Creating white paper titles may well be the most important task when developing a white paper, because it determines how likely your target audience will take the time to read it. In these ever-more-busy days, we have little patience for the items competing for our time. When glancing at a social media feed or a search engine’s results, we just take a quick look to determine if anything is intriguing enough to warrant a longer look. If not, we move on to something else. You’ve heard that old saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Well, if you fail to make that immediate impression with a potential reader, you’ll lose out.

White paper titles should capture interest

Your white paper titles must draw the reader in by providing interesting and intriguing content. They should be written to your reader’s experience and knowledge levels. Make sure your titles appeal to the reader’s emotions. While white papers are generally focused on facts, people act on the basis of their emotional responses.

White paper titles and SEO

The right white paper titles should also improve your search engine performance. It’s a good idea to test your titles to see how search engines are likely to respond to them. Some blogging platforms allow you to compare sample ideas to see how likely they’ll catch the attention of search engines. Testing your white paper titles that way can be helpful.

White paper titles and keywords

Including keywords in the title will make it easier for potential readers to find your white paper, because search engines target keywords. However, using keywords ineffectively can make your title difficult to read. Forcing a complex keyword into a white paper title can make it sound like a bad translation of a foreign-language document. Avoid stuffing multiple keywords into a single white paper title.

White paper titles should be serious

The most effective white paper titles are serious and straightforward. In a product brochure, you might use a headline like “Process three times as many radishes with our veeblefetzers,” but something that promotional won’t appeal to someone seeking objective information. Titles such as “Evaluating processing alternatives for radish production” or “Cross-cutting and spiral-coring: an engineering comparison” will suggest that your white paper offers a more balanced approach.

White paper titles should brief

Keep white paper titles short — generally, no longer than 10 words. If your topic demands a longer title, you might use a shorter statement with a colon followed by a more descriptive phrase, such as “Better radish production: how spiral coring approaches boost profitability.”

White paper titles should not be promotional

Including your company’s name or mentioning your product or service by name in a white paper title can interfere with the perception that the white paper offers a balanced look at the topic. Avoid using slogans or marketing taglines within the title, too. It’s okay to have them appear at the bottom of the page but weaving them into your title can impair your credibility. Readers are looking for sound information and not a marketing pitch that’s full of hype.