3 tips for writing titles that catch readers’ attention
So you’ve been starting your blog entries off with catchy, engaging introductions. You’ve been following these up with more of the same quality writing, telling stories and using pictures, maps and videos to keep your readers enthralled.
Why then, does it seem like the only people reading your blog are still just your mother, Uncle Roger and your little sister?
It’s actually quite simple: If no one else ever clicks on the link to your blog, no one will read it (other than your loyal family, of course). It might not have anything to do with the quality of your blog, but given the sheer quantity of new information being published on the Internet daily, one of the greatest challenges facing you is to catch readers’ attention with a spellbinding, begging-you-to-read-more title.
When it comes to writing titles, many of us are guilty of treating the title as a mere afterthought. I do. But we shouldn’t. Take a look at the Travellerspoint blogs’ page. You’ll notice that all of the entries under “More Updated Blogs” are listed with nothing but their title and the blog’s name. Without an interesting title, you’re probably not going to attract a whole lot of attention to your blog.
Bland or intriguing, which one would you rather read?
Unfortunately, most blog titles I see every week on Travellerspoint are rather bland. Many simply state the place they’re about, or the date they were written on. Others refer to what the blog itself is in fact doing (Quick Update, Blog entry for the week, etc.). All in all, there’s not a whole lot there to catch the eye.
There’s nothing wrong per se with titling your blog entries with the name of the place they’re about. In some ways, it makes sense, because it instantly gives your readers a sense of what your entry is going to be about. If you title your blog Reykjavik, there’s probably a decent chance you’ll attract readers who are interested in Reykjavik, Iceland, or Bjork. But that’s a pretty limited audience and if you’re trying to attract more readers, it’s going to take a little more originality than that.
Intriguing titles are ones which promise something unique: ones like Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men, Albanian Economics 101, the “I have You By the Balls” theory, and Horses and gypsies and booze, oh my! Looking at those titles makes me want to read what they’re about.
After last week’s post, Peter commented that focussing on details tends to be more successful than just giving readers a “blow-by-blow” account of your latest adventures. He made a particular reference to an entry he posted about umbrellas in Japan, which had drawn the a really good reaction from his readers. One factor which may have played a part in attracting readers was the title: The Etiquette of the Umbrella. It doesn’t tell you what place Peter is writing about, but it does promise something unique and interesting.
So how can you write titles that will heighten people’s curiosity and catch their attention? Behold, I have assembled 3 tips for writing titles to rock your socks off!
Tip #1: Focus on a theme.
Take Peter’s advice and avoid the “blow-by-blow” style of blog entry. Write about a specific theme, like umbrellas in Japan or buses in Malta. Then, when it comes to writing your title, you’ll find it easier to write something that is theme-focussed, rather than place-focussed.
Tip #2: Make your readers wonder what you’re talking about.
Surfing and Sliding Over Rough Coffee and Hogs. Reading that title doesn’t really give me a sense of what the blog entry is going to be about, but it does pique my curiosity. If you leave people wondering what on earth you’re talking about, there’s a good chance they’ll click through to find out. It’s human nature.
Tip #3: Make a strong statement.
One of my favourite singers is Ryan Adams. He sings a song called Tennessee Sucks, a title which has stuck with me simply because it’s memorable. Coming out with a strong statement like that is going to attract people, because they’ll wonder why you’ve come to that conclusion (or they’re an angry Tennessean just looking to abuse you). A blog title like Good Riddance, Bulgaria might not sit well with Bulgarians, but it certainly catches my attention.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to write interesting headlines, check out the article on Brave New Traveler. Otherwise, stay posted for more help articles on the Swivellin' Chair by subscribing. If you have any topics you think we should write about here, feel free to send me a message.