We all know that headline creation is everything. A fantastic article with a generic headline is like a Bugatti with no wheels. You can still appreciate the body but it’s going nowhere.
In fact the greatest copywriter of them all once wrote – once you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent 80 cents of your dollar.
So headlines matter. We get that. But my god is it hard work. Lots of websites and news publishers will now insist on their content creators generating 20-30 headline options just to ensure they think a little laterally, but this process can sometimes take longer than writing the article itself and you may still not unearth the lexical gold dust you’re so diligently searching for.
The good news is, I have a little trick that I find can really accelerate this process. It won’t write the headline for you, but it will give you an almost endless supply of inspiration.
Choose 2 or 3 content brands or news publishers that you believe align nicely with your own in terms of tone of voice. Then do a site search within Google for a term that relates to the content you’re writing about and you will see lots of examples of headlines they have written about the subject. So for example, if heaven forbid you wanted to take inspiration from the daily mail, about say, social media, you would type site:dailymail.co.uk social media, and I would immediately see all the articles they’d ever written about social media.
Now to be clear, this is absolutely not about copying. For a start, if what you’re writing about is so fantastically generic that there are hundreds of titles out there that describe it perfectly then your article doesn’t deserve to be seen by a single living soul. But what it will give you is little seeds of inspiration. A phrase, a pun, an example of alliteration, or some other germ of an idea that, when tweaked could just give the rest of your headline the spark it needs.
Most importantly, it will replace the mental anguish of staring at a blank screen with a sense of focus and concentration, and that’s when good things happen.
Right, better go think of a decent headline.
See you next time,