“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
— Louis L’Amour
How can we write a good, effective title line? I write something and then look at it and say, “well, that sucks!”
I know it is really important to write something that will draw people’s attention. It has to create interest so people want to read what I have written.
Usually I will leave the boring title line and come back to it later. I just go ahead and start writing. If I take a break from writing I will look at the title again. At that point I may have a better idea and change it. Usually I make multiple changes. To be honest though I still think most of my title lines suck.
Writing title lines require a skill that I clearly do not have. How do I improve?
What are other people writing?
Each time I write I spend time researching other blogs and articles. I will look for similar subject matter. Today I was looking at the title lines they created. Is it better than mine? Sometimes, but not always.
The really good writers create something that pops! They write so it establishes interest. Their title draws you in.
So how do we get better?
Titles “sell” our stories. When I do my research I always scroll down and look at the title lines. What is it telling me? What is it offering? Is it worth reading? I usually will save a few and start reading the content. Some of the content does not offer much but the title line was good. Sometimes I find the title line was bad but the content was really good.
It makes me wonder how many stories and blogs have I passed over because the title line was bad. The next question is how many of my blogs were passed over because of my title line?
Our title lines are our advertisement. Every marketing expert will tell you how the message entrepreneurs use in their ads will affect their success. There is so much competition. Our ads have to be excellent. They have to “pop” and draw us in. What will I get from buying their product?
What about search engines? We want our writing and our ads to be seen by as many people as possible. We want to choose words that will resonate with our audience. It is also important our words will work effectively in search engines. Does the title line contain one or two keywords that will draw in our customers and will they rank high in search engines?
Keywords are best if placed at, or near, the beginning of your title line. They need to reflect the content you have written and provide a little punch. My last blog post contained the keyword “Fear”.
All of this is new to me. It is going to take some time for me to understand and be able to develop all the skills needed. I have just started using Social Media and I know it is important for promoting my writing. Now I just have to learn to do it effectively.
Another factor to consider for Social Media is the length of your title line. I just read it is best to use under 70 characters to insure your title is not cut off in search engine results.
Research shows that there is also an optimal number of words that you should use for Twitter and Facebook. You want people to “retweet” your content so you need to leave enough space for people to cite you or make comments. I read that 120 characters is a good number but that does not seem to agree with the 70 character recommendation for SEO. My goal is to use the 70 character limit whenever possible. I will do that until I realize it is not working.
So you know. I just changed my title line for the third time.
When I research I will often visit Medium.com for inspiration.
If you enjoy reading I highly recommend visiting their site. I just went there to look for examples of title lines I could share with you. Here is a list I think are good examples of a quality title line:
- The Genius Study: What Determines Creative Success? written by Zat Rana, a writer I follow on Medium
Why is this form good? It uses a key word phrase with a colon which is followed by a question.
- How a Painful Childhood Made Me A Better Mom written by Esther Wojcicki
This title line starts with “How” indicating it is going to give you information. It also indicates it will “Help” you and it is also uses emotion.
- A Complete Guide to the Science of Self Talk written by Brian Pennie
“Complete Guide” indicates that you will receive a benefit from reading the article and the subject is also a hot topic.
- Climate Change Tribalism Won’t Get Us Anywhere written by Matthew Nisbet, PhD
This is an example of using a “hot topic”, something that is in the news and somewhat controversial.
Each day my goal is to learn something. Today, I have. I researched writing title lines. I read articles and looked for some good examples of work completed by other writers. Not only was it beneficial, I also totally enjoyed doing it.
I have read so many statements that writing a blog is easy and that anyone can do it. Maybe. My question would be, “Can anyone write a quality blog?” No, I do not think so. Anyone can sit at a computer and put down words, but are they meaningful? Is there quality in the writing? Does it add value to someone’s day, both the reader and the writer? Is it worth the time it takes to write and to be read?
My purpose is to write quality and it is an ongoing learning experience for me. In doing my writing and doing research I am learning. I hope my effort will be reflected in what you are reading. I am learning and I hope you are as well.
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
― Octavia E. Butler
As always, Thank You for reading my blog. Have a great day!