXXXXXXXX
  • The Argument About XXXXXXXXX
  • XXXXXXXXX Fundamentals Explained
  • Whatever They Told You About XXXXXXXXX Is Dead Wrong…And Here’s Why
  • The Nuiances Of XXXXXXXXX
  • The XXXXXXXXX Cover Up
  • Facts, Fiction and XXXXXXXXX
  • The Pain of XXXXXXXXX
  • XXXXXXXXX for Dummies
  • The XXXXXXXXX Game
  • The Upside to XXXXXXXXX
  • XXXXXXXXX No Longer a Mystery
  • The New Fuss About XXXXXXXXX
  • Questions and Answers to XXXXXXXXX
  • The Downside Risk of XXXXXXXXX That No One is Talking About
  • The Top Most Asked Questions About XXXXXXXXX
  • What Everybody Dislikes About XXXXXXXXX And Why
  • XXXXXXXXX – An In Depth Anaylsis on What Works and What Doesn’t
  • What XXXXXXXXX Is – And What it is Not
  • Want to Know More About XXXXXXXXX?
  • Here’s What I Know About XXXXXXXXX
  • XXXXXXXXX – The Conspriracy
  • Outrageous XXXXXXXXX Tips
  • Ruthless XXXXXXXXX Strategies Exploited
  • Closely-Guarded XXXXXXXXX Secrets Explained in Explicit Detail
  • XXXXXXXXX Exposed
  • XXXXXXXXX – Is it a Scam?
  • The Debate Over XXXXXXXXX
  • Life After XXXXXXXXX
  • The Fight Against XXXXXXXXX
  • The War Against XXXXXXXXX
  • Ways to Guard Against XXXXXXXXX
  • The Battle Over XXXXXXXXX And How To Win It
  • A Startling Fact about XXXXXXXXX Uncovered
  • The Foolproof XXXXXXXXX Strategy
  • Things You Won’t Like About XXXXXXXXX And Things You Will
  • The Ulitmate XXXXXXXXX Trick
  • The Tried and True Method for XXXXXXXX In Step by Step Detail
  • The Honest to Goodness Truth on XXXXXXXXX
  • The Number One Question You Must Ask For XXXXXXXXX
  • XXXXXXXXX – Dead or Alive?
  • Who Else Wants To Learn About XXXXXXXXX?
  • The Number One Article on XXXXXXXXX
  • The Chronicles of XXXXXXXX
  • XXXXXXXXX Secrets That No One Else Knows About
  • Winning Strategies To Use For XXXXXXXXX
  • What You Don’t Know About XXXXXXXXX Could Be Costing To More Than You Think
  • Cut-Throat XXXXXXXXX Tactics That Never Fails
  • How XXXXXXXXX changed our lives in
  • Most Amazing XXXXXXXXX Changing How We See The World
  • I Didn’t know that!: Top XXXXXXXXX of the decade
  • Five Predictions on XXXXXXXXX in
  • Things You Should Know About XXXXXXXXX
  • XXXXXXXXX – Overview
  • XXXXXXXXX – The Story
  • XXXXXXXXX At A Glance
  • XXXXXXXXX Explained
  • XXXXXXXXX Reviews & Tips
  • XXXXXXXXX Tips & Guide
  • A Guide To XXXXXXXXX
  • XXXXXXXXX – What Is It?
  • The Basic Facts Of XXXXXXXXX
  • What Is XXXXXXXXX?
  • Most Noticeable XXXXXXXXX
  • Understanding XXXXXXXXX
  • Discover What XXXXXXXXX Is
  • Choosing Good XXXXXXXXX
  • Choosing XXXXXXXXX
  • Choosing XXXXXXXXX Is Simple
  • Finding The Best XXXXXXXXX
  • How To Choose XXXXXXXXX
  • Introducing XXXXXXXXX
  • The Most Popular XXXXXXXXX
  • Top Choices Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Top Guide Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Top XXXXXXXXX Reviews!
  • Top XXXXXXXXX Tips!
  • XXXXXXXXX Reviews & Guide
  • Where To Find XXXXXXXXX
  • The Benefits Of XXXXXXXXX
  • What To Expect From XXXXXXXXX?
  • The Advantages Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Key Pieces Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Getting The Best XXXXXXXXX
  • Vital Pieces Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Details Of XXXXXXXXX
  • How Does XXXXXXXXX Work?
  • The Importance Of XXXXXXXXX
  • What Does XXXXXXXXX Do?
  • Top XXXXXXXXX Guide!
  • The Key To Successful XXXXXXXXX
  • What Makes A XXXXXXXXX?
  • Buying XXXXXXXXX
  • How To Get A XXXXXXXXX?
  • Purchasing XXXXXXXXX
  • What Is So Fascinating About XXXXXXXXX?
  • Top XXXXXXXXX Choices
  • Finding XXXXXXXXX
  • XXXXXXXXX : The Ultimate Convenience!
  • XXXXXXXXX Features
  • The Basic Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Characteristics Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Definitions Of XXXXXXXXX
  • How To Find XXXXXXXXX Online
  • The Appeal Of XXXXXXXXX
  • The Hidden Gem Of XXXXXXXXX
  • The Meaning Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Top Tips Of XXXXXXXXX
  • Top XXXXXXXXX Secrets
  • XXXXXXXXX Can Be Fun For Everyone
  • XXXXXXXXX Options
  • XXXXXXXXX Secrets
  • What Does XXXXXXXXX Mean?

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Katrina McKinnon

I'm Katrina McKinnon, the author behind Small Revolution. With two decades of hands-on experience in online work, running eCommerce stores, web agency and job boards, I'm now on a mission to empower you to work from home and achieve work-life balance. My passion lies in crafting insightful, education content. I have taught thousands of students and employees how to write, do SEO, manage eCommerce stores and work as Virtual Assistants. Join our most popular course: SEO Article Masterclass

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