Skill Level Beginner
- It's all but impossible to tell what's in a video just by looking at it. So the headline is crucial. If you get it wrong, no one will click on your video. If you get it right, you could go viral. In fact, your audience will often just read the headline without even watching the video before they share it with their entire network. It really is an incredibly powerful thing. The headline has several important jobs. It labels and gives context to the video. It captures your audience's attention, and it optimizes the video for search. Let's start with the context. Your headline needs to tell your audience what the video is about. And in the world of social media, it needs to do that in a way that makes it all about the person clicking on the video. So instead of going for a straight-up factual headline, figure out why someone from your target audience would most care to watch the video. Climb into their mind where they're thinking, what's in it for me? You've got to do this in an honest way. Don't sensationalize the content of the video. Don't write click-bait. Make sure that your video's content lives up to the promise that you've written in your headline. Doing so will establish trust and loyalty among your audience. Your headline's job is also to catch your audience's attention and stop them from scrolling by. Many of the tips about making it all about your audience apply here, too. But go further and make your headline a hook. There's lots of ways to do this. Promise a specific value to your audience, ask a question, use numbers, generate intrigue, spark emotion, create urgency. So if this video that you're watching right now lived on social media, rather than in our learning library, I wouldn't call it "Writing Headlines for Social Media Video," like it's labeled here. After tweaking the video for my intended audience, I might call it, "Top 10 Tips for Writing Amazing Headlines" or "Why Bad Headlines are Ruining Your Social Media Strategy" or "How the Perfect Headline Can Make You Go Viral." Bottom line, make it about your audience, and find a hook. As you're trying out the possibilities, one handy tool is CoSchedule's free headline analyzer. You can plug in your headline, and it will analyze it for you based on several important metrics, like word balance, word commonality, and the emotion and power of words. Now, I also want to talk about search engine optimization, or SEO, because while sometimes headlines must catch people's attention in a social feed, other times, your headlines must help your videos be found when people use search engines. And, of course, in many cases, they've got to do both at the same time. So for SEO, you should really try to check all the right boxes so that search engines rank the video high in their lists. To do this, think exactly like an end user. What are the keywords that your audience would use to search for the video? What keywords will give you the most traction? To help you out, use keyword research tools so you can find out how your audience conducts these types of searches that you're trying to nail down. This is all a lot to consider. But look around at other headlines for inspiration and see how you feel when you read them. Which ones make you stop and consider clicking on the video? And while you're doing this research, you may want to check out an interesting piece from the content marketing tool, BuzzSumo. They studied 100 million headlines to determine what performed the best. Just briefly, I want to show you a few of these graphics, which are pretty insightful. Here, you can see the top headline phrases. You've likely seen many of these hundreds of times, and there's a reason why. They work. Here, you can see the top phrases starting headlines. Again, many of these are likely very familiar because of their effectiveness on social. Finally, one thing I will say about straddling the gap between social and search is that it can hard to create headlines that perfectly satisfy both conditions. That is, when you pump your headline full of emotionally-charged language, you're often losing in the SEO game. So what a lot of brands do is launch a social campaign with the headline geared more towards making it attractive in a social feed. Then when your video has run its main course on social, you can change your headline so that it's more properly optimized for search.