Writing Great Titles for Beginners
In an instant, readers weigh, measure, and decide whether they will click-through or move on. What do they use to decide? Your article’s title.
Writing titles that your audience wants to read doesn’t have to be an agonizing process. All you need to do is practice, execute, and monitor the article’s performance to see what’s working for you.
Best Practices of Great Title Writers: Keep an Idea Journal
First, a good habit to get into is keeping an idea journal that will double as your title stockpile. Get a notebook and draw a vertical line down the middle of the page. In the left column, jot down ideas, topics, questions, keyword research, etc. In the right column, brainstorm possible titles related to these concepts. Leave no idea left unturned!
For reference and inspiration, create a word cloud in your idea journal that addresses all of your audience’s wants, hopes, needs, desires, values, emotions, etc. For example, some words might be “Freedom,” “Money,” “Happy,” “Health,” and “Free.”
10 Title Ground Rules to Keep Your Titles in the Game
Next, bear the following ground rules in mind to increase your chances of success:
- Titles should be written for humans, not search engines.
- Titles should be descriptive while maintaining brevity.
- Titles should use proper grammar, capitalization, and spelling.
- Titles should be relevant to the article.
- Titles should be approximately 70 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
- Titles should not be keyword stuffed.
- Titles should use keywords distributed using the Long Tail method.
- Titles should be exclusive and original to you.*
- Titles should use active voice.
- Titles should use positive power words.
* Title Success Tip: To avoid cannibalizing your articles or having your own articles compete for a reader’s attention as well as search engines, create original titles for each article.
5 Tips to Writing Titles That Will Get Your Article Read
Finally, readers tend to gravitate toward certain titles. Try the following 5 angles in your titles:
#1 – 10 Tips … or 10 Ways … Readers love to be promised a numerical amount as well as multiple tips or options.
#2 – The Secret to … Mysteries, secrets, keys, and intrigue make the reader feel like you’re disclosing privileged information exclusively for their benefit.
#3 – Club Members Only … If your article targets a particular group of people, socially or geographically, let readers know in the title. Examples of this might be womens issues or mens issues, teachers or students, etc.
#4 – It’s Positively Easy … Seamless, easy, efficient, and effective – these are words readers like to hear. Focus on a positive message your readers will respond to. Readers are more likely to read “Reupholstering Chairs in Five Easy Steps,” than “Reupholstering Chairs in Five Exhausting Steps.”
#5 – The Question on Everyone’s Mind … From “Where Is” to “How to” to “What Is,” use questions your audience is asking to engage their interest.
Bonus – What and Why … “What Everyone Should Know About …” and “Why” statement titles promise the reader a thorough explanation that will fulfill their needs.
Use these beginner title writing tips to get your articles read! Have you tried a title journal or idea notebook? Have any more title tips? Let us know in the comments section below.