Find out what articles had everyone talking this year.

A good headline can be the difference between 100 clicks and 1,000,000 clicks on any given piece of content. That’s why the perfect combination of catchy, communicative, and curiosity-piquing language is often a white whale for content marketers looking to entice new audiences.

We’ve rounded up the 100 most successful headlines of 2016, composed of the five top performers from each of 20 major websites. What we discovered is that consumers still care about good, old-fashioned news of the day. Take a look at what headlines we found were shared most, organized by category:



The Traditional News Headline: 43/100

1. Billionaires Pony Up More Funds in Fight to Eradicate Polio (

2. U.S. Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed (

3. JetBlue Announces $99 Flight to Cuba, Starting August 31 (Forbes)

4. ONE Championship Leading The Charge For MMA, Homegrown Heroes And Professional Sports In Asia (Forbes)

5. Wells Fargo Exec Who Headed Phony Accounts Unit Collected $125 Million (Fortune)

6. McDonald’s U.S. President Says Worker Pay Hikes Are Paying Off (Fortune)

7. Warren Questions Whether Wells Fargo Heads Should Keep Jobs (Bloomberg)

8. Shkreli, Drug Price Gouger, Denies Fraud and Posts Bail (Bloomberg)

9. World’s First Dengue Vaccine Approved After 20 Years of Research (Bloomberg)

10. Starbucks Offers All Veteran Employees Free College for Their Spouse or Child (Forbes)

11. Xbox Live now supports cross-platform multiplayer with PS4 (TechCrunch)

12. Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26.2B in cash, makes big move into enterprise social media (TechCrunch)

13. Uber’s first self-driving cars will start picking up passengers this month (TechCrunch)

14. China has actually built an elevated bus that travels above car traffic (TechCrunch)

15. Cloud With Me makes setting up and managing AWS servers easier (TechCrunch)

16. Same-Sex Couples Can Now Adopt Children In All 50 States (Huffington Post)

17. Google’s AI Takes Historic Match Against Go Champ With Third Straight Win (Wired)

18. Facebook Reactions, the Totally Redesigned Like Button, Is Here (Wired)

19. Settlement in Front-Loader Mold Case (Consumer Reports)

20. Fluoroquinolones Too Risky for Common Infections (Consumer Reports)

21. Complaining Is Terrible for You, According to Science (Inc.)

22. The Writers of Idiocracy Are Planning Anti-Trump Ads Starring Terry Crews (Adweek)

23. Netflix Just Invented Socks That Pause Your Show If You Fall Asleep (Adweek)

24. Bill Gates Is Richest Person on Earth, According to Wealth-X (Time Money)

25. A woman is knitting tiny wool jumpers to keep her chickens warm (Mashable)

26. An expansive photo record of Native American life in the early 1900s (Mashable)

27. Glow-in-the-dark hair is 2016’s first hair craze (Mashable)

28. Adele goes undercover as Adele impersonator, pranks actual Adele impersonators (Mashable)

29. Nuns trained in Kung Fu bike the Himalayas to oppose human trafficking (Business Insider)

30. Antibacterial Soap Is No Longer FDA-Approved (Life Hacker)

31. Adrenaclick Is a Cheaper Alternative to the EpiPen (Life Hacker)

32. Poke Radar Shows You Where to Find and Catch ‘Em All In Pokémon Go (Life Hacker)

33. After 74 deaths in a decade, Delta bans pets from being checked like luggage (Market Watch)

34. Coin toss broke 6 Clinton-Sanders deadlocks in Iowa — and Hillary won each time (Market Watch)

35. Smithsonian Will Pay Someone $64,000 a Year to Research Beer (Time Money)

36. Stephen Curry has replaced LeBron James as the best basketball player in the world (Business Insider)

37. Brexit live: David Cameron resigns as UK votes out (Financial Times)

38. Brexit in seven charts — the economic impact (Financial Times)

39. Barack Obama: Now Is the Greatest Time to Be Alive (Wired)

40. Archaeologists to Ben Carson: Ancient Egyptians Wrote Down Why the Pyramids Were Built (Forbes)

41. Leon Botstein: The Next President Should Forgive All Student Loans (Time Money)

42. The Senator’s Daughter Who Raised Prices on the EpiPen (Bloomberg)

43. Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive (Harvard Business Review)

The “News” Headline that Probably Wouldn’t Fly in Journalism School: 6/100

44. A 23-year-old rapper who refuses to sign a record deal is tearing up the hip-hop world all by himself (Business Insider)

45. Temptations Made a Collar That Finally Gives Your Cat a Human Voice, So It Can Talk to You (Adweek)

46. Millennials Have No Idea How Their Student Loans Work (Time Money)

47. Aldi is fixing its biggest weakness, and that should terrify Whole Foods (Business Insider)

48. Wasteland: The Mad Max Festival That Makes Burning Man Look Lame (Wired)

49. A new drive-thru salad bar should scare legacy fast-food brands (Business Insider)

The Listicle Headline: 6/100

50. Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Quotes of All Time (Entrepreneur)

51. 20 Brutal Truths About Life No One Wants to Admit (Inc.)

