18 Click-Worthy Headline Formulas (You Need to Try)

Why agonize the creation process of your blog post headlines when you could use headline formulas known for getting clicks and shares?

You may be thinking:

  • Wouldn’t this make my post look generic?
  • Surely, it wouldn’t work for my community!

Human love patterns because they’re easy to understand. It’s why we develop routines. There’s a safety in patterns. This carries over to those headlines you’d use for blog posts, oddly enough.

The guesswork is removed when using headline formulas.

80% of people never make it past the headline – which would you choose…

  1. Risk it by creating something on your own
  2. Use a formula and template that works

There’s plenty of creative wiggle room when using these headline formulas, too, so don’t immediately dismiss them because they look like blog posts you’ve read before. Also, who cares if the competition is doing it? If you have great content to back the headline, then you’ll receive your appropriate share of search and social traffic.

All we’re saying is to entertain the idea of using headline formulas.


The top-performing headline types (to build your headline formulas)

Moz asked those on BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, and the Conductor Blog about which types of headlines did best within their community. They found the following…

Headline Types

It comes at no surprise numbers being the highest preferences. These are list posts which are easily digestible and usually has something for everyone. People love sharing them, too. So, why go against the grain when you could get the best of both worlds by turning a post into a list (like this one!).

The other four included:

  • Reader addressing
  • How to
  • “Normal”
  • Question

They also noticed by including a superlative (e.g. best, top, amazing) has a substantial impact on getting people to pay attention to your headlines.

Headline Superlatives

What does this all mean?

Use list posts, frequently, but also included call-outs that’ll make the content about the reader. Make it personal – add some pain points or answer a question – think of headlines you click on and replicate them when crafting content for your site.

Want to experiment?

Try using “This”, “If”, or “Which” to start the headline. Make it news-worthy by adding “New”, “Announcing”, or “At last”. Toss in a price tag. Keep it short and simple.

These should get the creative juices flowing since they act as prompts.

Ready to do one better? Check out…


Using headline formulas isn’t “cheating”… that’s playing it smart!

The usual routine people have when creating content is to think of a headline then do the body.

They’ll toil with this headline after they’ve finished the work – it’s usually tweaked based on the direction, tone, and information of the article.

The smart individuals will refine their headline several times before feeling satisfied.

There are two points to consider:

  • Is it SEO-friendly?
  • Is it engaging?

The point of the headline is to benefit from both.

For example:

We chose “18 Click-Worthy Headline Formulas…” because we wanted to target “headline formulas” as our main keyword. We included “click-worthy” as our superlative because those within the industry (and the public) understands the value of a click.

Then, the “you need to try” gives a sense of urgency as if the readers were thinking either “which haven’t I done” or something deeper like “have I been doing it wrong?”.

It’s not rocket science – it’s a tried-and-true process!


Use these headline formulas for your next post

Let’s stop rambling and get into the juicy bits…

…here are a whole bunch of headlines worth copying for your content:

[Number] + Ways to [Do Something] [Number] + [Keyword] You Need to Use for [Desired Outcome] How to [Do Something]
The Pros and Cons of [Subject] Quick Ways to [Do Something] How to [Do Something] for [X] Dollars
What’s the Deal with [Topic]? Should I [Community Question]? How [Subject] + [Did/Does Something]
Why [X] is Better Than [Y] The [Adjective] Guide to [Topic] [Number] Ways You’re Doing [Thing] Wrong
Did You Know? [Fact] [Number] + Reasons Why [Topic] + [Adjective] How to [Topic]: [Number] Tips and Resources
How I (Made/Did) [Thing] in/for [Time Frame or $X] [Number] + [Adjective] + [Keyword] + [Media] for [Year] What [Person] Got Wrong about [Thing]


You can play with these ideas in all sorts of ways whether it’s turning that “Ultimate List” into a “Beginner’s List”. Or, “XX Ways to Do…” into “XX Ways NOT to Do…”. Keep adding and subtracting superlatives, intentions, promises, and desired outcomes.

Do this a dozen times for each headline.

This process could influence the direction of the article so be sure to go back and add any extra information or tidbits of content you feel would reinforce the new headline.


When in doubt: use the “Ultimate Headline Formula”

Super lazy about creating headlines but still want to benefit from what works? Yeah, we get like that too sometimes. It’s worth a read into what Lenka Istvanova did when research headlines – but basically the “ultimate” formula (with input from Jeff Goins) came down to this:


Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise


This formula would let you craft headlines for any niche or industry (no matter how boring it may seem). Whether it’s “Shockingly Simple Ways You’re Using Salt All Wrong” or “73 Note-Worth SEO Strategies for Increasing Google Rank”.

Go ahead and try it with your next post!


What you should do from here (your headline formula action steps)

Okay, so you’ve got those headlines primed and ready to rock… where do they go?

Here’s where you’ll likely put them to work:

  1. Blog posts
  2. Email subject lines
  3. Social media
  4. Sales pages
  5. Videos
  6. Infographics

… and basically, anywhere that would benefit from a click-worthy headline.

Reuse Headlines

The headline doesn’t stop at the top of the page, either. You should include them throughout the content, media, and shares, to keep readers engaged – so they’re not skimming. The longer you keep them engaged, the better chance you’ll have at making those affiliate sales.

Here’s what we want you to do when using these headline formulas:

  1. Brainstorm at least 10 – 15 variations of your next blog post title
  2. Apply formulas to these ideas (making sure to include your main keyword)
  3. Swap superlatives until you’ve found 3 – 5 that look awesome
  4. Test the headlines by sharing variations on social media campaigns
  5. Update the content piece based on the high-performing headline from social

That’s it!

Sure, it sounds (and maybe feels) like you’re creating generic content if you’re working off these headline formulas but that couldn’t be further from the truth! They provide a canvas for creativity. The content you produce should be good – they’re there to ensure you’re gaining the click.


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