You’re looking for the next audience-grabbing title for your blog? You could try one of the title generators out there, or you could dig a little deeper and tap into the next layer of your creativity. I generated this post’s title as a joke. There are a lot of articles with similar names out there, and frankly it’s starting to get dull and predictable.
There is nothing new under the sun
First, let me take the pressure off. There is no way you are going to invent something totally new, and if you do, nobody will like it for a good, long while (see Why Wait?). For example, sunrises and sunsets have included the same colors* since (brace yourselves) the dawn of time. They happen on a regular basis, they look largely the same each time they occur, and people still manage to find them beautiful and inspiring. People like familiar things. In fact, one of the most important ways we learn is through “generalization,” applying our impressions of one thing onto other things we see as similar — what Lady Gaga has in common with Toads (perhaps they are both occasionally psychedelic?). Generalization motivates people to click on titles like this, but people also get bored, and then they stop caring enough to click.
So, how do you balance familiar with fresh? One method is the rephrase game: “7 Things Lady Gaga has in Common with Toads” could become, “Lady Gaga walks into a Bar with a Toad on her Head, and Nobody Notices.” Need something punchier? “Lady Gaga and Toads: Two Bumps, Same Log.” The real challenge is getting the creative juices flowing. Relax, take a walk, sit and think about your breathing, make a list of stuff, anything. Once the juices start flowing, you are tapping into that next layer of creativity. That’s where all the good stuff is, but you’re going to have to trick yourself into it.
Boredom: Private Enemy Number 1
Are you bored? That means you aren’t engaged in what you’re doing. You’re going through the motions, phoning it in. The antidote is to change your scenery. Physically or virtually go someplace you’ve never been. Look at something differently by turning it upside down, or looking at it through a glass of water. Do something familiar in an unfamiliar place and notice how it feels, sounds, smells, tastes. These experiences expand us, because they force us to pay attention. We are engaged when we pay attention. That sunset you’ve seen throughout your life will look different in the mountains or on the beach. It’s the same sunset. It’s the same eyes. The geography makes it different. It’s a trick to engage ourselves. When we’re engaged and passionate about what we’re writing, our audience is engaged too.
So, does she have anything in common with toads?
In the end, it really doesn’t matter if Lady Gaga has anything in common with toads. Your passion for your subject builds your audience. Tricking into clicking only works for a while. Passion and perspective get you to the next layer of your creativity, and keep your audience engaged.
* Wired.com published an article studying the composition and colors of the most effective images on Pinterest. The article recommends red, orange, brown, and very little blue — the colors found in a sunrise or sunset.