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How to Create a Catchy Title in 2012

Everyone knows that readers scroll down a blog until they find a title they like. I do it all the time, and why shouldn’t I? A title is supposed to let me know what the article is about, and I am not interested in spending my time reading a bunch of articles that don’t interest me. Ironically enough, this is the attitude that I as a blog editor try so hard to counteract. As a blog owner, you want every article to be of interest to someone who comes to your blog. You want them to see that catchy title and decide that the article is worthy of their precious time.

In other words, the title matters. The title is the first impression of the article. Think about how important it is to make a good first impression on a job interview, on a date, when someone pulls up to your house. It matters, and a title follows these same rules. The title of all your blog posts should do four things:

  1. Catch a reader’s attention
  2. Tell what the article will discuss
  3. Give the reader a reason to read the article

Unfortunately, creating a catchy title can be difficult. Writers are typically long-winded individuals, so summing up their entire article in one little title is often a challenge. It can also be tough to encompass all four things into one title. Consider these three aspects and some of the things you can do to help create a great title (not necessarily in this order):

Creating a Catchy Title is as Easy as 1,2,3

1. The How – Catch a Reader’s Attention

There are several different ways you can try and grab the reader’s attention in a title. I think the best way is to add some sort of statistic or breaking news that would surprise people. Every article will obviously not cater to this sort of title, but if you’re reporting on something surprising, put that in the title. You can also help catch a reader’s attention by bringing in a celebrity. For example, “Why Justin Beiber Wins Klout” or “Why John Mayer Doesn’t Understand SEO” will surely bring in a few fans. Even if the article is not entirely about the celebrity, just putting their name in the title and then tying them into the article will help get people excited about the piece. 

2.    The What – Tell a Reader What the Article Will Discuss

A great title let’s readers know what to expect. Titles such as “How to Write a Catchy Headline” or “Top 3 SEO Plugins” are extremely popular because they are clear and to the point. Readers are attracted to articles like this because they sound organized. Being able to glance over an article and see the 3 things discussed or clear step by step instructions is appealing. It lets them know that the article is simple and won’t take up too much of their time.

This alone could catch a reader’s attention, but many editors put the two aspects of headline creation together. For example, you could say “85% of People Prefer to Read Infographics: How to Make Your Infographic Stand Out.” This brings in something that will catch the attention of the reader, yet it still lets them know what they will find in the article. Some will argue that titles that follow this formula are too long, but it is possible to make them work with a little bit of tweaking.

3.    The Why and When – Give the Reader a Reason to Read the Article

Titles that have a call to action usually work well for blog posts. Titles such as “Job Interview Must-Knows” or “Why SEO Will Help You Increase Your Pay 10% Annually” are sure to get some hits. This lets readers know why they need to read the article at that very moment. It also works to put the specific year in the title (like I did above).

Creating a title that encompasses all these components isn’t always possible. Although this is the goal, combining just a few should do the trick.

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Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to medical billing software. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including document software to small businesses and entrepreneurs for a b2b lead generation company, Resource Nation.