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19.12.18

How to use headline help tools without looking silly

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This is the third in a series called How to Brainstorm a Year’s Worth of Blog Topics in Four Hours. You can read the first and second in the series by clicking on this link.

I nearly called this blog: Responsible for the content marketing budget? 12 top-notch ways to spend your money. That was a headline I generated from a cool tool made by HubSpot called a blog topic generator. Then I Googled my headline and, of course, I found a whole lot of other headlines just like mine. Not exactly the same, but close enough to make me look like a not-very-original blogger.

So instead of writing a blog about budgets, I decided to write a blog about using headline help tools.

Thinking of a good headline is difficult, but it’s vital. Even if yours is brilliant, only two in every 10 people will click on it, according to Copyblogger.com.

Using headline help tools can be a trap for the unwary, but there are good ways to use headline help tools to help you think of ideas and angles for your blog, but not leave you red-faced with headlines that others have used.

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First of all, here’s six ace topic generator tools.

HubSpot topic generator

This topic generator is the one that sparked this post, for example. My advice is not to take it too literally. Here’s one that I got: ‘The Biggest Problem With Headline Tools, And How You Can Fix It.’

Portent

It’s cool and funny, and the best thing about it is that it teaches you more about how to generate headlines as you go. But there is not much control. You just put in your topic. Here’s what I got: ‘Why do people think headline help tools are a good idea?’

Upworthy 

Actually a parody of a headline generator, so use it as a cautionary tale. Still, to be honest, the headlines are mostly irresistible. Here’s what I got: “Watch An Introverted Director Become An Inspiration With Six Words.” Nothing to do with blog topics but you can see how it works.

Copyblogger 

This website isn’t going to do the work for you, but they have the world’s best e-book about writing headlines with heaps of powerful formulas from the best headline writers in the world.

Content Row

This so-called  “linkbait” generator is pretty crazy, but it will get you laughing and having some fun and will help you think of topics. Here’s what I got when I put in blog topics and his the LinkBait button. Hmmm.

  • why Blog Topics suck/s
  • 8 unbelievable things you never knew about Blog Topics
  • the rise of Blog Topics and how to make it stop
  • the connection between Blog Topics and sex
  • 10 ways Blog Topics can suck the life out of you
  • 101 unusual uses of Blog Topics
  • 10 ways Blog Topics can help you live to 100

The Kickass Headline Generator

Ok, it’s not kickass – the results are ridiculous, and it’s clunky to use. But it has one great feature: it gives you a variety of topic/headline types for the one set of requirements. Using it, you will learn to be more flexible in your topic ideas. These topic types are:

  • numbered lists
  • how to
  • explanatory / why
  • strong / controversial
  • fun / playful
  • DIY headline formulas

Here’s my two bob’s worth about how to use them.

  1. Have something to say. It’s a fail if you write a great headline, but the story doesn’t deliver.
  2. Use headline tools before you start writing to stimulate ideas, and get the creative juices flowing.
  3. Don’t take them too literally. Substitute words, play around.
  4. Try to learn the principles of good headlines and blog topics from the generators.
  5. Study the headlines that make you click.
  6. Google your headline before you use it. If it’s taken, go back to the drawing board, but remember headline writing is, and always has been, a formula. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Conclusion

Headline help tools are great for helping you learn the art of enticing readers to read your blog. Be patient with yourself – it’s a skill, and you will get better with practice.

When your energy for writing headlines wanes and you want to lighten up, I suggest searching for the words headline fails. For example: “Starvation can lead to health hazards” or “How to buy a $450,000 home for only $750,000”. They will brighten up your day.

Want to get started on your book today?
Download the Ultimate Cheatsheet to Get Your Book Started.

 

Note: This is an updated version of my blog of the same title first published in 2014.

Blog Series: How to brainstorm a year’s worth of blog topics in four hours

This series of seven blogs solves the single biggest problem facing bloggers. That problem is not, as you might expect, getting started. It’s keeping going.

Most of us can pump out a blog or two. Sadly, that is not going to serve you. In fact, it will do you more harm than good. People will look at your website, see you haven’t blogged for three months (or years), and wonder if you are still in the game!

Bloggers stop writing because they run out of ideas. If you plan your blogs ahead, you will never run out of ideas. It will only take you 30 to 60 minutes to write your blog. 

This blog series will show you how you can brainstorm an entire year’s worth of blogs in four hours!  You will never run out of ideas and will write your blog quickly and efficiently every time. 

 

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