Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Read My Writing: Six Tips for Writing Entrancing Titles

I love writing titles. It is a challenge to craft a gate that readers will want to open and walk through. Many of the articles published in the onlineMagazine and now, Connection, have been re-titled to create a more compelling entrance to the valuable literary efforts of its writers.

Here are six of my favorite ways to create titles:

1. I read the entire article and try to find a phrase that pops out. At the IRL* blog, Jamie Jo comes up with some phrases in her posts that are uniquely her. I usually play off her voice and originality to draw in readers. For example: Is There Some Hip New Way? came from a question she posed in the body of her post or Computer-induced ADD, a JJ original diagnosis to a cultural behavior she is afflicted with.

2. I like to twist a well-known phrase, song or book title:

3. I like to be tastefully provocative. Two cover stories in the onlineMagazine come to mind:

4. I capture the essence of the article and put it in the title, appealing and pulling on the reader's emotional heartstrings: Kidnapped! or Furlough Grocery Tears.

5. I try to keep my titles short and to the point. Being on Twitter helps immensely with developing this skill.

6. If your article/post gives your readers some tips, or promises to make their life easier, or explains something they might need or want to know, put that beneficial promise in the title:

Finally, put yourself in the reader's shoes. Look at the current titles of your blog posts in your archives. Are they entrancing? Would you want to click on them? In the weeks ahead, put an extra measure of effort into writing titles for your blog posts. Take some risks; try one of the tips and see if more readers come to your blog through the gateway of a well-crafted title.

8 comments:

Nancy said...

I have recently begun to put more thought into my titles. Coming up with one that will intrigue potential readers is not easy, and I don't always succeed, but I do agree that the title should not be an after-thought. I like your way of describing a title as a door.

Amy @themessymiddle said...

I whole-heartedly agree -- titling my posts is one of my favorite parts. I often start with a working title and then after I've finished writing, about 50% of the time something MUCH better has come up. For example, I started with "Pi ku for Pi day" and ended up with "Reflecting God: not just for shapes" -- one of the acutal Pi ku's from the post. Thanks for the helpful tips! Amy

Robin said...

Thank you for the great tips! I realize I need to put more thought into my titles so they will be "entrancing!"

OliveTree said...

These area great tips, Cindy! I really want to work on better titles. I was just thinking about how your title for my Connection article was so much better than my original one. Thanks so much for sharing some of your thoughts and strategies. Very helpful.

Jamie Jo said...

One reason I love writing for WOTH is that you dream up the titles. I get stuck with my working title and then nothing else comes to mind. Like anything else, I guess this just requires practice. Maybe I'll change the title of some boring ones from my personal blog now.

Women of the Harvest Blogs said...

Love hearing from you all...it does take practice. When I went back to retrieve some titles I liked, I stumbled upon many I didn't.

Melody said...

I'm finding that posting links to Facebook is giving me good practice in writing "titles" of a sort... I'm always trying to think what kind of caption would cause ME to click through to a link. Recently someone commented that they had clicked through because my status comment made them curious... and they were glad they had. Yes!

Women of the Harvest Blogs said...

@Melody...you bring up an excellent point: we are in steep competition with the million other links, articles, videos posted online. A great title increases the odds of capturing your readers attention.

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