Plus, a whole bunch of ready to go find-and-replace-formulas for you!

I have combined two in the title of this piece. “Intrigue” and “Smug”. Did you notice?

If you are reading this, you are either someone who is interested in this field, a content writer, in a creative team, or work around those who are. In this article you may learn something OR you will have an opinion on whether I am right, or not! Either way, you are still reading this [thank you!].

So, welcome.

Here at SESOME, we produce content. A lot. Some with our name on it, but mostly in our clients. I am clearly not a copywriter, but I do have the privilege of working with some incredibly creative and capable people. Our process like many content producers, starts with the end reader in the middle. Then mixed with objectives, the publishing location, the clients TOV etc.

The first step in any marketing or comms is to catch the desired audience’s attention. This can be the title and/or a title graphic. We believe that any content should have an emotional hook, it can i) Inspire, ii) Educate, iii) Inform iv) Spark debate or v) Entertain. But overall it should engage the reader and add value to their life

We think there are 4 types of title

All are designed to get an emotional reaction. They are:

1) Intrigue
2) FOMO (fear of missing out)
3) Smug
4) Fear or scared

There are always exceptions – but we start here.

Clickbait. Good and Bad!

The phrase ‘click bait’ will either fill you with dread or admiration. Massive organisations like Buzzfeed live and die by this. By using psychologically proven techniques and extensive testing to see what gets the click and then the engagement metrics, they are tested before the winner being shared globally. As the arms race has intensified, many publishers have had to follow.

Here are some title formulas to get your going

Intrigue – you want to read to learn something or check it out

  • “What all <Tourists|Travellers|Visitors> should know when they visit <Place>”
  • “<Quantity> <Person|Role> secrets to making the perfect <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food|even a CV>”
  • “Do you know these <Quantity>tricks all top <Person/Role>use make the perfect <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food|even a CV>”
  • “<Quantity> classic <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food|even a CV> to impress your friends”
  • “<Quantity> tweaks to upgrade your <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food|even a CV> repertoire”
  • “<Quantity> easiest <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food|even a CV> to make at home”
  • “<Quantity> easiest <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food|even a CV> to make for your <Event|SeasonalEvent>”
  • “<Quantity> best jug cocktail recipes”
  • “What <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food|even a CV> can I make with <Ingredient|Object>?”

Fear of missing out, the “FOMO” – you don’t want to be only person who doesn’t know something!

  • “Why <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food> is the only <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food you should order this <Event|Season>.”
  • “Why <person/type of people> are <Verb> the <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food”
  • “The most popular <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food> <Verb> at <event/awards>”
  • “<Quantity> <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food> phrases to make you sound like a pro”
  • “<Quantity> <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food to make your next <Friendship event>”
  • “Why you should never ask <Person|Role> about <event>”

Smug – you can prove that you know something, and more than those who are intrigued to read this

  • “<Quantity> reasons why <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food> <collective noun> are <Reason>”
  • “<Professionals Job title in their field> love the <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food>
  • “Their <Quantity> tips to make it perfect <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food> every time”
  • “<Quantity> simple <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food> to make at home, that will impress your friends”

Fear or Scared, – you need to know this as not to look a fool!

  • “7 common <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food> mistakes”
  • “5 <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food you should never order in a <PublicVenue>”
  • “10 things you should never say to your <Role|Person>”
  • “<Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food> <Verb> etiquette essentials.”
  • “<Quantity> <Cocktail|Recipe|Hobby|Craft|Food> making faux pas”


But don’t go over the top, otherwise it will be like a bad meme! Some classics that are too much, even for me.

“This video will prove you have be walking to the shops the wrong way your whole life!”, “17 potatoes that look like Justin Timberlake”, “5 questions you never ask a London policeman!”. I have seen these in the last year, and ashamedly, I clicked.

Hope that helps just a little.