a table of contents in a book

How to Craft a Table of Contents & Boost Engagement (+ Tips)

by Liliana Benzel


Looking to skyrocket your post engagement with a killer table of contents (TOC)?

You’re in the right place.

This isn’t just about assembling a custom table, adding a page number and heading style. It’s about strategically designing a roadmap that will guide and captivate your readers.

We’ll explore tangible examples and actionable techniques to create an impactful table of content. This is what fuels reader curiosity and propels engagement levels through the roof.

Ready to give your content the springboard it deserves?

Let’s dive right in.

a table of contents in a book

Understanding the Power of a TOC in Blog Posts

Before we start, you may be wondering, “What’s the big deal about a table of content?”

Well, let’s unpack that.

A table of contents is like a roadmap for your blog post. Or the appetizer that sets the tone for the main course to follow.

It provides a snapshot of what the reader (and Google) can expect, from the first section right down to the last. But its value goes beyond mere organization.

In the digital world, where attention spans are shorter than a goldfish’s (no kidding), a table of contents can make or break the reader’s engagement with your post.

It allows your readers to skim through the post quickly, meaning they can cherry-pick the sections that interest them and get a sneak peek into the value they’re about to receive. 

In short, It respects their time and caters to their specific needs.

Plus, it simplifies the reader’s journey.

A well-crafted table of contents can be a powerful engagement tool. Much like a movie trailer, it teases the readers, stokes their curiosity, and invites them to dive in for more.

As an added bonus, it also helps improve your post’s SEO.

So, if you want your blog post to leave an impact and keep readers coming back, a table of contents should be high on your priority list.

10 Top Tips to Help Craft the Ultimate Table of Contents

Ready to craft your blockbuster table of contents? Here’s what you need to do…

1. Create a Contents “Trailer”

Imagine opening a book, skimming through the entire table of contents, and bam — you’re hooked.


The table of contents promises a journey you can’t resist.

That’s the power of a contents “trailer”.

So, how do you accomplish this?

Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about budget-friendly travel. Instead of a section titled “Packing Essentials,” you could write “Packing Like a Pro: Travel Light Without Missing a Thing.”

Now that sounds like a section worth reading, doesn’t it?

It’s not just about packing.

It’s about mastering the art of packing light, something every budget traveler wants to do. The benefits?

Readers can get a glimpse of your post’s unique value even before they start reading.

It keeps them intrigued.

It keeps them excited.

And it keeps them eager to explore your content, skyrocketing engagement right off the bat.

2. Impress Readers With an Interactive ToC

table of contents icon

Interactivity can go a long way in enhancing reader engagement.

An interactive table of contents simplifies navigation, making the reading experience more pleasant.

So, how do you make your entire table of contents interactive?

If you’re working on a digital platform like a blog or an e-book, you have various tools at your disposal. Programs like Word and Google Docs also have their own interactive TOC capabilities.

For example, you can use hyperlinks for each section title in your table of contents. This enables readers to jump straight to the section that interests them most without having to scroll through everything else.

This user-friendly approach can save your readers time and effort, making them more likely to engage with your content and return for more.

Plus, it keeps your content organized and accessible, giving it a professional edge. Remember, small tweaks can have a huge impact.

By enhancing your table of contents, you’re investing in an engaging and satisfying reading experience.

And trust us, your readers will thank you for it.

3. Leverage The ‘Why Should I Care?’ Factor

We’ve all been there — scanning through a table of contents and wondering, “Why should I care about this?”

By giving each section an enticing promise, a unique solution, or posing a compelling question, you’re answering that very question for your reader.

For example, instead of a dull “Benefits of Green Tea” title, consider something like, “Why is Green Tea Your Ultimate Health Elixir?”

Now that’s something that catches the eye and sparks curiosity.

The benefit?

By embedding the ‘why’ into your table of contents, you’re presenting your readers with value upfront.

They’re more likely to continue reading because they see what’s in it for them right from the start.

4. Establish a Visual Hierarchy: Lead Their Eyes

Visual hierarchy isn’t just for web designers; it’s an excellent tool for your table of contents, too.

It helps guide the reader’s eyes, making your content easier to digest.

So, how do you do it?

Play around with font sizes, colors, and weights to differentiate between main points and subpoints.

You could also use different indentations for a subheading, a different text, or a heading style.

For example, “Chapter 1: Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle” could be in bold and larger font, with sub-sections like “1.1 The Impact of Exercise” in a smaller size or different color.

Why should you do this?

A visually appealing table of contents not only looks professional but also enhances readability.

It allows your readers to quickly identify key sections and understand the flow of your content at a glance, making the reading experience much more enjoyable.

5. Craft a ‘Cliffhanger’ Table of Contents

Cliffhangers aren’t just for suspense novels.

You can use this element of surprise in your table of contents too.

It keeps your readers on their toes, eager to discover what comes next.

For instance, instead of “The History of Coffee,” try “The Dark and Stormy Past of Your Morning Brew.”

It leaves the reader wondering, “What’s so dark and stormy about coffee?” 

