The Problem With Sex And Glitter (and what it means for your business)
This article by the incredible Eva Wiseman (I totally want to write like her when I grow up) is a fabulous example of how mainstream media know the power of a killer headline.
"The problem with sex and glitter". BOOM.
It's an attention-grabber (and a high bling one, at that).
Now, my good friend Bushra Azhar of the Persuasion Revolution is the QUEEN of using entertainment and surprise to sell; the science behind why this headline works so well is totally her wheelhouse, and I would like to point you in her direction.
For my part in this unconventional marriage of concepts that stir up the brain cells and get the mouses clicking, let's think about how mainstream media know this stuff inside-out, and how we can seek inspiration from titles just like our sticky, sparkly example above.
Planning your content and knowing what your customers are asking is one part of the picture.
Getting noticed and standing out online is another.
This is where we need to get creative.
Using triggers is a great way to unearth original language for your very own, client magnetising lexicon (my Netflix ideation sessions are always a winner with my clients).
Another way to generate great titles is to take inspiration from our mainstream media friends and swap out words that suit your market and sector to bring big, glitterball impact.
Brilliant, eye-opening headlines are perfect for your emails, where bringing your brand to life, getting those emails read and sharing valuable insights is our main game.
So, here is where we get to have fun.
Let's take a look at deconstructing how this could work:
The Problem With X and Y, where X = thing you sell/teach/work with] and Y = surprising, diametrically opposing word that garners attention with surprise and ties to a story you can tell in the email that relates us to you and your brand].
(Of course, you can always switch out "The Problem With" with something like "Let's Talk About", The Thing With", etc etc. It's a starting point.)
Ok, you get the idea.
So X is going to be fairly easy. List down a range of subjects related to your expertise and you are there.
Y is where we can use creative thinking to generate killer stories AND great content.
Let your brain go wandering and list down anything that comes to mind about things you have done recently that could spark a story, from a funny moment, to something you learned recently, to a quirk of your personality. Remember, Y needs to be surprising and diametrically opposing to X, m'kay?
You can also use a random word generator like this one to take your brain to another new dimension (other 90's kids reading this, you're welcome).
Random word generation is a super useful creative thinking trick to get your grey matter thinking in new ways for killer outcomes.
So for me, my X list could look something like this:
- Blog posts
- Facebook Lives
- Creative Thinking
- Open rates
- Audience Building
And my Y list could be:
- Almond butter (from my life/habits/quirks)
- Stadium rock (from my life/habits/quirks)
- Caffeine (from my life/habits/quirks)
- Kids (from my life/habits/quirks)
- Twins (from my life/habits/quirks)
- Silver shoes (from my life/habits/quirks)
- Cake (via random word generator)
- Rainbows (via random word generator)
- Injections (via random word generator)
- Sandwich (via random word generator)
- Parking (via random word generator)
It's time to play idea mash-up - or, as James Altucher calls it, "Idea Sex".
So for example, I could roll with "The Problem With Blog Posts And Bad Parking".
This could be a lead into common problems I see with content creation, related to how people who park badly are just a few steps away from being bang on, and how just a few simple steps in your blog posts can have HUGE impact.
Add in some personal stories about my own parking mishaps *ahem* and we have a personal, useful piece of email content with a great headline.
Or, we could try "The Thing With Content And Caffeine Shakes", which I could use as an email about how finding your space to create and making a dedicated time in your calendar to batch content where you can will get better results than mainlining coffee and making your marketing the last priority.
Or, "The Problem With Open Rates And Cake" could take me to a story about how getting great open rates is a mixture of different ingredients and knowing your measures, data and insights will get you a better result.
With each combination, a new story, humorous way of learning, AND adding value is triggered.
This is the beauty of combining creative thinking with your content creation, peeps. This is why I LOVE what I do.
Now, over to you.
I challenge you to find some great headline and start playing idea sex (just no glitter, please).
Let me know in the comments below how your mashups go.
~ Jo xox
P.S If you enjoyed this post, you may also like 20 Content Triggers you can use right now.