How to Write Killer Headlines in Minutes Without Thinking

Last updated on 7th January 2021 by Rob Carter

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links you won’t pay a penny more, but we’ll get a small commission.

The ultimate headline writing guide

You’re probably reading this blog post because you’re looking for a quick and easy way to create attention-grabbing headlines, and the opportunity to learn “how to write killer headlines in minutes without thinking” was too good to pass up, right?

Writing magnetic headlines is hard. Very hard. And if you’re tired of slaving over your keyboard for hours on end trying to come up with eyeball-sucking headlines for emails, blog posts, social media posts or Facebook ads, only to find that they get about as much attention as your average Z-list celebrity, you’ve most definitely come to the right place.

By the time you’ve finished reading this post, you’ll know how to write headlines that turn more heads than Monica Belucci. And best of all, you’ll be able to create enticing headlines in minutes, virtually on autopilot.

I’ll take you by the hand and guide you step-by-step through the process of writing irresistible headlines. I’ll show you which words to avoid at all costs. I’ll explain how to leverage the power of storytelling to boost conversions. And I’ll demonstrate the tried and trusted copywriting techniques the pros use to write awesome headlines.

As well as advice on how to write your own highly effective headlines, I’ll also provide you with my own personal collection of powerful headline formulas and templates that will help you create killer headlines in minutes, with virtually no effort.

You’ll also get access to a huge list of “magic multipliers”. These are words and phrases that magazines and publications often add to the beginning or end of a headline to add interest, draw attention or add some extra information.

I’ll also provide you with 500 “power words” to help you trigger an emotional response in your audience. These words are so persuasive people can’t resist being influenced by them. Sprinkle a few in your headlines and watch the magic happen!

Last but not least, I’ll give you my swipe file of some of the most compelling headlines ever written, from some of the most successful copywriters who’ve ever lived. Headlines this persuasive should be illegal.

Oh, and you’ll be able to download a handy Excel file of all the awesome resources as well.

So grab yourself a coffee, get yourself comfy and let’s get started.

How Important is the Headline?

If you want to know how important the headline is, ask John Caples (well, technically you can’t because he died in 1990, but bear with me here).

Caples was one of the most successful copywriters who ever lived. A bona fide, certified sales machine, whose words were responsible for selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stuff. He wasn’t some semi-talented wannabe writer like me; he was the real deal.

Caples believed that the headline was so important, so integral to the success (or failure) of a campaign, that he devoted 1/5 of his seminal work on advertising strategies, Tested Advertising Methods, exclusively to the art of writing headlines.

In the words of the great man himself:

The success of an entire advertising campaign may stand or fall on what is said in the headlines.

—John Caples
Tested Advertising Methods

Caples estimated that the headline can be responsible for 95% – or more – of the success of a marketing campaign.

Caples didn’t just pull arbitrary numbers out of thin air to make himself look clever; he was probably one of the first copywriters to advocate a scientific approach to testing sales copy.

He wanted to know how to make his sales copy more successful, and he knew that in order to evaluate the effectiveness of his copy in quantifiable ways he would need to systematically test small changes to see which versions worked better.

Essentially, he was using conversion rate optimisation (CRO) methods like A/B split-testing, response tracking and audience testing decades before the term was even invented (“conversion rate optimisation” was coined in 2007). Heck, he was using CRO techniques to test his headlines more than 20 years before Sir Tim Berners-Lee – the founder of the internet – was even born.

In one experiment, Caples discovered the winning headline outperformed the worst-performing headline by 19 times. Not 19% more sales, but 19 times more sales! Now imagine if he hadn’t done any testing and just used the weakest headline. If he had, I’d be writing about someone else.

Of course, Caples wasn’t the only copywriter who knew how important headlines were. David Ogilvy, a British advertising tycoon and the founder of advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, understood their importance only too well.

The headline is the ‘ticket on the meat’. Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising.

—David Ogilvy
Ogilvy & Mathers

The headline’s only job is to get noticed and make your target prospect read the rest of the content or take the next step in the sales process.

It sounds simple, but in a world where your audience is overloaded with information and the average person is exposed to around 4,000-10,000 ads per day, writing headlines that stop people in their tracks is far from easy. But in the next section that’s exactly what I’ll show you how to do.

How to write killer headlines

If you want your email campaigns, blog posts, Facebook ads or social media posts to attract attention, you’re going to need to write attention-grabbing headlines – and lots of them.

1. Research your audience

The good news is that writing headlines is easy. The bad news is that writing good headlines is hard (unless you know the techniques and formulas I’m about to show you).

2. Research your product/service

3. Research your competitors

4. Create a word list

5. Select a headline formula/template

6. Fill in the blanks

7. Experiment with multiplier words, power words and teasers

8. Apply the 4 U’s formula

When prospects see your ad they make a quick decision, usually within a couple of seconds, to read it or turn the page, based largely on the subject line. But given the flood of commercial messages today, how can you convince a busy prospect – in just a few words – that your ad is worthy of their attention?

The “4 U’s” copywriting formula – which stands for “urgent”, “unique”, “ultra-specific” and “useful” – can help. Developed by business coach and serial entrepreneur Michael Masterson, the “4 U’s” formula works wonders for headlines, titles and email subject lines. With a little tweaking it can become a powerful blog writing tool as well.

Useful

Before spending time or money on something, people want to know if what they’re getting will solve their problem or provide the solution they’re looking for. In other words, they want to know if they’ll get something useful out of it.

If your headline fails to convey the usefulness of what you’re offering, why would your prospects want to read your content or buy your product or service? The answer, of course, is they wouldn’t.

In the headline “Sweden’s Miracle Formula Makes Your Skin Look Young Again”, the benefit is clearly younger looking skin. As a consumer I know that if I click the link I might find a skincare product that makes me look younger.

As another example, the headline “How to Get a Product to Sell If You Don’t Have One Already and How to Get It for Nothing” promises the reader two benefits: how to get a product to sell, and how to get it for free. Who wouldn’t want to read that article?

