Most people do not know how to write great titles. To write a great title, it boils down to "What's in it for you (the reader)?"
In this post, I will be using email subjects as examples. However, the same techniques can be used on titles on any other medium.
Here are some of the techniques that I employ:
People like to read about themselves.
Personalize your email subjects! One trick that I employ is to include the subject's name in the subject. A subject that says: "Steven, I love you" will pique my curiosity just because it is addressed to me.
If your audience goes beyond a single person, then keep it personalized and niche: "Help, Singaporean CEOs like you inspired us."
A little compliment goes a long way.
"Action required: You are shortlisted for top local SME" would get any company opening the email because who does not like winning an award?
Likewise, "My friend highly recommended me your printing services, can you help me?" will work if you are seeking to reach out to the CEO of a printing shop.
People like to see immediate gratification
If you are selling or promoting anything, do not tell me the features. Jump straight into the immediate benefit that your audience will receive.
For example, if I am selling a lead-generation software, I will say: "We have 5 leads for your taxation services for this week, are you interested?"
In my cold emails in hiring programmers for LandX, my subject is "Landsex." My subject for my Kloudsec cold emails was "Kloudsex."
Notice I said five leads, not a large number of leads. Explicit numbers and data, even if made up, make your titles believable.
Learn from Buzzfeed
Buzzfeed took great titles a step further and invented clickbaits. Their clickbait strategy was the secret weapon that grew Buzzfeed into the media giant that it is today. This post succinctly breaks down the strategy that Buzzfeed employed in coming up with attention-demanding titles.
Do not deceive, but a little misdirection is ok.
If you do not have five leads that you can empower your client with, do not say it.
As a company that helps enlist local SMEs to win awards, instead of telling your target audience that "they are shortlisted," you can tell them that they are "possibly shortlisted."
Titles are dead important.
No matter how good your product or content is, if you are not able to get your audience's attention through your title, you have failed. So use the techniques and frame your content with a great title and watch your conversation rate go way up.
PS: I was kidding about the $1.