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Asking All Creators Who Want an Easier and Faster Way to Write Compelling Headlines (Like Me!)

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Quart-Jar

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Hello all,
I'm a software engineer doing primary market research for a copywriting software I'm developing into a SaaS.

(TLDR at bottom)

BACKGROUND:
Long ago, I was learning copywriting to improve my landing pages, and I learned 2 incredible things:
  1. The best headlines come from writing out a list of over 100 headlines, then narrowing down selections.
  2. Companies put ungodly amounts of money into tracking the success of every single headline they write.
As a developer, this presented to me a clear opportunity for automation.
Software engineers like to keep it DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) - if writing an effective headline comes down to heavy iteration and proven formulas, then why not write a program to do that?

WHO:
People who at some point in their day would benefit from an effective headline. This includes everyone from Copywriters to Web Devs to Instagrammers.

WHAT:
  1. You take the core concept(s) of what you are trying to say ( [Desired Outcome], [Specific Metric], [Timeframe], [Call to Action] ), and insert them as variables into the program
  2. Select one or more optional filters to specify the category of headline ( [How to], [How to Without], [The Ultimate], [Story] ) you want to write
  3. Skip right to reading through a list of programmatically generated headlines for your post, blog, email, etc created using market-proven formulas featuring the elements you specified earlier
WHEN:
Development of the MVP is scheduled to be done in 7 weeks from today (11/9/19).

It will not be ready for sale until the content has been revised and its features have been polished by my future CMO.

WHERE:
From any computer or smartphone.

WHY:
  1. Writing a list of headlines is very time consuming

  • My software saves you the time wasted writing out headlines

  1. Best practice is to use what works.

  • My software increases effectiveness by only using formulas of market-proven headlines.
HOW:
STEP 1. Conduct primary research while developing the core algorithm and database schema
STEP 2. Release an MVP implementing data from research
STEP 3. Find marketing co-founder with 10/10 copywriting skills and experience to help polish everything into THE TOOL copywriters and other creators reach for (I'm humble enough to know my copy will never hold a candle to a pro copywriter, therefore I don't have enough insight to truly tailor the content beyond a MVP)
STEP 4. Incorporate and market as a SaaS

There are a lot of features I will incorporate into the program after launch that I'll use to be more useful/charge more/distinguish myself from any copycats, but this post is already waaaaaaay too long.

Thank you so much for reading all this!


TLDR:
I am developing a software that will make writing compelling headlines faster, easier and more effective.

QUESTIONNAIRE:
  1. What is your current workflow for creating compelling headlines?
    This can be <h1>'s, Instagram posts, Blog titles, Advertisements, anything headlines!
  2. Context! What are you using these headlines for and what is your profession?
  3. What are all of your objections to integrating a service like this into your workflow?
 
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Last edited:

Bekit

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There are already a few tools like this on the market.

For instance, there's Blog Ideas Generator

While it's called a blog topic generator, it's actually a headline generator for clickbait-style headiness.

It'll give you five for free and then it'll give you a year's worth if you put in your email.

The way it works is you enter up to 5 nouns and then the tool will generate the headlines for you.

I believe the "year's worth" version gives you a spreadsheet where you can continue entering different variables. It has been around 3 years since I have used it, so I may be wrong, but I think the spreadsheet showed the list of all the hundreds of headline options they had put together, along with the formulas of how they made it work.

How will your solution be different from something like this?

I've used a few of these methods and ultimately didn't find them useful, mainly because you have to weed through nonsensical or irrelevant options any time you're generating something like this algorithmically.

It's much more effective (and can even be quicker) for me to simply understand the principles of writing effective headlines and bang then out. When I write a collection of 20 or 50 or 100 headlines for something, I'm not just running through an algorithm of replacing "how to" with "the ultimate." I'm going through a deeply creative process where my brain is forced to see the topic in a new way in order to come up with that many variations. This is what I'm digging for when I go through the exercise. It's a great way to come up with "the hook."

Skipping this would not speed up my process; it would cut out a deeply vital "brain development" stage and take away from my ability to produce high-quality work.

Reading through a list of algorithmically parsed headlines might give me a memory jog or get me unstuck, but I wouldn't see myself incorporating it into my process.
 

Dan_Cardone

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There are already a few tools like this on the market.

