by David Tandet

Immediate, in-sync double takes was the reaction a few of us had one day when we saw the words “The LAST Things We’d Ever Do” on the side of that latest LA WEEKLY. Turns out it was their annual “Best of L.A.” issue.

Well it’s a great title. Got OUR attention, for sure! This started a discussion among us — professional communicators all — right there on the sidewalk. When you promise something like that, had you better make sure you deliver?

Of course you should. That was the consensus. (And that’s hardly ever a problem for the LA WEEKLY. The paper has a thumbs up reputation for great “best of” lists. Even if you don’t always agree, the WEEKLY makes its case.)

But it’s amazing how many pieces don’t follow through on the header’s promise. Sometimes that’s because an editor changes the writer’s original title.

Often enough, however, it’s the writer who must bear 100% responsibility.

And that’s too bad. Because if there’s too much of a disconnect between the promise on top and the rest of the material, readers you had one crack at may never return.

What if we’re talking about a piece for a business client? THAT, dear friends, is all the more reason you want to be serving up everything you promise.

How would you like road directions that offer St. Paul and take you to Duluth?

Titles carry a great deal of weight. Use that authority wisely by being clear and accurate.

Titles are powerful. Titles attract attention. Titles rule.

Post filed under Reputation, Writing Tips.