Your video content could be mind-blowing. But who’ll know about it if your video titles don’t convince potential viewers to watch? No one!
But writing interesting titles (without resorting to clickbait) can be tough. Here are 15 tips and one tool to help you out.
How to title YouTube videos to get more views
As you brainstorm video title ideas, try to incorporate these proven methods of driving views.
1. Keep it short
You can write the catchiest title in the world but it may fall flat if potential viewers can’t see it in its entirety. (Long titles are truncated by YouTube when they’re beyond the character limit.) To be on the safe side, keep title length to 70 characters or less.
2. Give an overview
As with headlines for written content, concisely capture the main point of your content. And, if you can, highlight what people will get out of watching a video.
Even if you cover related subtopics in your video, don’t get sidetracked. Focus on the main thing people will want and can expect to gain from your content.
MicroAcquire showed how this is done, getting to the core of what its interview with Sujan Patel would teach them.
3. Use keywords (and front load them)
YouTube is a search engine in itself, and YouTube videos show up in other search engines like Google. That being the case, search engine optimization (SEO) is valuable for video marketing. Your use of target keywords plays a role in determining what search results you’ll show up in and how many people you’ll be able to reach.
So, do keyword research and include the search terms you want to rank for in your video title and description. You don’t have to stuff them in there. But make sure they’re included near the front of your title so YouTube knows what your video is about. And so that potential viewers can quickly see how your video is relevant to their searches or interests.
4. Go with a reliable “how to” title
In 2020, nearly 60% of people were using digital video to learn new skills. Since YouTube is one of the most popular video viewing platforms and search engines in the world, it's a top source for education.
No wonder the "how to" headline is naturally a good way to capture the attention of your target audience. It makes clear that your videos will walk them through the practical things they want to learn about. This reduces uncertainty and friction that could otherwise deter them from clicking on your video to learn more.
The Jeff Bullas Show has used this headline successfully with two of its most watched videos being tutorials.
5. Emphasize important words
Writing in all caps is still considered yelling in internet speak. But using caps to emphasize a specific word can heighten its impact. And it can draw the eye to your video so that it stands out from competing videos.
HubSpot has a good example of this. Its title “Do This ONE Process to Get Paying Customers” implies that it’ll share a simple way to reach one of its audience’s top goals.
6. Include numbers
Whether you’re writing a video title or another type of headline, there are two effective ways to use numbers.
- Set the expectation of the listicle format, which quantifies the value people can expect to get out of your content. For example, if other videos on the same topic have an average of 5 list items but you have 10, yours may be perceived as more valuable—all else equal.
- Add specificity to your title to capture interest or even build credibility. For example, "How [Your Company] Increased Sales By 47% in 2 Weeks."
7. Put words in brackets
Just like numbers can allude to the value viewers will get from your videos, putting words in brackets can increase their perceived value too. This is because brackets and parentheses are typically for additional context. Using them can more accurately reflect what's in your video and make potential viewers feel like they'll be getting bonus content.
To illustrate, say you saw the following titles in YouTube search results:
- "The 5 Biggest YouTube Video Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)"
- "The 5 Biggest YouTube Video Mistakes"
Which one would you choose? Probably the first one because, in contrast to the second, you know for sure you'll get some actionable tips.
Now, for a real-life example, check out the title of one of Behind the Brand’s videos. In this case, the “probably” in parentheses is almost a challenge for people to prove to themselves how much they know about marketing. Or to find out how much they don’t know.
8. Poke at a pain point
People are always looking for ways to make their lives easier or solve a problem they’re facing. If you can tap into that with your video title, you may be able to boost views and engagement.
For each video you create, try making a list of challenges or pain points your target audience has that your content addresses. Then, create a title that speaks directly to those issues (e.g. “How to Quit Your Awful Day Job”).
9. Use descriptive language and power words
If your title is interesting or evokes a strong mental reaction, people will infer that your video will probably also be interesting or worth watching. Use vivid words that paint a mental picture or that trigger strong emotions (such as fear of missing out).
Copyblogger has mastered this title type. In this image alone, there are at least six attention-grabbing words. (In case you’re wondering, they are “break,” “win,” “hidden,” “crush,” “secret,” and “high-performing”.)
10. Ask thought-provoking questions
Questions are a time-tested way to capture attention. They work in headlines, and they work in YouTube titles, too. So, use them to get soon-to-be viewers thinking or to bring to their mind a pressing problem or goal they have.
11. Create urgency
False urgency—rushing people to take action when there’s clearly no rush—is bad. But creating urgency is effective when your audience really stands to miss out on something valuable or will suffer consequences if they don’t act soon.
For instance, Orbit Media’s viewers could be losing potential customers right now due to website issues. So, the encouragement to remove issues immediately hints at the seriousness of the issues discussed in the video.
12. Mention the year
Outdated information doesn't do anyone any good. So, if your video contains information that's especially relevant for this year (or the upcoming one) include the year in your title. This is an immediate signal to YouTube viewers that your content is up-to-date, relevant, and useful.
You can see examples of this in videos from GaryVee and GaryVee Video Experience, both of which have been viewed tens of thousands of times.
On the flip side, if your content is evergreen, don't include the year unless you're committed to:
- Updating the title annually
- Creating new videos on the topic each year
Why? It'll be tough to get views on a video that seems out of date (even if it's not) because it's labeled with a year that's long gone.
13. Steer clear of clickbait titles
Especially if you've struggled to reach your view count goals in the past, it can be tempting to try clickbait titles. But clickbait always results in viewers being let down because the content doesn't match what’s promised in the title.
While you might rack up a good number of views, you'll probably also suffer some unpleasant consequences like:
- High drop-off rates as viewers leave your video before it's finished
- Lower watch time, which YouTube’s algorithm considers when determining how prominently to feature your videos in search results
- Bad reviews and comments from upset viewers
All of the above can damage your YouTube channel's reputation and make it harder to get views on future videos.
14. Include a call-to-action
Besides just stating the topic of your video, invite people to do something. For example, "Learn How to [Do X]" or "Watch For # Tips on [Y]." Outright recommending that they watch could be the difference between them clicking on your video or the one from another YouTube channel.
15. Use a youtube video title generator
Struggling to come up with ideas or just want some help to think outside of the box? A YouTube video title generator could help. Typically, all you need to do is insert a topic or keyword into the generator with a brief description, and voila! You'll have several good title ideas to choose from.
Jasper is one such tool (and one of the best according to the thousands of users who've given the tool rave reviews). It even offers one of the best Chrome extensions for YouTube creators, allowing you to generate video titles and more on the go. Let's do a quick walkthrough of how to use it.
Writing attention-grabbing Youtube titles with Jasper
Jasper, one of the leading AI writing assistants, has several features that are priceless for video creators like you. For example, Jasper can help with:
- Coming up with interesting video ideas
- Writing engaging YouTube video scripts
- Generating Youtube video descriptions in seconds
- Summarizing YouTube videos (either for video descriptions or for use in other content)
And Jasper can also help with writing great YouTube titles. The process is simple.
In the Video Titles template, give a short description of your video topic. Then, enter the keyword you want to rank for and input a tone of voice. Click “Generate” and Jasper will give you title options.
This is a fast way to get a bank of title ideas to choose from—keywords included. You can generate up to 10 outputs at a time, each of which includes a few potential titles.
And this template works for just about any topic, as you can see below.
It’s that simple. Sign up for Jasper today and see for yourself. You’ll never struggle to come up with a click-worthy YouTube video titles or summaries ever again!