I’ve read so many articles that tell writers how to title their articles, that I can no longer bear it. I’ll tell you why: once not so long ago, I was in a magazine store, browsing for something to read and I looked along the row of magazines, women’s, computing, general stuff, etc.. and while the entire range of magazines was quite compelling, really it was.
I’ll include some shots of magazines to show what I mean. Need I go on? The titles are hugely homogenous: take a look at the images to see what I mean. Each has a number somewhere on the front page – 10m 16, … how many others can you see?; each tells you to do something – how many instructions or commands can you see?; or to be afraid of something else – how many fear words can you see?; keep looking as you will see many other similarities of titles, regardless of genre of the magazine.
With the online article sites, the homogeneity of titles is even worse. It is hard to stand out in a sea of titles beginning: 7 ways to…; 10 ideas how to…; 6 reasons not to…; etc..
The homogeneity of their titles and their articles struck me: all the articles are promising me this, telling me that, outlining x reasons for/against the next… and it struck me: modern magazine articles and their titles suck. The drive to create compelling content so that more magazines are sold has created a kind of rigorous title writing mentality that says: if the title has no “Reader Benefit”, then it is a bad title.
What can the ‘nervous’ blogger do? Well, for one, make sure your titles are compelling, avoid numerating the points, unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Try descriptive titles, too; think about the titles that you HATE – analyze what’s wrong with them. How do you decide what to call your posts? Do you have any titling system? Share your thoughts.
(by the way, did you spot the mis-leading title?)