There are motivational forces that can short circuit our brains and effect our behaviour before we have even had time to think! “click whirr” and we have already acted as described by Robert Cialdini in his fantastic book “Influence”.

In fact this topic has been the focus of hundreds of books, many of which have done it far more justice than I can here, so I won’t try.

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Instead I have distilled the principles learned from reading all these books into 76 headline formulas. Feel free to use them for inspiration when coming up with your own.

I have broken the list into 5 distinct categories for ease.

  1. Scarcity/Urgency
  2. Gain/Pleasure
  3. Pain/Loss
  4. Social Proof
  5. Curiosity

Once you’ve read the list you might start noticing that they popup everywhere, from online advertising, to newspaper headlines and even television and radio commercials.



  1. How to [desired result] before [undesirable thing]
  2. If You Don’t [blank] Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later
  3. Don’t miss the opportunity to [desired result]
  4. Get [benefit] before [undesirable]
  5. Have you noticed everyone’s [benefit], Hurry
  6. [Desired thing] can’t last forever
  7. [important group] panicking as [desired thing] shortage
  8. Drastic measures to stop [desired info] becoming public
  9. [X time period] before [undesirable result], hurry to [desirable result]
  10. Countdown begins as [person] announces [X time period] until [undesirable/desirable thing]


  1. No [undesired result] Just [desired result] forever
  2. See How Easily You Can [desirable result]
  3. Imagine [desired result] And Loving Every Minute Of It
  4. Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
  5. Get [desired result] Without Losing [blank]
  6. How To Get [desired result] Out Of [blank]
  7. [celebrity] [desired result] every day…Imagine how that feels
  8. [X] Questions Answered About [blank]
  9. Never Suffer From [undesired result] Again
  10. If You Can [blank] You Can [desired result]
  11. How You Can [desired result] Almost Instantly
  12. How To Become [desired result] When You [something challenging]
  13. How To Use [blank] To [desired result]
  14. How To Turn Your [blank] Into [desired result]
  15. Now You Can Have [something desirable] Without [something undesirable]
  16. Give Me [short time period] and I’ll Give You [desired result]
  17. Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About [blank]
  18. At Last, The Secret To [desired result] Is Revealed
  19. Where [desired result] Is And How To Get It
  20. Discover The [desired result] Secret
  21. [blank] Your Way To A [desired result] You
  22. You, a [desired result]
  23. Stop [undesired result]
  24. You Too Can [desired result] in [time period] with [blank]
  25. How To Become [desired result] When You [something challenging]
  26. There’s Big [desired result] In [blank]
  27. You Don’t Have to Be [something challenging] to be [desired result]
  28. Little Known Ways to [blank]
  29. How to turn [blank] into [desired result]
  30. How To Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
  31. Get [desired result] Without [undesired result]


  1. Do You Recognize the [number] Early Warning Signs of [blank]?
  2. The Biggest Lie In [your industry]
  3. x best [ways] to avoid [x mistakes] killing your [blank]
  4. Don’t Try [blank] Without [desired action] First
  5. [blank] May Be Dangerous To [something precious]
  6. [blank] May Be Causing You To Lose Out On [desired result]
  7. Why [blank] Fails and [blank] Succeeds
  8. Do Not Try Another [blank] Until You [take desired action]
  9. What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]
  10. The Sooner You Know [blank] The Better
  11. Avoid the [pain] and [desired result]
  12. Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All

Social Proof

  1. Want to know how [world class example] managed to [blank]
  2. 3 ways to [blank] that [world class example] used
  3. Why everyone in [desirable place] is [blank] (And Maybe You Should Too)
  4. [Do something] like [world-class example]
  5. Join [impressive number] of Your Peers that [take desired action]
  6. 8 out of 10 [desired group] are [action], wanna know how
  7. How [impressive number] Got [desired result] in [time period]
  8. Like [world class example] You Can [desired result]
  9. How [impressive number] Got [desired result] Without [undesired result]
  10. Who Else Wants [desired result]?


  1. [group] feel stupid for not knowing this [blank]
  2. Scientists conclude we don’t [example] properly
  3. Top 15 [group] who are [adjective] than you realised
  4. 87 year old [adjective] shares secret
  5. 20 [weird thing] that has the scientific community in awe
  6. 10 amazing [unusual group] you must see before you die
  7. The [region/country] top 10 [item] in [year]
  8. 20 [weird group] from the past that [group] tried to bury
  9. 25 most unusual [activity] you can do [setting/location]
  10. These [X] [group] made [adjective] mistakes that [will leave you baffled/left the world in awe]
  11. [X][benefits] they don’t want you to know..
  12. [X][benefits] [group] want to stop you finding out..