Headlines are the most important part of any piece of writing. 

Because if your headline doesn’t grab readers’ attention, they’re not going to keep reading. 

Most writers get comfortable with one or two types of headlines and stick to them. 

Sometimes this makes sense if you’re getting good results. 

But often, it just becomes a habit. 

This is a topic that copywriter Bob Bly explores in The Copywriter’s Handbook. In it, Bly outlines eight different types of headlines that writers should know. 

I’m going to walk through his list here and provide examples using a combination of sources.

8 Types of Headlines You Should Know

1. Direct Headlines

Direct headlines are (surprise!) direct. They state the selling proposition upfront. 

They’re often used in retail promotions. 

Direct headlines
Fabletics; Online display ad
Direct headlines
Amazon.ca; Online display ad

2. Indirect Headlines

Indirect headlines are meant to arouse curiosity. They raise questions that are answered in the body copy or on the landing page.

Indirect headlines
Display ad
Indirect headlines
Teach.org; Online display ad

3. News Headlines

News headlines deliver new information about a company, product or service. 

News headlines
Autoweek podcast); Display ad

4. How-to Headlines

How-to headlines offer the information to accomplish certain tasks or solve problems.

How-to headlines
Calgary Legal Guidance; Content marketing piece

5. Question Headlines

Question headlines ask a question—preferably one that readers can empathize with.

Question headlines
Salus; Print ad

6. Command Headlines

Command headlines tell prospects what you want them to do.

Command headlines
SurveyMonkey; Online display ad
Command headlines
Canadian Tire; Online search ad

7. Reason-why Headlines

More commonly known as “list headlines,” these headlines promise a numbered list of instructions or information.

Reason-why headlines
Constant Contact; Content marketing article

8. Testimonial Headlines

Testimonial headlines use the customer’s own words to make the pitch.

Testimonial headlines
Vancouver Foundation; Print ad

Try a New Headline Today!

You can probably think of a few more headlines types to add to this list. There’s no shortage of headlines to choose from.

So don’t be afraid to experiment! Give some of the other types a try. 

And do some A/B testing to see what headlines work best with your target market. 

Written by: (74 Posts)

, principal and founder of Copperplate Communications, helps small and medium size businesses get more leads and build stronger client relationships through proven marketing strategies and quality content. You can find Holly on Twitter and LinkedIn.