Trends in how article titles are structured

I’ve noticed a shift in the way article titles have changed in the past few years. All of these models have been around, but some were definitely more popular before people got tired of them, and then everyone moved on to another type of title.

Lists

“25 Reasons Why [Blank] Is [Blank]”

“The 9 Best Things To [Blank]”

“3 Common Questions About [Blank]”

Descriptive - “Why/What/How…”

“How to Start a [Blank]”

“What [Blank] Need to Know About [Blank]”

“Why [Blank] Should….”

Stating the Topic

“The Impact of [Blank] on [Blank]”

“The Evolution of [Blank]”

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Now there’s a trend of having a sentence, or even two, in the title.

Five years ago, no one wrote titles with sentences in them. Now they’re common and reflect a more conversational tone. Your 8th grade English teacher would not have let you use a title like this for an essay.

I think the “mini sentences” also allude to status posts that readers are used to seeing on Facebook or Twitter.

Here are some examples from SF Globe. They are terribly formulaic.

Full Sentences

image

Shameless Cliff-hangers

“He Brought His Dog to the Park. What Happened Next Brought Me to Tears”

“This Woman Walked Into a Bank. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next”

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Knowing trends about titles is useful if you want to pitch a contributed article for a publication. It’s helpful to know what types of titles they gravitate towards, so you can make yours look like those. It signals that you’ve done your research and that you’re one of them.

UncategorizedWes Kao