Whenever you write a story or article, take special care in composing the title because it may be the deciding factor that draws many readers to it. An excellent title provokes curiosity and makes readers feel there’s a lot to be gained from reading the piece. This, however, should not be abused to promise what the story does not contain. That would amount to sensationalism, which is unethical.

Having an idea of what you want to write helps to give your article focus and coherence and you should definitely write it down. Yet, you may not arrive at the best title that captures what you have written until you complete the article. Therefore, don’t fret about the title when you haven’t done the writing.

So what are the characteristics a title should have to pull readers to your story?

Four Main Features of an Excellent Title

***Catchiness: It should sound good to the ear. A great title usually has a nice ring to it. It is also witty. These qualities make it memorable.

To accomplish this, the writer resorts to his wide vocabulary, wit, sense of humour and ability to use literary devices like figures of speech. He can also twist existing titles, well-known expressions and phrases to frame something surprising and pleasing.


Old Is New Or It Can Be: A Guide to Redecorating Your Home

This title is inspired by an old saying whose origin is traced as follows: Novelist Stephen King has been quoted as saying, “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” But the latter part, “everything old is new again” had earlier been attributed to 18th Century Anglo-English writer, Jonathan Swift.

The Greatest Love of All May Not Be What You Think

The reference here is to the song, “The Greatest Love of All,” previously performed by George Benson and popularised by the late powerhouse vocalist, Whitney Houston.

From Diane, with Love

This is reminiscent of the title of the 2010 Lionsgate/Warner Bros. thriller film, “From Paris with Love,” starring John Travolta.

***Accuracy: The title should be in consonance with the body of the article. It should not be deceptive, only aiming to gain attention by peddling a complete lie or half-truth.

Examples of False Titles:

Blow to Atiku: How CSU Authenticated Tinubu’s Certificate

Legacy Media Fact-checkers: Great Fighters of Disinformation

***Concreteness: Including words that refer to tangible objects helps a title to elicit mental images in the readers. Words like banks, doctors, houses and Naira notes are examples of concrete nouns. Abstract nouns which refer to generalised terms without specific referents should only be used in titles when concrete terms are unavailable. Examples of abstract terms are prosperity, morality and fairness. Such words are interpreted differently by different people.


Baggy Clothes Are in Vogue Again

Would You Share an Apartment with Your Ex?

Don’t Be a Square Peg in a Round Hole

***Conciseness: The longer the title, the weaker it will be. Therefore, in my book, Feature Writing Simplified, I state that, “Ideally, the title should contain three or four important words along with articles and conjunctions” (2005, p. 148). Note that I use the word “ideally,” so this may not always be possible. But always bear in mind that it is hard for a title to be both wordy and punchy.

Besides, an overly long title will likely be imprecise. The writer is probably dabbling into too many things that will lead to an unwieldy and clumsy article that will lack depth on the individual issues it is burdened with.

Other Features of an Excellent Title

***It Is Simple and Unambiguous: An excellent title is easy to understand. If people labour to grasp what it’s saying, they may take that as a cue to drop the article because they assume it will likely be just as bad. Apart from plain obscurity, extreme teasing may also backfire. While you can occasionally attempt to create a mystery with a title, check if you pulled it off before running with such a title. You can do this by putting yourself in the shoes of the readers. Irritating them with a vague title won’t get you the attention you crave for your work.

Examples of clear titles:

Does Taking Time-outs in a Relationship Make You a Bad Friend?

Meet the Man Who Has Played Jesus the Most on the Silver Screen

It is Touching: Emotion sells. A title that tugs at heartstrings will probably do very well. But it must correspond with the story.


Israeli Survivors Recount the Horrors of Hamas’ Recent Attacks

Woman Gives Birth in Her Collapsed Home Amidst Earthquake

***It Offers Useful and Practical Advice: Many people are eager to learn something new. They would appreciate other people’s insights and solutions to help them address the issues in their lives. Framing titles around such matters usually lures readers.


5 Ways to Handle Sibling Rivalry

Strive for Financial Security (An Advice to Civil Servants)

Why You Should Not Drop out of School


Composing excellent titles is not easy. Although it can come naturally to some with a great flair for writing, many struggle with it. But patience and practice will likely give you a handle on it.

