We’ve all been there: you’ve curated some amazing content, your piece is all ready, your transitions are smooth and your ending? It is flawless. But you can’t publish it quite yet. Because your article, perfect though it may be, lacks a crucial element — an engaging title.
And if you’re anything like me, it’ll be days, if not weeks, before your drafts see the light of day and actually get published.
So how do you combat this?
To answer that, we need to really understand what makes a title engaging. The way I see it, there are 2 factors:
- Conversion rate
Your conversion rate is the percentage of readers who click on a link to view your article/read your book. This is important because you want readers to your piece of work a try. Whether or not they actually like what they read is a different issue altogether. If they don’t click the click or pick up the book, everything else that you wrote is a huge waste. And since your title is the first thing they see, that’s what they will judge you on. That is how they will decide to read your work or skip it.
This conversion rate could potentially be the difference between 7000 views and 500 views.
Here’s how you optimise this:
- NO CLICK BAIT
It is a turn off. I don’t think I need to elaborate but I will anyway.
If someone has a negative experience with your first article, they won’t even bother opening the second and the algorithm will make sure the third never shows up on their feed. It will hurt you in the long run. And it will do very little good for you in the short term as well.
So please don’t.
Tangentially, keep it relevant. Let your title convey the essence of your piece.
So, re-read what you’ve written and jot down the key words alone. And this brings me to my next point.
- Be Creative
Take your key words and be funny. Make a pun, reword a popular phrase. Your aim is to make it as catchy as possible while keeping it relevant.
“Prophets and Profits” beats “Prophets scam the underprivileged” hands down.
- Steer clear of jargons
Tempting though it may be, try not to show off your extensive vocabulary. Unless you’re writing a research paper, in which case, be as technical as possible!
Even if you’re writing a tutorial or for a super niche audience you need to remember that a lot of your readers are noobs. They have no clue what you’re talking about and you don’t want to scare them away with words they don’t know. It helps no one!
Your conversion rate is a moot point if your work reaches very few people. What I’m talking about here is how easy it is for people to “stumble upon” your piece.
There are 3 simple steps to optimise your work for maximum visibility:
- Consider your audience
- Think about the platforms they would commonly use
- Research those platforms
So as an example, my articles are primarily targeted towards UX designers. They tend to reside in the largely unexplored nooks and crannies of Facebook and are far more present here on Medium.
Ideally, I would post my work on Medium and then share it on Facebook and Twitter. Posts die out earlier on Facebook and Twitter but they last so much longer on Medium. But that’s plays a relatively smaller role, what you really need to work on is SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. You need to use all the right keywords to trigger the right response to your article. So again, look at the your target audience and try to figure out the words they’ll be using while searching for the kind of content you wrote about.
Keeping these simple tips in mind will help you craft an almost flawless article and your work can be submitted in no time!