Did the title of this blog make you want to read it? Would you have been more intrigued by “Is Your Title Killing Your Presentation?” According to research compiled on the website Buffer, numbers and questions are only two of eight proven title techniques to grab attention and make listeners (or readers) want to hear more. Think about what you write and present as you read this.
Can You Believe This? (This sub-title is another technique)
Years ago I wrote a book called 365 Sales Tips for Winning Business,* that was then made into one of those one-a-day calendars you frequently see on gift tables at Christmas. When the calendar publisher sent me the cover for approval, it said, “Sales Tips for Winning Business.” I immediately called to complain and he couldn’t understand why I was so upset. To make my point, I said, “Would you rather read a book called, ‘Ways to Make Love’ or ’101 Ways to Make Love.’?” He got the point and corrected the title.
It’s the difference in appeal from “Habits of Highly Effective People” and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” or "Ways to Die in the West" and "A Million Ways to Die in the West." Small or large, there is something about a number that suggests both predictability, which our left brains love, and uniqueness which our right brain gets excited by.
Never Be Boring Again (Another title technique)
More recently, I coached a woman who was speaking at a wood trade association about laws requiring lumber companies to track their wood from point of departure to point of arrival. Her original title was a yawner like, “Legal Requirements for Transporting Lumber.” We quickly changed it to “It is 10 PM. Do You Know Where Your Wood Is?” Much more intriguing for your listener's right brain.
All your great content and hard work may be in vain if you cannot immediately hook the attention of your readers and listeners to get into the material. Try this exercise: Look at a recent blog, article, ebook, white paper, book, proposal, speech or presentation and compare its title to the techniques described in the Buffer article. What would you change?
*P.S. Limited supply available of complimentary copies of "365 Sales Tips" - 10 chapters, 30 tips per chapter, dealing with each phase of the sales call from Probing to Negotiating. Written years ago, the tips are as valid today as they were then. I have some books left in inventory. Happy to send complimentary copy for price of postage & handling ($5.95) Send check to Chiron Associates, Inc., Box 624, NYC NY 10163 to get your copy.
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- Liven up your text with images. Check out 15 Images for Social Media.
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Words Matter -- Make What You Say Pay!
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