Hey content creators! Today I’m going to tackle one of the biggest challenges that content creators all over the world struggle with.. HOW TO WRITE TITLES FOR CONTENT!
It's one thing to write great content, but it's another thing to get it read and ranked -- which is where nailing the title comes in.
Titles are what sell the content. Titles are what get views on your videos, clicks on your blogs and ears on your podcast. They represent it in search engines, in email, and on social media. It's no surprise, then, that some of the most common questions I get about content writing are about titles!
How long should my headline be? What words should I use? What words should I not use? Should I optimize it for search, or for social? Or both? What if I’m a blogger? Or a streamer? Does that make a difference?!
I’ll be answering all those questions and more as today I’m going to be hooking you up with EVERYTHING you need to know for TITLING YOUR CONTENT, and I am also going to give you 10 highly effective headline examples that you can use to stir up own your creative juices!
So let’s dive right in guys! If you'd rather WATCH rather than read, here's my training video! If you'd rather read, go ahead and continue below!
So let’s start off this conversation with a 4 pro tips for titling your content:
1) Great Titles Begin with Great Content: Start out the content writing process by first considering the “The Four U’s”
Useful: What makes this content valuable?
Ultra-specific: What can I learn and apply from this content?
Unique: What makes this content compelling or unique?
Urgent: Why should I read this NOW?
Consider all four of these qualities in every headline that you write.
2) Start with a working title.
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of coming up with a perfect title, start with a rough draft; which is what I call your working title. What is that, exactly? A lot of people confuse working titles with topics. Let's clear that up:
Topics are high-level themes that could yield several different pieces of content. For example “how to be your own boss” or “personal development for business owners”. There are a variety of topics that I could derive from each of those themes. Do you see that? I could spend a whole week, or even month just having conversations about how to be your own boss.
A working title, on the other hand, is very specific and guides the creation of a single piece of content. For example, from the topic "how to be your own boss," I could derive working titles such as
"7 Beginner Tips for Becoming a Content Marketer on YouTube"
“5 Powerful Ways to Generate Passive Income with Video Content”
“8 Crucial Mistakes New Business Owners Make in their First Year”
See how different and specific each of those is? That's what makes them working titles, instead of high-level general themes.
3) Eliminate the Guesswork; do your Research
One of the single greatest mistakes that many content marketers make is that they create content and write titles based solely on what THEY THINK is valuable, interesting or might want to be consumed.
Listen, content creation doesn’t have to be a guessing game, and honestly the more you try to guess at the game the more time, money and energy you are going to waste along the way creating content that nobody interacts with.
Keywords are crucial and doing research on your topic idea are essential. Now I am not going to do a deep dive in to how to do this today because this video isn’t about how to get content ideas, today we’re talking about titles.
HOWEVER, I recently dropped a video on my channel a powerful hack (AND TOOL) for how to find content ideas that your audience is actually looking for! It’s a Gamechanger and I highly encourage you to check it out! I’m referencing it up here and I have also dropped the link down here in the description.
4) You may need variations of your title depending on where you are seeking traffic
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long or short your title should be. It depends what your goals are, and where your headline will appear.
If you’re writing a blog post that you want to rank really well in search? Then you need to focus on keeping the title under 70 characters so it doesn't get cut off in search engine results. However if you are trying to optimize your title Facebook, statistically headlines with 12 to 16 words received the most Likes and engagement. Facebook users tend to also respond to emojis in titles vs YouTube or Twitter where they don’t.
You really have to think about the audience that you are seeking to engage! Because think about it, Facebook users are swipers. If you drop content on Facebook you are trying to capture their attention get them to stop swiping for a second to pay attention to you, vs everything else that is working to capture their attention. So titles on Facebook need to be really intriguing!
Vs YouTube, it’s all about those keyword and search phrases. With YouTube you have to figure out what phrases your target audience is searching for and write titles that align as closely to those phrases as possible. For blogs, is also about keywords and search phrases but then there also has to be an added element of intrigue and creativity to make your content stand out amongst all the other search results.
So for example, maybe I start with creating video content for YouTube. Then I want to repurpose that content into a blog, and then into a streamed video on Facebook.
