Title Workshop: 5 Smart Ways to Give Your Titles Love

Even Titles Need Tender Loving Care

You need to focus more time on your titles because crummy titles will kill your success. Think about it like this:

Content x Title = Exposure

Now let’s take this a step further. Imagine you’ve spent hours or even days writing a quality, innovative article that’s loaded with originality, but zero (quality) time on your title. And what do you get when you multiply anything by zero? Zero.

Several hours or days writing content x 0 title writing = 0 Exposure

As you can see, it won’t make a difference how much time you spend on your article if you choose to spend zero time on the clickability of your title. Your title is the amplifier that determines your article’s exposure (i.e., the amount of readers who visit, share, and engage with your article). So you can see, skipping your title is like shooting yourself in the foot right before a race.

That’s not to say you should throw in the towel! DO spend time writing a quality, original article that creates value for your readers. And DO spend time crafting a quality, relevant title that piques a reader’s curiosity and encourages them to click for more information. Your efforts will not be in vain because your time will nurture great exposure.

Okay, so you admit: Your titles can be better. Let’s make it so.

5 Methods to Increase the Clickability of Your Article Titles

  1. Use Active Voice

    Where passive voice makes titles meander at a slower pace, active voice gives titles gratifying momentum. For example:

    • [Passive Voice] Water Found on Mars by Curiosity Rover!
    • [Active Voice] Curiosity Rover Finds Water on Mars!*

    *Disclaimer: We are not stating that NASA’s Curiosity rover has found hard evidence of water on Mars, but they are reporting having found clues of possible water flows on Mars.

  2. Use Power Words

    Power words can instantly make your titles pop:

    • Make it Profitable: Rich, Greatest, Gift, Profit, Frenzy, Double, Feast, Fortune, Prize
    • Inspire Motivation: Conquer, Victory, Delight, Sensational, Fulfill, Miracle, Hope, Daring
    • Invoke Fear: Beating, Bloodbath, Horrific, Terror, Destroy, Volatile, Catastrophe
    • Provide Safety: Secure, Tested, Verify, Protected, Certified, Guaranteed, Backed, Authentic
    • Be Secretive: Concealed, Private, Forbidden, Confidential, Blacklisted, Behind-the-Scenes
  3. Evoke Curiosity

    You need to strike a balance by finding that sweet spot between vague and specific. For instance, you don’t want to be so vague that you cannot connect to the reader or they don’t have a good grasp of what your article is about. Nor do you want to be so specific that you give it all away and your audience doesn’t need to click.

    Create an information gap between what your audience knows and what they want to know. Use these two elements:

    • Change (New or Remarkable Concept/Idea/Thing That Piques Their Curiosity)
    • Desirable Outcome (What Your Audience Wants or Something Better Than They Could Ever Imagine)
  4. Study Trends

    Stay tuned to social media and trends. You can spot headlines that are quite simply masterful in writing great titles by the engagement and response of its audience. Consider the following:

    • What about the title drew you in?
    • Were power words used?
    • Was there a curiosity gap?
  5. Practice. Practice. Practice.

    Write a title. Write a variation of it. Rewrite it again and again. In fact, write 10-20 different titles for the same article. Pick the best one. Test. Test. Test. Find what works for you in attracting your audience.

5 Cardinal Rules of Article Titles

Before we leave, please follow these 5 Cardinal Rules of article titles:

  1. Thou shalt be accurate and relate the article body to the article title.
  2. Thou shalt write for humans and not search engines.
  3. Thou shalt use proper grammar and spelling.
  4. Thou shalt promise to never, ever use bait and switch tactics.
  5. Thou shalt refrain form the usage of emoticons, smartquotes, or other superfluous characters.

