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