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Could a Robot Write Great Headlines?

Could a Robot Write Great Headlines

Smartphones are one of the most addictive tools we have ever seen. They’re powerful, convenient and mobile. You can use them to accesses your email, allows you to find your way to your next appointment and it keeps us entertained with YouTube videos while waiting for friends. They are great time savers and enhance who we are as humans.

It’s a Swiss army knife for an information age.

Tools have moved on from just saving time and money, they are also doing some of our thinking for us. Having trouble remembering a fact or some information?….then Lord Google is sitting in your pocket or purse disguised as an internet connected smartphone.

Marketing automation

Ever since social media broke onto the web, businesses have been working on how to use it as a tool for marketing, They have also been developing ways to automate the processes with tools (often called apps). As humans we are always trying to work out how to do more with less.

In the early days of social media any automating was almost seen as a crime. But for social media marketers to scale their efforts, automation and marketing platforms are a necessary evil.

But efficiency is not the only skill needed to succeed as a marketer, creativity is also vital.

Technology tools are also creeping into that space.

Will robots replace or enhance creativity?

The next step for tools beyond just saving time, money and automating processes is the use of technology for leveraging our creativity. For many of us coming up with a headline or even an idea for your latest article, book or blog post is a challenge.

Need some help?

I have just discovered a tool (thanks Kerwin Rae!) that makes coming up with a good headline or idea that much easier. Its called Portent’s Content Idea Generator.

Could a Robot Write Great Headlines

Now will this tool replace our headline and idea creativity?

When I plugged in the term “headline” it came up with some responses such as “Will Headlines save Your Marriage” and “How Headlines Once Saved the World”. Fun but I don’t know if they work!

I think enhancement is more realistic.

How did it perform?

Here are some headlines for the topics of social media marketing, content marketing and Twitter. I thought I would check out how the tool performed using a three word phrase, two  words and just one.

These 15 headlines were created by plugging in your keyword or phrase into Portent’s Content Idea Generator “tool”…or should I say robot?

So that begs the question “could a robot write great headlines? Let’s find out.

Social media marketing

Here are 5 headlines created by the tool using a three word phrase.

  • What the Amish Can Teach You About Social Media Marketing
  • How Hollywood Got Social Media Marketing All Wrong
  • How to Build an Empire With Social Media Marketing
  • Shocking Ways Social Media Marketing Will Make You Better in Bed
  • Ways Your Mother Lied to You About Social Media Marketing

You certainly could use some of these but a couple are a stretch.

Content Marketing

Next I tried a two word combination to see how it performed.

  • How to Stay Popular in the Content Marketing World
  • How Content Marketing Can Make You Sick
  • Why Content Marketing Will Change Your Life
  • 12 Reasons You Should be Talking About Content Marketing
  • Content Marketing in 16 Easy Steps

So again, not all will work but it’s bringing some good ideas.


Finally I plugged in a one word favourite of mine to see what resulted.

  • How Twitter Could Help You Win the Game of Thrones
  • How Low Can Twitter Go?
  • True Facts About Justin Bieber’s Love of Twitter
  • The 15 Best Twitter Feeds to Follow
  • Twitter by the Numbers

Again it came up with the good, the bad and the ugly.

What about you?

Could you use a tool like this? Would it enhance your creativity? Look forward to your feedback in the comments below.

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  • Interesting tool Jeff. I’m curious to see how effective it is long term. Could be a killer product.

  • Marketing Bees

    Not completely convinced although if you’ve hit the wall or writer’s block then it could certainly help to generate ideas and/or the base of a headline that could then be worked upon.

  • Lawrence Berry

    This is very interesting, but I would never want a robot to come up with a headline for me. I think it will destroy my creativity. I dont think we should rely on computers robots to do everything for us. We lose ourselves and our potential in a way, by letting robots do the creative work for us. I think society is alreadyl acking creativity. This was an interesting post though. Thanks for sharing.


    • Thanks for the comment and insights Lawrence. What I love about the social web is the innovation I see every day. For me the web enhances my creativity not diminishes it!

  • I played with the Portent headline title maker a few months back. It came up with some clever ideas but missed the mark most of the time.

    I scan my headlines using http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/ tool nowadasys. This free tool will analyze your headline to determine the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score.

  • Aaron Creamer

    There are already companies using robots to write articles. Check out this company: http://www.narrativescience.com/

  • Hi, Jeff! This is indeed an interesting article to read. 🙂

    Headlines have been the most essential part of a blog post. Great writers think a lot for more than a day just to create an effective, killer headline that will magnet many readers.

    Headline generators, though called as robots, are really helpful to instantly create compelling headlines that make your blog posts stand out the most. This kind of tool will be very useful and handy, especially for bloggers who are often having a hard time composing effective headlines.

    Thanks for the shared knowledge! 🙂


    I’ve found this post shared on Kingged.com and leave the same comment there.

  • Its a great start, but try punching in “A blog that writes itself” and you can see they could improve the creative suggestions. It’s a very interesting idea, I’m also beta-testing IBM’s Watson to create recipes at the moment.

  • The tool is amazingly good. I tried this for some of the terms; and I think that this is good to generate and make us aware of the most popular ideas. And seems that it works on post popularity indexes.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Emmanuel Cudjoe

    Hi Jeff,
    wow! I think this is an interesting revelation, headlines are the first call of commitment from the reader.
    One thing I deduce from your end whiles you tried your experiment with the tool was this, the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ were generated the most.
    This means crafting headlines is all about asking questions and providing solutions in the of contents.
    I do hope you agree with me. Do have a great day!

    This is Emmanuel with kabenlah.com and I found this post of yours shared on kingged.com

  • Catherine Jules

    Such an interesting topic you wrote, Jeff. This is a cool tool, indeed. Very useful when you are running out of idea on what to write on your blog. AMAZING! The thought “content idea generator” is really brilliant. Cheers to whoever invented this.

  • We came up with a couple cool posts from a topic generator that gave us a ton of traffic

    “5 Superheroes to Save Your Missions Trip”
    “Disney Princesses to Ditch on your next Mission Trip”

  • hahaha! That was kinda fun! Thx for that.

    Although I see a few comments about ‘not letting robots write their headlines for them’, I feel like the point of this for me is to simply use this tool to spark the already existing creativity within me.

    I can see myself using these robotic suggestions as a jumping off point… GERONIMOOOOOOOO!! I few of the titles got me thinking in different directions – headline twists that took me to surprising new ideas I might not have come up with myself. I do love a twist with a surprise ending. 😉

  • WhatArmy

    Definitely worth a try! At the very least, these headlines can give you cues to start thinking about a topic in a totally different perspective.