Reading widely will also expose you to vast numbers of titles that can help you frame yours when you need to. So will embracing poetry. The mastery of rhythm and rhyme will make composing great sounding titles that will flag readers down much easier for you.

The next post will examine different types of titles, with examples. Meanwhile, you can peruse the following post. It talks about great leads and story beginnings.

Feel free to drop your impressions and questions in the comments below.

God bless you!


Ohaja, E. U. (2005). Feature Writing Simplified. Enugu, Nigeria. EL ‘DEMAK.

How To Write a Catchy Title in 5 Steps (With Tips)

You may also like the following related post:


  • Nwaedoh Amarachi John

    This is really helpful. Thank you ma’am

  • Ayinde Opeyemi

    Thanks Ma’am for this wonderful write up. I hope to put everything into consideration when next I’m writing.
    Thanks for alway educating and sharing your knowledge with us Ma’am
    May your ink never go dry Ma

  • Chigozie Ohanagorom

    It is very true that the title of any book has to be catchy and punchy according to Ohaja. You are doing a great job ma’am, thank you for saving a lot of us from little mistakes.

  • Ochije Favour Chinenye

    Now this is me saying Goodbye to unattractive titles. So the title of a piece can determine the amount of attention or views that piece of writing gets. Nice. Thank you ma for this enlightenment and…
    God bless you too!!

  • Chinaza precious

    I must confuse with all sincerity I love this piece ma . I love fiction writing so much, it makes one imagine the story and feels like one is inside of the story. You can picture mood of the characters.
    When I see a book with an interesting title I am moved to read it and like you said “An excellent title provokes curiosity and makes readers feel there’s a lot to be gained from reading the piece”. I cannot agree more on that a good constructed title provokes readers curiosity to take up the book and read.

  • Nmesomachi Igwe

    This is a very educative piece ma’am
    Also, a lot of writers tend to have very catchy titles and don’t care for accuracy. I would recommend this for them.

  • Success ogbonna

    Thank you very much ma for this powerful post. While writing excellent tittles is very important while writing one of the reason is because it draws the attention of your audience.

  • Anidu Precious Mmesomachukwu

    Thank you ma. This really thought me a lot I didn’t know about writing.

  • Odiegwu Marygrace Chidiebere

    I learnt the four important elements needed to write an excellent title. The first one is to make the title catchy in order to attract readers. The second is that whatever title you give the book, must correspond with the content. The third one is that you have to make your title brief and not lengthy. If possible make sure that the title must deal on something that can be seen to help readers paint a mental picture of the story.

  • Beautiful piece ma. To start writing is somewhat difficult,this is a great guide. Thank you,ma.

  • Writing an excellent title is not easy but with constant patience and practice will go a very long way in writing an excellent titles and I also believe that reading alot makes one to be more exposed

  • Enete Precious Chikamso

    A title is one of the factors that attracts a reader to a work. The ability of a writer to make his title unique and simple will increase the readers’ curiosity about the story.

  • Decent Michael

    Thank you very much ma,I just learnt that using words that refer to tangible object while writing help readers to understand better.

    • Chukwunta Philip Ozioma

      Today, many writers expecially bloggers and social media writers, present lies or half truths in the headline of their articles just to grab attention. When you start reading the article, you find out that the headline is different from the body which is very bad.

      The headline of our articles should correlate with the body, always.
      Thank you ma, for this great piece.

    • Blessing Edeoga

      Titles are the first things readers notice in a story, good titles tend to get the attention of readers more than unnecessarily long titles which bore readers. I just got to realize that “emotions” play a crucial role in writing excellent titles.

  • Igweonu Honour Ifenna

    Its completely normal to come blank about the title of a write up till you finish that particular write up. Noted ma

  • Judith Donatus

    Thank you so much ma. Although, I don’t clearly understand concreteness when it comes to writing titles. Please ma can you explain further.

  • Ogbu Chinyere Rosemary

    This article is very educative, having a title in mind will actually help a writer to come up with something good,title is also one of the factors that draws the attention of the readers, Imagine a title that does not motivate the reader that book or what ever write up it will lost it worth.

  • Okoye Paul Ketachukwu

    Great work i must say i’ve learnt that in trying to write excellent titles one must ensure use of right word, the title must be able to draw one’s attention to attract readers to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.