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The Iris Content Masterclass Series: How to Do Titles the Right Way

A title is not important, because people only care about the content.

Your headline means very little. The story carries all the weight.

There is no wrong way to create a title for your content. It’s just a title!

Each of the 3 statements referenced above are common beliefs within the world of content marketing and development. Sadly, they are also deluded misconceptions that can hinder the potential growth of your online presence more than help it.

The truth is that a high-quality title is a vital element for any form of content. From blog posts and news articles to product descriptions and how-to resources, it is the title that captivates your readers and guides them into your content. Without that effective guide in place, a substantial number of people who needed to read your content will just keep clicking and searching until they stumble across a title that does grab their attention.

How, then, can you create captivating titles and headlines the right way?

Photograph by KJay  via Bigstock

Start with a Sketch

Skilled animators and cartoonists are advised to start their drawings with a sketch. Doing so allows them to map out the core elements of the characters that they create before they focus on adding the details to breathe life into each of them. The same principle applies to creating an effective title for your content. Start with a “sketch” by just creating a title that addresses the core element of your content. This “sketch” will essentially take your topic and point it in the specific direction in which your content is headed. For example, a “sketchy” title could guide the topic of “stress management for adults” down the road heading towards the specific destination of “# Effective Ways to Relieve Stress in the Workplace.”

Remove the Safety Net of Content

An inexperienced tightrope walker is reassured by the comfort of the safety net below – knowing that it will catch him if his attempt fails. When you create a headline or title, you cannot look at the body of your content as the safety net that will catch readers if your title fails. The concept of “you will understand when you start to read the actual article” does not work in today’s world of content. Why not?

The digital age of social media posts, newsletter memos, search results pages and newsfeeds has essentially removed that safety net – forcing headlines and titles to work alone. Studies show that 80% of people exposed to your content will read the headline, but only 20% of them will read the rest of it. Your title must be catchy and creative enough to guide your reader along the “tightrope” to your content without fail, because there is no safety net in the digital age.

Remain Honest, Never Risk Integrity

The hunt for clicks, views and traffic boosts have led many people in the past down the dark path of deception when creating content and catchy headlines. The last thing you should want to do is to trick viewers into reading your content. The goal should be to captivate (not trap) your readers with your content. It is impossible to do that if your headline simply creates an illusion of content that really is not there. Keep a “no illusions allowed” policy when creating your title or headline. An accurate reflection of the content provided will allow you to build traffic without breaking down your brand’s integrity.

Focus on Action and Answers

Most people searching for content are essentially looking for action and answers:

  • Action: They want to know how to apply what they read to their lives; what action needs to be taken and how can they take it.


  • Answers: They have a question and they want the content to give them an answer.

It may seem too simple to just break it down to action and answers, but those two factors are the cornerstones of most online searches. Therefore, within your title, make it clear on which side of the fence your content lives. Even if you are just creating an informative article, what question does it answer? How will it move your readers to act? If you want to grab their attention, your title must be able to show them that your content will answer their questions and/or move them to action.

Season Your Title with Your Primary Keyword

An effective SEO strategy is to include your primary keyword within the title. Since that is the word or phrase that your target audience will use in their favorite search engine, it is important to ensure that it is included. With that said, it is more important to analyze how you use that keyword and how often it is used.

Cramming the keyword into a title like an awkward puzzle piece will kill the whole thing! Not only will Google look down upon it, but your readers will follow suit. You must approach adding your keyword to the title as a chef adding an ingredient to a popular dish – properly seasoning it into the recipe with a moderate amount at the proper time. Doing so will help you to boost your SEO ranking and increase the chances of grabbing your target audience’s attention as soon as they see it.

3 A’s: Analyze and Adjust Accordingly

A title for your online content is made of clay – not concrete. It needs to be crafted, chiseled and molded like a potter creating a vase or a sculptor creating a statue. This leads to the final point to consider of the 3 A’s: Analyze & Adjust Accordingly.

As you study your analytics and other data reports, pay close attention to how certain titles and posts are doing in comparison to others. Do not be afraid to experiment with different approaches – especially if your collection of content covers a variety of topics. Study the trends to see what has worked for other websites, but primarily focus on the points that have not been covered as much. Doing so will help you to get an edge over the competition, allowing your high-quality headline and corresponding content to rise in the rankings with hopes of driving more traffic to your online presence.

Starting this week, our skilled team here at Iris Content will provide real, honest insight into the world of content creation.

If doing the content part of your strategy still scares you, if you would love to do it yourself but lack the know-how and think that it is an unattainable goal, we want to help you achieve this task.

Without any misconceptions, any attempt to draw you in for a sale, without any hidden agenda. We want you to learn how to do it!

We want you to succeed in an ever-growing, killer competitive market where the volatility of rules makes it difficult to get there and stay at the top. All throughout the month, we will try to teach you a few of the basics of content creation and at the end, gather it together in a fully downloadable resource. Good luck and happy reading!

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has over 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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