Urgent

Urgency is a psychological trigger deeply rooted inside our brain that prompts us to act quickly. It relates to loss aversion or the so-called fear-of-missing-out (FOMO). When used correctly, it’s a very powerful marketing tool.

Urgency in headlines convinces people to open the email, click through to the blog post or purchase the product now rather than later, when they might become distracted by something else and forget about your content.

While urgency is very important for headlines, it should only be used if what you’re offering is genuinely time-sensitive or available in limited quantities. If your urgency or scarcity tactics are perceived as being manipulative, you’ll lose credibility.

A great example of using headlines to create a sense of urgency comes from local news programmes. They say things like, “Tonight at 9, Elon Musk’s SpaceX becomes the first private company to launch humans into orbit” or “A new twist in the Casey Anthony case, at 11”.

You can also prompt people to take action immediately by including scarcity words in your in your headline, such as “while stocks last” or “offer ending soon”. For instance, the headline “Dormeo 50% Sale While Stocks Last” entices the reader with the promise of a 50% discount on Dormeo products – but only if they act quickly.

Unique

The powerful headline either says something new or, if it says something the reader has heard before, says it in a new and fresh way. For example, “Why Japanese Women Have Beautiful Skin” was the headline in an email promoting a Japanese bath kit. This is different from the typical “Save 10% on Japanese Bath Kits”.

Ultra-Specific

Bottom Line Inc (formerly Boardroom) is the absolute master of ultra-specific bullets, known as “fascinations”, that tease the reader into reading further and ordering the product. Examples: “What Never to Eat on an Airplane”, “Bills It’s OK to Pay Late” and “Best Time to File for a Tax Refund”.

9. Check the headline checklist

How to test your headlines

Headline formulas

The quickest and easiest way to create effective headlines is to use a headline formula. Period.

Sure, you can sit there wracking your brains trying to come up with an intriguing, compelling, funny, exciting headline that nobody has ever thought of before, but you’ll be there for a while.

Or you can save your time and sanity by stealing one of the pretty awesome headline formulas listed below.

Every idea is a juxtaposition. That’s it. A juxtaposition of existing concepts.

—Steven Grant
The Hardy Boys Casefiles

So what are headline formulas, and how do they work? I’m glad you asked.

Essentially, a headline formula is a collection of words and phrases arranged in such a way as to illicit an emotional response from the reader. Whether it’s curiosity, excitement, surprise or shock, the end goal is the same: to make the reader want to engage with the content.

The best thing about headline formulas is that they make writing headlines much faster. In fact, once you get into the habit of using formulas to create your headlines you’ll be able to produce compelling headlines pretty much on autopilot.

To use the formulas below, simply pick one and substitute the following values with your own words and phrases:

  • [Words] – Substitute words and phrases in square brackets with your own.
  • {Name} – Replace {Name} elements with a name – usually a person’s name, but it could also be the name of a business, organisation, group or some other entity.
  • {X} – Replace {X} elements with a number. Sometimes it might be worth experimenting by leaving out the number altogether, or replacing it with a word.
  • {Year} – Replace {Year} elements with the correct year.

1. The ‘end result’ headline

[Desired Outcome] + [Time Frame] + [Overcome Objections]

Examples:

  • [Lose 7lbs] + [in 7 days] + [without working out]
  • [Generate 5,000 leads] + [in 30 days] + [without paying for ads]
  • [Sell your house] + [in 1 week] + [without paying estate agent fees]
  • [Build an online store] + [in 1 month] + [with no technical knowledge]
  • [Launch an online business] + [in 1 day] + [for free]

2. The ‘action’ headline

[Action] + [Time Frame] + [Desired Outcome]

Examples:

  • [Hire me] + [for 30 days] + [and I’ll increase your sales by 43%]
  • [Cycle to work each morning] + [for the next 21 days] + [and lose 10lbs]
  • [Post a tweet each day] + [for 60 days] + [and increase your followers by 25%]
  • [Follow my SEO checklist] + [for 1 month] + [and get on the first page of Google]
  • [Try our skincare product] + [for 30 days] + [and get radiant looking skin]

3. The ‘how to’ headline

How to [Desired Outcome] +/- [Overcome Objections]

Examples:

  • How to [write a sales page that converts] + [without sounding salesy]
  • Learn how to [create video courses] + [without expensive equipment]
  • Learn how to [build your own computer]
  • Discover how to [start a business] + [with virtually no money]
  • Find out how to [get more organised]

4. The ‘secret’ headline

{X} Secrets to [Desired Outcome]

Examples:

  • {7} secrets to [making money online]
  • {10} unknown facts about [running a dropshipping business]
  • {8} secret methods for [generating more leads]
  • {9} little known facts about [burning fat]
  • {7} secrets to [paying less tax]

5. The ‘promise’ headline

[Desired Outcome] in [Time Frame]

Examples:

  • [Quadruple your Instagram followers] in [1 month]
  • [Increase your click-through rate by 30%] in [1 day]
  • [Boost your traffic by 23%] in [7 days]
  • [Increase your average order value by 33%] in just [30 days]
  • [Increase your website speed by 200%] in [1 hour]

6. The ‘lie’ headline

{X} Lies about [Topic]

Examples:

  • {9} lies agencies will tell you about [SEO]
  • The {5} biggest myths about [tax havens]
  • {7} huge lies about [treating arthritis]
  • {5} lies about [Facebook advertising]
  • {6} lies people believe about [divine healing]

7. The ‘threat’ headline

[Threat] + [Product/Service] to [Overcome Threat]

Examples:

  • [Wedding nightmare]: [Disaster checklist] to ensure your [big day goes without a hitch]
  • [The dangers of crossfit]: [10 safe workout routines] to help you [avoid injury]
  • [The pitfalls of doing your own bookkeeping]: [Step-by-step guide] to [avoiding accounting errors]
  • [The risk of redundancy]: [Free ebook] about [employee rights and protection]
  • [The danger of becoming obese]: [Free guide] to [staying healthy]

8. The ‘social proof’ headline

[Object] Over [Social Proof] Use to [Desired Outcome]

Example:

