Writing Catchy Headlines

Headlines are the lifeblood of web and landing pages. Ever since the <h1> tag was invented, they’ve been the most important copy on a page…making or breaking the story or idea being communicated. If there is one consistent finding in landing page testing, it’s that headlines play one of the most crucial parts in conversion. A good headline pulls readers in to learn more while a bad headline fails to resonate and loses readers instantly.

But writing great headlines is easier said than done. Unless you’re a professional copywriter, writing headlines is hard. It can be difficult to say exactly what you want while staying interesting at the same time (see our post on How to write interesting copy).

To help make writing your next web page headline easier, we’ve rounded up a bunch of powerful headlines and categorized them for you so that you can start to see the inherent patterns in them. Sometimes all it takes is to find out which pattern works for you, and then writing becomes (ever so slightly) easier. Think of these headline categories in terms of personalities.

7 Types of Headlines

1. The Know-it-All – These headlines offer practical advice or tips.

  • Where to Sell Your iPhone 3G: Gazelle vs. NextWorth
  • Social Media Use Cases: Arcade Fire
  • How the Old Spice Videos are Being Made

2. The Teacher – These headlines teach you something you didn’t already know.

  • Why Too Much Money is Worse Than Too Little
  • The Responsibility Revolution for Companies
  • Seven Leadership Traits that the Gurus Don’t Tell You

3. The Gossip – These types of headlines stir up controversy, pique your interest, and often have you asking “and then what happened?”

  • And the Winner for Best Film About Design Is…
  • Apple Hater Seeks Roommate in the Big Apple Via Craig’s List
  • Seven Puppies Die Following American Airlines Flight

4. The Instigator – These headlines make bold statements, which may or may not be true, but they make you want to click to find out.

  • How Porn Will Keep Me in Business
  • Google Wave is Dead
  • Are Most VCs Dinosaurs Who Need to Hurry Up and Die?

5. The Nay-Sayer – These headlines convince you that what you don’t know will hurt you.

  • Do you Pass the Leadership Test?
  • 15% Changes Everything
  • Do You Know What’s in Your Mutual Funds?

6. The Campaigner – These headlines provoke people who have similar problems or issues to click on the articles and connect with other like-minded people.

  • Dear Car Dealerships: Stop Sucking
  • Who Wants to Be the Mayor of Pizza Hut
  • 3 Ways to Dress Like a Millennial Woman

7. The Connector – These articles show the connection between two seemingly unrelated things.

  • Social Media Marketing Lessons from Justin Bieber
  • What Hugo Chavez Teaches Us About Twitter
  • Dan Pickett: Find Your Founder: Five Romantic Tips from a New Technical Cofounder

Have you come across any effective headlines lately? What category were they in? Why did you click on them?


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