For instance, there's Blog Ideas Generator

While it's called a blog topic generator, it's actually a headline generator for clickbait-style headiness.

It'll give you five for free and then it'll give you a year's worth if you put in your email.

The way it works is you enter up to 5 nouns and then the tool will generate the headlines for you.

I believe the "year's worth" version gives you a spreadsheet where you can continue entering different variables. It has been around 3 years since I have used it, so I may be wrong, but I think the spreadsheet showed the list of all the hundreds of headline options they had put together, along with the formulas of how they made it work.

How will your solution be different from something like this?

I've used a few of these methods and ultimately didn't find them useful, mainly because you have to weed through nonsensical or irrelevant options any time you're generating something like this algorithmically.

It's much more effective (and can even be quicker) for me to simply understand the principles of writing effective headlines and bang then out. When I write a collection of 20 or 50 or 100 headlines for something, I'm not just running through an algorithm of replacing "how to" with "the ultimate." I'm going through a deeply creative process where my brain is forced to see the topic in a new way in order to come up with that many variations. This is what I'm digging for when I go through the exercise. It's a great way to come up with "the hook."

Skipping this would not speed up my process; it would cut out a deeply vital "brain development" stage and take away from my ability to produce high-quality work.

Reading through a list of algorithmically parsed headlines might give me a memory jog or get me unstuck, but I wouldn't see myself incorporating it into my process.
Very well said.

Ive tried all sorts of headline generators and even some long form copy generators and pretty much all of them sucked.

My process? Pen, legal pad, coffee, my head, and a wall to beat it against (every copywriter has been there...)
 

Quart-Jar

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Sep 19, 2019
18
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There are already a few tools like this on the market.

For instance, there's Blog Ideas Generator

While it's called a blog topic generator, it's actually a headline generator for clickbait-style headiness.

It'll give you five for free and then it'll give you a year's worth if you put in your email.

The way it works is you enter up to 5 nouns and then the tool will generate the headlines for you.

I believe the "year's worth" version gives you a spreadsheet where you can continue entering different variables. It has been around 3 years since I have used it, so I may be wrong, but I think the spreadsheet showed the list of all the hundreds of headline options they had put together, along with the formulas of how they made it work.

How will your solution be different from something like this?

I've used a few of these methods and ultimately didn't find them useful, mainly because you have to weed through nonsensical or irrelevant options any time you're generating something like this algorithmically.

It's much more effective (and can even be quicker) for me to simply understand the principles of writing effective headlines and bang then out. When I write a collection of 20 or 50 or 100 headlines for something, I'm not just running through an algorithm of replacing "how to" with "the ultimate." I'm going through a deeply creative process where my brain is forced to see the topic in a new way in order to come up with that many variations. This is what I'm digging for when I go through the exercise. It's a great way to come up with "the hook."

Skipping this would not speed up my process; it would cut out a deeply vital "brain development" stage and take away from my ability to produce high-quality work.

Reading through a list of algorithmically parsed headlines might give me a memory jog or get me unstuck, but I wouldn't see myself incorporating it into my process.
I'm glad to hear you guys have had experience with the currently available headline generators, it means there is at least some interest, and it gives me a great example to set myself apart from.

The one you mentioned, Bekit, I am familiar with and I completely agree that its useless. I think (or I should say "hope") they built that as a gimmick, because the likelihood of getting anything usable from randomly generated templates parsing a single noun is too low to be worth the time.

The easiest sales I get as a web developer are the ones where the client had a terrible experience with some hack who built their site after watching half of a "Learn Wordpress in 10 Minutes!" video, and I set myself apart by explaining my process, positioning myself as a marketing consultant as opposed to a website builder, and mentioning the "supeior technology" I use "designed by Facebook!".

I think my angle for this service should follow suit,

"We've all tried those useless, gimmicky headline generators where you enter a noun, get 5 silly templated headlines straight from a tabloid cover, and none of them capture the essence of what you want to say.

My product implements easy-to-use filters and category systems to give you headlines that you would have written out anyways (if you took the long route), and many more!

Rather than putting a word into a headline and hoping it'll make sense, my product uses software that I built from the ground up based off of the insight I gained from interviewing hundreds of copywriters to make sure you get zero 'why the hell would I use that one???' moments."
 
