Titles: Keep Them Brief And Accurate
By SA Author Experience :
(Brevity is important. Wikipedia .)
Titles are hard, and they are important. Today, I'm going to try and help you all overcome the challenge, and position your next title for success.
First, let's discuss how to create a title. The reality is an author facing a blank screen can be overwhelmed by the need to define a title. "How can I write an article, if I don't know what it's about?" As a writer and editor, to ease that angst, I made a point not fixate on a great title. Instead, I fixate on writing a great article. The title then comes from the finished product. Analysis requires depth and focus. Once you reach your analytical conclusion, you will find the title much easier to create.
Now let's discuss what matters in a title. First, keep it short. The rationale for a short title is simple. Excellent titles succeed on the internet because they grab the reader, and make them want to see what is in the article. For proof, take this quick test. Name me a classic book or movie title that is longer than 8 words, and I'm willing to guarantee the words "critically acclaimed" are attached to its promotional materials.
In addition to that reality, there is a functional reason to keep it short. Most online readership comes from emails and feeds. Very few subject lines or feeds can show an entire article that is more than 8 words, so you're limiting your reach by making it harder for the reader to know what they are seeing. That's a bad idea.
Finally, a word on clickbait: Don't tease the reader. Name the topic. Some authors profess the great success of titles that don't name the topic in question, but the fact is, many readers simply will skip an article that doesn't tell them what it's about. Or, worse, they click in, see that they aren't interested, and quickly jump out. That's a low-value, disengaged read. Long-term success comes from high-value, deeply engaged readers.
Some will ask, can I use a title like: "The Tech Stock To Own." That's not as offensive because that at least gives the sector of interest. However, it remains far better to say "XYZ: The Tech Stock To Own."
Please keep this in mind as you construct your articles, and let us know your thoughts.
See also The U.S. Is Better Off Than Japan: Financial Advisors' Daily Digest on seekingalpha.com