5 Tips for Writing Great Subject Lines and Titles

Writing Great Subject Lines and Blog Tltles

Writing effective email subject lines and blog titles is something of an art form. Even small changes can have a profound effect on open rates. Since the tips here apply to email subject lines as well as blog titles, for your ease of reading I’ll just use the term “title” here to mean both.

Here are five title tips that can help skyrocket your open rates.

1. Keep it Short

Shorter subject lines consistently do better than long ones. Ideally you want to try to stay below 50 characters, but of course it’s not set in stone. The trick is communicating everything you need without being overly verbose, and this is something you’ll learn with practice. Just try to limit yourself to 50-70 characters. Of course, quality is more important than quantity – if you need more characters to grab your audience’s attention, then go for it!

2. Tell, Don’t Sell

People don’t like being sold to, that’s a fact. If your subject line is the least bit “hype-y”, chances are it will go straight to the trashcan or spam folder. What you want to do instead is tell people (or rather give them a hint) about what’s inside. Telling stories is a great way to get a point across without being to salesy.

3. Use Numbers and “How to”

People are drawn to lists. Use a title like “X Ways to…” or “How to …” And then include clear subheadings (with the appropriate number of sections) to make it easier for readers to follow your content.

4. Controversy is Still Powerful

People can’t help but feel drawn to controversy. Use strong adjectives and action verbs. If your subject seems completely out in left field, that will intrigue your readers, there’s a good chance they’ll open the email to see what it’s all about. But then, of course, your content needs to tie in the title. You’ll lose readers very fast if you confuse them or promise a topic you don’t deliver on. I wrote a blog post titled “Don’t Shave a Yak” that was meant to intrigue readers – but then I included in the post how that relates to writing articles.

5. Use Scarcity Techniques

A technique to entice quick action is to create scarcity. Make your offer for a limited time or for a limited number of people, for example. But you need to be honest about it. You need to follow through on the limitations or it will lead to a backlash sooner or later.


Your turn: What are other tips for writing great email subject lines and blog post titles?

Deidra Miller
Administrative and Customer Service Consultant

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