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How to Choose an Eye-Catching Title for a YouTube Video

15 Sep, 2023

You've probably heard that video titles are a crucial element. But just how crucial are titles? A successful video title can double the amount of views a video would normally receive. Let's delve into how this system works.

Titles are a powerful tool for promoting on YouTube.

Meticulous work on every element of your YouTube channel  is one of the most effective ways to get closer to your desired number of subscribers and views. This should always be remembered. One of these elements is video titles.

A good title is 50% of success because it influences the viewer's motivation to click on the video.

There are not just one but three components that affect a viewer's click: the title, thumbnail, and video intro. However, the title, besides influencing the viewer, also affects the platform's algorithms, as it contains part of the metadata.

Metadata is textual information about your video or channel that helps YouTube and viewers find videos on the platform. And the video title is that very textual component, unlike the thumbnail or intro.

If you currently have dull, generic, unclickable, or simply unclear titles, that's okay. Nobody is perfect. This is why it’s important to learn how YouTube works. The information in this article will help you analyze video titles and draw conclusions.

Creating a great title is an artform. Even the best creators don't always manage to create a quality title for every video. Nobody gets it right 100% of the time, it takes thought and work.

So, how do you learn to write a good video title?

Learn the video title structure

YouTube's official channel has a video, how to title videos correctly. In their video a YouTube specialist explains that there are two types of titles: search-friendly and intriguing.

The first type is easier to find in searches, meaning they are more optimized for search queries. The second type is designed to arouse curiosity and engage viewers on an emotional level. You don't need to choose between these formats for your title; it's better to achieve both in one title.

Viewers only see a part of the title before clicking on the video, so this important section should contain elements that will attract their attention, emphasizing the emotional aspect.

In the second part of the title, you can include more information for optimization purposes or provide important details about the video. If it's essential to indicate that a video is part of a series or mention the name of a game or program you're reviewing, it's recommended to place this information where viewers don't see it.

If we were to title this article as a YouTube video, it could be "This YouTube Promotion Method Will Double Your Video Views! How to Choose a Video Title?" Here's an example: the first part entices viewers to watch, while the second part optimizes the video for algorithms.

Work with the audience's emotions in titles

The best titles work in conjunction with psychology. It's essential to understand the emotions that influence people when watching a particular video and to skillfully apply strategies or techniques in the titles.

Fear, curiosity, and desire are the three most significant feelings that influence the thoughts and decisions of any person. Of course, these emotions should be triggered not only by your title but also by all the factors that affect the click, including the thumbnail, and introduction. However, let's focus on the title.

Curiosity is the strongest of all the mentioned emotions, at least within the context of YouTube. It's curiosity that motivates viewers to start watching a particular video.

Titles prompt viewers to react with questions like "why," "how," and "what for." They are naturally interested in understanding what's inside the video and what the creator wanted to convey. When creating curiosity with your title, it's crucial not to overdo it. You don’t want your title to be viewed as clickbait, which is often seen as a nuisance so you must exercise caution. While using it in moderation can be beneficial, deceiving the viewer is at the very least unethical and unproductive for your channel's reputation.

Apart from curiosity, there are numerous other emotions you can evoke in the viewer. It all depends on the video's purpose and what emotions you want your audience to experience from your content.

If the topic of human emotions and their influence is unfamiliar to you, start by studying the field of psychology known as the spectrum of human emotionsA pie chart may look intimidating. It might seem like people experience so many emotions. However, the problem is that most YouTube video titles don't evoke any emotion in viewers. So, focus on what you want to achieve specifically.

Don't worry if you can't fully grasp the topic of feelings and emotions in one day. Some people take a lifetime to understand the above pie chart. But the more attention you pay to working on the psychology of titles, the quicker you'll find the perfect formula that triggers and engages your viewers.

Find out what audiences really care about

In this section we are not talking about a specific group of people or a particular person but rather about the statistical majority.

Often, the mistake made by creators is that they focus on facts in their titles rather than benefits. This doesn't make informative titles bad; it's just that in today's competitive landscape, they might lose out to more intriguing titles. For example, consider this title: "10 Ways to Promote on YouTube." It's clear, but it lacks an emotional connection and doesn’t fully engage a prospective viewer. Now, let's look at a different version: "10 Ways to Gain 1000 Subscribers on YouTube." Even though both titles cover the same facts, the second one emphasizes specific benefits – "how to gain subscribers" rather than just "promotion."

Variations can be quite diverse. For instance, "How to Catch Fish" versus "How to Easily Catch Fish Without Bait." Do you feel the difference? Emphasizing benefits will attract more attention because viewers are more interested in how easily and effortlessly they can achieve something, rather than an abstract concept.

So, remember: benefits for viewers are more important than facts.

In addition to this point, it's essential to note that specificity always increases the attractiveness of your title. Numbers, the topic of discussion, a person's name, or something specific about what the video is about – people love numbers that promise them something they desire, such as "How to Lose Weight in a Week" or "These 12 Diets Will Help You Shed 10 pounds in a Month."

Another critical aspect of an engaging video title is uniqueness and relevance.

Repetitive titles like "Do This and You'll Get Rich" blend in with a sea of similar content and are off-putting to viewers. They won't click on them. On the other hand, if you can make your title unique and up-to-date, it's more likely to stand out. You can also use trendy or slang words if your audience resonates with them. Just be careful not to overdo it.

Ask yourself: What are people's desires? Think about the most basic wishes people have: health, wealth, and relationships. These are the core desires anyone might have. So, if your titles contain triggers related to these desires, they will automatically pique curiosity and interest.

A good tactic is to ask questions of your viewers. There can be various formats for these questions: you can ask for their opinions, engage in a monologue on current topics, or ask a question that reflects your viewers' feelings.

Lastly, consider if there's something in the title that benefits the viewer.

Without a compelling reason that makes them want to spend time watching your video, you're unlikely to earn their view. Imagine a typical game play title: "Skyrim Playthrough Part 12." For most viewers, there's almost zero motivation here. Why should they invest their time in this playthrough when there are so many others? Now, consider a different title: "How to Find ALL Secret Missions in Skyrim? Skyrim Playthrough Part 12." The viewer immediately wonders what secret mission they might have missed. Doesn't that evoke a different feeling?

Research your specific audience's needs

If you don't know who might be interested in a video with your title, the likely answer is nobody. This is a simple truth that is often ignored.

YouTube in 2023 is a platform 100% for viewers, so the creator who understands their audience best, always wins.

Your titles should be directed at a specific audience. The more you align with their interests and pain points, the more viewers feel a connection and that the video is made for them specifically. It's a pleasant feeling when a content creator seems to speak directly to you.

Study the needs, pain points, and questions your viewers have, and incorporate them into your titles with a promise to solve or help find answers.

Just don't forget that you'll actually have to address the problem, or you'll quickly receive backlash for empty promises.

Talk about fears and pains, especially those that are often left unspoken. For example, If you know that your audience may be afraid of going to the doctor, then share in your vlog how you were scared and overcame that fear.

There are nuances – you won't be able to tap into these fears skillfully if you don't know about them. So, we go back to YouTube's central thesis in 2023: "Creators must know their audience."

What titles do audiences dislike?

Above all, people don't like to be deceived. It's as simple as that.

This is why it's important to know how to strike a balance between clickbait and genuinely interesting titles. It's important to work with the emotions and feelings of viewers, with their pains and fears, to avoid deception.

Be precise in the details, don't mislead people, especially if you're unsure about something yourself. Overly general and sensational titles often not only signal to the audience that they are being deceived but openly declare that deception is involved.

Viewers also dislike when all the intrigue of a video is revealed in the title.

Think about how often you've been disappointed when a movie trailer ruins the entire plot twist of an upcoming film. After watching a trailer that gives away the main story elements,  you wouldn't even want to waste time watching the full film.

You can hint, lead on, and intrigue the audience ‘till your heart's content, just don't overwhelm them. However, if you reveal the entire plot in the title, all the magic will instantly disappear.

And one more important tip: control the use of caps-lock and emojis.

  • It's not aesthetically pleasing, and for a more mature audience, experts and professionals, this is the first sign that the video won't be useful. 

  • The platform's algorithms recognize emojis as characters, so it can't be said that using emojis will significantly help your promotion.

  • If you constantly use Caps Lock, meaning capital letters in every word in the title, it loses its meaning. Words written in capital letters attract the viewer's attention; the eye catches them. But what will the eye catch if all words in the sentence are written in this way?

In reality, you don't need to remember too many rules to learn how to write quality headlines. However, it's a substantial task involving your target audience, understanding their emotions, and needs. So, don't be disappointed if things don't work out right away.

If you're just starting your channel, the first few months will be spent testing ideas and theories. During this time, it's crucial to monitor your competitors and audience's requests on your chosen channel topic. If you've been in the world of YouTube for a while but have never thought about the importance of headlines, it's the perfect time to start working on them. You probably already know your audience; now, it's just a matter of listening to their needs. You can do it! We are wishing you a ton of views and new subscribers!



Sasha Lerman

Copywriter, writer, editor. Development and promotion on YouTube, as well as many other exciting topics.

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