  • The [SEO tool] over [200,000 websites] use to [boost their traffic]
  • The [social media scheduler] over [100,000 businesses] use to [build brand awareness]
  • The [productivity system] [millions of people] use to [get more done each day]
  • The [coupon site] over [1,000,000 savvy shoppers] use to [save money]
  • The [protein supplement] more than [50,000 gym fanatics] use to [build muscle fast]

9. The ‘gains’ headline

[Desired Result] / [Problem] When You / Without [Undesired Result] / [Challenge]

Examples:

  • [Get a ripped physique] when you [take the 30-day fitness challenge]
  • [Learn French fast] when you [enroll in our language course]
  • [Get rid of acne forever] without [leaving scars]
  • [Build a profitable business] without [risking your own money]
  • [Instantly become more productive] when you [use this productivity method]

10. The ‘skeptics’ headline

[Product/Service]: How {Name} Uses It to [Desired Result]

Examples:

  • [Ahrefs]: How {Neil Patel} uses it to [make $1m every year]
  • [Magic Serum]: How it helps keep {Penelope Cruz} [looking beautiful]
  • [Head & Shoulders]: How it keeps {Jennifer Aniston} [dandruff free]
  • [Under Armour]: How it helps {Michael Phelps} [stay at the top of his game]
  • [Sage Accounting]: How {Peter Jones} uses it to [run his multi-million pound business]

11. The ‘big list’ headline

{X} +/- [Adjective] + [Topic]

Examples:

  • {37} [amazing] [call-to-action examples]
  • {39} [mind-blowing] ways to [boost productivity]
  • {100} ways to [repurpose your content]
  • {47} [hilarious] ways to [prank your mates]
  • {500} [social media marketing tips]

12. The ‘ultimate guide’ headline

The Ultimate Guide to [Desired Outcome]

Examples:

  • The ultimate guide to [eating healthily on a budget]
  • The ultimate guide to [making money online]
  • The ultimate guide to [getting more followers in Instagram]
  • The ultimate guide to [building a Shopify store]
  • The ultimate guide to [selling on Amazon]

13. The ‘proven method’ headline

{X} Proven Ways to [Desired Outcome]

Examples:

  • {17} proven ways to [build muscle fast]
  • {13} proven ways to [lose weight without losing muscle mass]
  • {7} proven ways to [make money on autopilot]
  • {11} proven techniques for [improving your self-confidence]
  • {6} proven ways to [learn a new language quickly]

14. The ‘desire’ headline

Who Else Wants [Desired Outcome]?

Examples:

  • Who else wants [more fun and less stress while on vacation]?
  • Who else wants to [work from home and earn $300 a day]?
  • Who else wants to [work less and get paid more]?
  • Who else wants a [higher paying job]?
  • Who else wants to [learn how get more followers on Facebook]?

15. The ‘target audience’ headline

Here’s How/Why [Somebody] + [Desired Outcome]

Examples:

  • Here’s how [marketers] [create profitable PPC campaigns]
  • Here’s how [successful freelancers] [deal with difficult clients]
  • Here’s why [you] need to [speed up your website]
  • Here’s why [high-street retailers] need to [generate more online sales]
  • Here’s how [amateur photographers] can [take better photographs]

16. The ‘instant gratification’ headline

{X} Quick Solutions/Ways to [Desired Outcome]

Examples:

  • {5} quick ways to [improve your search engine rankings]
  • {7} ways to [reduce your debt quickly]
  • {6} quick solutions for [increasing your website security]
  • {10} ways to [get fit quickly]
  • {3} quick ways to [improve your eBay listings]

17. The ‘problem eliminator’ headline

Get Rid of [Problem] + [Time Period]

Examples:

  • Get rid of your [unproductive work habits] [once and for all]
  • Get rid of that [carpet stain] in [10 minutes]
  • Get rid of your [back pain] in [5 days]
  • Get rid of [hayfever] [once and for all]
  • Get rid of your [fear of heights] [once and for all]

18. The ‘two good’ headline

Now You Can [Desired Outcome] + [Desired Outcome]

Examples:

  • Now you can [eat more] and [lose weight]
  • Now you can [quit your job] and [make even more money]
  • Now you can [meet sexy singles online] [without spending a dime]
  • Now you can [own a Mac] and still [run Windows]
  • Now you can [get fit] [without exercising]

Headline templates

1. {X} Signs You’re in the Wrong ____________________

2. Think You’re ____________________? Think Again

3. Your ____________________ Doesn’t Want You to Read This

4. One Secret to ____________________’s Success: ____________________

5. A Behind-the-Scenes Look at ____________________

6. Who Else Wants to ____________________ With Their ____________________

7. You Too Can ____________________ in Just 30 Minutes a Day With ____________________

8. The Secret Life of ____________________: What You Can Learn by ____________________

9. The Top {X} Issues Dividing ____________________

10. Why Are We Giving Away ____________________ for Only ____________________ – This Is Not a Misprint

11. How Were ____________________ Able to ____________________?

12. Which One of These ____________________ Problems Do You Want to Get Rid Of?

13. Why It’s Hard for ____________________ to ____________________

14. [Financial] Lessons for ____________________

15. What Would You Rather Do: ____________________ or ____________________?

16. What Everyone Ought to Know About ____________________

17. ____________________: What’s Really Happening?

