It is a well-known and unfortunate fact that
People do not like to read.
The odds are, you first read the bolded line before reading the line above it.
That’s why you have to use creative titles for your course – because they stand out. They are the beacons that catch your readers’ eyes.
What is a headline? A headline is a title that gets the attention of the reader, tells the whole story and sells the benefit. The best course titles work in these four ways.
The best title ideas should appeal to the students’ self-interest. What benefit will the students get when they complete your course? For example, the title “Learn How to Build a Dynamic Website” emphasizes a clear benefit (you will gain a website-building skill) and that’s why it gets attention.
Pick the most important benefit the students will get. In addition, use attention-getting, catchy words like how to, why, quick, easy, results, save.
For example, you may have noticed that a how-to title almost always attracts your attention. Don't think of creative titles as something that's uniquely clever. Creative titles find a way to show the benefit to the student.
Students should know from the title alone if your course is what they are looking for. If you are teaching video editing, the title should be aimed towards the students who need this particular skill (for example, youtubers, aspiring filmmakers, vloggers). The title “The Ultimate Video Editing Guide” works well for all the mentioned groups.
If your course is more specific and meant for youtubers only, you should mention them in the title (for example, “Youtuber’s Guide to Editing a Great Video”).
In other words, when coming up with title ideas, think of whether your title will select only those students who need your course.
Now comes the sad news. Most of the students won’t read your course description. They will only read the title and maybe skim the description text.
That’s why it should be clear from the title alone what your course is all about. Don’t give riddles, don’t be mysterious. Good writing means coming up with title ideas that plainly tell your students what will they learn.
What is a headline apart from being a way to draw the reader to the text?
It’s impossible to put all the information about your course in the title. That’s why the title has to draw the students to read the rest of the description. Do that by using catchy words or phrases that arouse their curiosity.
For example, if you are selling a productivity course, you can use a title like, “Three Step Tutorial to Cut Your Working Day in Half”.
Note that this title is not mysterious – it's simply good writing that describes what you are teaching in a catchy way. This title also presents a clear benefit to the students – finding a way to work less (or to do more work in the same amount of time). But the students will also wonder – how is it possible to cut your work in half? They will be curious and they will want to read the whole description.
The subtitle is the smaller text below the title. It is read less often and yet it can give more factual information to the reader who got hooked by the title. Tell the potential student something new the title has not covered. How much will the student learn, in what amount of time? What will this learning journey look like?
When you are coming up with title ideas, use the best one for the title and the runner-up for the subtitle.
What words would you use if you wanted to find your course on the internet? What words would you type in the search box? These words are called keywords.
For example, you have created a course on how to build an online business. How would you find this or a similar course with Google search?
You would probably use phrases like “online business course”, or “how to create an online business”. This is the start of your search. Use special tools to identify the keywords that are popular when searching for courses like yours.
Every section and lecture will have their own titles, which should be to-the-point and helpful, like chapter names in a non-fiction book.
They should point directly to the topic you will be discussing.
Do not use confusing terms or obfuscating language, just state the topic in a clear and catchy way. Here are some title ideas for your sections and lectures:
Section 3 title: “Responsive design with Bootstrap”.
Lecture 6 title: “The proper way to use Jumbotron”.
You are standing in an elevator. The door opens and Elon Musk steps in. You have a great idea you believe Elon Musk would be interested in. But you do not have all the time in the world. You have just these two minutes you’ll be together in the elevator.
The elevator pitch is a short description of an idea with the intention to sell the idea to the listener. Limited time, limited attention.
That means you have to boil your idea down to the core.
Your potential students are in an elevator with you. They will read your course description and enroll only if you write a title that gets attention, select the students and describes the course. From all the title ideas in the Universe, you must pick the one that best suits your course. All is in your hands.