1OO Greatest Headlines of All Time…and a Formula to Create Your Own

Written by Jill Ferris in Campaign Optimization on November 8, 2011

“An advertisement cannot stimulate sales if it is not read; it cannot be read if it is not seen; it will not be seen unless it can get attention…and to capture that attention, you’ve got to earn it.”

- Viktor Schwab (1898 – 1980)

Getting people interested in what you have to offer is all about the headline.


In 1958 Viktor Schwab (the advertising legend), took out a two page spread to dissect what makes a great headline. Although the 7,500 words are more than 50 years old, they have not aged. Not much has changed in the science of offer writing, and as we shared on Marketing Experiments, headlines have three key parts:

  • Valuable Offer/Proposition
  • Keywords of your target market (i.e. what are their concerns and/or aspirations)
  • Incentive (ideally with some urgency)

Therefore, a great headline = Valuable Offer/Proposition + Keyword(s) + Urgency Incentive

Example: “Free eBook – Tells You 12 Secrets of Better Email List Hygiene”
Keywords = Email List Hygiene
Valuable Offer = 12 Secrets
Incentive = Free eBook

How do you create your headlines? Share in the comments below!

Although not all from Schwab’s article, here are 100 Headlines for your reference.

1. A Little Mistake That Cost a Farmer $3,000 a Year
2. Profits That Lie Hidden In Your Farm
3. How I Made a Fortune With a Fool Idea
4. Thousands Have This Priceless Gift – but Never Discover It!
5. Do You Do Any Of These Embarrassing Things?
6. Six Types of Investors – Which Group Are You In?
7. Does Your Child Ever Embarrass You?
8. To People Who Want To Write – but Can’t Get Started
9. The Crimes We Commit Against Our Stomachs
10. How to Do Wonders with a Little Land!
11. “Here’s an Extra $50, Grace”
12. A Wonderful Two Years Trip at Full Pay – but only men with imagination can take it
13. A $10,000 Mistake!
14. The Greatest Reason in The World
15. The Man in the Hathaway Shirt
16. Dare To Be Rich!
17. How To Rob Banks Legally
18. A Startling Fact About Money
19. How To Discover What You Are Really Good At
20. How To Write a Business Letter
21. The Secrets of Making People Like You
22. Advice to Wives Whose Husbands Don’t Save Money
23. How a New Discovery Made a Plain Girl Beautiful
24. How to Win Friends and Influence People
25. How to Swim with The Sharks without Being Eaten Alive
26. Do You Make This Mistakes in English?
27. Why Some Foods “Explode” in Your Stomach
28. You Can Laugh at Money Worries – if You Follow This Simple Plan
29. Five Familiar Skin Troubles – Which do You Want to Overcome?
30. How I Improved My Memory in One Evening
31. Suppose This happened On Your Wedding Day!
32. Free Book Tells You 12 Secrets of Better Lawn Care
33. The Secret to Being Wealthy
34. To Men Who Want to Quit Working Some Day
35. Imagine Holding an Audience Spellbound for 30 Minutes
36. New Shampoo Leaves Your Hair Smoother – Easier to Manage
37. Thousands Now Play Who Never Thought They Could
38. Great New Discovery Kills Kitchen Odors Quick!
39. For The Woman Who Looks Younger than She Is
40. Check the Kind of Body You Want
41. “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”
42. Why Wall Street Journal readers Live Better
43. “Dear American Tourister: You Saved My Life”
44. Girls! Want Quick Curls?
45. You May Be Eating More Salt Than You Should
46. Get Rid of That Humidity!
47. How You can Get a Quick Loan of $1,000
48. Become a Well Paid Hotel/Motel Executive
49. How To Get More Energy From The Food You Eat
50. They Grinned When the waiter Spoke to Me in French
51. Imagine Harry and Me Advertising our Pears in Fortune!
52. My Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine has 9 Different Stitches – Imagine!
53. How I Improved Memory in One Evening
54. You Can Make Big Money Easily
55. Get Rid of Money Worries for Good
56. Keep Your Dog safe This Summer!
57. Free to Manufacturers. Write for Brochures You Want.
58. The Instrument of the Immortals
59. For People Who Don’t Have Time for Unimportant Books
60. How To Avoid Mental Hazards
61. Break Out of Jail!
62. Tenants Mysteriously Disappear from the Carrboro Apartment Complex!
63. Will You Help me Free Gina?
64. Don’t Even Think About Buying New Home Without Reading This Report!
65. How To Start from Scratch and Become a PO Box Millionaire
66. The Secret of Having Good Luck
67. How To Get Rich Reading Classified Ads
68. How To Form Your Corporation Without a Lawyer for Under $50
69. Seven Steps to Financial Freedom
70. How To Write a Hit Song and Sell It
71. Who is Making a Bundle and How
72. How The Experts Buy and Sell Gold and Silver
73. Want to Be a Legal Investigator?
74. How To Write a Good Advertisement
75. But What if You Could See Her Naked?
76. Give Back What They Deserve
77. The Child Who Won the Hearts of All
78. The Last 2 Hours are the Longest – and Those Are the 2 Hours You Save
79. How To Burn Off Body Fat, Hour-by-Hour
80. Is Your Home Picture Poor?
81. “I liked this product so much – that I bought the company!”
82. Why Some People Almost Always Make Money in The Stock Market?
83. How Much is Your Working “Tension” Costing Your Company?
84. Is The Life of a Child Worth $1 to You?
85. 161 New Ways to a Man’s Heart – in This fascinating Book
86. How To Give Your Children Extra Iron – 3 Delicious Ways
87. Often a Bridesmaid – Never a Bride!
88. Little Leaks That Keep Men Poor
89. This is Marie Antoinette – Riding To Her Death
90. Take This One Minute Test!
91. Here Is a Quick way to Break Up a Cold
92. “I lost my bulges – and save money too!”
93. Satisfaction Guaranteed – or Your Money Back!
94. The Truth About Getting Rich
95. Do Your Employees Work as Slowly as They read?
96. The Most Expensive Mistake of Your Life
97. 7 ways to Collect Your Unpaid Bills
98. Need More Money!
99. What Your Lawyer Doesn’t Want You to Know
100. Have You Ever Seen a Grown Man Cry?

 

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Jill Ferris

About the author: Jill Ferris

Jill brings resources for you to use in creating more demand using Relevant Marketing. The questions used to build the “Decision Maker’s World” are part of Response Capture’s “Guide to Discovering Your Ideal Target Market”. If you would like a free copy of the guide simply contact us and we’ll send you one in 24 hours.

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