52. 7 Reasons the Best Employees Quit, Even When They Like Their Job (Inc.)

53. These Are the 50 Cheapest Countries to Live (Time Money)

54. Seven Useful Microsoft Excel Features You May Not Be Using (Life Hacker)

55. All the terrible things Hillary Clinton has done — in one big list (Market Watch)

The Question Headline: 5/100

56. Want to Raise Successful Daughters? Science Says Nag the Heck Out of Them (Inc.)

57. Irredeemable? (The Economist)

58. Can You Get a Cheaper EpiPen? (Consumer Reports)

59. Help Your College-Age Child in a Medical Emergency? (Consumer Reports)

60. Microsoft Wants Autistic Coders. Can It Find Them And Keep Them? (Fast Company)

The Explainer Headline: “Here’s Why…” “This Happened…” “What YOU Need to Know About…”: 8/100

61. She Built an App Without Knowing How to Code — and is Now a Millionaire (Entrepreneur)

62. Here’s Why Women Who Play Sports are More Successful (Fortune)

63. Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things (Forbes)

64. Why The New Child Rape Case Filed Against Donald Trump Should Not Be Ignored (Huffington Post)

65. Why the Black Lives Matter Founders Are Among the World’s Greatest Leaders (Fortune)

66. What Happened When I Moved My Company To A 5-Hour Workday (Fast Company)

67. The Real Reason White People Say ‘All Lives Matter’ (Huffington Post)

68. What America’s gun fanatics won’t tell you (Market Watch)

The “How-To” Headline: 6/100

69. How to Hack an Election (Bloomberg)

70. Here’s How Much a Millennial Needs to Save Each Month to Retire With $5 Million (Entrepreneur)

71. Your Brain Has A “Delete” Button—Here’s How To Use It (Fast Company)

72. How To Be A Better Friend, Even When You’re Busy (Fast Company)

73. How to Get the Cheaper EpiPen Alternative (Consumer Reports)

74. How to Overcome Your Quarter-Life Crisis (Life Hacker)

The “Do This, Because We Said So” Headline: 5/100

75. When Clients Ask for Discounts, Ask Them … Why? (Entrepreneur)

76. Read This Google Email About Time Management Strategy (Fast Company)

77. Watch People in Other Industries React Hilariously to Being Asked for Free Spec Work (Adweek)

78. See the Cider Ad That’s Been Watched 27 Million Times on Facebook in 20 Hours (Adweek)

79. Don’t blame Bernie’s #NeverHillary voters if Trump beats Clinton (Market Watch)

The Withholding Information Headline: 2/100

80. Get Your Children Good and Dirty (

81. Clinton Might Not Be the Nominee (

The Funny Headline: 1/100

82. Clip-on man buns aren’t a joke, but we wish they were (Mashable)

The Op Ed Headline: 3/100

83. Britain should vote to stay in the EU (Financial Times)

84. The Press Buries Hillary Clinton’s Sins (

85. Donald Trump embodies how great republics meet their end (Financial Times)

The Open Letter Headline: 3/100

86. Dear Bernie Sanders, Sorry I’m The Problem With America (Fortune)

87. To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind In Life (Huffington Post)

88. An Open Letter to My Friends Who Support Donald Trump (Huffington Post)

The “Don’t Be Ignorant” Headline: 1/100

89. Things Startups Need to Know About Pitney Bowes’ Accelerator Program (Entrepreneur)

The Abstract Headline 5/100

90. Greater than the sum of its parts (The Economist)

91. Man of the world (The Economist)

92. Matthew 22:39 (The Economist)

93. Getting to Si, Ja, Oui, Hai, and Da (Harvard Business Review)

94. Argentina and Brazil: trading places (Financial Times)

The “We’re In This Together” Headline: 1/100

95. Let’s All Obsess Over This Intricate Map of Alt Music History (Wired)

The “These are the Facts” Headline: 4/100

96. Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure (Harvard Business Review)

97. A Manager’s Job Is Making Sure Employees Have a Life Outside Work (Harvard Business Review)

98. If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Won’t Learn Anything (Harvard Business Review)

99. The best—and worst—places to be a working woman (The Economist)

The Expository Headline: 1/100

100. Inside the World’s Most Dog-Friendly Office (Inc.)

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer B2B content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into a sophisticated trade publication that builds influence and visibility in your market. Learn more about B2B content marketing here.

Author Grace Stearns

A graduate of Pepperdine University, Grace has worked in PR and brand communications at publishing giants like Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, and Simon & Schuster. She writes about content marketing, social media, and technology for L&T's blog. A reluctant West Coast transplant, Grace lives in Brooklyn and spends a majority of her free time curled up with a good book.

More posts by Grace Stearns