In April 2012, I wrote a post that brought 30 times my normal traffic to my blog.
To say I was a beginning blogger at the time is a vast understatement. I’d been blogging for about a year, but had no idea what made a good blog post. Clickable headlines? SEO? I had no clue how to build a business related to my blog.
But I knew it was possible to make money blogging, and I wanted to learn how.During my research in best blogging practices and the difference between a good blog post and a great one, I came across Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks.
If you’re not familiar with Headline Hacks (in which case you should go download it right now!), it’s a list of different formats for headlines and a brief explanation of why each one works. But the meat of it is the list of 52 headline templates, such as “7 Warning Signs That [Blank].” Replace the part in brackets with your own topics, and you’ve got a powerful, ready-made headline.
So one afternoon while my daughter was napping, I wrote a post using one of his headlines as a template: 5 Baby Sleep Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making.
Two days later, I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw my blog had hit 6,000 visitors in one day. After averaging 200 visitors a day, it felt like a miracle.
The Moral of My Story
And that’s the power of blueprints. From headline templates and swipe files to step-by-step systems like the Audience Business Masterclass, blueprints can take your business to levels you could never reach on your own. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can borrow a blueprint that’s already proven.
However, there is a fine line. Follow a blueprint too closely, and you weaken your brand. By using someone else’s words or strategies, you risk losing your personality and voice.
But change the blueprint too much, and you might lose its power — especially if you don’t understand the principles of why it works.
So tell us what you think: How can you use a blueprint while keeping your brand and personality intact? How much can you change a blueprint without reducing its effectiveness? Have you ever used blueprints, and did they work — or did they backfire?