18. How ____________________ Became ____________________ and Why It Matters

19. Why ____________________ Succeed and ____________________ Fail

20. ____________________ Reports Expected to Show ____________________

21. ____________________ Blame ____________________ for ____________________ Setback

22. Clearing Up ____________________ Confusion

23. Why Is ____________________ Always ____________________?

24. Too Busy ____________________ to ____________________?

25. How ____________________ Survived After ____________________

26. Why ____________________ Is Essential for ____________________

27. Tired of ____________________?

28. Why ____________________ and ____________________ Are Blowing up Online

29. Is ____________________ Necessary for All ____________________?

30. Why This ____________________ Built a ____________________ in ____________________

31. Top Tips for a ____________________

32. Reduce Your ____________________ and ____________________ Today

33. The Most [Expensive] ____________________ You’ll Ever See

34. How to Turn ____________________ Into ____________________ in Just ____________________

35. Would You ____________________ From This ____________________?

36. Why You Don’t Want to Get ____________________

37. Calculate Your ____________________ in Seconds

38. Your ____________________ Might Not Be as ____________________ as You Think

39. The Big ____________________ Sales Ends ____________________

40. How ____________________ Came to Dominate the [Market]

41. The Secret to ____________________ is Simply ____________________

42. Making the Perfect ____________________ Is Not Enough

43. How ____________________ Will Transform ____________________, and More

44. {X} Best Practices for ____________________

45. The Most ____________________ You Ever ____________________ or Your Money Back

46. Take a Lesson From ____________________

47. [Researchers] Demonstrate Use of ____________________ for ____________________

48. The Lazy Man’s Way to ____________________

49. ____________________ Poll Shows Concern About ____________________ Is Rising

50. The {X} Quickest Ways to Get ____________________

51. How a Single ____________________ Helped Turn ____________________ Against the ____________________

52. Sudden Rise in ____________________ Demand Takes ____________________ by Surprise

53. Teach Yourself ____________________ in ____________________

54. What’s in ____________________?

55. The ____________________’s Most ____________________ Is Also One of It’s Most ____________________

56. How Much Would It Take for You to ____________________ This ____________________?

57. ____________________ for ____________________ Available Now

58. How ____________________ Actually Works

59. ____________________ Discovers How to ____________________ From ____________________ With No ____________________

60. Meet ____________________ Newest ____________________

61. Meet the Da Vinci of ____________________

62. ____________________ in Half the Time Without Increasing ____________________

63. Why Do We ____________________?

64. Your ____________________ Will Be the ____________________ of the Future

65. Never Ever Suffer From ____________________ Again

66. Can the ____________________ Help Solve Our ____________________ Crisis?

67. ____________________’s Forgotten ____________________

68. ____________________ in 24 Hours or Your Money Back

69. How ____________________ Is Changing in ____________________

70. The Story Behind ____________________’s ____________________

71. The Unintended (and ____________________) Consequences of ____________________

72. Is the ____________________ Worth ____________________ to You?

73. What Makes ____________________ [Taste] So [Good]?

74. Why [Buyers] Are Flocking to ____________________ and Fleeing From ____________________

75. Secrets of ____________________ Revealed in ____________________

76. Improve Your ____________________ in as Little as ____________________

77. Imagine ____________________ and Loving Every Minute of It

78. How to ____________________ That’ll ____________________

79. How to Use ____________________ to Boost Your ____________________

80. How to Turn Your ____________________ Into a ____________________

81. How to Take the Headache Out of ____________________

82. How to Master the Art of ____________________

83. How to ____________________ That ____________________

84. How to ____________________ More and ____________________ Less

85. How to ____________________ in 6 Months – 100% Guaranteed

86. How to Become More ____________________

87. Hidden ____________________ in Your ____________________

88. Here’s the Quickest and Easiest Way for You to Succeed in ____________________

89. Get Paid ____________________ for Each ____________________ You ____________________

90. Get ____________________ Without ____________________

Multiplier words

Multiplier words are words and phrases that magazines and publications often add to the beginning or end of a headline to make add interest, draw attention and make it sizzle.

When you find a headline formula or template that’s right for your content, it’s worth reviewing the list of multiplier words to see if there’s a word or phrase that will make it even better, or add an interesting twist on the concept.

A punctuation mark is often used to separate the multiplier word and the main headline, such as a colon (:), period (.), comma (,), exclamation mark (!), question mark (?) or dash (–). Brackets ([]) and parenthesis () can also be used to make multiplier words pop, and block capitals and italics can be equally effective.

Adding any of the following multiplier words to the beginning or end of your headline can add extra meaning and attention-grabbing sizzle to even the most ordinary title or headline.

  • All New
  • All the Details
  • At Last
  • Awesome
  • Back on Track
  • Bombshell Report
  • Breaking News
  • Breakthrough
  • Brief
  • Caught
  • Caught on Camera
  • Cheap Shot
  • Close Call
  • Confession
  • Confirmed
  • Debunked
  • Details Here
  • Discover
  • Double Trouble
  • Editor’s Choice
  • Exclusive
  • Exclusive Report
  • Expert Reports
  • Expert Tip
  • Exposed
  • Featuring
  • Finally
  • Find Out
  • First Look
  • Found
  • Guess Who
  • Help
  • Here’s Help
  • Here’s Proof
  • Here’s Where
  • Here’s Why
  • Inside
  • Interview
  • Investigative Report
  • It’s Not Over
  • It’s Over
  • It’s Ugly
  • Just In
  • Last Day
  • Leaked
  • Look
  • More
  • New Details
  • New Research Shows
  • New Study Finds
  • New Study Says
  • New Study Suggests
  • News
  • Next
  • Now
  • Official Says
  • Oh No
  • Peek
  • Photo
  • Plus
  • Poll
  • Prediction
  • Presenting
  • Preview
  • Proof
  • Read
  • Read More
  • Reader’s Choice
  • Reality Check
  • Replay
  • Report
  • Report Reveals
  • Research Finds
  • Revealed
  • Rewind
  • Say What?
  • Scientists Say
  • Scooped
  • See It
  • See It Here
  • See This
  • Shocker
  • Showcase
  • Showdown
  • Slide Deck
  • Sneak Peek
  • Sneak Preview
  • Solved
  • Special
  • Special Edition
  • Special Feature
  • Special Investigation
  • Special Report
  • Spotted
  • Stop
  • Study
  • Study Finds
  • Study Says
  • Study Suggests
  • Survey
  • Tested
  • The Latest
  • This Is Why
  • Top Picks
  • Trends
  • Tried and Tested
  • Try This
  • Twisted
  • Updated
  • Urgent
  • Urgent Notice
  • Video
  • VIP
  • Vote
  • Wanted
  • Warning
  • Watch
  • Why?
  • Yes
  • Yikes

Power words

Power words are persuasive, descriptive words that authors, copywriters and content marketers use to trigger a positive or negative emotional response in the reader. They’re called “power words” because they’re so powerful, so persuasive that people simply can’t help but be influenced by them.