My YouTube title could be:
“How to Make Money with Video Content (5 Pro Tips)”
“How I Make 5-Figures a Month with Video Content (My Exact Process)”
“Are You Frustrated with Your Content Marketing? Here’s 5 Tips that will CHANGE EVERYTHING for you!”
Do you see the difference?! The platform matters! Now I hope you guys know I love questions so if you have a piece of content that you are trying to write a great title for, drop your working title down in the comments and let me know what platform the content is for and I will happily help you put together a great title!
So quick recap:
Great Titles Begin with Great Content: Start out the content writing process by first considering the “The Four U’s”
Start with a working title.
Eliminate the Guesswork; do your Research
You may need variations of your title depending on where you are seeking traffic
Now here's 10 Ways to Make Highly-Engaging Headlines
1. How to ________:
“How to” articles show that there is something actionable to take away from the post. It shows that the post is useful.
2. Lists: 5 ways, 5 tips, 5 trends, etc:
Lists indicate that the content is easy to digest because it’s broken up for the reader. Similar to a how-to article, it also has actionable takeaways. Disclaimer: If you’re going to do a list of 10 tips or 10 reasons, make sure they are 10 really good tips or 10 really good reasons. Otherwise you may have a hard time retaining your viewer to the end of your content.
3. Negative headlines: 5 Common Mistakes in _____, 5 Things ____ You Should Avoid and Why:
So, you don’t want to be a Debbie Downer. But by learning what they shouldn’t do, your readers will gain fresh insights and very tangible lessons from your post.
4. Use some Adjectives: 30 Amazing _____, How to Create Highly Engaging _____, 5 Brand New _______:
If you’re going to do a “list” or “how-to” post, describing the post in the headline with an enticing adjective will help drive attention to your content.
5. Urgency: Breaking News:______, 5 ____ You Haven’t Tried Yet, 7 New _____ Worth Exploring, 6 Brand New _____ To Check Out:
These phrases entice a sense of urgency. Out of all the links someone may see in his or Twitter stream, this headline will stand out because there is a clear call to action.
6. Exclusivity: The Insider’s Guide to _____, 5 Success Secrets _____, The Real Truth About ______:
These phrases let your readers know that they will get information not everyone else has. Plus, it’s share-able because people want to be perceived as in-the-know, so they have an extra incentive to want to share this content.
7. Explanatory: Why Your _____ is _____, How a _____ Increased ______ by ______:
These headlines are especially great for business blogs using case studies or research to educate their audiences. “How” and “why” are explanatory words, and they show your audience that something will be taught in the post.
8. The Name Dropper: 5 Marketing Lessons From ______, What you ______ didn’t tell you:
Piggy-back on the popularity of a current event or pop-culture icon for a fun and intriguing headline. For example: 5 things your mom didn’t you about raising kids; 6 Life Lessons we can all learn and apply from today’s events
9. The Pun: I’ve Got 99 Problems But ______ Ain’t One, 7 Deadly Sins of _____, Lions and Tigers and ______ – Oh my!
Is it useful? Possibly. Is it urgent? Well, not really. But it’s funny! Sometimes, you’ve gotta break your own rules. Take a song lyric, popular nursery rhyme or line from a movie and make a play on it for a clever headline that’ll make readers smile. Because after all, laughter is the best medicine right?!
10. The Quickie: 5 Fast Fixes for _____, 3 Easy Steps to Make a ______:
People are busy! They want posts that are information-packed with actionable takeaways, but they don’t want to have to read a novel to get there. When you use adjectives to let your audience know that your post is informative and easy to digest, they’ll be ready to read and share it with others.
11. [Bonus!] So Easy a Caveman Could Do It: The Beginner’s Guide to ______, _____ 101, ______ for Dummies, The Idiot-Proof Guide to ______:
People may want to learn about your subject matter, but they might feel intimidated by all of the existing information out there in the wild world of the internet. Re-assure them a headline that simplifies your content. These headlines are not only shareable, but highly searchable too as people often Google something in order to learn how it’s done.
What kinds of headlines have you tried with your content? What are some of your favorites from this post? Let me know in the comments!
Hope you enjoyed that one! I’ll see y’all around the web!