MagazinesYou’re itching to get a quality post out—something that attracts attention and enhances your blogging profile. But you just can’t seem to come up with anything compelling.

Brian Clark over at Copyblogger (https://www.copyblogger.com/) suggested a cool tactic that just might help you come up with some great ideas for blog content.

The idea is simple: use headlines from magazines for inspiration. Then write your headline before composing your blog article.

As Brian so adeptly pointed out, your headline is a promise to readers. Its job is to clearly communicate the benefit you’ll deliver to the reader in exchange for his or her valuable time.

So here’s why it’s a smart thing to write the headline first: As Brian put it, “Promises tend to be made before being fulfilled. Writing your content first puts you in the position of having to reverse-engineer your promise. Turn it around the other way, and you have the benefit of expressly fulfilling the compelling promise you made with the headline, which ultimately helps to keep your content crisp and well-structured.” A smartly written article headline, Brian says, tells you exactly what the content must provide to the reader in order to keep the promise you made. And that keeps you on task.

Woman reading blogThat’s not all: Trying to fulfill a promise you haven’t made yet is tough, and it often leads to a marginal headline. And a poorly crafted headline, says Brian, allows good deeds to go unnoticed.

Brian got his headlines from what he calls “that bastion of respectable women’s journalism,” Cosmopolitan. You can always use Cosmo too, but you don’t have to.

 

Here’s how it works:

  • Stop by the newsstand or the magazine section of your favorite grocery store.
  • Look at the headlines on the cover of any consumer-oriented magazine; they’re all written by pros who make good money getting people to pick up periodicals and drop them in the grocery basket.
  • Adapt the most compelling headlines to match your topic.

 

What it boils down to is this: You don’t use the exact headline—you adapt it or use it for inspiration. Here are a few examples from Cosmo to show you how it works:

 

Cosmo Headline—“Guys Spill: White Lies They Tell Women All the Time”

The new headline, written for a real estate broker blog: Realtors Reveal: Little White Lies We Tell Clients (And How to Stop)

Cosmo Headline—“Get Ahead Faster: 12 Brilliant (and Slightly Badass) Ways to Do It”

The new headline, written for a running blog: Run Faster: 12 Effective (and Slightly Badass) Ways to Do It

 

Got it? Ready, set, go shopping!


Brian ClarkBrian Clark is a writer, traveler, and entrepreneur. He’s the founder of the pioneering content marketing website Copyblogger, the personal growth newsletter Further, and Unemployable, a resource that provides smart strategies for freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Brian has started ten businesses in the last twenty years, either solo or as a co-founder. The first one failed, but every company since has yielded higher revenue, profits, and happiness.

He began publishing online in 1998, and by 1999 he had his first entrepreneurial success. In January of 2006, Brian started a one-man website called Copyblogger, which quickly evolved into an influential digital trade magazine for the content marketing industry. Both the Guardian and Advertising Age have recognized Copyblogger as one of the most powerful and influential blogs in the world.

(Photos: magazines, girltalkhq.com; woman with laptop, Study in the States; Brian Clark, Copyblogger)

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