Some days headlines are a breeze to write. The perfect words flow from brain to page in a flash of brilliance.
But copywriting isn’t always that way, and some days you’re staring at that blank space where a killer headline should be, with no idea how to move forward.
It can be intimidating, frustrating, and a little bit humbling . . . and worst of all it can grind your projects to a halt.
It doesn’t have to be that way — as long as you have a few sources of headline inspiration at your disposal.
Here are a few places you can go to kick-start the headline-generating part of your brain any time you need it.
The Digg front page
While most Digg traffic is geared toward content consumers, the front page is a goldmine for content producers. Every hour of every day, people are voting on the headlines that catch their attention. Not stories, but headlines (it’s well known that many Digg users vote based on article titles and descriptions without ever actually reading the stories).
When you’re feeling stuck — or just hungering for a little swipe copy — take a look at the Digg front page and browse the most popular entries, and you might get your creative juices flowing faster than you think.
Online and direct response marketers aren’t the only ones getting paid to write headlines. There are people getting paid good money every day to carefully craft headlines that jump off of the newsstand and evoke that “must-read” response from you in a flash.
When you’re in a bind, take a walk to the corner store and glance at the magazine rack. Better yet, grab a notebook and head to the library, where they’ll have bound copies of print magazines going back for years. A few tweaks and replaced words here and there and you’ll have all the headlines you’ll need for a long time.
Ignore the full-color glossy ads for cars, perfumes and television shows that most magazines are full of and search for the direct-response-style ads. While glossy ads are often designed to impress people or win awards, direct-response advertisements are carefully fine-tuned to make sales.
You may have developed the habit of tuning out ads for whimsical collector’s plates, limited edition gold coins or collectible scale models, but get the headlines for these products back on your radar.
Remember, good money is spent honing these headlines into effective sales tools — don’t pass up your chance to educate yourself on somebody else’s dime.
Your own inbox
It’s pretty likely that you’re subscribed to more than a few newsletters, most of which you’ve come to ignore as time passes. But every so often a promotion or newsletter hits your inbox and you’re intrigued enough to open it. That’s your signal to save that email in your own personal swipe file.
Think about it — if you were tempted to open that email, it’s a good chance that others are as well. Create a place in your inbox to store emails that compelled you to click, and you’ll have an ongoing source of material to draw from.
That link to the left
If you haven’t read through Copyblogger’s extensive guide to writing magnetic headlines, then you should. From 9 Proven Headline Formulas That Sell Like Crazy to The Cheater’s Guide to Writing Great Headlines, you’ll find all the inspiration you need to hand-craft your own winning headlines, again and again and again.
Just scroll up and look for the Writing Headlines link on the left. And don’t forget to read through the other resource categories there. You’ll find blog posts with proven headlines that have been clicked on thousands of times.
Where do you go to find inspiration?
When you’re at a loss for words, how do you fill up your own headline-writing gas tank? Take 30 seconds right now and add your favorite place to get your muse on and learn from the comments of others.