Ah,yes. How can we write catchy ebook titles like the folk at Copyblogger?
Is there some trick to make them stand out? Some creative ways to find a catchy title for your ebook (or blog post) and ensure that it gets the attention that it deserves?
Write The Ebook Title First Or Last?
There are different schools of thought on this. I write the title first – even if it’s a working title – and then develop the content from this. This helps me stay on track and ensure that I don’t deviate from the subject matter. Or forget my target readers.
There is no wrong or right. Some recommend you write the title first, others (eg James on Men with Pens) that you write the headline last.
One compromise is to define a working title and then refine it when the content is complete.
3 Ways To Get Ideas For Ebook Titles
Let’s say you’re writing about a ‘boring’ subject and can’t find an interesting angle. Of course there are no boring subjects; it depends where you stand. I love collecting old coins and spend hours examining patinas. Maybe that’s not your thing but for me…
I take a three-pronged approach:
- Amazon – I type the main keyword, for example, Coins into Amazon. Then I filter the results by Bestseller (see above). Next, I try different categories, for example, I might avoid Books and look at Movies. Then I look at the titles and see if I can borrow a few ideas. Something will jump out, trust me!
- RSS Reader – I deliberately add great writers like Seth, Tim Ferris, John Jantsch, Yaro Starak, and Chris Brogan to my Google Reader so I can scan their titles and select titles that I can adapt. This is a nice way to examine 100s of great titles in 5 minutes or less.
- Copyblogger – I saved the best to last. Most everything I’ve learnt about web writing has been from Brian Clark. Credit also goes to Darren Rowse but I keep re-reading Brian’s old post and recommend that you PRINT them out, use a yellow marker and highlight the key points. It’s all there! You just have to make the effort.
10 Step Copyblogger Headline Writing Formula
One post by Brian provides a headline writing formula that you can use as a framework – not a template – for creating your own headlines. These work mostly for blog posts but can be adapted for ebook titles.
- Who Else Wants [blank]?
- The Secret of [blank]
- Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank]
- Little Known Ways to [blank]
- Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All
- Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
- Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance]
- [Do something] like [world-class example]
- Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
- What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]
Another suggestion is to use these titles for the chapter heading and/or sub-heads. More on that in a later post.
Adding Fear, Uncertainly, and Doubt To Ebook Titles
Another approach is to identify the three main keywords, such as Coins, Collecting, and Rare. These play with these keywords until you find a combination that works.
When doing this, try to factor in FUD:
- Fear – what happens if I lose my rare coins?
- Uncertainty – do you know what happens if you don’t clean your coins?
- Doubt – maybe the way you store you coins is risky – and crank it up – to your children’s health.
You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Title’s About You
[Ed – apologies to Carly Simon for getting creative with her title.]
You can then flip this around and stroke the reader’s vanity – and we’re all vain to some degree – using the AIDA formula.
- Attention – what will get their attention? Did you know your coins are worth $77k?
- Interest – how can you get them to click on the title?
- Desire – tickle the part of them that’s hungry for knowledge or a bit greedy. Did you know that…
- Action – what do you want them to do next? Click the Buy Now button?
- Success – and how will this make them more successful. Or attractive. Or thinner. Or more popular. Or get the recognition they deserve. Or a combination of all these.
Experimenting with ebook Titles
If I was looking for an ebook title, saying for my new Business Planning book, then I could use these titles to get me started.
Appeal to the readers desire to have an edge over others
- Competitive Advantage with Business Planning
- Using Business Planning for Strategic Advantage
- Using Business Planning in a Competitive World
Appeal to the reader’s vanity
- Business Planning For Smart CEOs
- Business Planning For Gods
- The Creative Power of Business Planning
Then look at ways the book will make their life easier
- The No Hassle Guide to Business Planning
- The 1 Hour Guide to Business Planning
- The Secrets of Creative Business Planning
And wrap up by combining good keywords (e.g. Business Planning) with either power verbs and/or specific benefits.
10 Business Planning Strategies
Adding Strategies make it sound more important, more elevated and worth their time. Remember the target reader is an Executive!
10 Business Planning Strategies to increase Productivity
We’ve added Productivity to include those who want to save time and/or looking for ways to reduce costs.
10 Essential Elements of Business Planning
This makes you curious. ‘I know three,’ you think to yourself, ‘what are the other seven?’
10 Business Planning Strategies That Work
This is the most direct and worth a shot if you’re unsure what is your true readership and/or you don’t want to dilute the impact of ‘Business Planning Strategies’, for example, if you’re concerned about SEO ranking.
Those are some ideas on how to write catch headlines for ebooks. Please share your idea below. I’m learning too!