Jazz up those presentation titles!

Attendance is declining at our chapter meetings and I suspect that the topic titles are partly to blame.

The February presentation was called “Best Practices for B2B Marketing Writing.” It probably didn’t seem relevant because most of us are not marketing writers. But I came away from Paul McKeon’s presentation with a greater appreciation for the importance of quality content for our readers and the role we can play in creating that content.

McKeon is with The Content Factor, an Atlanta-based company that produces “original content for anything that can help you sell—print or web advertising, brochures or blogs, white papers, websites or podcasts.” They write white papers for KnowledgeStorm, for example.

McKeon pointed out that unlike typesetters, bank tellers, and travel agents, writers aren’t headed for obsolesence any time soon. In fact, in the world of the World Wide Web, there’s been a decisive shift toward content over form. Strong Language recently published an interview with Whitney Quesenbery on this subject.

A catchier title for the presentation would have been “Why Content Matters” or “Ten Ways to Pump Up Your Writing.”

In March, we faced a similar problem. Scott Abel is a popular speaker with a huge following through The Content Wrangler.(By the way, if you haven’t joined The Content Wrangler Community yet, do it now!)

Scott is a lively and provocative speaker, but his title was a real yawner: “Leveraging Software Tools To Help You Ensure Content Quality.” The main point of Scott’s talk was that we need to be doing more to increase productivity through intelligent use of technology to manage content.

Suggested titles if Scott plans to do this one again:
“Why You Aren’t a Professional”
“Improve Your Productivity and Prove It to Your Management”
“Ten Ways to Work Smarter with Your Content”

 We aren’t the only organization plagued with boring meeting titles.
Check out this exciting program sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of PMI tomorrow:

““Understanding SMEs: Using Humanizing Networks to Manage the Project Impact of Subject Matter Experts’ Heterogynous Needs” It has naptime written all over it, but it probably will be a great talk.

When we engage speakers for our meetings, we should help them think of more compelling names for their presentations. It helps boost attendance and makes it more likely the speaker will be asked to repeat the talk somewhere else.

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5 Responses to Jazz up those presentation titles!

  1. Miranda says:

    Have you seen the Cosmo headline technique on Copy Blogger? (http://www.copyblogger.com/cosmo-headlines/) Granted, the article promotes the idea of writing headlines first, which does not work for existing presentations. But, the idea of getting inspiration from all those over-the-top headlines sounds fun to me.

  2. hharkness says:

    No, I haven’t. Will check it out.
    Thanks, Miranda

  3. […] learning to create intriguing titles is an important art in drawing readers in. (Holly Harkness reminded me of this lately.) Don’t worry so much about keywords and use the WordPress SEO plugin I mentioned in […]

  4. Once again, it’s all about the audience. Many presenters title their presentations based on “what this talk is about”, rather than from the audience’s perspective of “Why should I care?” How ironic that your presenter on marketing writing fell into the same trap.

  5. hharkness says:

    Good point, Janet.

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