Using Cosmo to Develop Content

I’m speaking at Distilled’s Conference, Pro Boston, in a week (!) on Keyword Research. But not your everyday keyword research talk, this one will be focused on topics that have rarely been discussed. One of the things that people have a hard time with is content creation. Keyword research can help with that, but one of the most important things to getting content ranking is the title. It also happens to be the main way to get people interested in the content to start.

Cosmopolitan MagazineYou know who is great at writing titles? Cosmopolitan. The content is debatable in usefulness and truth, so much that there are whole posts dedicated to debunking some of their advice (and making fun of it). But no one can argue that their titles are not enticing. They have great keyword usage and really call to the issues women are having in society. So I am going to look at some recent Cosmo titles and how you can learn from them.

7 Facebook Habits That Guys Hate

This title encompasses three ways to get attention by title and includes a good keyword (even for search marketers!). First, notice the use of a number. This is a tried and true way to get clicks and reads because people love to skim. You are promising fast answers and the reader can choose which habit is of most interest to them. The title also goes for the negative with hate. Using negative emotions can get reads but you need to be careful when playing with fire. Finally this title tugs at emotion, specifically hate and relationships. Cosmo knows their audience, the issues the readers have and they play to that.

You can do the same to develop any content. What about something as boring as glass white boards?

  • 3 Markers to Not Use on a White board – Who has ever used a sharpie on accident? Pen? This would be great to show that there is little that can write on glass that can’t be cleaned. Not sure this is truthful but you get the idea.
  • Top 5 Ways to “Office Space” your White Board – Marker remnants got you feeling like you want to take a bat to the white board? This could be a great piece (include video!) about how a traditional white board can be demolished, but not a good glass one.

Pippa MiddletonHow Pippa Stole the Royal Wedding Spotlight

This current headline grabs at two things, a recent high profile event and stirring up controversy. How dare she steal the spotlight! How did she do it? That is what gets people to read this article. This gets back to the emotion pull as well, but it’s really about using the event to get attention.

Not everything that goes viral can be used for blog posts, but it has worked out well for those in the past. And again, I want to use an example from a less sexy industry. Check out this post from Microsoft Tag using Angry Birds as a topic. And there are plenty of examples of people stirring up trouble to get attention.

The Habit That’s Sabotaging Your Health

Go for the person and their well being. Telling people what they are doing wrong always works, and that is why magazines still do well. We want to know the information and science coming out right now, without reading the scientific study, those are boring. Plus, these articles give people solutions that directly impact their life.

This translates easily to your own blog topics by looking at the issues your customers are having and speaking to those issues. How about that “boring business” example? Laptop computers? Worse? How about computer mice? Is Your Computer Mouse Causing Carpal Tunnel? The resulting post could explore how maybe it’s not the mouse, but the setup and long hours or bad posture you have. But it would give you a reason to recommend the best mouse and wrist pad for optimal working situations.

Quiz: Are You Way Too Picky?

This one is easy, people love quizzes. Facebook is using them, magazines still use them, and it can give you some awesome information to use in other posts. People see quiz and want to give their 2 cents. Especially women. What can I say, we have opinions. (hahaha, come on, it’s funny, and true)

Keep your quizzes quick, short and easy. They can be cheesy, informational, or just off the wall. You can combine this with a badge for link building as well of course, but we are focusing on the titles and content right now. So to the examples …

  • What American Idol Judge are you? (Can apply to just about anything)
  • What kind of rubber duck is most like you? (Who doesn’t love rubber ducks?)
  • What is your perfect room temperature? (Selling space heaters)

So the next time you are blanking on content, pick up a magazine. It doesn’t have to be Cosmo, remember your target market after all. But magazine writers can inspire lots of ideas, you just have to get out of that box you live in. Any product can be interesting, it just depends how interesting you want to make it. It could help you lose 5 pounds by next week! (Kidding)


Dawn Wentzell

I’m pretty sure Cosmo writes the exact same articles every month. And yet people keep buying it cuz they always make it sound enticing.

Also, I sooooooooooo wish I could see your keyword research panel in Boston.

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