We’ve already used Cosmopolitan and Details Magazine for blogging inspiration. Let’s switch to a more technical topic to see if we can use the headlines on the cover of a computer magazine to come up with relevant content for a variety of blogs.
So l stopped by the grocery store and snagged a copy of PC World. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized there was something strange about this month’s issue.
Every article featured on the cover used a list headline.
Upon closer inspection, I found out that this was in fact a “Special List Issue.” I turned to the editor’s note (which is also a list article) for the story:
This month we’ve gone loony for lists: Most of the articles in this issue follow the easy-to-read list format that we’ve found popular on PCWorld.com. We continue to draw lessons from working on our website…
Interesting. Offline publishers have been using list headlines for decades because people respond well to them. Apparently they work great online, too.
Who knew? 🙂
Too late to turn back now, so let’s have some fun with lists. For those of you who are new to the magazine headline remix, I hand out headline assignments to various bloggers to see if they can produce the corresponding post.
Something tells me this group of bloggers is about to get some serious traffic.
PC World Headline – “10 Easy Ways to Avoid Security Nightmares”
Writer Dad has come a long way since figuring out that, yes, he is indeed a writer. How about writing this post for those who haven’t yet made the turn?
10 Easy Ways to Avoid Writing Insecurity
The use of the word “nightmares” in the original headline is powerful, but in this context it would be too much. Sometimes you’ve got to know when to tone it down.
PC World Headline – “12 Vista Features You Don’t Need—And How to Turn Them Off”
Getting affiliates to sell for you online is great, but not all affiliates are desirable. Rebecca, how about doing this one for the affiliate managers category of Market Leverage TV?
5 Types of Affiliates You Don’t Need—And How to Keep Them Away
Since this is video, you’ll get more traffic if you make this a special segment rather than just a section of a regular broadcast. The headline will pull in managers and curious affiliates looking for controversy.
PC World Headline – “10 Products That Don’t Live Up to Their Hype”
Loren Feldman of 1938 Media constantly harasses me about these headline posts, so I’ve got to include him just to annoy him. But something tells me he won’t be able to resist this one.
10 Web 2.0 Sites That Don’t Live Up to Their Hype
The challenge will be limiting it to 10. Bonus points if delivered by a puppet.
PC World Headline – “50 Tune-Up Tools to Make Your PC Run Faster”
This one is open to all. Remember to drop your link in the comments for a round-up post featuring everyone who participates.
What makes this headline catchy? Let’s break it down see what’s happening:
[Number]+[Alliterative Modifier]+[Tips, Tools, Tricks, Ways, etc.] [to, that] Make Your [Subject]+[Better, Faster, Stronger, etc.]
Keep with the spirit of the formula instead of rigidly following it, and you’ll have way more options. Here are some examples:
- Five Productivity Programs That Make Innovative Action Easy
- 10 Titillating Tips to Make Your Sex Life Sensational
- 11 Insider Investments for a Recession-Proof Portfolio
Remember, the human brain loves list content because it’s concrete and easy to process. You only insult the reader’s intelligence when you provide thin, unremarkable content after making a bold headline promise.
Great content is great content, whether in a list or not. But great content that attracts more readers is golden, and list headlines can make that happen for you.