What’s Jane Austen Got to Do with Writing a Great Title?

Jane Austen Dance Event
Jane Austen Dance Event

Like many people, Jane Austen is among my favorite writers and I’ve read her books again and again. Recently, I read a blog article on the Hubspot Internet Marketing Blog that combined Jane’s name and a advice about good behavior on social media. I read many but not all the articles in the Hubspot blog and you can believe I opened and read this one.

I’m smiling now thinking back to some of the titles I wrote as a kid. I remember finishing a country report in second grade. When done, I placed all the neatly written pages with the colored pencil drawings in a blue card stock folder and then wrote Argentina in the little square in the middle of the cover.

As an adult I understand that writing compelling titles is a big part of ones success writing as it’s the titles that compels people to read what you’ve written. I may not have mastered writing titles but I have moved beyond just labeling my writing like that country report in 2nd grade.

Here’s what I keep in mind as I’m writing blog titles.

1.  I write the title first…actually I usually write several titles and I’m not afraid to spend time and effort. Great titles aren’t always born from flashes of inspiration. ??Often they are born of persistence, work and play in different amounts. I write down all my title ideas good and bad. I push myself to come up with a few more if I don’t like the first and I play with the pieces…disassembling and rearranging what I’ve got and looking for connections.

Now I’m veering off into a talk about creativity…a topic near and dear to my heart. In order to write, I let myself write. I’m in play mode. Whatever I say is fine. I get it all down…good and bad and then I edit later.

2.   Use humor, inspiration, mystery or drama…even controversy in your titles and your writing. I pick one of these to avoid a mishmash if you try to do all at once.

3. Use a Number. I often use a number in my titles as numbers are very attractive to readers. I think its because we’d all like to know that its as easy as 1-2-3. It can be satisfying to think that if we progress through these #’s we’ve accomplished something or we can learn something is a short and finite # of steps. People love Top Ten Lists for example and often search for them.

4. Include a famous person, famous event, or popular TV show, if relevant, in your title.  As I mentioned before about how I and a lot of other Jane Austen fans automatically read any article with Jane’s name. Using famous people, events or popular TV shows in your titles helps draw traffic to your blog and compels people who might not have read your article, to open it and take a peek.

5. Don’t feel constrained by length. Great titles can be short or long, as long as they aren’t fluff. There are good arguments for both short to the point titles and more elaborate titles. If your title is long, does it gain energy by making it shorter. If not, leave it long.

If you do more research, you’ll find more advice than what I’ve given you here. However, these are the tips that I’ve carried with me and used over and over to craft at least two titles a week.


Karen Nierlich
Karen Nierlich

Karen Nierlich is an Internet Marketing Consultant with Full Orbit Web and Marketing. The company specializes in web design, web programing and consulting and implementation of social media, teleseminars and more. We make it our business to help independent businesses grow 10, 50, even 100%.

When not in front of computer, Karen is likely to be reading.

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