Whether you want people to read your blog post, click on your PPC ads or open your emails, power words are one of the quickest and easiest ways to motivate people to take action. Sprinkle a few in your headlines and you can transform dull, lifeless copy into persuasive messages that compel people to take action.

Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.

—Robin Sharma
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

One of the best things about power words is their versatility. They can be used anywhere, not just in headlines. They’re perfect for “Buy Now” buttons and CTAs, infographics, meta descriptions, tweets and even speeches. Basically, anytime you want to illicit a response from your audience.

Ready to skyrocket your conversion rate by adding some power words to your headlines and subject lines? You’ll find 500 of them below that you can use to trigger almost any emotion, for any conversion goal.

Greed power words

The legendary copywriter Gary Halbert once said: “If you want someone to buy something, stomp on their greed glands until they bleed.”

Of course, he didn’t mean literally stomp on their neck; he meant exploit the fact that almost everyone, at some level, is interested in either making or saving money.

Greed power words exploit the desire to want more than you need, and to want more than what others have. These words trigger that tendency by playing on loss aversion, or simply by making something sound more valuable.

The persuasive effect of greed-based headlines can be amplified by including words that suggest a limited supply, such as “ending soon” and “while stocks last”. This is known as scarcity marketing, and it’s a highly effective strategy for encouraging impulse buys.

Below you’ll find 50 greed words you can use in your headlines when you want to appeal to the human desire to want more.

Best for: ecommerce, giveaways and online contests.

  • Bank
  • Bargain
  • Best
  • Big
  • Billion
  • Bonanza
  • Bonus
  • Boost
  • Cash
  • Cheap
  • Discount
  • Dollar
  • Don’t miss out
  • Economical
  • Exclusive
  • Explode
  • Extra
  • Fortunate
  • Fortune
  • Free
  • Freebie
  • Frugal
  • Giveaway
  • Golden
  • High-paying
  • Hurry
  • Inexpensive
  • Jackpot
  • Lowest price
  • Lucky
  • Massive
  • Monetise
  • Money
  • Moneymaking
  • Money-saving
  • More
  • Nest egg
  • Optimal
  • Profit
  • Quadruple
  • Rich
  • Sale ends soon
  • Save
  • Six-figure
  • Skyrocket
  • Successful
  • Treasure
  • Value
  • Wealth
  • While they last

Safety power words

For people to buy from you, they need to trust both you and your product or service. They need to be confident that you’ll deliver what you promised, and they need to believe that what they’re buying will solve their problem.

Building that kind of trust begins with your brand and reputation, but the words you use to tell your story and promote your products or services also matter.

Including words and phrases like “money-back guarantee”, “refund”, “risk free” and “certified” on your website landing pages and marketing materials can go a long way to making your potential customers feel safe and secure.

“If it’s proven, it must work.” “If it’s risk-free, then I have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain.” Safety power words trigger these kinds of thought processes on a subconscious level, without the reader even thinking about it.

It’s worth noting that some safety words like “legitimate” and “guaranteed” have been overused by businesses in the past, and people are less likely to be influenced by them as a result.

Below you’ll find 50 safety power words to add integrity to your headlines and boost customer trust in your brand.

Best for: ecommerce and service-based businesses.

  • Above and beyond
  • According to
  • Accredited
  • Anonymous
  • Approved
  • Authentic
  • Authority
  • Automatic
  • Backed
  • Bankable
  • Because
  • Best-selling
  • Bona fide
  • Cancel anytime
  • Case study
  • Certified
  • Clockwork
  • Dependable
  • Don’t worry
  • Endorsed
  • Ensured
  • Expert
  • Foolproof
  • Fully refundable
  • Genuine
  • Guaranteed
  • Improved
  • Ironclad
  • Legitimate
  • Lifetime
  • Money-back
  • No obligation
  • No questions asked
  • No strings attached
  • Official
  • Permanent
  • Privacy
  • Professional
  • Protected
  • Proven
  • Recession-proof
  • Refund
  • Reliable
  • Results
  • Risk-free
  • Rock-solid
  • Secure
  • Try before you buy
  • Unconditional
  • Verify

Curiosity power words

Curiosity, as defined by Professor George Loewenstein of Carnegie Melon University, is an innate human behaviour that’s triggered when people feel there’s a gap between what they know and what they want to know.

Professor Loewenstein coined the term “information gap theory of curiosity” to describe this behaviour and explain how this “knowledge gap” influences people to take action.

Sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed make frequent use of the information gap in their headlines by only revealing the true topic of a story once the link has been clicked. Many marketers don’t like this approach, but nobody can say the strategy hasn’t been successful.

Before using curiosity words in your headlines you should consider the impact it could have on your SEO. Humans may be curious, but search engine spiders aren’t. If your headline doesn’t tell bots exactly what they need to know, your search engine visibility may suffer as a result.

If you do decide to sprinkle your headlines with some of the curiosity power words listed below, remember that it’s the quality of your content that counts. Upworthy’s curiosity-driven headlines may be gimmicky, but behind each headline is a piece of high-quality content that’s worth sharing.

Best for: thank you pages, newsletter subscriptions and membership sites.

