It is human tendency to be attracted towards things that catch our attention. Be it a book, a research paper or a blog, the number of eyeballs your writing attracts depends on how catchy your headline is.
Choosing the perfect title is one of the most important parts of writing, but more often than not, people tend to underestimate the power of a catchy title.
Before we dive into the ‘How-To’s’ of writing the perfect title, it is essential to know about the different styles of titles. Here are seven widely used styles:
Asking a question
One of the easiest ways to make a dull headline catchy is by asking an intriguing question. An article with a simple title like ‘Ways to get rich’ can be made really appealing by turning the title into ‘Do you want to know the one trick that will make you rich and wealthy?’
‘How To’ tutorial
Another popular style of headline is to offer tips and solutions to one’s problems by adding ‘How to’ in the title. It is also SEO-friendly as many students search using the ‘How to’ keyword followed by the query. For example: ‘How to improve your grades in college’ sounds much better than ‘Improve your college grades today’.
Listicles are a huge hit among the millennials and they trend on social media sites as well. If your article/blog has multiple points talking about the topic of the write-up, then a listicle can be a great headline for you. For example: ‘9 must read books this summer’ or ‘7 styles of titles to choose for your blog’.
Opening with interesting facts
People often stick to conventional styles of title writing without realizing what one little interesting fact mentioned in the headline can do to their article. If you have some mind-boggling statistics or some lesser known facts in your write-up, you can use it as a surprise element to grab more eyeballs. For example: ‘3 out of every 10 US students drop out from college every year’.
Start with a why
Nothing stimulates the human brain more than the quest to know why things happen in a certain way. We are always driven to find the motive behind every action. So it is not a bad idea to include a ‘why’ in your title. For example: ‘Music is good for improving memory’ can be turned into an infinitely better headline by adding why – ‘Why music is good for memorization’.
State a claim and show proof
One way to attract readers is by writing a title that claims something that is against popular opinion. Controversial headlines work wonders as they play on the beliefs of the reader. It is a tricky style of title writing as it may backfire if you don’t have enough proof to support the claim in your copy. For example: A headline like ‘Charles Dickens was sexist and his writings are a proof of his misogyny’ can raise a few eyebrows and certainly attract readers.
The age of the internet and social media has given rise to one of the most frowned-upon styles of titles – clickbait. A clickbait is nothing but unnecessary sensationalization of a title by adding excessive adjectives and slang words such as OMG, WTF, SHOCKING, etc. Clickbaits are known for misrepresenting information in order to get clicks. Students are widely discouraged to use clickbaits in the titles of their blogs, articles, etc. For example: A headline reading ‘10 unknown facts about Star Wars (8th one will blow your mind)’ will make you want to click on it immediately. But if they contain lousy facts that every Star Wars fan already knows about, then the reader is bound to feel cheated. This is why clickbait is bad!
To conclude, a perfect title is essential for the success of a blog, book, or paper.
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