21 Headline Formulas That Work

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Which came first: the headline or the blog post?

Do you turn your ideas into a full blog post first? Or do you write a headline first that then inspires your blog post?

Neither way is right or better, but sometimes bloggers overlook the power of creating headlines as an exercise for idea generation. Earlier this week, we looked at a simple three-step process to write click-worthy headlines. Step one in that process is to find headline formulas that work for you.

21 Headline Formulas That Work - BlogPaws.com

If that step were broken down into smaller steps, the first would be to brainstorm as many headlines as you can. (Quick tip: Set a time for your brainstorm session for a short but manageable period that keeps the pressure on for coming up with ideas but doesn’t allow too much room for your mind to wander. It’s odd, I know, but I always set mine for 17 minutes.)

Then, take that list and see how many blog post ideas you can come up with!

To get you started, here are 21 headline formulas that work to get the click but also inspire tons of blog post ideas:

  1. The Secret to _____
  2. Get Rid of _____ Once and For All (fleas and ticks, demand barking, clawed-up furniture, etc.)
  3. How to [Blank] Like [Powerful Example] (“How to Train Your Dog Like Victoria Stilwell”)
  4. Do you know how to _____ ?
  5. Lessons I learned from _____
  6. The Ultimate Guide to _____
  7. The Beginner’s Guide to _____ (Don’t forget that some of your readers many be brand new pet parents!)
  8. 5 _____ Dogs/Cats/Guinea Pigs/Pet Lovers/etc. Can’t Resist
  9. Top 10 Lists (“10 Movies with Pets to Watch on Valentine’s Day,” “10 Tricks to Teach Your Cat,” “The 10 Best Places to Buy Camping Gear for Dogs”)
  10. A Behind the Scenes Look at _____
  11. How to [Do Something] Better
  12. 101 Ways to/Ideas for  _____
  13. Do This to  _____
  14. Why Does My [Pet] Do [Behavior]? (This one is huge because so many pet parents seek these types of answers on Google.)
  15. Can I Cure My [Pet’s] [Condition] with  _____? (Be sure to include a disclaimer that you’re not a vet! Unless you are a vet!)
  16. Curb [Behavior] Forever
  17. The Worst Ways to  _____: Don’t Be THAT Pet Parent
  18. The Best Ways to  _____
  19. Problem questions that you can answer with authority (“Why Does My Fish Tank Get Cloudy After a Water Change?” or “What Does My Dog Need for a Hike?”)
  20. Do These # Things to _____
  21. Myth-busting headlines (“7 Things You Might Not Know about Persian Cats,” “10 Myths about Pit Bulls Debunked”)

BTW, looking for a great place to get headline inspiration? Look no further than the check-out aisle of your grocery store! No, you might not care what the Kardashians are up to these days, but those magazines sell like crazy in large part because of their attention-grabbing headlines. Flip through the magazines stacked on the endcaps to gather headline inspiration.

What ideas did this list spark for you? Are you willing to give this brainstorming exercise a go this weekend? Any headline winners you’d add to the list? 

Maggie Marton serves as the BlogPaws senior editor. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com.

Images: Creative Lab/Shutterstock.com