Together with the post image, your post title has the job of compelling the reader to open and read your post.
This is often referred to as “Selling the open” and it applies to marketing, advertising and communications of all kinds.
Like everything else you write, you want your post title to be engaging and interesting.
Unfortunately, most post titles are down-right boring, but you can ensure that that particular criticism never applies to your titles by following some simple, common-sense advice.
When writing a post title, there is one, main question to ask yourself:
“How will my title communicate the Big-Idea of my post in a way that compels the reader to open it?”
While it’s true that your title must explain to the reader what the post is about, it can’t stop there. It should do so in a way that makes him or her unable to skip your post without opening it.
Creating the desire to open your post can be achieved through the use of certain, “universal persuaders,” that most people respond positively to. Some of these persuaders include:
- Revealing a secret or disclosing insider knowledge.
- Providing peer proof or support.
- Stating and solving a reader’s problem.
- Offering gain, or the prevention of loss.
Let’s look at examples of each of these persuaders:
Revealing a Secret or Disclosing Insider Knowledge
People are curious and want to be in the know. Promising to let them in on a secret is a nearly fool-proof way of getting them to read your post.
“Our CEO Fills You in on Her Secret Game Plan for 2017”
“Top-secret Fall Product Listing Revealed. Open Now.”
Providing Peer Proof or Support
People like to know that what they do and say is validated by their peers.
“Everyone in HR Agrees that THIS is the Right Way to Interview”
“99.9% are “Thumbs Up” on the New Employee Benefits Plan”
Stating and Solving a Reader’s Problem
No one can ignore a chance to learn how to solve their problems.
“Feeling Financial Stress? Details on Free, Confidential Money Counselling Here.”
“How To Save 2.5 Hours PER WEEK in Activity Reporting Time.”
Promise of Gain or Prevention of Loss
And few can ignore the chance to get something, or to prevent the loss of something valuable that they already have.
“Good Times for ALL at the Summer Party! You’re Going, Right?”
“Can you say ‘No’ to a Chance to Win $500? Unless You Read This You Will Miss Out!”
These universal persuaders, and others like them, have been developed by master-marketers and persuaders through years and years of testing and research, and you can make use of the same principals that have worked in the past, and that continue to work to this day.
Now don’t get all stressed out about becoming a “title-writing guru” over night. Just think about these persuaders every time you need to create a post title and sooner than you think you’ll be crafting compelling post titles that simply can’t be ignored.
Now, before you go onto the next module, look below for three bonus tips that will help you craft even stronger post titles.
These bonus tips will help make your post-title writing even more effective.
#1 Create Strong Titles with Strong, Specific Wording
Strong words compel more than weak words, and specifics are more persuasive than generalities. Make your titles stronger and more compelling by using strong words and specific claims.
Consider these two titles and decide which is more compelling:
“A Good Way to be More Productive”
“A Proven Method of Boosting Your Productivity by 55%”
The second title is much more compelling due to its use of strong words (“Proven Method” vs “Good Way”) and specific claims (“55% Productivity Boost” vs “More Productive”). Be sure, however, that you can prove the specifics that you’re quoting. Don’t make things up just for the sake of a stronger title.
#2 Avoid Hype
In our online world, hype is king and people are jaded by the constant stream of over-the-top promotion in everything from email messages to YouTube titles. For example,
“Our Conference is the Best Ever Seen in the World. Be There!”
Ugh. This title is just plain bad due to it’s hyped-up, un-provable claim. Consider instead,
“Sold Out, Year After Year, Our Conference Delivers. Book Now.”
As long as the “sold out” statement is true, this title persuades without hype and is much more believable.
#3 Just Keep Writing Titles
The more titles you write, the better your skills will become, so just keep writing and think about what you’ve learned here, and on the job, every time you write a title for your next Sparrow post.