Headlines are bloody important.
The best blog authors write irresistible headline and titles. Magazines with millions of subscribers fill every issue with juicy headlines. Top Gun copywriters spend hours brainstorming hundreds of headlines BEFORE they write.
My buddha at Copyblogger says…
“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of the headline, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.”
Headlines are that important.
But Where Do You Get Headline Ideas?
Everyone has something to say about the mechanics of a great headline. A quick search on Google proves the point. However, most people (me included) wrestle with cooking up new headlines. How do you capture the essence of your post in one punchy, neck-snapping sentence?
How about looking for inspiration from online sites, cult classic books, and master copywriters that consistently field the best headlines in the business? Nothing gets the creative juices bubbling like seeing great headlines in action.
So, I’m going to get you started by introducing you to some of the crazier places you can use to get headline inspiration.
Check out these headline honey holes …
- Copyblogger Archives – Brian Clark has been beating the headline drum for years now. He practices what he preaches and Copyblogger is a honey-pot of great headlines. I obsess over the post archives looking for ideas. You should too.
- Readers Digest – Those nifty little books with the home-spun stories still house some of the best headlines you’ll every come across. Reader’s Digest has been fighting in the newsstand trenches for years and their headlines are top notch.
- Slate “Life Section” – Slate’s headlines are edgy and modern. They are masters at creating provocative idea starters that capture readers hook link and sinker.
- Alltop – Alltop is a directory that showcases the RSS feeds of hundreds of blogs. This makes it easy to go headline shopping.
- Cosmopolitan – Top headline masters sing the praises of Cosmopolitan as a headline source. They are right. Cosmopolitan needs to hijack eyeballs to survive and their headlines are top notch.
- Digg – Digg used to be the shizel for headline research and guess what? It still is. People try incredibly hard to get to the front page and some people have honed their headline writing into a science. Navigate to your particular topic to see specific headline examples in your niche.
- Advertising Headlines that Make You Rich -This is a book by David Garfinkel. David is a master-class copywriter and spills the beans in this book. This book is a great way to quickly grab a headline template guaranteed to work.
- Early To Rise Newsletter (ETR) – ETR is one of the popular email newsletters published by Agora – an information marketing powerhouse. Agora trains copywriters and employs some of the best in the world. The ETR newsletter is an easy (and cheap) way to get your hands on some of the best headline ideas – ever written.
- Drudge Report – No matter what you think about the politics – the aggregation of attention-nabbing headlines is awesome
- Problogger Archives – The sheer volume of posts with great headlines at Problogger.net makes this blog an regular spot for inspiration.
- Amazon.com – The climb to the top of the bestsellers list is brutal. Publishing companies have turned writing great book titles into a science. Amazon is the publishing houses real-time laboratory for headline testing. Go to Amazon, navigate to your niche, and study the top book titles closely. There’s gold there.
- Newser.com – Another news aggregator that specializes in great pics + neck-snapping headlines.
- How to Write 7 Types of Catchy Headlines – Excellent summary with a handful of great headlines
- Jay Abraham – 100 Greatest Headlines Ever Written. Some consider Jay Abraham to be the most brilliant marketer and teacher ever. While I won’t jump on that bandwagon, I WILL say that the guy is a spectacular copywriter that knows how to write killer headlines.
- Mens Health Magazine – I think Men’s Health can go toe-to-toe with Cosmopolitan in the headline battle. The publishers know their audience and can get any knuckle-head guy to stop dead in their tracks with their trademark headlines.
- Huffington Post – Huffpost is on the razor’s edge of attracting readers. They take their headlines seriously and pump out dozens of winners every day.
- Your Tracking Software – Yes, dig into your own traffic data for your blog. Focus on the posts that were shared the most (Twitter or Facebook). These post’s headlines may be winners hiding in plain sight.
New! Even more great headline hidey-holes…
Over the last few days, you all have given me more spots to find spectacular headlines. So, I’m going to keep this list going! I won’t change the title so that I won’t bust any links but tell your friends to scroll down to the end of the post.
Here we go…
- Tim Ferris Blog | The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim is a student of headline writing. Check out the popular posts on the sidebar and go to school.
- Buzzfeed – I discovered Buzzfeed from listening to Internet for Smart People Radio #6 over on Copyblogger. Buzzfeed creates a directory of articles based on the popularity and viral performance. A quick scan always yields some great idea starters.
- Inc Magazine – Inc. shows 4-5 related articles at the end of each story on its site. Take a look at the headlines. They are pure gold especially if you serve the business audience!
- More to come!
Featured Bonus: I huddled with the Pushing Social team and uncovered another 5 sources of headline inspiration to attract more clicks for your blog posts. It’s free. These sources are our top producers. Register for The Content Toolbox and download it for free.