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Formulas for Writing Headlines That Get Your Post Read

As you may recall, in Part 1 of this series we talked about what to do and not to do when writing headlines that will lead to someone reading your post.  In Part 2, we will present some proven formulas for building compelling headlines that have been used by successful bloggers. First, we’ll run through...
formula for writing headlines

As you may recall, in Part 1 of this series we talked about what to do and not to do when writing headlines that will lead to someone reading your post.  In Part 2, we will present some proven formulas for building compelling headlines that have been used by successful bloggers.

First, we’ll run through a quick overview of the various types of post, and then we will present the formula for writing headlines, with examples, and the post types they work best with.

So let’s get started!

Main Post Types

This is not a definitive list, but it covers the types of posts that you see most often in the blogosphere.

  1. News posts provide current, factual information that is of interest to your audience.
  2. Informational posts are similar to news posts, but they are focused on the niche as opposed to current events. They are an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
  3. Instructional posts tell the reader how to do something.
  4. Entertaining posts are funny, silly, shocking, or in some other way entertaining. They are meant to be fun and are very shareable.  Cat pic posts fit into this category.
  5. Personal story posts tell your story.  How you did something, what you learned from experience,  how you handled a transition, and so forth.
  6. Case studies are similar to personal stories but they are about someone else.
  7. Cheat Sheet posts provide information on a vast subject in a condensed and concise fashion. They are short on details, frequently taking the form of a checklist or tips & tricks.
  8. List posts are a big favorite of bloggers and readers alike. They grab readers’ attention, keep them on your site while they click through, and they are very shareable.
  9. Wake up calls are intended to snap your audience out of some sort of misguided habit or behavior. They start with something the reader is doing wrong, then encourage the reader to change, and then give them advice on how to do so.
  10. Product reviews tell readers what a product is like before they buy it.
  11. Opinion pieces are written to present your perspective.  They are designed to create discussion, offend people, rally the troops, rally people to a cause, challenge their beliefs.
  12. Articles in a series present information on a large, frequently overwhelming topic, and then break it down into standard post-size chunks (like this one).

Now that we have the basic post types defined, we can look at some basic headline formulas, with examples, and the post types they are most commonly used for.

Formulas

[sociallocker id=”1785″]One last thing.  The formulas presented below are by no means definitive.  My suggestion is that you start off with determining what type of post you have written.  Once you have done that, you can refer to the formula table and see which formulas are best for the type of post.  Then you can play with plugging in the variables until you come up with something you like.

Oh, and don’t forget to apply the tips from Part 1.

FORMULAEXAMPLEPOST TYPE
[Number] + [Adjective] + [Keyword]9 Unusual Family Vacation DestinationsList, Informational
[Adjective] + [Adjective] + [Keyword]Surprisingly Inexpensive Christmas Gift IdeasList, Informational
[Number] + [Adjective] + [Keyword] + [Promise]5 Romantic Weekend Getaways That Will Put The Fire Back Into Your RelationshipList, Informational
[Adjective] + [Adjective] + [Keyword] + [Promise]Unbelievably Cute Puppies You Will Want To Take Home With You Right NowEntertaining
The Secret Of  [Keyword]The Secret of Applying EyelinerInstructional
The Secret Of  [Keyword] + [Promise]The Secret of Writing a LinkedIn Profile That Will Get You NoticedInstructional
Little Known Ways To [do something]Little Known Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage In Half the TimeInformational
A/An [Adjective] Way To [do something] Without/While/Even Though [a situation or thing]A Brilliant Way To Save Money Without Sacrificing Your Sacrificing Your LifestyleInstructional, Informational
[do something] Like [outstanding example]How To Make Pies Like A Pastry ChefInstructional
What Everyone Needs to Know About  [Keyword]What Everyone Needs To Know About The New FDA Food Labelling GuidelinesWake-Up Call, Opinion Piece, List
Why You Should Stop [doing something]Why You Should Stop Eating Dairy Right NowWake-Up Call, Opinion Piece, List
[Number] + [Adjective] + Reasons You Should Stop [doing something]14 Reasons You Should Stop Eating Microwaveable DinnersList, Wake-Up Call
How To [do something]How To Find A Financial Advisor You Can TrustInstructional, Informational
How to [do something] [Promise]How To Get Started On An Exercise Program That Will Fit Your LifestyleInstructional, Informational
The Ultimate/Beginners Guide To [Keyword] Without [something]The Ultimate Guide To Finding An Apartment In New York Without A RealtorInstructional, Informational, Series
The Ultimate/Beginners Guide to [Keyword] + [Promise]The Beginners Guide To Blogging for CashInstructional, Informational, Series
How I [did something]How I Started a Successful Online BusinessInstructional, Personal Stories
How I [did something] Without/While/Even Though [a situation or thing]How I Transformed Into a Fitness Champion After Having A BabyInstructional, Personal Stories
Lessons I Learned From [someone or something]Lessons I Learned From Role Playing GamesInformational, Personal Stories
How to Survive Your First [something]How To Survive Your Child’s First Day At SchoolInstructional
How I Survived [something]How I Survived Meeting His Kids For The First TimePersonal Stories
Do You Want To Know/Have/Be [something]?Do You Want To Save Money On Gifts This Christmas?Informational, Instructional
Why You Never [do something]Why You Never See Pharrell Without A HatInformational, Entertaining
Are You Tired Of [situation or thing?]Are You Tired Of Paying For Cable?Informational, Instructional, Wake Up Call
Are You Ready To [do something]?Are You Ready To Start Making Money On Your Blog?Informational, Instructional
Are You Wondering Why [something]?Are You Wondering Why Your Posts Are Not Getting Shared?Informational, Instructional, Case Studies, Opinion Pieces
Top [number] Tips For [doing something]Top 5 Tips For Playing Pokemon GoList, Informational, Instructional
The [Number] Things You Should/Should Not [blank]The One Thing You Should Never Put On A SandwichList, Wake-Up Call
Why You Can not/Should Not [do something]Why You Cannot Believe What The GOP Is Saying About Immigration ReformList, Wake-Up Call
[provocative question]Should You Be Friends With His Ex?Opinion Piece, Personal Stories
If You [blank], You Should [blank]If You Have A Chip Credit Card, You Should Read This Alarming NewsNews, Wake-Up Call
[Number] [things you should stop doing]7 Amateur Grilling Mistakes You Need to Stop Making This SummerWake-Up Call, List
[Number] Things You Never Knew About [something/someone]8 Things You Never Knew About Katie HolmesEntertaining, Informational
[Number] Signs You Should/Should Stop [something]6 Signs You Should Eat More ProteinList, Wake-Up Call
The [Number] [Adjective] [places or things]The 5 Best Football Stadiums on the USList, Informational
Did You Ever Wonder Why/How/What [blank]?Did You Ever What Time In Jail Would Be Like?Informational, Entertaining, Instructional

Do you have another formula for headlines you have used successfully in the past?  If so, let us know in the comments section.

As always, happy blogging!

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Series Navigation<< How to Write Headlines That Get Results
Author: Alicia Clemmons
Professional writer and blogger.

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5 Comments

  • Nazmul Islam

    Everyone likes Interesting headline and headline can attrition a visitor. It is important thinks for a keyword. If we use our keyword on these headlines then it can help google search and we get lot of visitors.

  • Isobel Alexa

    I read your post properly and it’s have great point you pointed on here. That is awesome formula for make a headline and your point is also logical.

  • Tara Ava

    When we post an article then we need to understand what we want to posted. Great keyword and headline can give us a good result for gain blogging. I read your post properly you give us awesome point and I think if anyone maintain your points then they are gain very easily.  

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