Related Articles

Can’t get enough of titles? Then check out these great related articles:

  • The Long-Tail Method: How to Write Great Titles So Easily, You’ll Wonder Why You Didn’t Do It Before [Click Here]
  • The Thesaurus: Your Dark Horse to Writing Killer Titles? [Click Here]
  • Article Titles Demand More Effort to Avoid Wasting Time [Click Here]
  • Title Power: A Guide to Great Titles [Click Here]
  • What to Capitalize in a Title [Click Here]
  • Article Titles and Broken Promises [Click Here]

Use these tips to give your titles love and amplify your exposure! What tips do you have for writing great titles? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

This post was last modified at 8:38 AM on Wednesday, February 19, 2013.

14 Comments »


1
Mark writes:

The title must match and live up to your content. Nothing worse than getting sucked in to an article that is misleading.

Comment provided February 12, 2014 at 10:43 AM

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2

This article will definitely be in our bookmarks as it has a lot of useful tips that we can refer to over again. I would even go so far as to classify it as “Evergreen Content”.

It also occurs to me that this device can also be used when writing a given webpage’s Title Tag as wells as its what users see in the search engines.

Comment provided February 12, 2014 at 1:15 PM

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3
Santanu D. writes:

Already bookmarked this article, awesome one!!

Comment provided February 12, 2014 at 8:39 PM

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4
maxwell ivey writes:

Hello; this was a solid post on writing better titles. we really got ten tips because we all need to be reminded of the instructions in your five cardinal rules at the end. My problem with titles is i tend to make them to long and as a result to specific. I need to work on the curiosity factor. thanks again and tai care, max

Comment provided February 13, 2014 at 12:03 AM

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5
R. Sundaram writes:

As a writer I totally agree with the points in the blog post. All your hard work in writing a scintillating article gets killed if your title is “so so” not catch the visitor by the neck and make them read your article fully. As a practice when I “conceive” an article in my mind, first thing I begin with is the Title. (There are other school of thought as well to write the article first and then write the title…but I don’t agree). Best way is just step into the shoes of the reader. If you were the reader of the stuff you are presenting what title can lure him or her to compel reading till the last line? Think that way; many words for the title will flash; write down them first; read all; strike those that are not pleasing; even if all the titles are not up to the mark strike them all and rewrite; you will get the best of best finally. But by practice of more than 7 years I analyze each title in my mind (without writing them) and select the final one to write down (even this can also undergo pruning when the final editing of the article as a whole is carried out). Best of Luck!

Comment provided February 13, 2014 at 1:15 AM

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6

This is old wine in new bottle.

Comment provided February 13, 2014 at 2:05 AM

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7

Thank you so much for that article and timely advice.I have not started to write my articles yet because I did not know how to write my title and where to begin my discussion of my topic of women health issues.I will begin my article writing today and start to practice on writing the titles first 10 -20 times as suggested.

Comment provided February 13, 2014 at 8:31 AM

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8
milan zones writes:

Nice Article on writing better titles.It also occurs to me that this device can also be used when writing a given webpage’s Title Tag as wells as its what users see in the search engine

Comment provided February 14, 2014 at 2:51 AM

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9
Gracious Store writes:

Thanks on these helpful tips on how to write good titles

Comment provided February 14, 2014 at 5:04 PM

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10
Matthew Morris writes:

You can have an article with amazing content, but if the title turns people off, it will never get many reads.

Comment provided February 14, 2014 at 8:23 PM

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11
Parth writes:

Good stuff, Really you explained whole thing which is not done by mostly writers. I have seen many writers, they write title by seeing their competitors blogs or articles :). They modify one and two words and post the blogs. But it is being done by mostly SEO companies. You gave a good examples. Thank you!!

Comment provided February 17, 2014 at 3:44 AM

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12
Rosalinda Flores - Martinez writes:

Inspiring! Thank you.

Comment provided February 18, 2014 at 12:39 AM

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13
Dung Tran writes:

helpful, bookmarked this article

Comment provided February 23, 2014 at 5:49 AM

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14
Dennis Roberts writes:

Awesome post. I learned a lot. Now i’m going to implement

Comment provided April 22, 2014 at 9:30 PM

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