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Quart-Jar

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Sep 19, 2019
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Very well said.

Ive tried all sorts of headline generators and even some long form copy generators and pretty much all of them sucked.
I figured that most legitimate copywriters would have that point of view.

I think, however, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. If we examine the (in my opinion) outrageous success of web apps like Wordpress, Wix, Workflow there is a common factor that one would assume would spell "DISASTER" for companies in the world of web dev.

As someone who writes a ton of code, I would never-ever consider using such services. I can get a full, relatively complex React app developed and running on the web in under five minutes. It'll be faster, less opinionated, and substantially more reliable and robust - why use inferior software when its already that easy?

Wordpress would get in the way of my expertise and waste a ton of time.

The opportunity WP executed on was that for people who needed a website, but couldn't code one on their own, it was substantially easier, faster, and cheaper than doing it themselves.

Basically, Wordpress overcame the objections of software developers by making their opinion irrelevant. People who needed our skill set, but wouldn't pay for it or learn it themselves became their ideal market, so speed and robustness were irrelevant - learning to code is incredibly hard and time consuming, plus WP is just fine for simple websites.

You can see this reflected in their marketing - they heavily target people researching HTML, CSS, JS (
and probably more) and always start off the ad with how quick and easy it is.

You literally couldn't pay me to use WP - I've turned down jobs and clients over that. I can't see working with those tools doing anything but wasting my potential and degrading me as a professional who codes, but I do think there is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with WP - its a good option if you don't code and you need a simple site.

Similarly, this whole idea started because I thought, "I know what I want to say, I just suck at saying things. If only there was a WP for copywriting..."

While WP can never hold a candle to hiring software engineers, its highly effective for a lot of use cases where the robustness and speed of something like React would be unused.

The overall response I've been getting from talking to legitimate copywriters is, "I've used crappy versions of that idea in the past, and my system is damn good anyways."

If there is a market for this service, its most likely to be found by following the path WP and Drupal blazed.

My process? Pen, legal pad, coffee, my head, and a wall to beat it against (every copywriter has been there...)
I love this line, it reminds me of my process. Keyboard, Stack Overflow, coffee, my face, and a desk to repeatedly slam it against.
 

Bekit

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If only there was a WP for copywriting..."

If there is a market for this service, its most likely to be found by following the path WP and Drupal blazed.

I like the way you're thinking about this.

That being the case, have you considered the role AI might play, either as a competitor/alternative or as something you incorporate into your service?

Relevant thread if you haven't seen it already:
 

Quart-Jar

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I like the way you're thinking about this.

That being the case, have you considered the role AI might play, either as a competitor/alternative or as something you incorporate into your service?

Relevant thread if you haven't seen it already:
Thanks! I'm happy to see there's plenty of other intelligent folks talking about this.

The answer is yes, I'm actually pursuing this idea because I see massive potential for my software to grow with the copywriter through Machine Learning, at first by improving output such that you see more and more of the headlines you would consider using at the top of the list. In the far, far future, I see no reason that the software shouldn't be able to make many iterations of the best headline, and change it before loading on a user's browser to more effectively target them depending on what is in their cookies.

I think of it like McDonalds. Most people, including McD's workers will benefit from robots doing their jobs, just like how sewers were better off in the long run with the advent of the sewing machine at the very start of this robot stuff.

WP made it so much cheaper to get a cheap website, and so I say that it serves as an example that we already have a high level of automation taking the jobs of sub-par web devs. Think about it, WP and friends are tools that makes one non-technical person perfectly capable of doing the job of 100 below-average web devs.

The simple algorithm I'm building now is to select formulas based off of variables present and further refine that with categories, such as the writer's desired emotional response, tone, etc. I see the "perfected" version of this as where WP is now - one person who's mastered the tool can replace many who suck at the craft.

These things will be very simple to code for, and that is why I've determined this to be the MVP.

The real long-term potential I see is to substantially replace all the average and below-average copywriters as the sewing machine did sewers. We still have professional sewers, but most of them operate a machine doing 20,000 sewers worth of work, or are so damn good at hand-sewing, you pay through the roof for their skill, labor, and time.
 
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jon.M

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Russel Brunson and that copywriter... I think his name's Jim Edwards, tried to introduce a similar tool to ClickFunnels. Maybe you want to check out how that's went for them.
 

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