If Making Headlines: The Surprising Secrets Behind Writing Better Titles was the lecture, here’s the practical application and homework.
Titles as Tips: 5 Quick Tricks of the Trade
- 101 reasons countdowns and lists are killer for generating traffic. Be honest, you want to know all 101, don’t you?
- Can rhetorical questions really improve reader engagement? Only if they’re interesting.
- Statistics in headlines generate up to 50% more clicks, even if they’re totally made up and unsubstantiated. (Don’t do that, though – use statistics only if you have real research to back them up.)
- Sensational headlines killed real journalism! Provocative statements are GUARANTEED to get you killer results.
- The beginner’s guide to writing better titles in 5 minutes: Everyone loves learning, and setting a specific goal is even more likely to increase engagement.
Practical Practice – 5 Activities You Can Do To Improve Your Headlines
- Today while you browse the web, write down the titles of every article you click on or see your friends share on Facebook or Twitter. For every one you see shared more than once, add a mark for each additional time it’s shared. Add a star next to every title you personally clicked. Study the ones that got the most attention and try to understand what made them clickworthy.
- Already written some posts here on TUT (or elsewhere)? Revisit your old posts, and using some of the techniques discussed, update them. Reshare them with the new title.
- Write 5 new post titles that you think use these techniques effectively. Pick two of them to write a full post on.
- Create an experiment to test the effectiveness of your titles. Separate your friends and family into four random lists (call them List A, List B, List C, and List D) on Facebook. Come up with four possible titles for the same post – then share each title with a different group. See which title gets the most engagement (comments, shares, likes, what have you).
- Find your favorite site and look at their most popular articles. Analyze what makes them popular, then try to duplicate it for your own content.