Top Performing Headlines for Blog Posts: 10 examples

Writing a single headline that will summarize your full article is a challenge. It’s like a movie trailer in some ways, it makes the difference between whether people will check out your full article or not.

This single line will be the face of your article in all the channels that you distribute to (search engines, social media, forums).

headline sample

Statistics confirm that just 20% of people who see a headline will actually read the article. Our goal is to scale this number!

We analyzed hundreds of headlines, hunting for the common characteristics of the best performing ones. This is what we came up with:

  • The headline expresses the unique selling proposition (USP) of the content. A USP gives an idea to the audiences of what to expect and why the content will add value to their lives.
  • The headline reflects what your target audience needs. For example, instead of calling this article examples of headlines, we chose top performing headlines instead. That is what our audience is looking for.
  • The headline is short and concise. Buffer affirms that the average length of a viral headline is 62 characters. Google normally displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag. You can use the Moz Title Tag Preview Tool or the Creator Engine SEO analyzer to see how your headline will look on the web.

Once you have your USP, target, and length in mind, you can decide which headline style suits you best for your blog post. We selected the top 11 headlines that perform above average so you can have options for your next article:

1. The you will want to know more headline

Let’s accept the fact, that we are all curious by nature. Going back to the basics of journalism, writers who manage to unleash reader's curiosity are the ones who sell more newspapers. Of course, once you've got their curiosity, you need to capture their attention -- this you can achieve with high-quality content that delivers on the headline's promise.

An example of a best practice headline:

Headline 1

Why does it work?

The Content Marketing Institute creates curiosity, by promising readers a chance to discover how a content marketing process works in a company. The word share gives us the feeling that they will read a unique story since the companies are disclosing their processes.

2. The insight-based headline

In advertising, an insight is used to define a very important aspect of the psychology of the audience. It can be a pain point, a feeling or a thought that the headline points out but at the same time promises to solve.

A best practice insight headline:


Why does it work?

Neil Patel based his headline on the pain point that writers sometimes face with the blank page effect. The resulting headline promises a strong insight that proves catchy for his target market.

3. The bossy headline

If you are aiming to educate your readers, write bold sentences and inspire them to take action. Don't be afraid of making clear statements, especially when your audience needs guidance for their strategy.

A best practice bossy headline:


Why does it work?

The company makes their audiences aware of bad SEO practices and encourages them to stop doing it. The headline also uses a number that makes the read easier.

4.The beat your competitor headline

This headline is applicable if your audience is into business or if your blog is B2B. Talking about competitors will attract your audience's attention, since they aim to be better and will get the feeling of being helped.

A best practice beat your competitor headline:


Why does it work?

In a saturated market, Intellyo cearly communicates that bloggers can stay on top of their competitors -- and that they've got the secret to how.

5.The superlative headline

With tons of information out there, your audience can't spend their time reading average content, they want the best. And if you've got the best content out there, promising it in the headline is effective and necessary.

Superlatives can be negative too. According to Outbrain the average click-through rate on negative emotion headlines is 63% higher than positive ones.

A best practice superlative headline:


Why does it work?

Hubspot shows that showing what doesn't work on Marketing also helps the audience not to commit the same mistake. The headline triggers the audience's curiosity with the superlative worst, and also increases their curiosity by adding another dramatic clause: "that you will ever see".

6.The up-to-date headline

When it comes to marketing, strategies and tactics keep changing, so articles can become obsolete. Thus, novelty itself is a competitive advantage that can serve as USP. This type of headline style is useful for a topic that has been written on many authors.

A best practice up-to-date headline:


Why does it work?

The agency Flock twisted a popular topic (video marketing) into a trendy topic that is catchy for the marketers who want to keep updated. Using trends to follow + 2018 gets your audience's attention and invites them to check a timely article.

7. The why headline

This headline performs well when you seek to educate your audience. They will expect to receive a list of reasons why they should (or shouldn't) take a certain action.

A best practice why headline:


Why does it work?

The headline makes clear its point: keywords are important and I will tell you the reasons why. It invites you to take action and discover its relevance to SEO.

8. The rational headline

Statistics indicate that headlines with numbers perform 10x better than headlines without. This is for two reasons: first, it makes the headline's more digestible. Second, it mentions the result that the reader will have after checking the article, like a concrete promise.

A best practice rational headline:


Why does it work?

The headline makes clear its promise to the audience: if you read it, you will grow your blog. Of course this statement is then backed up with data-driven insights.

9.The I will give you a lot headline

Many authors indicate that listicles work really well, since the reader knows right away what to expect. Mentioning a high quantity of tactics, reasons or cases can be a good differentiation point from other articles. This headline can be mixed with the how or why-style headlines.

A best practice I will give you a lot headline:


Why does it work?

Their audience has probably applied lead gen tactics in the past, but the blog offers them more than 30 ideas, so there is probably a few new ideas that they can make use of.

10.The typical how to headline

Either to educate your audience or to explain a novel topic. Most of the time the audience's search on browsers start with a how to ... so using the same keywords will increase your chances of being there when your audience needs an explanation on the topic you wrote about.

A best practice how to headline:


Why does it work?

By reading the headline, anyone will understand what to expect. It points out the theme that will be discussed and gives the feeling to the audience that they will have guidance on that topic.

Final words

In less than 62 characters you will need to communicate your articles' unique selling proposition to form your audience's first impression. Gain extra attention from your audience by mixing two well-performing headlines (i.e. superlative + how headline).

It is important to mention that the headline needs to be backed up with high-quality content. Don't over promise! Otherwise, your blog will have a high bounce rate, which is harmful to your blog.

Learn more about how to enhance your content: