A quick guide to matching a title with its content
The title is your elevator pitch in 12 (or so) words.
You should treat every word like gold — too many and it will depreciate.
Without a good first impression, few people will give you a second chance and read through your article. So much work on it just to be easily dismissed because of a weak headline. I know that frustration.
Your article’s fate hangs on a thin thread, but let’s make it as firm as possible. Just like a spider’s web: all threads aligned to hold up that life form, your content.
Thanks to the different people on my path, especially to my writing coach Shaymaa El Geziri, I’ve been able to learn a variety of ways to catch my reader’s attention.
And now, you’ll learn too.
What’s Behind Your Headlines?
Words carry intention. You have to be aware of what’s happening in between lines.
These few words should reflect your purpose: do you want to convey an emotional state, position yourself as an educator, or poke your reader with a controversial statement?
Here are the types of headlines you’ll most probably write.
1. The Know-It-All
These headlines offer practical advice or tips to your reader.
Your intention is to share knowledge that is useful and that’s backed up by data, personal experience, or a combination of both.
You sound confident and what you say feels like the truth.
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2. The Teacher
In this case, you’re trying to teach something that the reader doesn’t know.
You assume that your audience hasn’t come across this information and you want to be helpful. Your tone is more like an educator, and less like an almighty god that expects you to follow blindly.
You empathize with your reader and think about ways to make the information more accessible and easy to digest.
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3. The Gossip
Your goal is to provoke your audience.
Spice things up!
You want to sound controversial and make the reader highly engaged with the topic at hand. Think of them as mumbling to themselves once every now and then while reading your article.
They’ll be eager to keep reading, asking themselves what comes next, and absorb it in one sitting. You won’t leave them indifferent.
Now, expect some strong responses in the comment section.
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4. The Instigator
These headlines feel like clickbait.
You’re making bold statements without caring if they’re true or not. Usually, you’ll just leave it out there and see if it holds on its own.
You’ll make readers want to click on it and found out more about it. But if they don’t find anything of value, they’ll leave soon enough.
Expect a lot of views and few reads.
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5. The Nay-Sayer
These headlines try to convince you that what you don’t know will hurt you.
You’ll be focusing on people’s fears: fear of missing out, fear of being ignorant, fear of being out of control.
It can be very persuasive but use it carefully. You may end up being too clickbait-ish if you make it too loud and outlandish.
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6. The Campaigner
Here you have headlines that appeal to a shared interest between you and your readers.
You engage with your audience by writing about their problems. You have similar issues you want to share with them.
Your goal is to connect with like-minded people, and what better than talking about topics you both have a strong visceral opinion of.
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7. The Connector
These headlines are reserved for very creative (or funny) people.
In these types of articles, you’re able to find a connection between two seemingly unrelated things.
Your audience might be confused in the beginning after reading your title, but they’ll make sense of it once they go through your article.
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Optimize Your Title for Social Sharing
One quick note before you go and create a killer headline.
If you usually share your content on one or two social platforms, those that get you the highest engagement, then try to adjust your title’s length especially for them.
According to HubSpot, headlines between 8–12 words in length get the most shares on Twitter on average. As for Facebook, 12 or 14-word headlines receive the most likes.
If you want to know the ideal length for your post for every social media platform, you might want to check out Sprout Social’s 10-minute guide here.
Content is key and you’ll be valued by what you can bring to the table.
Keep in mind that you’ll never get a second chance with a reader to make a good first impression on your article.
If you were interested in this article, I recommend you follow this link: Writing Tips