Before publishing an article, review, essay, paper, or video, be sure to spend a few minutes to make sure you select the best title. A good headline is a matter of life and death.
Choosing good essay titles, you instantly receive the reader’s response. The headline helps your readers quickly determine whether they need your article or presentation, why they need to buy, download or open a page with your content, and what benefits they receive by reading your paper.
By selecting an uninteresting title, you make your essay, presentation, or other content invisible to most of the audience. The title is the most important element. It attracts the attention of the audience to the content. Materials go unnoticed if you use a gray and inconspicuous title.
This article will introduce you to the main characteristics of successful titles. It includes questions, answering which you will learn to create high-quality and catchy headlines.
Does Your Title Promise Benefits to the Audience?
Choose a title that clearly tells the readers the benefits and advantages that they will get thanks to your product or your service. The best title solves the task or helps the audience achieve the desired goal.
Compare the following titles:
- Tools and techniques for graphic design.
- Improve in design: a guide to the use of basic tools and techniques.
The first heading tells the reader about the content of the article. The second title describes the benefits that the reader will receive after reading the article.
Does Your Title Contain Specific Details That Emphasize Its Relevance and Value?
Specific details in the title, for example, exact numbers, attract additional attention to your content. numbers structure information, as can be seen from the example of Stephen Covey’s book 7 Skills of Highly Effective People. Imagine the title of this book without numbers – Skills of highly effective people – it does not sound very convincing, does it?
The numbers in the title also help to take information gradually. It is a question of step-by-step achievement of any complicated goal. For example, pay attention to the title of Terry Orbach’s book 6 Steps to an Ideal Marriage. Another example is the article 100 Main Skills of an SMM Specialist.
Moreover, the numbers can make your content more relevant by offering the reader a specific time frame or a timetable for achieving the goal. For example, the title Lose 21 Pounds in 21 Days sounds very convincing. The title of this book accurately shows the reader how many pounds of excess weight he will lose and how much it will take him. Buyers of books on diet and other methods of weight correction certainly want to know the exact results of the application of the methods described.
Another example on the subject of numbers is a book by Yana Frank called 365 Days of a Very Creative Person. There are a lot of examples of successful essay titles with numbers. The main thing is the ability to use these numbers appropriately.
Does Your Title Consider the Target Audience for Which the Content Is Intended?
Identify the target audience of your content using the title where possible. This makes your materials personalized. You can identify target readers by explicitly naming them or specifying their key characteristics. The more obvious it is, the better.
For example, the title of the book Attract Customers: a 28-Day Marketing Course for Professionals, Coaches, and Consultants defines the audience by occupation. Heidi Muroff and Sharon Mazel use the title What to Expect When You’re Expecting to point out the target buyers of the book, describing the circumstances in which they find themselves. A similar technique is used by the author of the book Survival Guide for Single Mothers by Patrice Karst.
Some authors manage to determine the target audience, telling who the readers are not. For example, Robin Williams created the guide titles Design for Non-Designers.
Does Your Title Help Position Your Content?
A series of books... for Dummies is one of the successful examples of positioning content using a header. For example, the book Red Wine for Dummies is unlikely to interest experts and connoisseurs of this drink. However, if you want to get a basic knowledge of red wine, this title will quickly attract your attention.
The name can position your content, directly pointing to the method used to solve the problem. Prevention of Cancer by Natural Means is an example of this approach.
Do you Try to Provoke Curiosity in Potential Readers?
As all kinds of books on literary analysis and the nature of literary creativity indicate, interest in the text is born when the text exceeds our inner expectation from it. This is due to certain techniques that break the general paradigm of the text and the familiar picture of the world.
There are three such methods:
- Metaphors. They make the essay titles more understandable and memorable. They create images that remain in the reader’s memory. A metaphor is a transfer of meaning, the use of a word in a figurative sense. It is very simple to come up with a metaphorical title. But it is important not only to invent it, it is much more important to appropriately use it in the text. The title is a bait, a hook. If you deceive the reader’s expectations by not playing the title in the text, you will lose confidence in your next headlines.
- Alliteration is another way to make the title memorable. It involves the repetition of homogeneous or identical consonants in the words of the title. Alliteration is a technique more characteristic of poetic speech. But creating headlines is much closer to versification than it might seem at first glance.
- Contradictions or unexpected expressions also arouse readers’ curiosity. They remain winning against trivial headlines. The title of Tim Ferris’s book The Four-Hour Workweek is an example of the use of an unexpected phrase. Many buyers do not believe that you can only work four hours a week, so they are interested in the book.
Does Your Title Start a Dialogue with the Audience?
Pack in the title of your essay a promise made in simple and understandable words. The best headlines retain almost naive evidence, characteristic of everyday dialogues of ordinary people. Note the following examples:
- How to finish the business started.
- Easy Way to Quit Smoking.
Choose the right verbs by creating titles. Also use verbal nouns. They form the right attitude to the essay from the reader.
- Incentive verbs are one of the most successful forms for the title. They direct readers to a specific action. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one example of the use of incentive verbs in a title.
- The verbal nouns used in the title describe continuing action.
How Short Is Your Headline?
An obvious truth is the fact that short titles attract more attention of the audience. Remember, the fewer words you use in essay titles, the stronger each of them is remembered by a potential reader.
Writer Malcolm Gladwell is considered a recognized master of short headlines. Pay attention, for example, to the title of his book The Outliers – a capacious and short title.
The subtitle is the reinforcement of your title. Combine short titles with longer subheads that reveal some details.
Author Larry Fine successfully used the title and subtitle. His work is called Book About the Piano: Buying and Using the Instrument.
Coming Up with a Good Title for the Essay
There are many options, here are some of them:
- You can use any catchy phrase: he left to return or saving people as a profession. The main thing is that this phrase reflects the essence of the material. If the material under the heading He Left to Return will not be about a war veteran, but, say, a teenager who escaped from the house to spite his parents, the reader will be confused.
- The destruction of established idioms (i.e., phraseological units) and the formation of new phrases with a new paradoxical meaning using their parts is a proven and, in most cases, a successful way to attract readers’ attention. Such headlines already create a certain image for the article. Such headlines are excellent for analytical materials on a serious topic.
- Contamination (i.e., change) of meanings is also a good way to form titles. Indestructible Shrine can be a good about corruption. The combination of humor and creativity is the source material for such headlines. They are great for all kinds of articles and essays, critical reporting and accusations of compromising material.
- The use of unusual characters or combinations of letters in the title. For example, the classic is the use of the @.
The proposed options are good for high-quality essays. The authors of good titles use two or more techniques from those described above to attract the attention of the audience. For example, alliteration and metaphors can be successfully combined with subheadings that detail information.