The 19 Best 
Headline Formulas
On average, 
five times as many people 
read the headline 
as read the body copy. 
D A V I D O G I L V Y
[Do something] like 
[world-class example]
Interesting adjectives 
+ unique nouns
[Amazing Headline]: 
Subhead
Who Else Wants ____
The Secret of ______
Little Known Ways to 
_______
Here’s a Quick Way to 
[solve a problem]
Have a / Build a ______ 
You Can Be Proud Of
What Everybody Ought 
to Know About _______
[Number] Lessons I 
Learned From ______
How to Survive Your 
First _______
How to ____ even if / 
without ____
Headline. A little 
something extra.
The mini-headline: 4 
words or fewer
Headline + Headline
Item and Item: Listicle
_____, 
backed by science
The Ultimate Guide to 
____
The Big List of ____
Even more: 
bit.ly/headline-formulas 
Sources: 
Death to the Stock Photo
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The 19 Best Headline Formulas

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Many people have found headlines that work wonders, consistently, time after time. And they go well beyond the saturated listicle or clickbait.

Why not take some inspiration from the best headlines of the best headline writers?

The blueprints exist to get your tweets, emails, updates, and articles clicked.

I collected a trove of interesting and actionable headline formulas from some of the best sources for headline writing, and I’ve tossed in a few of our favorite Buffer headline formulas, too. Is there a tried-and-true headline routine that you always come back to? See if it’s listed here among these sure bets, or leave it in the comments.

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The 19 Best Headline Formulas

  1. 1. The 19 Best Headline Formulas
  2. 2. On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. D A V I D O G I L V Y
  3. 3. [Do something] like [world-class example]
  4. 4. Interesting adjectives + unique nouns
  5. 5. [Amazing Headline]: Subhead
  6. 6. Who Else Wants ____
  7. 7. The Secret of ______
  8. 8. Little Known Ways to _______
  9. 9. Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
  10. 10. Have a / Build a ______ You Can Be Proud Of
  11. 11. What Everybody Ought to Know About _______
  12. 12. [Number] Lessons I Learned From ______
  13. 13. How to Survive Your First _______
  14. 14. How to ____ even if / without ____
  15. 15. Headline. A little something extra.
  16. 16. The mini-headline: 4 words or fewer
  17. 17. Headline + Headline
  18. 18. Item and Item: Listicle
  19. 19. _____, backed by science
  20. 20. The Ultimate Guide to ____
  21. 21. The Big List of ____
  22. 22. Even more: bit.ly/headline-formulas Sources: Death to the Stock Photo
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