The Anatomy Of A Great Blog Headline (+53 Amazing Examples You Can Steal Right Now)

Table of contents:

In this post, we cover how you can find inspiration for your next blog headline, and include over fifty, focused examples that you can use right away.

As copywriters, we know there’s a reason why a reader clicks on some headlines, and quickly ignore others. And understanding what marks this difference is pivotal to the success of any blog article in 2020. 

So how do you write a headline that’s going to get people clicking? And what is it that makes a blog title stand out from the crowd?

This comprehensive guide will dissect the anatomy of a stellar headline, and outline our top tips for killer copy. So, dive in and give your headlines a newfound power of persuasion.

And if you’re looking for a fast-track to instant headline inspiration, click here to check out our brand new random headline generator.

For now, though, let’s start at the top...

Just Why Are Headlines So Important, Though?

To answer this question, it’s helpful to first understand the concepts of content marketing and organic growth

Put simply, content marketing is your opportunity to connect with, and attract the right type of traffic.

It’s about creating content — articles, eBooks, white papers etc. —  that will connect to your audience. Content that will, ultimately, bring attention to your business from the demographic you’re targeting. 

And this should be authentic, organic attention; growth that has occurred naturally as the result of your reader’s genuine interest in what you’ve written. 

But with over 4.4 million blogs flooding our feeds each day, how do you capture the attention of a potential reader? 

That’s where a clever, catchy and converting headline comes in...

As copy-genius David Oglivy so famously asserted, your headline is 80% of the attention you’re ever going to receive.

This means that headlines and blog titles go some way to being make or break for your content strategy. If it’s these that capture the largest majority of attention, then — when written effectively — they also have the ability to convert that attention into an active readership. 

So you should really go for gold.

Because not only do well-written headlines help boost your SEO efforts and drive traffic to your business, they do so in a more efficient and more affordable way than any other piece of the content puzzle. 

With that in mind: are you ready to get started on writing killer copy for your blog headlines?

We’ll start with how you can find inspiration for headline ideas, and we’ll finish with over fifty, focused examples that you can use right away. 

How To Write Successful Blog Headlines: Reading, Research & Inspiration Tips

Whilst cracking the copy code can sometimes feel like a challenge, there are many ways to achieve quick headline success. 

Reading up on copywriting techniques, for example, is definitely one way to start getting your head round the science of successful copy. Spending time on desk research will teach you top tips and expose you to expert examples, leaving you inspired and ready to perfect your own headlines in no time. 

Some of our favourite copywriting books include ‘Ogilvy On Advertising’, ‘The Adweek Copywriting Handbook’, ‘Everybody Writes’ and ‘The Copy Book’. 

Of course, we also spend a lot of time talking about copywriting over on our blog, too. 

But we know that copywriter’s block can strike, no matter how many books and blog posts you’ve read. That’s why we’ve created a brand new tool to offer you some inspiration and a little help in hand....

Behind The Headlines: The 10 Fundamental Elements Of Gold-Standard Headline Copy (+53 examples for you to use right now!) 

Whilst reading the classics and understanding the science of copy is important, there’s nothing more valuable than actually analysing existing headline trends that work today. 

And to make your life that little bit easier, we’re going to break down the 10 fundamental elements that build a successful blog headline. 

We’re also going to throw in 53 examples of killer headline copy, too! 

Use these as templates for your own headlines by switching out the keywords with whatever is most relevant for you. 

Let’s dive in!

Headline Element #1: Use Trigger Words 

The most effective headlines include key, trigger words that make us click. These are words that will make any passive scroller stop what they’re doing and jump right into your article. 

Think words like ‘Transform’, ‘Amazing’, ‘More’, ‘Mind-blowing’, ‘Need’. 

But also some more specific vocabulary, like ‘Convert’, ‘Proven’ and ‘Free’. 

These are all words that make us feel something — and that’s the key. 

Whether they help create excitement or a sense of urgency, these are the words that should underpin the entire feeling of your article. 

Just remember to keep it relevant to your target market.

If you’re targeting business owners, then ‘Convert’ is your go-to; and if you’re targeting bargain-hunters, ‘Free’ should do the trick. 

Here are a few example headlines to get you started: 

  • Mind Blowing Life Hacks You’ll Never Want To Live Without
  • How To Transform Your Skin In Seconds
  • How To Convert Your Blog Readers Into Revenue 
  • Proven Ways To Get A Better Night’s Sleep
  • How To Get A Restaurant Meal For Free
  • 9 Amazing Signs You’re In Love

Headline Element #2: Be Bold

Don’t be afraid to shock with some of your headlines. 

Sure, you want to befriend your readers… but sometimes the best way to do that is to get straight to the point, and say it like it is. 

For example, if a potential reader stumbled across these two headlines: 

  1. ‘Why Some Businesses Struggle’ 
  2. ‘Why Your Business Is Failing (And How To Fix It)’ 

Which one do you think they’re more likely to click? 

Chances are, they’ll find the bold directness of option B too compelling to ignore. 

So, where it’s appropriate, be bold and say something shocking! 

Don’t worry about coming across as too strong. 

Strong is what we need in such a crowded market. You’ve got to stand out, and cutting to the chase is a great way of doing that. 

Here’s a few examples as food for thought: 

  • The Reason Why Your Love Life is Failing
  • 18 Ways You’re Wasting Money 
  • Why You’re Not A Millionaire 
  • The World Is In Trouble And It’s Our Fault 
  • 7 Signs That You Need To Change Your Mindset

Headline Element #3: Always Offer Value

When we really drill down, the only reason anyone ever clicks on a headline is because it offers them something

Sometimes that ‘thing’ is humour; sometimes it's advice; and sometimes it’s just a pick-me-up. But the key is that good headlines always offer something. 

And it’s your job to do the same. 

Think about your audience, and think about what it is that they’d like. 

Business owners and marketers are going to want more revenue, whilst casual readers of a lifestyle blog might just want a reminder of why life is good. 

But here’s the thing: value is very subjective.

It can be tangible, intangible, resource-based or emotion-based.

There is no right or wrong.

Just be sure that your headline offers something of value to your audience, whatever that may be.

For example: 

  • Looking For More Clients? Here’s The Answer!
  • 16 Ways To Improve Your Web Copy For Free
  • The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Filters
  • 13 Reasons To Keep On Smiling
  • Here’s How To Boost Your Revenue Overnight 

Headline Element #4: Curiosity is Key 

Headlines that get us thinking offer a really compelling hook.

And that’s why curiosity is a fundamental element to any successful blog headline.

Known as the ‘Curiosity Gap’ in marketing psychology, headlines that tease a piece of information, whilst withholding what that information actually is, are the headlines that do best.

It’s about telling your reader something that interests them, and leaving them with no choice but to click to find out more. 

The key to effective curiosity headlines is about making what you tease both relevant and compelling to your target audience. If it’s a general readership you’re going for, focus on emotion-led pieces around shock, surprise and transformation. These are emotions that we all experience and understand. 

And if you’re hoping to pique the interest of a specific type of reader, include language and topics relevant to them. 

Check out these examples to see it in action:

  • 13 Ways To Uncover What You Don’t Know About Yourself
  • You Won’t Believe What Happened When… 
  • This Woman’s Story Will Change How You Think About ... Forever 
  • The Secret Instagram Hack You Need To Know About
  • How This Man Made $1M Sat At Home
  • This Marketing Insight Will Change Your Business Forever

Headline Element #5: Go Direct 

Speaking directly to your audience is a sure-fire way to get clicks rolling in.

Because, let’s face it, human-beings are pretty egotistical. 

Indeed, it has long been proven that direct language (‘You’, ‘Your’) is the key to quickly captivating an audience's attention. 

If a headline speaks loudly to ‘you’, it’s a given that you’re going to at least give that headline a skim-read. But whether you proceed to click on that headline is dependent on how well it’s executed.

Throwing in a random ‘you’ isn’t going to give you instant success.

But if you tie that directness to something you know your audience is actually interested in… then you’re getting somewhere. The key is to talk directly to your customer about topics that are of value to them, and specifically them. 

For example: 

  • 15 Reasons You Need To Stop Procrastinating (‘you’ = students)
  • Why Croatia Will Be Your Favourite Summer Destination This Year (‘you’ = holiday hunters)
  • 17 Ways To Boost Your Team Performance (‘you’ = business owners)
  • How To Keep Your Copywriting Clients Happy (‘you’ = copywriters) 

Headline Element #6: Include Numbers

You might be hesitant to start including numbers in your headlines. 

Perhaps you think it’ll look a little too ‘click-baity’ or unprofessional, even? 

Think again. 

There’s a reason why numbered headlines are so popular — and that’s because they work!

Our brains are wired to enjoy lists, and numbered headlines perfectly tie into that. 

What’s more, it’s also easier to provide value to your reader if you’re clear from the outset exactly what to expect. If a reader clicks on ‘10 Ways To Write Killer Copy’, then they know exactly what they’re going to get.

It’s clear, down to the point and focused on value. 

And as a result, you’re more likely to have impressed your reader having delivered on one primary goal. 

Just be absolutely sure that you’ve actually included the amount of tips you promise. Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget!

Examples include: 

  • Top 12 Kitchen Hacks This Thanksgiving
  • The 8 Movies You Need To Watch This Christmas 
  • 7 Ways To Write Better Blog Headlines 
  • 14 Tips For Using Social Media To Boost Business
  • 5 Reasons You Need A Copywriter In 2020

Headline Element #7: Get Statistical

As well as loving numbers, readers also really love detail. 

And that’s why including statistics in your headline is a clever way of attracting more clicks. 

You see, readers like to know that what they’re reading is valuable, worthwhile content. And by including an attention-grabbing statistic in your headline, you’re going to immediately show that you know your stuff. 

And by dropping in statistics that are relevant to your market, you’ll also appeal to the curiosity of your audience too, which will boost your click-through-rate like magic. 

Here’s a few examples to get the ball rolling:

  • Why 10% Of Startups Fail In The First Year
  • Instagram May Have 95 Million Bots. Here’s How To Find Out If Your Followers Are Fake...
  • 56% Less People Are Getting Married. Why?
  • Boost Your Open Rate By 20% With This Hot Email Hack

Headline Element #8: Be Urgent 

With millions of articles to read, it’s your job to give readers a good enough reason to pick yours. 

And one of the best ways of doing this is by creating a sense of urgency around your headline. 

If there’s an element of immediacy to the words you write, there’s a much higher chance your headline will resonate. 

By including phrases such as ‘Right Now’ and ‘Need To Know’, as well as focusing on topics of ‘must-have’ value (saving money, improving time efficiency ect) — your content soon becomes a priority. 

Here’s a few examples to get you thinking:

  • Why You Desperately Need To Change Your Approach To Business 
  • How You’re Losing Money Each And Every Day
  • 9 Ways To Instantly Earn More Money  
  • How To Stop Wasting Time Right Now
  • 7 Advertising Hacks You Need To Know About

Headline Element #9: Be Emotive

Us humans are pretty emotional beings. 

And that’s something you should totally use to your advantage when writing your blog headlines. After all, if a reader sees a headline that strikes a chord with them, they are much more likely to click on it.

Simple, right?

Try to write headlines that provoke an emotional response, just like these:

  • These 19 Memes Will Make You Cry With Laughter  
  • This Mom’s Story Will Break Your Heart
  • How To Live Your Life With No Regrets 
  • 17 Reasons Why You Deserve Happiness 
  • How To Focus On What Truly Makes You Happy 

Headline Element #10: The Famous ‘How To’ 

And to finish off our list of hot headline hacks, here’s a top tip on ‘how to’ write the most clickable, most converting headline of them all. 

Yes, the famous ‘How To’ headline is the go-to for virtually every copywriter out there. 

And there’s one good reason for that: it works.

‘How To’ headlines are loved by readers for their clarity, specificity, value and detail. 

You know what you’re getting, and there’s a clear, value-based reason for clicking the headline. And remember, value is always key. 

Top tip: Be specific, and don’t be afraid of going niche. Because of its popularity, the ‘How To’ headline is becoming rather saturated, so do all you can to stand out. 

Examples include: 

  • How To Pass Your Driving Test In Less Than 1 Month
  • How To Get People To Read Your Cycling Blog 
  • How To Buy Great Christmas Gifts For Only $20
  • How To Launch A Marketing Business During Your Maternity Leave

Introducing The Random Headline Generator: Never Feel Lost For Words Again

Here at the Scribly Knowledge Hub, it’s our mission to help both writers and businesses alike improve their copywriting skills. 

And with this in mind, we’ve recently launched our very own Random Headline Generator that will hook you up with great headline ideas in just one click. 

When you’re managing a busy marketing schedule, trying to scale your startup, or balancing a number of freelance clients, there’s not a lot of hours (or minutes!) left in the day to spend crafting headline copy… so we thought we’d do it for you! 

Simply enter in your central keyword, click ‘Generate’ and pick from between 5 and 50 headline suggestions just for you.

Click here to give the headline generator a try, and get ready to feel inspired. 

It’s Showtime, Headliners!

And that’s it from our comprehensive guide on how to write clickable, clever blog headlines that’ll convert in no time. 

From looking for inspiration, to sharing over fifty, hot headline hacks: we hope you have found this guide helpful, and feel more ready than ever to take control of your content strategy.

But if you’re looking for a little extra help, don’t forget to check out our random headline generator and you can always drop us a line

For more content just like this, head over to our Knowledge Hub for top tips from professional copywriters on how words can grow your business.

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