Let a woman teach you the secrets of Linkbait

Headlines are the most crucial part of writing linkbait. More people read the headline than will read the body copy. If the headline fails everything else does. No one will read your brilliant copy if the headline fails to entice.

This morning I went to my local Tesco to pick up some much needed nappies and chocolate muffins (the muffins were for me and the nappies for my kid, just thought I’d clear that up). I checked out the magazine rack. I can never resist a peek at the magazine rack. I love magazines, if anything gives you great ideas it’s a rackful of contemporary mags.

I particularly enjoy the covers of womens magazines. First there are plenty of them, so you get to see a more varied opinion than other vertical markets and second they write damn good headlines. In fact, if you want to learn how to write good linkbait get hold of as many womens magazines as you can and note down interesting headlines.

The secret of good linkbait is a good headline, backed up by killer content.

Here are 18 interesting headlines I noted down this morning.

  • 57 Beauty treats
  • 10 Secrets of love that lasts
  • 105 Chic and modern hair ideas
  • 106 Love you body updates
  • 249 Fashion finds for Lesss
  • 789 Dream looks
  • 836 Spectacular big day ideas
  • 100 Valentine sexy looks
  • 345 Style Savvy Steals
  • Top 25 Style Updates
  • 687 Sexy new style tips
  • 1001 New bags shoes sandals
  • 22 Instant Wardrobe Updates
  • 100 Best Beauty buys Handbook
  • 68 Pages of Hot New Must Buys
  • 837 Style Ideas
  • 20 Ways to have an easier labour
  • 26 Secrets to a stress free life

I chose to write down only the headlines that were numbered and to my surprise every womans magazine had a headline with a number in it. Is this the secret of writing a good headline? It’s definately one way of writing a seductive headline.

What the headlines have in common is they all solve problems. They all make the promise that if you read the article you will gain a piece of information that will improve your life.

Not every woman reads these magazines and not every woman has the problems listed in the headlines. But each magazine is targeted at a specific type of woman with specific needs. The headlines are crafted in a way to attract those type of people.

Does your blog and website target a specific type of person with obvious problems?

Do your headlines and titles promise a solution to one or more of your readers problems?

Are your headline short and to the point?

I have learned to step out of the box once in a while. Switch off the computer and look around for ideas. The magazine rack of your local supermarket or newsagent is awash with ideas and differrent ways of looking at things. Next time you are at the magazine stand, note the headlines of womens magazines. Go on, I know you’ve always wanted to.

13 Replies to “Let a woman teach you the secrets of Linkbait”

  1. I did something very similar to this once, unfortunately the Tesco security guard decided I was very dodgy (its the long hair) and escorted me from the premises. However the principle is sound just don’t sit down in the isle pulling magazines of the shelf and photographing the front covers while recording interesting points in your laptop 🙁

    I have since found it easier to use Google images search simply type in something like XXXX magazine cover YYYY where XXXX is a random magazine name, just guess there is bound to be one anyway and YYYY is a month. This saves a lot of embarrassment and means you can still do your shopping online and save the planet from global warming.

  2. Haha, I had the same problem once when I photographed items in a Morrisons, the Manager pounced on me thinking I was working for Sainsburys as a spy.

    True you can gather the info using google, but sometimes you need to get away from the computer and let the blood flow into the distant regions of your body.

    I know it’s a radical move for me to suggest getting away from the computer for my readership, but you could always take a Blackberry with you.

  3. I use the camera on my phone to capture ads I want to remember, books I want to remember and magazine covers. I can do it so quickly that security cannot tell what I am doing so I never get hassled. It also save me from having to grab a poster from a buletin board.

  4. haha, my mom reads all those gossip mags… I never realized how catchy the titles were, but now it seems glaringly obvious. I can’t believe the abundance of numbered headlines… Pretty soon every headline might be like that: “10 paragraphs about this topic!”

  5. Nice catch, indeed. Maybe I should do some magazine window/Google shopping, too.

    I don’t think it is a matter of a number, but a matter of providing as many ways to improve one’s life as possible. Naturally, when enumerating the advice, numbers come up. Just a thought.


  6. Great article – have seen it based on Cosmopolitan headlines before – but the concept is brilliant. Find that article title that induces some curiosity or “must see” draw and that is half the battle.

  7. Nice post Lyndon.

    Here’s something we did for a news site years ago that I thought might be useful…

    – Buy a few monthly magazines as you mention…

    – We would then scan who is hot or not ( via the main headlines) and create a top 50 keyword list each week or two.

    – We’d then write page content on those people (or things) within a few days of hearing about them and post to a news-entertainment site.

    – You would be amazed how many searches are made on speculative celebs and the ‘next big thing’ within days of them being mentioned in mags or on TV. In fact it can get into the hundreds or thousands of visitors pretty fast if you target enough.

    – One example might be as soon as they announced the big brother housemates in the press we would create content on them…

    – After a while its easy to second guess who people are going to be looking for.

    – It certainly is one way to get some quick traffic and rankings as often the ‘next big thing’ have few web pages dedicated to them so its easier to rank for them on Google if you get in quick.

    – This approach is certainly an obvious option if your site is well geared to news/ entertainment…

    Heck, your probably doing this already right?

  8. I like the list with attractive titles. I use those titles as well for email marketing. The numbers makes you curious. And that is the right way to get alot of attention.

    I like the conclusion and it makes sense. If you know the top 10 of something, you probably will use the list for personal use. I will start using these titles more often. Very good insight. Love it!

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