A title might seem like an insignificant detail, but it can set the tone of your writing. It is the first thing your reader will see, so you want to make it catches his/her attention! In general, try to come up with something on your own- don’t just use the name of the subject or the assignment as your title. For example, let’s say you have to write a paper on the Vietnam War. Instead of simply titling your paper “The Vietnam War,” you should be more specific and more descriptive- for instance, “The Long-Term Effects of the Vietnam War” or “What Does the Vietnam War Mean to the Next Generation?” You might have to work hard to come up with the right title, but it’s worth it!
For longer papers, you can often use a two-part title, that is, a title made up of two phrases separated by a colon. This makes the title more descriptive and immediately tells your reader what the paper is about. Here is an example:
A Lesson in Moderation: The Effects of Drinking on College Students
See how the two-part title is more descriptive? Once you get used to writing more, creating titles will come very naturally!
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Posted under : Writing Styles and Formats
The Savvy Subtitle: How to Work the Two Part Title
Posted on November 21, 2013 by Caitlin C
For clients who crave “clickable” titles, the clever colon is one way to instantly insert interest and intrigue into your blog posts (not to mention exciting alliteration!). By using a two part title, you can actually do a lot of work to immediately get readers on your side and engaged in your post. It’s also perfect if you’re a blog content writer who suffers from indecision. Can’t choose between two different title ideas? Throw ’em both up and reel in those clicks! While this “two heads are better than one” approach is a good place to start, you can eventually “work” the subtitle to several different, and satisfying, effects.
Cause and Effect
If you tend to write a lot of technical posts, the ability to describe a cause-effect relationship succinctly is key. A title that clearly lays out both the cause and effect of a common occurrence, problem, or industry trend can quickly communicate to readers that the purpose of your post is informative, and that your position is well informed.
Statement vs. Question
Using a subtitle is also a great way to give your readers the fundamental question guiding your title right off the bat. You can either position the question first or last, depending on your intended impact. For example, the two titles below are fairly similar in content, but the focus shifts depending on whether or not the question or the statement comes first:
- Google Panda and Authorship: Will the SEO Game Ever be The Same?
- Is Google Panda Influencing Authorship? How The SEO Game Stands to Change
The How-To Title
“How-to” titles are excellent for SEO purposes and ideally very useful for readers searching for information. On their own however, they’re pretty boring, and most marketing agencies and clients tend to want something with a little more “oomph.” Use a subtitle to relay the plain jane practical purpose of your how-to article, but lead off with an eye-catching, clickable phrase to elevate your title beyond the norm. Remember to make sure that the two halves of your title connect to one another as well as your overall topic, otherwise your reader will be left scratching their head instead of clicking to read more:
- Going the Distance: How Training for a Half Marathon Made Me a Better Content Writer
- “Do No Harm”: How To Vet Healthcare Writers and Get Great Content
Perfect Press Release
Subtitles are standard practice for press release writers, but all blog content writers can stand to take a page from their book. Use action oriented words coupled with the strongest keywords from the press release to create a logical subtitle that accurately forecasts the content of the press release, while still urging readers to read on in order to glean all the exciting details.
Working a two part title can take some getting used to, but playing around with subtitles can lead you to unexpected connections and a better piece of content overall.
Caitlin C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.