14 Easy techniques to write effective titles
Author Candice Neo
Fellow content writers, are you committing this deadly mistake?
Most of us spend hours writing excellent content, but we're often not willing to spend even 10 minutes crafting a good title.
Think about picking up a book at the bookstore with thousands of books, if you have a bad title, you can easily glance past it. Imagine spending thousands of hours writing the book just to get ignored because of the title.
Do you know that having a better title can actually increase your click-through rate (CTR) by 10 times?
Also, more than 80% of your readers are just scanning your titles. So how can you draw their attention like a magnet?
Here are 14 tried-and-tested simple techniques we've used to write effective titles:
1. Tag along with something popular
People take more notice of things they already know.
So tag your product to something more popular and show why your product is more superior. It can be a popular place, person or phenomenon.
- Skip McDonald's breakfast: This kopitiam stall serves up affordable Western breakfasts you and your kids would love
- Michelle Phan's 6-step skincare routine to achieve a flawless face
2. Use negative titles
Humans are weird. We always crave for things we don't have, and do what we are told not to do.
So using negative titles will just make people even more curious.
- 5 Facts about living in Bangsar you may not want to know
- Most people fail this colour test. Are you one of them?
- Thai food is not just about Tom Yum and Phad Thai: 7 Lesser-known Thai dishes you have probably never tried!
3. Use numbers
Numbers help us to visualise what you're illustrating and organise information.
A listicle makes an article easier to read and saves time.
Pro tip: Replace adjectives/subjective terms with numbers.
- Here's how I lost 10kg in 30 days
- How Dropbox used a referral program to grow 3900% in 15 months
4. Use a cliffhanger to make people curious
Humans are naturally curious, so any title that creates a curiosity gap is a good title.
If you already share every bit of information in the title, there's no reason for people to click into your post to check out more.
So dangle enough carrots to lead readers in to find out more.
- This glasshouse cafe in Penang has an indoor jaccuzzi pool and a beauty salon!
- I challenged former president Trump to a duel. Here's what happened.
5. Opt for simple words
Let's conjure up an onerous circumstance when more than one of us individuals have to decipher formidable stanzas – isn't it a mouthful?
Keep your title simple and clear.
- Instead of "5 aperitives to start your meal with", use "5 tasty appetisers to start your meal with"
6. Use "I" in your title to connect with people
People love reading about authentic experiences. Share your mistakes and failures, or even hilarious episodes. It will make your readers feel you're speaking to them directly.
- I killed 3 succulents in 5 days. Here's what every gardening beginner should not do
- I queued 3 hours for a McDonald's BTS meal. Here's my honest review.
7. Start with a question
Use either open or close-ended questions to spark curiosity and encourage participation and discussion.
It will make people switch from passive to active reading if this is a question they care about.
- How do you know if you are investing in the wrong property?
- Why are there brown spots on my air plant?
- Are you spending too much money on Facebook ads?
8. Front-load important SEO keywords
People scan your titles. So the first three words are especially important.
Make sure you front-load the most important keywords your customers are searching for. It helps to rank your link higher on search engines.
Even better if you can end with a punch.
- 7 SEO tips for new websites that will make every beginner an expert
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9. Challenge your audience
Everyone loves a good challenge. People want to prove that they can pass the test.
This would increase engagement and might even spark discussion.
- Does your egg fried rice pass the Uncle Roger test?
- Will your Asian mom approve of your girlfriend? Use this checklist to find out
10. Give a problem and solution (but don't reveal it completely)
Show people that you know their problem.
And show that you have a solution. They just need to click into your link to find out.
Don't reveal your solution in your title. Doing so would give no reason for people to click into your post to check out more.
- Are you balding but don't want expensive hair treatments? Here's a natural home remedy.
- Can't meet your friends during lockdown? Here's 10 interactive virtual activities you can do together
11. Get to the point
Don't waste any words. People don't want to spend extra time reading.
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12. Use powerful/sensational words
Instead of 'very good', say 'superb'.
Instead of 'unique', say 'extraordinary'.
Some words stand out more than others and can better illustrate the meaning you want to convey with more dramatic effect.
Doing so will catch readers' attention.
- You’ll be floored by these 5 little known work-from-home best practices.
- How I learnt to stop procrastinating and skyrocketed my productivity.
13. Address your target audience directly
When you speak to your target audience directly, it will prompt them to pay more attention to you.
Imagine speaking on a loudspeaker and addressing a specific group of 10 people versus addressing the entire crowd of 100 people. Which one will turn heads and get your target audience to pay attention?
- To Housewives who buy condensed milk
- This amazing new formula from Beverly Hills lets you look years younger
14. Write more than one headline
A US publication Upworthy once had a 25-headline rule
It's crazy, but we can assure you it works. The key idea is that when you write more than one headline, you get creative and you find more than one way to capture readers' attention.
I hope you have found the above techniques useful! These are just techniques to craft relatively straightforward titles.
To really unlock your viral potential, besides using these tactical title techniques, you need to successfully invoke emotions in your audience. That’s the real secret of viral marketing.
What emotions are most effective? And how can you invoke them?
Learn how to do primal story angling that makes use of an acute understanding of human behaviour, so that you can craft effective titles, master the art of storytelling, use effective visuals, and make your audience remember you with our Supercharge Your Sales with Content Marketing course.
In this course, you will also be provided with story angling and title templates that will accelerate your levelling up journey to become a title ninja in no time!
Find out more below.
Supercharge Your Sales with Content Marketing | Academy T
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