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How To Create Effective Video Titles to Win Clicks (& Customers)

Read Time: 4 minutes

Titles. Six letters. Two vowels. And a whole lot of judgement. No matter if we’re talking about a title for a book, a job position, or your next big video, crafting an effective title can be tricky.

The thing about titles is that they give people a first impression of who you are, even before they click on your thumbnail or hit play. Titles are the essence of your video’s message and creating an effective video title is to create the ultimate clickbait for your video content.

But how can you, as a video marketer, create the most effective titles for your videos?

To get to the bottom of it, our Chief Evangelist, Renee Teeley, met up with the Director of Video at TubeBuddy, Andrew Kan. Get ready to talk all about how you can craft the most effective titles that get people clicking on your content. Hint: It’s all about knowing your limits. 

Let’s fly! 

An Effective Title Is a Title That Teases

When creating video content, and the titles that go along with them, it’s important to think about what your target audience needs to know. Too often, video marketers are so in the mindset of what they already know and take for granted. When this happens it can be hard to zoom out and envision the knowledge gaps of their audience.

So before you start filming or deciding how you’ll frame a video with a title, think about that gap and what your viewers want and need to know. Create content and effective video titles that play into the expertise itches they can’t seem to scratch. Do that, and you’re looking at a lot of prospective customers and clients eager to dive into your content.

Titles that best highlight viewer weaknesses are just about guaranteed to win the click. Think of it as a mini teaser to your video. Here are some ways to do this: 

  1. Include numbers (especially prime or odd numbers)
  2. Place your SEO keywords at the beginning of the title so it won’t get cut off accidentally
  3. Create FOMO by using words like “secret” or “exclusive”  
  4. Show brand expertise with by including phrases like “expert advice” or “pro-tips”
  5. Use emotional words (but more on this soon)

Do all this and you’ll be able to tee-up what your video is about, while creating real excitement for your audience to watch.

Playing the YouTube Game…to a Point 

We’ve said this before in this blog series, and we’ll say it again: YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world! So once you know what your video is going to be about and the need it fills for your audience, it’s time to figure out how to make that searchable. 

To do this, you’re going to need to do some research. See how your target audience would ask that question about the gap in their knowledge base. There are a number of great ways to do this, but don’t get caught up in trying to appease the YouTube algorithm. At the end of the day, you’re audience isn’t the YouTube gods; it’s human beings! 

Remember that effective video titles aren’t a hard SEO science, but an art that tugs at the heartstrings of human viewers. That’s why bringing emotion to a title is equally important to searchability. By telling your audience how they will be affected by your video in the title, you will help them envision a future version of themselves, with you at the Wiz that got them there. 

How to Handle Character Limits 

We can’t talk about effective video titles without talking about their character limits. We just suggested a lot of different ways to create effective titles for video. But even teasers, algorithms, and human emotions need to be put into check.

YouTube has a limit of 70 characters (including spaces) to tell your audience everything they need to know to entice them to click. If you’re new to video, this may not seem so bad, but trust me, those characters run out fast! 

Use tools like TubeBuddy or others to optimize your titles, while still keeping within the 70 character boundary limit. Once you do that, you’ll be all set to upload your video to YouTube.

Remember That Content Is Key

Think of titles as a book’s cover, but they’re not the book! Remember that content is key, so don’t mislead viewers with a title that doesn’t deliver that value in your video. Your title should align with what your video is about. It’s best to reaffirm this in the first 15 seconds of your video.  

What’s the result of telling a little white lie in your title? Well, your viewer ends up feeling tricked, and you end up hurting the very trust your looking to build with your videos. If the video doesn’t meet your title’s expectations, it will lead viewers not to take your video thought leadership seriously. The consequence? There’s a good (but sad) chance they’re not going to entrust you with their business needs. It’s as simple as that.

Repurposing Your Video Titles

If you’re anything like me, Season 3 of Stranger Things has taken over so much of my headspace recently. I recently saw a “Title Teaser” Netflix put out that goes through the names of the episodes fans can look forward to during the summer of 2019. It’s crazy simple, but watch for yourself how gripping it is.

How much does this make you want to head to your couch and binge watch all these episodes?! 

If you’re creating a video series and you know ahead of time the titles of your videos, repurpose those titles into a little title teaser trailer (say that 10 times fast!)! Assuming you use these rules above to create effective video titles, you’ll have them subscribing to your channel so they don’t miss a single video as they go live.

Got Any Effective Video Title Secret of Your Own?

Creating an effective video title is so much more than playing to YouTube’s algorithm. As part of the pre-click experience for a video viewer, there’s a lot that’s expected to go into those precious 70 characters to win the click. Be it the tease it nags at, the YouTube optimization it needs to rank, or the human-factor that hits those personals cords, effective titles do it all. 

Are there any tips to create effective titles for video that you feel we overlooked? Let us know in the comments below or on YouTube. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Powtoon’s YouTube channel for more episodes of the #MakeItAwesome Show and more awesome content from the Powtoon team! 

Stay Awesome!

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Shoshi Davis

Shoshi joined Powtoon as a Marketing Assistant. To read more of her stuff, you can find her content on Upwork and Business 2 Community talking all things inbound marketing for SaaS. After only 2 weeks at Powtoon, Shoshi was dubbed by the marketing team as having the superpower of "Unbridled Enthusiasm." So that was pretty cool.
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