  • Astonishing
  • Backdoor
  • Banned
  • Be the first
  • Become an insider
  • Behind the scenes
  • Bizarre
  • Black market
  • Blacklisted
  • Bootleg
  • Censored
  • Class full
  • Classified
  • Concealed
  • Confessions
  • Confidential
  • Controversial
  • Covert
  • Cover-up
  • Crazy
  • Forbidden
  • Forgotten
  • Hidden
  • Hilarious
  • Illegal
  • Insane
  • Insider
  • Invitation only
  • Little-known
  • Members only
  • Restricted
  • Secret
  • Shocking
  • Sneak peek
  • Spoiler
  • Strange
  • Top secret
  • Trade secret
  • Unauthorised
  • Unbelievable
  • Unconventional
  • Under the table
  • Under wraps
  • Underground
  • Unexplained
  • Unique
  • Unlock
  • Unusual
  • Wacky
  • Weird

Sloth power words

  • Accessible
  • All-inclusive
  • Building blocks
  • Cheatsheet
  • Child’s play
  • Clear
  • Complete
  • Copy
  • Downloadable
  • Easy
  • Economical
  • Effortless
  • Fail-proof
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Free
  • Freebie
  • Guide
  • How-to
  • In less than
  • In record time
  • Instant
  • Kickstart
  • Minutes
  • No problem
  • No sweat
  • Nothing to it
  • Now
  • On demand
  • Painless
  • Plain
  • Plain sailing
  • Picnic
  • Piece of cake
  • Printable
  • Quick
  • Ready
  • Replicate
  • Report
  • Roadmap
  • Simple
  • Smooth
  • Smooth sailing
  • Snap
  • Straightforward
  • Steal
  • Steps
  • Swipe
  • Template
  • Tools
  • Uncomplicated

Lust power words

  • Alluring
  • Brazen
  • Captivating
  • Charismatic
  • Compelling
  • Crave
  • Depraved
  • Desire
  • Dirty
  • Enchanting
  • Engaging
  • Exotic
  • Exposed
  • Fascinating
  • Flirt
  • Forbidden
  • Hypnotic
  • Intriguing
  • Lonely
  • Lovely
  • Lust
  • Magnetic
  • Mind-blowing
  • Mouthwatering
  • Naked
  • Naughty
  • Obsession
  • Passionate
  • Pleasurable
  • Provocative
  • Riveting
  • Scandalous
  • Sex
  • Shameless
  • Sinful
  • Sleazy
  • Sleeping
  • Spank
  • Steamy
  • Stimulating
  • Striking
  • Tantalising
  • Tawdry
  • Tease
  • Thrilling
  • Uncensored
  • Uncut
  • Urge
  • Whip
  • Wild

Vanity power words

  • Amazing
  • Attractive
  • Awe-inspiring
  • Beautiful
  • Bold
  • Boost
  • Bright
  • Brilliant
  • Cheer
  • Clever
  • Conquer
  • Daring
  • Dazzling
  • Drop-dead
  • Effective
  • Elite
  • Epic
  • Fearless
  • Fortunate
  • Genius
  • Gorgeous
  • Hero
  • Jaw-dropping
  • Kick-ass
  • Knockout
  • Legendary
  • Lucky
  • Magic
  • Mind-blowing
  • Moneymaking
  • Prosperous
  • Remarkable
  • Sassy
  • Saucy
  • Sensational
  • Smart
  • Spectacular
  • Staggering
  • Stunning
  • Strong
  • Stunning
  • Successful
  • Super-human
  • Turbo charge
  • Ultimate
  • Unbeaten
  • Victory
  • Wealthy
  • Wonderful
  • You

Trust power words

  • According to
  • Accredited
  • Anonymous
  • Approved
  • Authentic
  • Authoritative
  • Authority
  • Backed
  • Because
  • Best-selling
  • Bona fide
  • Cancel anytime
  • Case study
  • Certified
  • Dependable
  • Don’t worry
  • Endorsed
  • Ensured
  • Expert
  • Fully refundable
  • Genuine
  • Guaranteed
  • Improved
  • Ironclad
  • Lifetime
  • Moneyback
  • No obligation
  • No questions asked
  • No risk
  • No strings attached
  • Privacy
  • Professional
  • Protected
  • Proven
  • Recession-proof
  • Recognised
  • Refund
  • Reliable
  • Results
  • Safety
  • Scientifically proven
  • Secure
  • Studies show
  • Tested
  • Track record
  • Try before you buy
  • Unconditional
  • Verify
  • Well respected
  • Worldwide

Anger power words

  • Abhorrent
  • Abuse
  • Annoying
  • Arrogant
  • Backstabbing
  • Blatant
  • Brutal
  • Bullshit
  • Bully
  • Cheat
  • Corrupt
  • Crooked
  • Crush
  • Demolish
  • Disgusting
  • Dishonest
  • Evil
  • Exploit
  • Freaking out
  • Greedy
  • Hate
  • Horrid
  • Jackass
  • Lies
  • Loser
  • Money-grabbing
  • Nasty
  • No good
  • Obnoxious
  • Pain in the ass
  • Payback
  • Pesky
  • Pissed off
  • Preposterous
  • Pretentious
  • Punish
  • Rampant
  • Ravage
  • Repelling
  • Revolting
  • Rotten
  • Rude
  • Ruined
  • Scam
  • Smear
  • Spoil
  • Trash
  • Underhanded
  • Useless
  • Worst

Fear power words

  • Agony
  • Assault
  • Backlash
  • Beware
  • Bloodbath
  • Blunder
  • Bomb
  • Catastrophe
  • Caution
  • Crazy
  • Crisis
  • Danger
  • Deadly
  • Death
  • Deceiving
  • Destroy
  • Disastrous
  • Doom
  • Dumb
  • Embarrass
  • Fail
  • Fired
  • Fool
  • Fooled
  • Frightening
  • Hacked
  • Hoax
  • Horiffic
  • Meltdown
  • Murder
  • Nightmare
  • Painful
  • Panic
  • Pitfall
  • Plummet
  • Plunge
  • Poor
  • Risky
  • Scary
  • Scream
  • Shocked
  • Stupid
  • Targeted
  • Terror
  • Torture
  • Toxic
  • Tragedy
  • Trap
  • Victim
  • Warning

Encouragement power words

  • Amazing
  • Astonishing
  • Astounding
  • Awe-inspiring
  • Awesome
  • Badass
  • Belief
  • Breathtaking
  • Brilliant
  • Celebrate
  • Cheer
  • Courage
  • Delight
  • Dominate
  • Effortless
  • Empower
  • Epic
  • Excellent
  • Excited
  • Extraordinary
  • Fantastic
  • Glorious
  • Happy
  • Hero
  • Incredible
  • Jaw-dropping
  • Kudos
  • Legend
  • Life-changing
  • Magic
  • Master
  • Mind-blowing
  • Miracle
  • Perfect
  • Phenomenal
  • Power-up
  • Remarkable
  • Sensational
  • Spectacular
  • Staggering
  • Striking
  • Stunning
  • Supreme
  • Surprising
  • Terrific
  • Unbelievable
  • Unique
  • Victory
  • Win
  • Wonderful

The greatest headlines ever written

If the headline formulas, templates, multiplier words and power words discussed previously haven’t sparked your creativity, the following headlines certainly will.

