How to Write a Compelling Title in 5 Easy Steps

Janet Phelps       ,

The title is the most important part of a piece of writing. The title is the bait, and to hook a reader, you must give them something they want to bite.

Think about a fancy French bakery, what is it that makes you go inside? Most of all, it’s that glorious aroma that wakes the appetite and promises something good to sink your teeth into in return for your time and money. Similarly, a title must do the same; it must hold the promise of something good for the reader, something which will benefit them.

1. What we can Learn from the Experts

The Internet is the most competitive place for writers fighting to get their work read. 80% of people searching a relevant topic may see your headline, but only 20% will read it. The tricks that online content writers use to craft their titles can benefit any writer, regardless of whether they are working online or offline.

2. Why Keywords are the Key

Everyone’s heard about the importance of including keywords when writing for the internet, but the same principle applies whether you are writing online or offline.

Keywords for SEO (search engine optimization) are based on the words most people commonly associate with a topic. In other words, keywords are the words that most people will type into a search engine when looking for information on a certain topic, and the search engine will locate your article far easier if you have used those keywords in the title.

Online or offline, writers that employ these keywords in their titles are speaking the language of the reader, and are much more likely to get their title noticed. It’s simple. Research SEO keywords, and you’ll write excellent titles.

3. How the “How to…” formula leads to success

In return for reading your writing, a “How to…” title offers an immediate benefit to the reader. They will learn how to achieve something they want.

On the internet, this is particularly important because people reading on the Internet read differently to people reading in print. There is so much information on the web, readers scan first to see if the piece is what they’re looking for, before navigating away if it isn’t.

However, this also applies to offline writing. If the reader thinks they will gain something from reading the piece, they will be much more willing to give up their time.

4. 2 Reasons Why List Titles are Effective

“List” titles are titles which promise a numbered or bulleted list.

They are highly effective because:

  1. They are highly scannable, and readers can quickly see whether the content is what they are looking for.
  2. Numbered or bulleted lists make information much more easily digested and understood. The chances of the reader receiving their benefit in return for reading your content will be much more certain.

5. Why Using Question Words as Statements Works

Using question words, such as “Why…”, “How…” and “What…” in declarative sentence titles is highly effective because they also highlight the reward a reader gets if they read your content.

“How the Web Helps Writers Write” is much more compelling than “The Web Helps Writers Write”.