Creating a sense of suspense in your table of contents can keep your readers hooked, compelling them to read on.

It’s all about creating an engaging narrative that starts from your table of contents and weaves throughout your entire piece.

So if you’re ready to leave your readers at the edge of their seats, this is one tactic your TOCs should definitely leverage.

6. Prepare a Bite-sized Preview

Taking notes about writing styles on a laptop

Think of your favorite recipe book.

Isn’t it more engaging when each recipe comes with a little description or story?

This same concept can be applied to your table of contents.

Providing a mini-preview for each section not only piques reader interest but also gives them a sense of what to expect.

Say, for example, you’re writing about photography.

Instead of simply stating, “Understanding Light,” you could add, “Unveil the magic of light, the secret sauce to transforming your photos from good to jaw-dropping.”

This sneak peek acts like an appetizer, whetting the reader’s appetite for the main course.

It gives a flavor of your writing style and the value they’ll receive, encouraging them to stick around and read on.

7. Prioritize The Power of Secondary Keywords

When crafting a table of contents, never underestimate the power of secondary keywords.

By carefully integrating additional keywords into your section titles, you can boost your SEO even further, leading to higher visibility and greater engagement.

So, how do you do it?

Take the time to research secondary keywords that are relevant to your topic. Then, naturally weave them into your table of contents.

For example, if you’re writing about healthy eating, secondary keywords could include “plant-based diet,” “organic food,” “superfoods,” etc.

These keywords can be creatively incorporated into section titles.

By including extra SEO-friendly keywords, your content becomes more discoverable in the wild world of the internet.

More people can find your document, leading to increased reader engagement.

Plus, it lets readers know that you’re addressing trending topics that they’re interested in.

8. Gamify Your TOC

Gamifying your table of contents might sound unconventional, but it can be a game-changer.

By making each section feel like a level-up, you’re encouraging the reader to keep going.

To conquer each ‘level’ or section.

Consider, for instance, a self-improvement blog post. Your first section could be “Level 1: Understanding Your Strengths”.

It could be followed by “Level 2: Overcoming Self-Doubt”, and so forth.

Each section brings the reader one step closer to their ultimate goal and makes the learning journey more engaging.

This approach encourages interaction from readers and gives them a sense of achievement as they progress.

It transforms the reading experience into an exciting journey of discovery and growth.

This significantly enhances reader engagement and can help ensure they stick with your content from beginning to end.

9. Inject Some Humor to Keep Reader’s Interest

reading a table of contents on a laptop

Who says a table of contents has to be all business?

Injecting a bit of humor can make your content more enjoyable.

And let’s face it, everyone enjoys a good laugh.

This strategy can break the ice and help you form an instant bond with your readers.

For example, say you’re writing an article about home workouts. Instead of “Warm-Up Exercises,” how about “Shaking Off the Couch Potato Blues: Your Warm-Up Guide”?

Adding a touch of humor brings warmth and personality to your TOC, making it more approachable and fun. It also provides a refreshing twist.

This helps your content stand out in a sea of seriousness.

And hey, who knows, your table of contents might just put a smile on someone’s face!

10. Make Use of Mystery Titles

Consider stirring up some intrigue with mystery titles in your table of contents.

Mystery engages the reader’s natural curiosity and compels them to stick with your post until they get the answers to their questions.

For instance, if you’re writing a self-development article, instead of “Overcoming Procrastination,” you could use “The Secret Enemy in Your Productivity War.”

The reader will be eager to find out who or what this enemy is.

A hint of mystery can create an engaging narrative right from the table of contents by inherently inviting the reader to solve the mystery and keeping them hooked to your work.

And in the process, they’re more likely to digest the valuable information you’re sharing.

Remember, your table of contents isn’t just a boring list. 

It’s a golden opportunity to draw your readers in and keep them engaged with your work as a whole.

And ultimately provide them with valuable, satisfying content.

Wrapping Up Your Table of Contents Journey


That was a deep dive, wasn’t it?

You might be thinking, “That’s a lot to take in.”

And you’re right — it is.

But remember, each step you take towards crafting a better table of contents is a leap forward in enhancing reader engagement.

You’re not just creating a list.

You’re crafting an engaging roadmap for your readers.

With all the insights you’ve gained from this article, you’re now fully equipped to rock that table of contents.

So go on, grab your keyboard, and start crafting. Give these tips a whirl, and watch your post engagement skyrocket!

We’re cheering you on!

Photo of author

Liliana Benzel

Liliana Benzel is a Smart Blogger Coach and freelance writer with a passion for content creation, editing, and SEO strategy. She’s helped several writing agencies develop engaging content and is always looking for the next big challenge.


Make 2-5K per month, even if you're a beginner. We're seeking writers of any skill level.
Photo of author

Written by Liliana Benzel

Liliana Benzel is a Smart Blogger Coach and freelance writer with a passion for content creation, editing, and SEO strategy. She’s helped several writing agencies develop engaging content and is always looking for the next big challenge.

Leave a Comment