If You Want People to Show Up, Start With a Good Title

Whether it is blogging, preaching, or speaking at a workshop, titles are very important. My family went to a workshop in July and we were trying to decide what classes to go to. Roughly 1/3 of the titles didn’t give me any clue what the class was really all about. Guess what…we didn’t go to any of those. When you can only choose so many classes to attend in a weekend you aren’t going to pick the ones you can’t figure out what they are actually about from the titles.

When you come up with a title there really isn’t any one perfect rule but there are several things to consider that will help draw people toward your content. If you are going to put a ton of effort into a blog post, sermon, or class it only makes sense that you need an effective doorway to get people in. Who wants to communicate something no one is listening to. Sermons are a bit different because people usually just have one choice at a given congregation. But in blogging and workshops where people are making choices where to go and what to read it is extremely important.

For instance, here is a title from the Spiritual Growth Workshop of a class I was involved in teaching,

“Where are all the 20 & 30 somethings?: Practical Ministry to a Missing Generation”

We spent as much time on the title as anything. Our rationale was our title needed to accomplish several things:

  1. It has to reach the people we want to reach (ministers, elders, deacons, and concerned members).
  2. It has to present a need – an missing generation
  3. It has to show that it will be practical in bringing some solutions or suggestions toward addressing the presented need.
  4. It shouldn’t be ambiguous. Read it over and over and make sure people would get it on their first read. See below.
  5. It has to be long so no one can miss it when they see the program. Kidding. Scratch that.

It seemed to work as our class was very well attended. I really doubt we would have half the people who came with a title like: “Evangelism to young adults”. That is a very typical title but it doesn’t do anything for most people because they figure they already have heard all the same material on evangelism = nothing new here, move along.

Titles really do matter. It is incumbent open preachers, teachers, and presenters to develop titles that matter. One last example, I started this post off with the title “Titles do matter” and then I realized I had broken all of my own rules. It was ambiguous. What kind if titles? Like Mr or Dr? It didn’t present a need or that a need would be addressed in a practical way. Hopefully you can see some of the rules in play in the title this post ended up with.

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

2 Responses to If You Want People to Show Up, Start With a Good Title

  1. Darin says:

    Thanks, I just had to make a presentation with possible titles. I came back and read these again for inspiration.

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