Stealing Headlines: The Fad Will Never Die

Jon Morrow’s free book promises a fast and easy way to make your blog go viral. 

Who doesn’t want to go viral? And his approach is rather simple. That is of course IF you know a lot of stuff…
Have you ever had the feeling of déjà vu when browsing a Cosmo, a Vogue, a Vanity Fair or Elle magazine? Jon has basically uncovered the formula to writing headlines. The key is to steal these titles but to limit yourself to one one per week otherwise, well, I’ll let YOU figure out why it would just be too much.

I’ve already written one article based on his magic formula. 15 Sure Ways To Know He’s Cheating On You. The post may not have gone viral per say, but within one day Blogger reported 40 hits. To me, that’s a huge difference when a normal post will draw in only about 30 hits on the first day.

Here’s a variety of samples suggested by Headline Hacks:

  1. 5 Warning Signs That You’re about to Get Audited by the IRS
  2. Warning: Testimonials without Proof Can Land You in Jail
  3. Can We Really Trust PayPal?
  4. The Shocking Truth about Twitter
  5. How Doctors Gamble with Your Life: 7 Ways to Protect Yourself
  6. 13 Things Your Financial Advisor Won’t Tell You
  7. The Zen of Rush-Hour Traffic
  8. Can’t Keep up? 11 Ways to Simplify Your Gmail Inbox
  9. The Minimalist Guide to Cooking a Nutritious Dinner
  10. How to End a Dating Disaster Without Being Rude or Losing Your Cool
  11. Tiger’s Top 10 Tips for Improving Your Golf Swing
  12. The Tony Soprano School of Leadership

Chances are you’ve seen these exact titles in your favorite magazine… And you know what? Jon is absolutely right about one thing: marketers copy each other all the time and have been doing so ever since the invention of printing.

My problem with his formula is this: I really don’t know jack shit. I know a little about a whole lotta stuff but I’m far from being an expert on any topic. ANY topic! What scares me even more is what I chose to write about when applying his formula. Cheating. Yeah, like that’s all I could come up with… And now I should be wearing the scarlet letter on all my clothes. A sad and heartbreaking thought when you think of how highly loyal of a person I am.

So this being said: should you read this 55-page book? Yes. You can find the link on my sidebar. At least download it and take a gander. It will open your eyes and give you a new outlook on things. If not on your own writing, at least on how you view magazines and the world of marketing. It’s an eye opener and a head shaker, so go ahead and start shaking!


14 thoughts on “Stealing Headlines: The Fad Will Never Die”

  1. I may be different than most folks, but almost all of those titles would steer me away from reading the blog posts they relate to. Serious is for work, blogging is for lighter fare.
    Not all the time, but usually…
    I'm not saying a good title isn't important, because it totally is. If I know the person and generally like their blog, I'll read pretty much everything they post (or try to, anyway), regardless of the title.


  2. I can see both sides, A title that is vague enough to get clicks to the content vs. a title that is a reflection of the blogger & his/her attitude. Sometimes they are one in the same, sometimes not.
    And I don't think it matters if you know a lot or not. Some of the lists and “10 reasons” and “5 steps” I read are a guess at best, recycled facts in the worst case. Write what you know darling, we'll keep reading!


  3. And I love that about you, as a reader, when my inbox suddenly gets inundated with comments from you like when all of a sudden you decide you need to come out and read 5 posts at a time 😀 Keep it comin' Pat!


  4. Exactly: write what you know. I don't know where I heard that or read it, but to me it was heartbreaking that what I came up with for what I knew most about (under Jon's formula) was about cheating. Muwah! I'm not a cheater!


  5. I keep getting into trouble for post titles that bear little obvious relation to the post. I know the connection but I often forget to point it out to others.
    This reminds me of the old “Sex…no that I have your atention” gag.
    I guess it would work.


  6. But that's just it though, the title IS directly linked to the article. But it needs to be supported by real content. It's just a catchy way to write them and article ideas that work. That's what the book is about…


  7. Hi Nikki
    I'm so glad I found your blog through S30P! I'm totally on the fence about this formulaic title thing. For marketers, I think it makes sense. For the rest of us bloggers, not so much. I try to be interesting with how I title my posts but don't get caught up with being gimmicky. Mine is more social commentary and humor based. I guess I'd do better if my titles ended up being more funny.


  8. Well, to be truthful I simply thought I'd share my thoughts on the book. It was interesting, but of course your blog posts CANNOT all be based on this formula. Ugh. Wouldn't that be totally lame? I'll have to check your blog out, I'm sure your titles are fine!


  9. I do think they're important, especially when you see your blog on somebody else's blog roll, or when you post a comment on a WordPress blog and your recent title shows up. Sometimes I cringe when my most recent title is lame…


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