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Article Marketing Tips: 6 Problems With Your Title That Can Cause Publishers To Decline Your Article
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One common misconception in the article marketing world is that all you need to do is write an article and submit it, and the article will automatically be picked up by publishers.

Here’s an eye opener: Articles are not automatically published on websites. They must first pass the editorial review of the individual publisher. If the publisher deems the article to be acceptable, then the article is published. If not, then the article is declined.

Why is so much attention paid to the title?

You may be thinking, “The title is only a few words long, and my article is way more important than the title. Why are publishers extra picky on the title?”

Publishers know that the title is the first thing that a reader will see, and the title is what will rope a reader into reading your article or not. The title can also reveal the quality of the article–if there are grammar issues in the headline, then a person would assume that the rest of the article will not be of high quality.

Publishers will sometimes decide whether to accept or decline an article based solely on the title. That’s right–if the title has obvious problems, the publisher may not even bother to look at the rest of the article.

What should you look for in creating titles that most publishers will accept? Here are the types of problems that are commonly spotted in a title:

  • 1 – Grammar and spelling issues

Most likely you know how to spell and how to write with proper grammar, but when you make a slip-up in the title, it’s like putting up a neon sign that says “Look everyone–I messed up!”

The rest of your article may be absolutely perfect, but if the title has any sort of grammar or spelling issues, the article may very well be declined by a publisher. The solution is simple–don’t forget to proofread your title!

  • 2 – The title says that the article is about one thing, but the article is actually about something else.

Some publishers will phrase this in a different way–they’ll say that “the title does not relate to the article body”. This means that there is something misleading about the title–a person might look at your title and get the impression that the article is about one thing, when it really is about another.

Here are some of the forms this issue can take:

=> If your title says that your article contains 9 tips, then it must contain that number of tips. If the article only has 5 or 7, then the title could cause the article to be declined.

=> If your title indicates that it contains information specific to a certain geographic location, but really offers only general information, then the publisher may decide that your title is misleading. For example, if you submit an article called “5 Tips For Finding A Gym In New Jersey”, then your article needs to contain 5 tips for finding a gym in that specific city, rather than just general tips for finding a gym that would apply to any location.

  • 3 – Title is just keywords, or the title is just plain too short.

The purpose of the title is to tell the reader what the article will be about. If your title is only one word, then that doesn’t give very much information. Most publishers will require that your headline be at least 2 words, but ideally your title would be long enough to clearly indicate what your article topic is. Most of the time, that will take more than 2 or 3 words.

Remember, people will decide to read your article based on the title. If the headline captures their attention, they’ll decide to read the article. It’s not enough just to get the article published on a website–the title needs to be effective at grabbing the attention of readers.

  • 4 – Title is in all caps, or the title is not in title case

The most common format for titles is what is called “title case”. That means that the first letter of every major word is capitalized. Common words like “a”, “and”, “of”, etc can remain lower case, if you like, or you may capitalize the first letter.

Some people may try to put the title in all capital letters, perhaps thinking that the big letters will draw more attention. Actually, the result is the opposite–words written in all caps are actually more difficult to read and tend to turn readers off. Many publishers won’t accept titles that are in all caps.

  • 5 – Title doesn’t read naturally.

That’s a nice way of saying that the title just doesn’t make any sense the way that it is written. Most often this happens when the author has a specific keyword phrase that he wants to use in the title, and he “forces” it in there without considering that the phrase just doesn’t make sense in the context of the title.

  • 6 – Title is enclosed in quotation marks, or the title ends in a period (full stop).

Titles of free reprint articles don’t need to have any quotation marks around them. Many publishers also don’t like it when the title has a period at the end, so you can just leave the punctuation off.

This may seem like a lot to look for in a title, but these are the things that publishers are commonly looking for. Your title will probably be getting more attention than any other part of your article. It’s your first chance to make a positive impression on a publisher and on a reader. The next time you submit an article, make sure that you title is free of these issues.


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