Over-Delivering on Titles

Making the “High Jump” With Your Article Title

Setting your quality bar at the right height is an important step in building credibility and trust with your readers. One way to set that quality bar at a reachable height is by promising a specific quantity of tips, tricks, steps, etc. right in the title of the article. You set your bar just like a competitive high jumper sets theirs.

When done the right way, over-delivering can be a very good thing, but be cautious because there comes a point when over-delivering looks unprofessional, unplanned and it can be detrimental to your credibility. Here are some examples to help you pinpoint the right and wrong ways to over-deliver:

Over-Delivering the WRONG Way:

  • The article titled “3 Simple Tips For Hiring Legal Counsel,” delivers 7 tips in a bulleted list within the article body. The 4 additional tips wouldn’t be considered “bonus” content because of the size of the discrepancy between the promise and what’s in the article. It seems like the title was written in error.
  • An article is titled “The Art of Being Happy – 5 Tips.” There’s a short introduction followed by this line: “Here are the 8 tips …” Then, a numbered list follows, and it’s clearly labeled from 1-8. The inside of the article shouldn’t be misleading to the audience, either.

Over-Delivering the RIGHT Way:

  • The article titled “5 Tips to Aid Conflict Resolution at Work,” delivers 5 tips in an ordered list in the article. Then, the article is topped off with a 6th tip that’s labeled “Bonus.”
  • The article titled “25 Cleanest Beaches in the World” delivers 25 clean beaches. The article mentions 2 additional beaches that are also worth visiting and clearly labels them as extra bonuses.

Be as transparent as possible when you make the decision to over-deliver to your readers. Otherwise, you end up looking misleading. Instead, take some of these tips to heart when you’re trying to over-deliver:

How to Over-Deliver the RIGHT Way

  • Check the Title – Everything in your title is a promise to readers. Promises on what you’re covering and how much you’re covering both need to be met. Whenever you promise anything in the title, always go back once you’ve finished writing the article to check that you delivered.
  • Check the Article – When you have a number of tips together, always check the entire article to make sure you reference the tips correctly. If there are 7 tips in the article, make sure you don’t say there are any more or less than that amount anywhere in the article.
  • Use Numbered Lists – Use numbered lists in the article body to make it easy to count the items you’ve included. If you are writing with the WYSIWYG submission editor turned on, click the “Insert/Remove Numbered List” button to start a numbered list and separate items with a single return. Otherwise, if you’re writing the HTML code yourself, use the ordered list tag, where:

    <li>List Item #1</li>
    <li>List Item #2</li>
    <li>List Item #3</li>

    … creates this:

    1. List Item #1
    2. List Item #2
    3. List Item #3

    Then, check the list with the Preview Article button.

  • Label Clearly – If you go above and beyond the number of tips you promised in the title, clearly label any extra tips as “Bonus,” “Extra,” etc. Clear labels leave no room for doubt on exactly how much you were planning on sharing.

Use these tips today to deliver just the right amount of high-quality, 100% original content for more traffic back to your website or blog. Also, leave a comment to share how you set your own bar for what you promise in article titles.


Henrik Blunck writes:

That is certainly a good way of describing the right way to design your articles – and I just retweeted your tweet to announce this wonderful article to my followers.

I hope all will make good use of this to finalize their participation in the soon-ending HAHD 6 challenge. You certainly do a great work in helping authors raise the bar and excel in their efforts to get good content online.

Thanks a lot for your efforts. :-)

Comment provided April 13, 2011 at 12:40 PM


Kristina writes:

Thanks for the tips. Although I have been writing articles for a while I find your suggestions very helpful.

Comment provided April 13, 2011 at 2:15 PM



Thanks. I had trouble making numbered lists.

Comment provided April 13, 2011 at 4:51 PM


Why? Explain further please


Jan Verhoeff writes:

I hate using numbered lists, because I [can’t count] have a real problem remembering to check all the numbers. It’s the DITZ in me, but seriously, it drives me nutty trying to make sure I have the same number… At least it did, until I started writing my titles last.

I always have a writing title, such as:

Writing Title

Then my final title offers the promise, lists numbers, etc. Such as:

Writing Title – 5 Tips for Creating Great Titles

It makes it really easy not to over promise my readers content.

Thanks for the additional tips.

Comment provided April 14, 2011 at 12:27 AM


Pallav writes:

Creating an appropriate Title is extremely important for attracting readers however some people try to dupe readers by misleading titles. EzineArticles truly deserves a standing ovation for maintaining such high standards. Over delivering the right way is crucial and the points mentioned here are realistic. We all hate to read something that doesn’t satisfy the promise made in the title except metaphorical write-ups. Nice read.

Comment provided April 14, 2011 at 12:49 AM



Over delivering can happen due to author’s carelessness in crafting the title. But less delivering or deviating from the subject totally is a greater crime. Author’s credibility is lost on account of these.

Comment provided April 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM


Elisabeth Kuhn writes:

Hi Penny,

Thanks for the helpful article. I’ve been guilty of losing count a couple of times, and now make sure I go back to the title and the introduction and double-check that the numbers all match.

I also especially like your cool examples for how to overdeliver without seeming to have lost count of the promised number of points.

I’ll be sure to use this technique in some of my upcoming articles ;-)

Comment provided April 14, 2011 at 9:52 PM


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment policy before commenting.