These are some of the greatest headlines ever written, by some of the greatest copywriters who’ve ever lived. These guys could sell plastic surgery to an old celebrity, and their words are as powerful and resonant today as they were when they were first written.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the world-class headlines in this list have generated hundreds of billions of dollars worth of sales over the years – probably more.

If you’re struggling to come up with your own eyeball-sucking headlines from scratch, use one of these headlines as a starting point and build on it. The effect on your conversions could be spectacular.

The headlines are organised by copywriter and I’ve included a link to their website where possible.

Note: many of these headlines were written decades ago, and some of them could be construed as being sexist or discriminatory. I’ve included them purely because they’ve proven to be highly effective over the years, and they’re easy to modify to suit your needs.

Bud Weckesser

If You Really Enjoy Your Job, Don’t Read This …

The $12,000 Secret of an Ohio Housewife

I Want You to Have This before It’s Too Late

Jay Abraham

Famous Millionaire Entrepreneur Offers to Share with a Select Group of Proteges the Actual Methods He’s Used to Make Himself over $10 Million in the Last Seven Years

Discover the Hidden Assets and Overlooked Opportunities in Your Business

How to Get a Millionaire Marketing Genius to Give You the Same Profit-Boosting Advice That Businesses Have Paid Millions of Dollars to Get Their Hands On

I Paid This Marketing Genius $600,000 in One Year Alone, Because He Made Me $2,000,000 … Now You Can Hire Him for Less Than 1/10 of One Percent of the Amount I Paid Him

Private Invitation: Million-Dollar Business Growth System Now Made Public and You Are Invited to Examine It Free for 30 Days before You Decide If You Want to Buy It

Eugene Schwartz

Don’t Pay a Penny for This Book until It Doubles Your Power to Learn!

Don’t Pay a Penny until This Course Turns You into a Human Computer!

Doctor Reports New Miracle Diet Cures Arthritis

Do You Have the Courage to Earn Half a Million Dollars a Year?

Is It Immoral to Make Money This Easily?

Now – for the First Time – an International Jet-Setter Reveals the ‘inside’ Story

How the Beautiful People Get Rid of Both Cellulite and Ordinary Fat – without Dieting

Now – Diet Expert Sidney Petrie Reports on an Exciting Way to Banish Excess Poundage … Look and Feel Better and NEVER Go Hungry With … FAT DESTROYER FOODS!

Revealed at Last by One of America’s Most Successful Weight-Reducing Doctors, a Simple Plan of Hearty Eating and Gentle Body Toning That Turns up Your ‘Digestive Furnace’ and Burns Flab Right off Your Body!

At Last – a Leading American Physician Shows You How to Stay Young until 90

At last! Natural Face Lifting by Exercise!

At Last! Doctor Reveals New 6-Days-A-Week Diet That Doesn’t Just Shrink Fat Cells, but Destroys Them!

For Lazy People Only! How to Say Goodbye to Your Middle-Aged Body

Give Me One Evening and I’ll Give You a Push-Button Memory

Is It Worth $2 to You to Banish Ugly Cellulite Forever?

Sweden’s Miracle Formula That Makes Skin Look Young Again!

Now! The Miracle Gas-Saver That Europe Couldn’t Hide!

How to Give Your Child the Top Grades in School He Deserves!

At Last! the Complete Mathematics Education You’ve Always Dreamed Of! So Easy to Learn – and for a Price So Incredibly Low – That You May Not Believe It’s Possible!

You Are Twice as Smart as You Think! and These Seven Simple Actions Will Prove It to You in a Single Weekend

Gary Halbert

How Almost Any Man Can Get Non-stop Sex … While He Is Waiting to Meet His Dream Lover!

Researchers in FDA-Certified Lab Discover How to Triple Your Energy!

How to Make Maximum Money in Minimum Time!

The Amazing Diet Secrets of a Desperate Housewife

How to Get a Product to Sell If You Don’t Have One Already and How to Get It for Nothing

The Amazing ‘Facelift in a Jar’ Used by Hollywood Stars Who Don’t Want Plastic Surgery

How to Get as Much Money as You Need to ‘Roll Out’ Your Project and Get It without Borrowing!

The Amazing Lost Money Secret of the US Government

An Amazing Secret That Can Make Your Newspaper Advertising 750% More Profitable!

How to Mail up to 100,000 Letters per Week at No Cost Whatsoever (Not Even Postage)

Amazing High-Speed Diet Pill Produces Extremely Fast Weight-Loss!

How to Make Your Ad in the Yellow Pages Pull in 400% More Business Than It Does Now – at No Extra Charge!

How Even a Plain-Looking Woman Can Make Herself 350% More Sexually Attractive to Almost Any Man on Earth!

The Amazing Blackjack Secret of a Las Vegas Mystery Man!

How to Use Cheap Little Classified Ads to Make as Much as $10,000 per Day!

How to Burn off Body Fat, Hour by Hour!

Free Website Reveals How to Make Huge Profits in Nasdaq Stocks during the First 47 Minutes the Market Is Open!

How a New Discovery from Asia Seems to Burn off Body Fat for Almost Everybody Who Tries It!

An Open Letter to Anyone Who Wants to Lose 20 Pounds in Two Weeks the Lazy Way

Amazing New Formula from Beverly Hills Lets You Look Years Younger

High School Student Looses Almost 600 Pounds and Now Devotes His Life to Helping Others Get Skinny!

Here Is a Little-Known Secret That Can Help You Make Serious Money Trading Nasdaq Stocks!

