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Headlines & Titles That Will Draw Eyes, Even In the Dark

Updated on March 8, 2017

Because we live in a give-it-to-me-quick society, where people don’t have time, let alone an attention span past 2 minutes at best, your headlines or title lines have to do the most talking to corroborate the idea or basic premise of your writing and draw attention, be it a blog, an article, a book, a poem or what have you. That doesn’t mean just sum up the article in the title, -that could be ultimately boring. If you are writing about tigers, don’t just call your article “Tigers”; find the most interesting or unknown factor about tigers presented in your writing. For example:

“Tigers have eyes with round pupils, unlike domestic cats, which have slitted pupils. This is because domestic cats are nocturnal whereas tigers are crepuscular – they hunt primarily in the morning and evening.”

Therefore why not title your article, “Tigers, Not Your Average Kitty” or “The Crepuscular Cat”. This should at least spark some curiosity and draw the question, why aren’t tigers average or what does crepuscular even mean?

Another tactic for titling could be with a question, as homo-sapiens since the beginning of time, have been curious, hungry for knowledge, with an insatiable thirst for it. Ask a question with your title that others may have and want the answer to, “Why Do Tigers Have Rounded Pupils?” or “What’s really in the Eye of a Tiger?”

Besides interesting, unknown or curious, you can also go for downright weird or unusual. For example:

“Tigers scratch trees and use their urine to mark their territories. Their urine smells strongly of buttered popcorn.”

You can’t deny, comparing urine to the smell of buttery popcorn is something you don’t want to even think about, as it makes the idea of popcorn less appetizing, but would it not make an eye-catching title?

“How Tiger Urine is Reminiscent of the Movie Theatre”

“Aromatic Buttery Popcorn Bliss or Tiger’s Piss”

“Tigers, Bringing the Fresh Buttery Popcorn Aroma of the Cinema, to a Zoo (or Safari) Near You”

You can do this with humor or you can do it with tact, or even with a flare of drama, consider your audience and, or the feel or flow of your article: is it written with humor, add a funny title, is it written for the intellectual in an educational or factual fashion, then be intellectually appealing when choosing your title.

If readers start with the title, as it is all CAPATALIZED or in a larger font, and glaring before your readers’ very eyes before they see anything else, you have to seduce them with it. It may be your only chance to draw or capture their attention. If interesting, unknown, curiosity, weird or unusual, humorous, dramatic or intellectual don’t work to capture your potential reader’s attention, you can always be controversial. Just like the expression, “Misery loves company,” so too, is controversy a sure-fire sell.

For Example: “A small number of tigers develop a taste for human flesh and become man-eaters. One tigress defended her cubs against unwitting humans and subsequently began preying on humans almost exclusively. She is thought to be responsible for the deaths of 430 people.”

“430 Deaths Suspected of One Tigress”

“Killer Tigress, 430 Victims Presumed”

To recap on all the ways to come up with an eye catching title:

  1. Find the most interesting thing about your writing topic and use that.
  2. Find something unknown by many about your writing topic and use that.
  3. Find the most unusual thing about your writing topic and use that.
  4. Find the weirdest thing about your writing topic and use that.
  5. Ask a question in your title that anyone would want an answer to; provoke curiosity.
  6. Consider the mood of your article and run with it; add an appropriate title to match the feel of your article (intellectual, humorous, dramatic, etc.).
  7. Find the most controversial thing about your writing topic and use that.

I like to be straight forward and a little whimsical with my titles, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, so also keep your targeted audience in mind: who are the readers of your articles going to be and what is most appealing to them?

Wan, Kate. Listverse. (2017) 50 Unusual Facts About Tigers. Retrieved March 8, 2017 from http://listverse.com/2012/09/10/50-unusual-facts-about-tigers/

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Good work, this was very helpful and interesting.