Never, ever do this wrong!

27th January 2015

Titles are an essential part of communications. They’re your ‘first impression’. Newspapers employ experts to write headlines. Advertisers and publishers know a poor title destroys sales.

Yet, despite titles’ importance, when preparing communications, people rarely spend much (any?) time thinking about them. Instead, their titles usually simply describe the content… ‘Departmental conference’, ‘Our credentials’, ‘Q3 review’ and the like.

Don’t believe me? Check the titles of emails in your inbox. How many grab you? Let me guess: none.

Uninspiring titles set the tone for uninspiring communications.

So, here’s a simple, effective remedy: add an audience-benefit to the title (or, at least, subtitle) and you change the context entirely. For instance, would you rather receive communications called:

‘Departmental conference’, or
‘Ensuring next year’s even better’

‘Our credentials’, or
‘Ensuring your product launch succeeds’

‘Q3 review’
‘Q4 preview: lessons we can learn, to ensure our year ends well’

Having a great title worked pretty well for ‘How to win friends and influence people’. How impressive are yours?

Action point

Review the titles of your recent communications – maybe skim down your Sent Items?

Could they be better? If so, spend more time thinking why your communications benefit your recipient(s). And include the main benefit in your title/subtitle.

And if the benefits in these titles sound interesting…

  • What selling should be like
  • Selling’s as easy as ABC
  • Easy ways to build credibility
  • Pulling it all together in seconds

…they’re some of the first month’s videos in my online video club. To watch them, go to

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