Titles are important ; I have them before I have books that belong to them.
— John Irving
What will make you want to open an email in your inbox? What will make you want to read a story? Typically, you open emails because of three things: (1) it’s from a person you know, or at least someone you’d like to know, (2) it is urgent, and (3) the subject line simply grabs you. It’s also the same thing with a blog post, an article in the paper or a novel at the bookstore. You read it because it’s written by a favourite author, or because the title is simply irresistible.
Unfortunately, some commit the irreparable error of overlooking the hotspot of an article : its Title. Don’t underestimate the seductive power of a catchy title. Title is to your article, what wheels are to a car, it’s indispensable. If you want your article to travel, give it wheels, give it wings, give it a decent title. FiftyFifty split. Got the gist? Because the title is the first thing that jumps out of the page, more than the introduction even, the challenge is how to write a catchy title, one that will grab your readers’ eye even at a brief glance.
5 Rules to Create a Catchy Title that Will Fish Your Readers
1 – Use spin-offs of popular lines
Book titles and popular movie lines can easily grab the attention of your readers because, well, they’re popular. For example, you can use the cliché but popular Jerry Maguire line “You had me at hello” when writing about friendships and relationships.
2 – Use numbers
One of the common styles on how to write a catchy title is the use of numbers. Numbers easily convey the point of the story. This article’s title, for example, tells you at one glance what to expect. Numbers in your titles also make the article appear scannable and digestible.
3 – Use adjectives that deliver a promise
A title is essentially an advertisement of your article. Writer Jeff Goins suggests that by using interesting adjectives, you give your titles that element of a promise. An article with a title that says “5 Winning Email Marketing Tips” is essentially promising ways on how to write winning, powerful emails for marketing. It should convey not just something new or interesting, but also something valuable. Goins further added that one other way of how to write a catchy title is to match the numbers with adjectives that deliver a promise.
4 – Use rhyme and rhythm
Poetic devices such as alliteration, assonance and other forms of wordplay can add an extra oomph and character to your title, according to Matt Kantor. A classic example is John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”.
5 – Use contradiction, irony, or metaphor
Matt Kantor also advises the use of other literary styles like contradiction, irony or metaphor to lend an air of mystery, conflict, or pun to the story. A Digg article, for example, that debunks classic ways on how to fall asleep has an interesting headline that reads “Counting Sheep is Not Enough.” By making an irony out of such a popular saying, the article already gives the readers some hint of the focus and direction of the story.
While there are no hard or fast rules on how to write a catchy title, having a sense of humor and an imaginative and creative mind can be big bonuses. If anything, at the very least, make sure to spend some extra time brainstorming on your headline. Email marketing experts suggest writing as much as 25 samples of an email subject line before striking gold. Perhaps, coming up with the perfect title for your story may also require coming up with 25 headlines to choose from too.
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