October 29, 2010

Titles a bore? Not any more!



I'm currently reading POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline For Anything by Sam Horn, a book about crafting memorable titles, taglines and slogans. The book is full of creative exercises to come up with catchy names for everything from products to programs, and it reminded me of a clever joke I heard that appeared effortless in its spontaneity.

In the documentary "I Am Comic," Ritch Shydner is waiting in the wings to start his set at a comedy club. He's introduced by the emcee as "One of the pioneers of stand-up." Ritch turns to the camera with a look of astonishment, exclaims "Pioneer!" and bursts out laughing.

He makes his way onstage and tosses out this line: "Yes, one of the pioneers of stand-up comedy. Back in my day we had steam-driven microphones!"

Now, I can picture Ritch sitting there with his piece of paper, doing one of Sam Horn's exercises, one where you draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and make a list on either side of core words about your business, product or service.

In this case, I imagine Ritch using one side of the paper for words pioneer-related, such as "covered wagon," "homestead," or "buffalo," and the other side for words relating to comedians, like "club," "bit," and "joke." The magic combination: "Steam-driven microphone." But what's amazing is that Ritch does this all in his head in a matter of moments.

This is the message of POP! Once you get in the habit of thinking creatively, you will never be at a loss for clever word combinations. And another point: "This is not wordplay, this word profit." Coining an original word or phrase that gets the attention of prospects and media can make the difference between a presentation, product or service that languishes and one that soars to instant success.

If you (like me) have trouble coming up with creative titles and taglines for your presentations, your blog posts, your programs, consider picking up this book. It will change the way you think and give you practical tools to start capturing your audience's attention before you even walk in the door.

(I became paralyzed from the pressure of having to write a clever title for this post, just because I'm reading a book about how to write clever titles. I really need this book.)

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Kathy Reiffenstein said...

Good suggestion, Lisa. I, too, never seem to be able to come up with catchy, cool titles.

I've met Sam, as she lives in the DC area, and I've heard she's wonderful at helping authors who are trying to develop visibility for their new books.

Such a gift!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Kathy, I would love to have this gift. But it's nice to see that the skill can be cultivated, with a lot of work!

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