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Use This One Simple Trick to Attract Millions of Readers

Others have been doing it for years; why not you?

By Denise SheltonPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
Use This One Simple Trick to Attract Millions of Readers
Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash

As I was browsing on the Internet the other day, trying to figure out what trendy piece of drek I could grind out to boost my meager online earnings as a writer, I noticed that a particular title has been paying off handsomely for the writers who used it, or some variation of it, for the past several years.

I’m handing you this on a platter, eventually

I know you’re dying to know what this miraculous title is, and I promise to tell you, but I have to keep you reading a bit longer so I can make more than a buck or two off my remarkable discovery.

You see, I don’t plan to use the title I’m talking about myself, and I’m sure I’ll do okay with the title I came up with for this one. I also want to leave the field clear for you since it hasn’t been used in a few months. You’re welcome.

Let’s talk about why this title works so well first. Here are a few factors that make this particular combination of words compelling. Possibly by studying them, you can repeat the success of this particular title by plugging in different elements and writing about something else entirely. You never know.

1 — The title in question contains the name of a famous person whose name is often in the news

When someone is in the news a lot, it’s because people are interested in what they’re up to. Consequently, they may want to read your story simply because they can’t get enough of Mr. or Ms. X.

2 — The person named is not only famous but is insanely rich

For some reason, almost everyone these days wants to be a billionaire and is eager to learn how it’s done. A million or two used to be enough for anybody, but not now.

To live in considerable comfort and safety for the rest of one’s life isn’t exactly unappealing, but it doesn’t leave room for wretched excess. These days, it’s not enough to have enough; it’s not even enough to have too much. What people are after now is to have more than anybody else on Earth and, for that matter, in the entire solar system.

3 — This particular title implies that the accompanying article is going to reveal the secret to getting what this person has

“If this person did it,” people tell themselves, “I could, too, if I only knew how.” The technique of modeling the behavior of successful people has been around as long as the concept of self-help itself.

It’s not an idea without merit, but even though we know that there’s more to success than following a proscribed checklist, we kid ourselves that those other things are minor considerations. We’ll figure out how to overcome our lack of education, intelligence, resources, and creativity if we just get the recipe for the secret sauce.

4 — The title contains a one-two punch

The reader is informed that the person mentioned in the title, who they are already thinking of as the mentor of Moneytown, is superior to the rest of us in not one but two ways. We see this concept in advertising. A product is not just “new” but “new and improved.”

So what’s the frickin’ cockamamie title already?

Drumroll, please….

“How Elon Musk Learns Faster And Better Than Everyone Else”

Let’s look at a few of the articles with this or similar titles, shall we? One writer, in particular, likes to trot out this old chestnut routinely since it’s such a cash cow. Here are several airings of his story in chronological order:

August 11, 2016, on Medium by Michael Simmons

September 2, 2016, on Observer by Michael Simmons

April 15, 2017, on Accelerated Intelligence by Michael Simmons

April 25, 2017, on Quartz by Michael Simmons

December 7, 2018, on Accelerated Intelligence by Michael Simmons

Michael Simmons has 61k followers on Medium. He must be doing something right. I imagine these other writers think so, too.

August 31, 2016, by Eddy McLocklin on Powur

3 years ago on Highsnobiety by Fabian Gorsler

November 6, 2020, on Better Marketing by Matt Lillywhite

Here are two more variations on the theme:

August 23, 2017, in Inc. by Jessica Stillman

September 2, 2020, in Entrepreneur’s Handbook by Jake Daghe

We could go on forever, but I think you get the picture. There are lots of people writing about the various aspects of Elon Musk’s life, work, and musings.

Some titles work better than others, but I doubt there’s one that’s gotten as much attention over the years as the one I’m sharing with you. If you know of one, let me know in the comments.

Although I can’t be certain, I suspect the credit for this particular magic word string belongs to Michael Simmons. It seems to have served him well. I wonder what it can do for you?

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About the Creator

Denise Shelton

Denise Shelton writes on a variety of topics and in several different genres. Frequent subjects include history, politics, and opinion. She gleefully writes poetry The New Yorker wouldn't dare publish.

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