Hot New Reports from Top Ad Expert Reveal 6 Amazing Secrets!

How to Get What the US Government Owes You!

Dr Dan Lee Dimke

Learn to Read as Fast as You Can Turn the Pages!

Double Your Income in 30 Minutes a Day!

How to Make Money with Your Answering Machine

How to Get Virtually Everything in Life for Free!

Imagine Recovering Your Entire Investment in Your First Day in Business!

How to Make Money with Your Personal Computer!

How to Publish Your Own Best-Selling Book!

Acquire More Money Than You Can Spend!

Derek Gehl

The Surprising Secret of a Lone Wolf Who Makes $12,000,000 per Year on the Internet

Get ‘No BS’ Examples of Real People Making Real Money on the Internet, and the Exact Step-By-Step Details of How They’re Doing It!

Learn How a Regular Guy from Oregon Has Been Quietly Raking in $23,850 a Day – WITHOUT Spending a Dime on Traffic or Advertising!

Explode Your Sales with the Most Advanced Affiliate Program Management and Ad Tracking Software on the Internet!

Discover a Revolutionary New Way to Communicate with Your Clients – and Drive Your Online Profits through the Roof!

Robert Boduch

If You Ever Wanted a Fully-Functional, Professionally-Designed Business (Or Personal) Website of Your Own, but Didn’t Want to Spend Hundreds – or Thousands – in Design Fees … Then This Is for You

They Laughed When I Set Out to Build a Professional Quality Website … But Their Laughter Soon Turned to Stunned Silence When I Did It Myself in Just 1 Day – With No HTML, No Special Technical Skills, and No Previous Design Experience Whatsoever!

New Breakthrough Discovery Easily and Almost Instantly Transforms Any Website Into a Genuine Moneymaker – Without You Ever Lifting a Finger! Could This Be the Perfect Solution You’ve Been Looking for All Along?

Finally … After 7 Years Online, I’ve Uncovered an Absolutely ‘Hands-Free’ Way to Make Real Money Online – Every Single Month! And … If You’re One of the Smart Few to Jump on This Golden Opportunity Right Away – It’s Yours FREE!

Capture Your Happiest Memories Forever With a Hand-Painted Original Portrait of Your Precious Pet!

If You Want to Lose Weight Now and Keep It off Forever … Here’s a Safe, Sensible Way to Drop Those Extra Pounds Permanently – 100% Guaranteed!

Now You Can Get Everything You’d Expect From a Top-Notch Web Host – All for the Surprisingly Low Price of Just $24.99 a Year!

If You Want to Lose Weight Now and Keep It off Forever … Here’s a Safe, Sensible and Healthy Way to Drop Those Extra Pounds Permanently – 100% Guaranteed!

How to Enjoy a Variety of Fresh, Delicious and Exotic Restaurant-Quality Gourmet Foods – Without Ever Leaving Home!

How to Easily Get Top Quality, Brand-Name Products at Half the Wholesale Price … and How to Quickly Sell Every Piece at a Huge Profit on Ebay – Hassle Free and in Less Time Than You Think! My ‘Amazing’ New Book Reveals the Simple Secrets of How I Average $11,212.00 a Month – 100% Online!

Please Don’t Spend Another Second, or Invest Another Dime Trying to Make Serious Money From Home – Until You Read This!

Just Released … the Ultimate Business-In-A-Box: Everything You Need to Make More Money With Far Less Effort Anytime, Anywhere, Using a Time-Tested, Automatic Cash Flow System!

Finally! a Rock-Solid, Risk-Free Way for Homeowners to Maximize Your Investment Returns and Increase Your Net Worth – in Any Economy!

Are You Frustrated by a Lack of Success Online? If You’ve Ever Felt Overwhelmed by Information, but ‘Underwhelmed’ by Your Results – Then This Message Is for You

Finally … Here’s a Step-By-Step, Blueprint to Success System – Everything You Need to Start and Run Your Own Moneymaking Internet Business – Even If You’ve Never Made a Single Dime Online!

Free Report Reveals How to Improve Your Child’s Reading Speed, Comprehension AND Enjoyment in Just 5 Weeks – 100% Guaranteed!

Why Put up With Old, Money-Guzzling Windows … When You Could Be Saving and Enjoying the Beauty, Comfort and Style of Our Superior Quality Windows, Right NOW?

Steve Manning

Famous Master Writer Teaches You How to Write Your Book in Less Than 14 Days … Guaranteed! Discover How He’s Trained Thousands to Write Their Book Faster Than They Ever Thought Possible!

How You Can Make $87,000 a Year as a Successful Magazine Writer!

How to Make Big Money Writing and Selling eBooks in the Next 30 Days

How to Write a Book on Anything in 14 Days or Less – Guaranteed!

Russ von Hoelscher

You Can Now Make $118.00 Profit per Sale on the Hottest Selling Internet Course Ever Published!

Get Your Share of This Red Hot Profit Explosion!

How to Make $2,000 a Week Selling Information by Mail

Mail Order Marketing Pro Reveals How You Can Get Rich in Mail Order … Starting at Home in Your Spare Time!

Insider Tips, Tricks and Moneymaking Techniques

New Home Study Program Shows You How Your Mailbox Can Be Filled With Money – Every Day!

Home Business Expert Russ von Hoelscher Presents Hundreds of Ready to Use Home Moneymaking Plans in This Big (275 Pages!) New Manual!

Free Bonus Book – How to Make $2,000 a Week Selling Books by Mail

Real Wealth-Building Facts and Strategies – Not Get-Rich Fantasies and Schemes

How to Make a Fortune Selling Information by Mail

Robert Allen

Man Starts With Only $100 … and Buys $642,215 in Valuable Properties in Just 3 Days!

Come Spend Two Hours With Me and I’ll Personally Hand You a Free Copy of One of My Most Powerful Best-Selling Books – ‘The Road to Wealth’ as My Gift to You

In Just 2 Hours … I’ll Show You How to Make More Money This Year Than You Ever Have Before … and … How to Get Rid of Money Worries Forever!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit

You may also like:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *