66 Proven Headline Formulas from Highly Shared Articles

by Toby

February 15, 2015

proven headline formulas

Do you struggle to write effective headlines for your blog posts, articles, or ads?

You’ve invested time and money in its creation and without an effective headline, your content won’t get read or shared by others.

The headline is the most important element of an ad, blog post, or piece of content you’ve created – it’s what draws the reader in and its sole purpose is to stop your audience and get them to read the next line.

66 Proven Headline Formulas from Highly Shared Articles

Without a compelling headline, the effectiveness of your content will be far lower.

Many would argue that the headline is the most important element of a content piece. And failing to improve headlines that get your reader’s attention will continue to cost you more money and waste more of your time. Make the most of the headline.

Ann Handley in her recent book, “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To-Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content”, says,

…spend as much time on the headline as you do on the writing itself.

That’s a pretty big statement and further highlights the importance of the headline.

Brian Clark from Copyblogger states in a blog post:

The better the headline, the better your odds of beating the averages and getting what you’ve written read by a larger percentage of people.

However, like most people, time is the biggest constraint we have to get more content written. And spending such a considerable amount of time crafting just the headline can be difficult.

There are shortcuts and headline formulas that have been tested and proven to get more eyes reading your content.

The below headline formulas are all from highly shared blog posts from 3 popular and well-read online marketing and social media sites over the course of the last year (i.e. Social Media Examiner, Content Marketing Institute, and Buffer Social). The number of social media shares of the articles studied ranged from a high of 30,000 to a low of 2,000 collectively across Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. We used Buzzsumo to collect our data. This list should give you more ideas and get your creative juices going.

Headline Formulas

Many of the headlines fall into distinct buckets (i.e. How To, Tips and Tools, etc). These headline formulas will work across industries.

  1.  The How To Headline:
    • How to Design
    • How to Use
    • How to Improve
    • How to Remove
    • How to Transform
    • How to Measure
    • How to Create
    • How to Get
    • How to Optimize
    • How to Build
    • How to Increase
    • How to Make
    • How to Write
    • How to Find
    • How to Research
    • How to Present
    • How to Schedule
    • How to Prepare
  2. The Tip Headline
    • 39 Tips from the Pros
    • 26 Tips to Strengthen
    • 6 Tips to Improve
    • 4 Tips to Create
    • 5 Tips for
    • 6 Tips to Boost
    • 5 Tips for Managing
    • 21 Advanced Tips
    • 5 Tips to Optimize
    • The Best Tips for
  3. Tool Headline
    • 14 Tools to Create
    • 10 Tools Every X Should Use
    • 5 Tools to Monitor
    • 4 Tools to Improve
    • 5 Tools to Help
    • 36 Tools and Tips
    • Tools to Streamline
    • 10 Tools that
  4. The Mistake Headline
    • 5 Mistakes That
    • Don’t Make These 9 Common Mistakes
    • Experts Share X Mistakes
    • 10 Common Mistakes
    • The One Big Mistake Standing Between You and
  5. The Research and Data Headline
    • New Marketing Research  Indicates
    • 10 Research-Driven Insights
    • How To Turn Research Into
    • New Research Show
    • How To Use Data To Create
  6. The Guide Headline
    • Last-minute Guide To 2014’s Top
    • The Complete Guide To
    • The Ultimate Guide To
    • A Guide to Creating
    • The Definitive Guide
    • The Best Guide For
  7. Best of Anything, Lists, and Ways:
    • 61 Best Ways for
    • 7 Vital Statistics
    • The Best Time To
    • The Best Advice
    • 8 Scientifically Proven Ways
    • 6-Research Tested Ways
    • 5 Data-Driven Ways
    • The Ultimate List of
    • The Complete List of
    • 27 Best Copywriting Formulas
    • How to Choose the Best
    • Our Best Tips
    • Best Practices
    • 5 Ways to Boost

Hope you found these useful. What are you favorite headline formulas? Let me know below in the comments.

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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