This Title Is the 1st Thing People Read (And 83% Won’t Read Any Further)

Improving Titles for Better Visibility and Getting More Readers

Image for post
Image for post
Headlines — Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Blah, ugh. Boring. Bland. Even I don’t want to read that — and I wrote it.

After see the message about it not being curated, reviewing the article, and blaming the poor title, I then rewrote it with the spiffy new messaging stating: “3 Key Elements To Taking Meeting Notes In The Business World“. Not the greatest title ever, but definitely an improvement. While this was discouraging, the world of blogging and writing is not an easy one. There are always more lessons to be learned. But this lesson brings up a good question.

Why are titles so important?

The answer is easy. Human nature. Humans read from left to right, top to bottom. The human eye is drawn to bigger text. The title of an article on the web checks all of these boxes. If you want attention, you need to give people a reason to read past that text.

Image for post
Image for post

So how does one go about writing a title that is eye catching so it entices the reader past the initial first glance?

The following are some tips, tricks, and ideas for improving your own article titles and headlines. It isn’t hard — you can put as little or as much effort into it that you want to. Just know that titles are one of, if not the most important function of a post. They draw people in and provide them with the desire to read the article, which is the whole point of writing things on the internet.

Option 1: Use a Formula or a Title Maker

This may be the easiest way to generate titles that get attention. A solid formula was created by Jeff Goins and consists of attempting to draw the reader in using a draw in the title. Think of this like fishing. You need the right bait, for the right kind of fish, in an area where those fish are. Even then you might only get nibbles. But if you hit a school of fish that are hungry with the right bait? Better hang on tight because you just hit the jackpot.

  • Topic: Taking Meeting Notes Title: 3 Key Elements for Meeting Notes at Work that Cover Your Butt
  • Topic: Drinking Coffee Title: Warning! How to Avoid Overdoing It On Caffeine At Work
Image for post
Image for post
Screenshot of the Portent Content Idea Generator

Option #2 — Be Creative and Come Up With Your Own Titles

Nothing wrong with this approach, but it does take more effort and creativity. However, it can be more fulfilling as the end result are your words in the format that makes sense to you. Hopefully this same result is appreciated by your readers! Here are a collection of tricks and secrets to write your own successful headlines!

  • Get your flirt on! If you tease and inform it can draw readers in: Attempt to educate in the title, or at least tease the learning that is provided in the article. Hint at the goods to come without revealing everything right up front. The headline should entice readers in, but make sure to back up that lure with a substantial article following the title
  • Read the newspaper: The OG of titles and headlines, newspapers have been honing this skill over the past 100 years. There are lots of examples in any newspaper and plenty of articles about writing headlines like: The Secret to Writing Great Headlines for Your News Stories which provides tips like: Be Accurate, Fill the Space, Be Direct, Use Active Voice, Write in Present Tense, and Avoid Bad Breaks
  • Use the Thesarus: Get more mileage out of your writing by using better vocabulary in your titles. Avoid ‘things’ and ‘stuff’. Replace them with ‘essence’ and ‘substance’. Go for emotional triggers with words like ‘painstaking’, ‘essential’, and ‘strange’.
  • Use the 5 Ws: Using one of these triggers in a title explains and answers questions right up front. Using Who, What, When, Where, Why (don’t forget How) challenges the reader and lets them know that you will be answering their burning questions in this article
  • Be Yourself: Or, you can just throw all of these tips out the window and just be yourself. Remember why you are writing. Is it to try and pay rent? You might want to pay close attention to the best practices in order to maximize your results. Are you doing this as a passion project or hobby? Have at it, be weird, try and be funny, or just do what makes you happy. The only true validation you need is what you see in the mirror

Written by

Engineer. Manager. Husband. Father. Wanna-be Writer. Editor-In-Chief & Grand Poobah of www.kevinwanke.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store