We have several different tactics we can use to catch the eyes of our customers. Imagery, ad copy, and CTAs all hold a lot of value for marketers, but the success of any type of content typically depends on the strength of the headline — and which type of headline you use.

So, what is a headline? A headline is a brief, attention-grabbing statement or question used to attract interest and entice someone to read a piece of content, whether that be an article, commerce landing page, or an ad. Its purpose is to sell an idea, concept or product.

Why Is It So Important to Have Great Headlines?

As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” The same goes for headlines — if people aren’t clicking on them, then they probably just don’t understand what your content is about. 

When do you need great headlines? You should always be mindful of how you’re presenting your ideas in writing; it should be clear, concise, and compelling enough that it piques curiosity while giving just enough information so people want to know more — headlines are no exception.

Look At Headline Examples Before Writing Your Own

When you go to create your own headlines, it’s not wise to go in blind. It’s essential to see what’s already been done and tested in your industry before crafting a headline. There are millions of headlines out there, and while they all won’t work or resonate with all audiences, seeing how others have crafted their own can help you brainstorm unique ideas for yourself. Additionally, seeing what doesn’t work can help you avoid repeating mistakes made by others that might turn off potential readers and customers.

Headline Examples based on Headline Types

Once you do start looking at what other brands and businesses use, you’ll notice that effective headlines are anything but cookie-cutter. Marketers can use several different tactics when crafting the perfect headline. Here, we dive into the trusted headline types.

Ask Questions

This type of headline poses a question to the reader (obviously), but not just any old question. You should ask questions that you know your audience will want the answer to — enough so that they’ll be encouraged to click. Focus on the benefit for your audience or customer.

For instance, a company selling gourmet coffee beans could write something like: Do You Know Which Coffee Brewing Method Gives You The Most Flavor?

headline types

How-To Headlines

One easy way to provide added value to your customers is by promising to teach them something. And there’s an easy headline formula to help you accomplish this. Start with “How to” and then follow that up with whatever action or insight you want your readers to take away. It seems simple, yes, but there’s a reason how-to’s are the gold standard for converting headlines. These types of headlines explicitly state the value for your customer and usually solve some type of problem they may have.

For example: How To Eat Like A Local In New York or How To Stop Feeling Tired After A Full Night’s Sleep.

Testimonials

Sometimes it helps customers to hear from … customers. Testimonial-style headlines rely on customer quotes to do the selling for you. This tactic works well because potential customers can see the benefits of your product or service right away — in the words of someone who was once in their shoes. Plus, you have authenticity working in your favor.

What does a testimonial headline look like? Here’s one headline example: This Cooking Subscription Box Saves Me Hours Of Meal Prep Each Week!

Top 10 …

Oh, the trusty listicle. Ten doesn’t have to be the magic number of this type of headline, but the practice of putting XX Best … or Top XX … has been a long-trusted headline formula. Your customers see the benefit of the product or service immediately. 

Command Headlines / Direct Response

Command or direct response headlines follow a pretty simple formula: Action Verb + The Desired Action. This tactic typically looks more like an advertisement than other headline types, and though obvious, it’s still highly effective. What does a command or direct response headline look like?

One approach is when you’re trying to get a customer to sign up or subscribe to something: Sign Up For Our Exclusive Cooking Newsletter. The more subtle way to do a command headline looks like this: Clear The Clutter In Your Closet With These Organization Techniques.

Direct Headlines

We know what you’re thinking — how does a direct headline differ from a direct response headline? They sound awfully similar, and yes, direct headlines explicitly state the purpose of the article or landing page, but they aren’t necessarily as sales-y as direct response. Direct headlines typically get straight to the point, with little frills or embellishments.

For example, direct headlines can also be in the form of listicles like: 10 Vacation Spots To Consider For Your Next Getaway.

Indirect Headlines

We have direct headlines, so naturally we must have indirect headlines, right? While direct headlines give it to the reader straight, indirect headlines are all about the art of subtlety. And both tactics have their merits. The indirect approach keeps an air of mystery that’s intriguing to the user by simply hinting at the main point of the article or landing page. They raise questions rather than answering them.

Here’s what this could look like: Popular Makeup Brand Takes A New Direction In 2022.

News Headlines

Perhaps the most classic type of headline, news headlines have been a trusted favorite by journalists and writers for decades. These headlines are all about efficiency and relay breaking news or updates about a company in the most clear way possible.

For example: Local Brewery Announces New Operating Hours Amid Pandemic.

Name Drop

Using prominent public figures or popular brand names is always a good tactic to instantly draw attention to your content. This is also a helpful way for smaller businesses or companies to start building brand recognition with their audience or customer base.

There are a couple of different ways to name drop, but here’s what that could look like: [XX Sneaker Brand] Set To Release A Brand New Line Of Kicks This Summer.

Challenging Belief Headlines

Now, it’s important to be careful with this tactic. Challenging belief headlines typically use clickbait-y phrases like “You’ll never guess …” or “You probably don’t know …” as a way to entice the user to click on your content. In a way, you’re challenging the reader to see if they actually know what you’re suggesting they don’t. What does that look like? Here’s an example: You’ll Never Guess Which Of These A-List Celebrities Went To Ivy League Schools.

But where you can run into some trouble with this type of headline is with platform guidelines. Platforms such as Facebook have set policy guidelines, and sometimes phrases like “You’ll never believe…” can get flagged as violating their rules.

Perfect Any Headline Type With Anyword

Regardless of which headline type you decide fits your needs best, crafting one that works is often easier said than done. But that’s where Anyword can help. With only a few clicks, Anyword’s powerful AI Copywriting generator generates or lets you improve headlines for ads, blog posts, landing pages — you name it.

And to sweeten the deal, all headlines created by Anyword’s AI are accompanied by unique Predictive Performance Scores, which indicate the conversion potential. What does this mean for you? The platform bases this score off of  $250 million dollars’ worth of advertising spots and the copy elements, so you can feel confident that you’re promoting headlines that will work. Now’s the time to stop the guessing game when it comes to headlines. Start producing higher-quality headlines with a free 7-day trial.