If you remember English class, you might remember the “Iceberg Theory”.

Best exemplified by Ernest Hemingway, the concept is that great writing is only the tip of a story – the rest lays beneath the surface.

Hemingway was famous for his spare, powerful prose. His efficient sentences draw readers in to the emotional stories that lay beneath.

To write better titles, you need to think of your title as the tip of an iceberg.

It isn’t easy to do, but writing short, clear titles that hint at the knowledge you have waiting after the click increase your visits, engagement, and encourage sharing.

Today, we share ten tips for creating more engaging titles.

10 Tips to Write Better Titles

There are many content marketing strategies and tips to think about when choosing a title for your content; whether it be for a blog, content on your site or even a piece of content you repurposed such as an eBook, Infographic or Guide.

Before you come up with your next content title, think of these basics tips and tricks:

1. Keep Your Title Short

Short titles are not only easier to remember – they look good in social media and search results, resulting in higher click-through rates.

2. Choose Your Title First

Before you begin writing, choose your title first but always be willing to modify it as it makes sense.

By choosing your title first, you are better able to utilize keywords where they make sense in your content and control the overall feel of your piece better.

3. Do Keyword Research

Utilize a keyword tool in order to decide on what your title should be and what content for your site makes the most sense. You want your content to be viewed and shared as many times as possible, therefore you need to write what people are looking for an truly want to read.

4. Do Not Use Special Characters

Avoid using any special characters (*@$!, etc.). These characters only distract visitors, are useless in a title and no one does a search query on them.

5. Do a Competitive Analysis

After you select your keyword (but before actually using it), run a simple search. You want to only choose this particular title if it is in low competition. You don’t want to choose something that has been written a million times over (unless you are bringing something new to the table). Either change your content or re-word your title to something unique.

6. Remember Your Meta Description

Use your preferred keyword tool to come up with 2-3 key word phrases. Besides utilizing in your title, you need to remember to also put in your meta description and content body within the first few paragraphs. This will enhance your chances of your content being visible in search queries.

7. State Your Purpose

Make sure your content is descriptive and actually lets your readers know what the content is about. Don’t only choose something that will rank but has nothing to do with the actual content written below it.

8. Use Numbers

Numbers are a great addition to a title, if appropriate. It gives the reader an expectation of what they will find and encourages click-through. If you need proof, just look at mega-popular sites like Buzzfeed and count how many pieces have a number in the title.

Web users love lists – whether it’s “15 Crazy Tricks for Making Macaroni and Cheese” or “8 Things You Remember from a 90s Summer”, this tip is one of the most popular, and effective, title writing methods.

9. Use “tips,” “secrets,” or “tricks” In Your Title

For example, “3 Tips to Stop Smoking” or “Learn 5 Secrets to Better Your Career.” These types of titles intrigue your visitors and in a way promise them something they will learn by reading your content.

10. Promise Something

This can be a good way to bring your readers in. For example, “Double Your Income with These 3 Tips.” Not only does this promise your readers something, it intrigues them enough to want to continue reading the rest of your content.

The Benefits of Writing Better Titles

You always want your titles to match your content. Like I have said in the past, you should write for humans not for search engines.

However, with that said there is always a way to really do what works best for both.

Without a good title, your content is less likely to be read.

Writing content that is better than your competition will set you apart from them and help you rank higher in the search engines if laid out correctly. Without a stand-out title to match your stand-out content though, you may not see the same results.

The major benefits of quality title and content choice are:

Final Thoughts

Choosing a title for your content is only one small step in your overall content marketing strategy. To learn more about content marketing, visit our other blog posts on the topic. You will learn much more about content marketing and hopefully be able to take some of those tools and incorporate them into your own strategy.

“Be Bold or Italic, never regular.” – Author Unknown