Tips for Writing Killer Titles

Tips for Writing Killer Titles

We’ve all been there. You write something useful and interesting in just your signature wit and style, then it comes time to release it out into the wild. But what should you call it? 
You want people to read it. You don’t want it to blend in with the million other articles that are similar, but you also want it to rank for search… what’s a girl to do? 

Don’t promise too little

You want people to click. And you want to stand out in the crowd. But you also want to rank for SEO keywords, I get it. Try to get clever with at least one part of your title. Maybe your title is super straightforward but your subtitle is quippy or vice versa. Try to reveal some of your purpose and personality in your titles. 

But don’t give away the ending! 

Make your title enticing and leave your readers a reason to read. This is why listicles are so enticing. They hook you with the idea of a subject that you’re interested in and offer you a whole bunch of that one thing. 

Deliver on what you DO promise

We’ve all been here too… you see a crazy awesome title and click on it only to realize that it was total clickbait. They’re not actually going to tell you all about the “One Weird Secret That Melts Belly Fat.” Obviously, unless you’re just fishing for clicks, you’re not going to make any titles that deceiving… but not delivering on the content promised in your title is a fast track to eroding trust with your audience. 

Don’t write the exact same thing that everyone else is writing

The point here is to have a position. You’re never going to steal clicks from NPR on the latest breaking news. So if you’re going to bother writing about a trending topic, first determine:

  1. If you’re too late. Is it still relevant? 
  2. If it is relevant to your niche/topic? Is this something your audience cares about?
  3. Do you have the proper authority to write about this with intelligence? 
  4. Have your own position/ angle on the topic. Again, NPR has the facts covered, what’s your unique take on the topic? 

Don’t be contrarian just for clicks

This is a pet peeve of ours. Sometimes “authorities” will chastise a popular topic just to jump on the trending bandwagon…. even though their criticism is hypocritical or downright contrary to the advice they’ve given their own readers in the past.  If you’ve got an engaged following, you’re going to have to defend your position. So.. you know, be ready for that. 

Tips/ Tricks Ideas:

  • Ask an intriguing question (make sure you can answer it!) 
  •  People love lists
  • Puns rule

  • Alliteration is fun

  • Don’t be afraid to be cheeky

Examples of  titles + subject lines that have caught our eye:

“Viva La Microinfluencer”  Little style, little keyword. 

Subject: Doesn't that hurt your butt?
Headline: Ouch, you on the fence about [this course]? Fences are the worst thing to sit on. Pointy. No lumbar support.
Funny and persuasive. They get you click because you’re just curious, then they anticipate your emotions and speak to them. 

The most popular Android apps of all time will shock you (lol, not really) 
Uses clickbait principles but puts you in on the joke

Everyone Overlooks Great Job Candidates. Even You
Makes you worried that you’ll miss something important if you don’t read

Are Uber Employees Jumping Ship?
Well, are they? Damnit. You’ve got to know. 

Here’s How to Make 21 Meals for Under $51
Tell me. And take my money while you’re at it. List +  how-to = winner. 

Creative Community Director at Snapfluence. 

There is often a pen stuck in my hair.