Multiply Your Content With Our 78 Top Performing Headlines

When writing your next article title, you have to think about how to grab attention among all the noise out there. What will push people far enough to make the click and continue onto your article?

We’ve identified these 3 primary categories as successful headline styles for getting incredible results. They are..

  1. Social Proof (aka: Piggyback)
  2. Threat/Fears
  3. Gain

There are other styles with different voices out there, but these 3 cover the vast majority. We’ll cover the details of each and give you our list of examples for you to apply to your own content!

1. Social Proof (Piggyback)

The Basic Principle: The more people that make a certain choice and the more influential those people are, the greater likelihood that others will join in.

I once had a sales job where I was selling a “magical” cleaning product in the aisles of grocery stores. However, I had trouble with making the sale. People would often walk away from my demonstration halfway through before I could even begin closing! I tried many different approaches, but the one that seemed to work extremely well was leveraging “group-think.”

I encouraged the audience to do the talking for me and answer questions for everyone else to hear. At times, my audience may not have trusted the sales guy. After all, I’m a little biased and am supposed to say nice things about the product. It’s my job and they know that. But, when someone else endorses it for me, the tidal wave of head nodding begins and I know I’ve hooked, lined, and sinked ‘em!

This social proof or piggybacking strategy is highly effective because it rides the waves of other key individuals, in effect, influencing the majority.

Another approach to this group-think strategy is to ride the social proof wave of latest trend or news. For example, if there is a trending hashtag that may apply to your industry or product, then leverage that proven social trend to your advantage and put your own spin on it.

For example, you can say “Barack Obama reveals ways to be healthier, more productive, and make critical decisions all before 8:00am!” or “How the (most recent championship winning sports team) uses these 9 tactics to better their communication.”

For our full list of fill-in-the-blank headlines, see below.

You’ll find that more people may click on your headline simply because you’ve leveraged the social proof and piggybacked on the latest trends and influencers. You’ve identified a common bond and made an instant connection to your reader. Bottom line: They will be more likely to click through to your article and website.

2. Threat/Fears

Basic Principle: People will often have a greater motivation to avoid pain over the motivation to simply gain some sort of benefit. With a threat or fear headline, you are offering a solution through focusing on defense rather than offense. You are focusing on the problem at hand and why it’s important to stay away from it.

This approach is unique in that it exposes a deep-rooted emotion and, in turn, elicits a response from the reader in order to find a solution.

Consider stories that you hear about on the news. They often times play on the threat or fear emotions in order for you to tune in at 7:00. They’ll pitch their story by describing for example, “A fatal shooting is taking place in a city near you.. Culprit still on the loose!”

What if the news lead with this report, “A fatal shooting took place in a city near you.. Culprit found and arrested.”

Which are you more likely to tune in for?

These types of headlines are essentially the exact contrast to the third point: Gain.

Examples of Threat/Fears Headlines:

Are You Avoiding These 10 Fatal Website Design Mistakes? The List Might Surprise You.

For our full list of fill-in-the-blank headlines, see below.

3. Gain

Basic Principle: By communicating the benefits of a certain product or service, the audience will find it beneficial in fulfilling their wants and needs. You are focusing on the solution and results of a certain problem at hand and why it’s important to reach the desired result.

Arguably, the most popular headline out there is the gain headline. Most marketers choose to state their many promised benefits. These are wildly popular and for good reason as they just plain work.

By focusing on reaching a desired end result to a particular dilemma, you communicate that there is a common understanding of a certain problem. However, where your piece of information is beneficial is that it provides the solution to this pre-existing problem. This contrasts the Threat/Fears headline in that it assumes the reader is already aware of the problem.

Examples of gain headlines:

10 Most Common WordPress Questions Answered
How To Make A Logo For Free With This Simple Tool
Spend $0.00 and Grow Your Audience With These 7 Proven Strategies Today

For our full list of fill-in-the-blank headlines, see below.

How to use these headlines:

There are a couple of ways to use these headlines.. 1 is to simply copy and paste word for word and fill in the areas in order to fit your needs. This is the simplest way to use these suggestions. If you’re just starting out, then this is a perfect resource for you.

Once you find yourself starting to understand the process and gain a little momentum, you can move onto the next strategy: Customizing each headline.

The next way you can use these examples is to customize them for your own business. Consider how and why each headline works; specifically which headlines are working exceptionally well for your specific audience?

When you analyze each one, you’ll begin to synthesize the process and ingrain it in your head. Soon enough, writing great headlines will come naturally and you’ll know exactly what you’re doing and for what reason.

Be conscious of the headlines that grab your attention and make you click on them. Add the headline to your list and try to identify which of the 3 main categories it fits under. This is a great practice to have and it will continue to build your list for future reference.

Social Proof Headlines2Threats Fears Headlines2Gain Headlines0Gain Headlines1For a Word Doc download of the full list of headlines, Click Here!

There is incredible competition for attention out there today. This list is now your secret sauce for that perfect recipe to really make you stand out above all the rest.

Print it out and pin it up next to your work station for a continual reference point. Be disciplined in this area and you’ll see your creativity flourish and most importantly, your content become more engaging.

One more thing…

We have a couple awesome and incredibly useful tools to help you write compelling titles. In addition to all the headline styles and templates included here in this article, you can take a stab at putting the final touches on your title with these tools.

1. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator: The guys at HubSpot put together a fun and simple little tool to help you get the juices flowing. All you need to do is type in 3 different nouns into their generator and you’ll instantly have 5 clever titles that include aspects of the nouns you’ve entered. Try it out once and see what you get! Go back and hit generate again or change up the nouns you’ve entered!

2.  Portent’s Content Idea Generator: This generator is definitely worth checking out. It takes your one keyword and generates awesome titles split into 4 sections that are sure to generate clicks. It also describes the thought process behind each suggested section. This one is especially fun as it generates off-the-wall types of titles that could just be perfect for you and your audience!

3. Content Forest’s Content Ideator: This last content generator is unique in that it’s slightly more sophisticated than the others. It’s not quite as random. It takes your keyword that you’ve entered and suggests titles that logically fit within that keyword’s niche. I tried various types of keywords from various industries and didn’t receive any random results that had nothing to do with that industry. For example, when I typed in “Cupcakes” I didn’t get results about money and finance.

What about you?

Which headline grabs your attention the most? Which of the 3 categories do you relate to most? Social Proof, Threat/Fears, or Gain?

Are there any headlines that you’ve seen work well for you? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!


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