What’s in a name? Plenty. You can have the next viral hit, but nobody’s going to stumble on it if you give it an unappealing name. You need to title your creations with care, so that the name does all the work of pulling people in.
To learn how to write titles that sell a video, we talked to a master. Joel Myers is the senior seeding strategist with video seeding firm The Feed Company. He has a lot of experience in getting videos noticed, and it all starts with the right title.
1. Think Long Term
In most cases you want your video to have staying power, getting hits from search engines through the coming years. Think about search terms that will always get hits.
2. Think Short Term
Your title also needs to grab people in the moment, ideally becoming something of a sensation. Create a title that suggests an interesting action or that captures the viewer’s imagination. That viewer should want more information, so that he or she clicks the link to see your work. Sometimes you want to the viewer to say “What the ****?” and sometimes you want to suggest an inspirational message. The common idea is that viewers should be curious enough to want to know more.
3. Deal with Politics
No, not global politics: office politics. Unless you run your own company, you’re going to have to deal with other people’s opinions on your work. Roll with it, and only push back gently. Being judged by a committee is rough, because they’re not all creative people and some are just looking to cover their own behinds. Fight for what you believe will work, but do so diplomatically. Myers recently wanted to use the word “invade” in a title, where an event in the video was being invaded. One employee at his client’s office thought the word sounded too violent and wanted to use something else. Myers successfully fought the change and the video went on to be a success. Still, Myers says, remember that your video isn’t the only thing that person is dealing with, and try to understand their larger goals for the product or campaign.
4. Tell the Truth
What always works in titling a video? Honestly, says Myers. Describe accurately what the video is about. If you misrepresent the video you’re only going to get viewers upset.
5. Stay Current
You can get an extra lift for your videos by working off of topics that are already in the news. Myers recently worked on a March Madness-themed campaign for Capital One, so “March Madness” was in the videos’ titles, descriptions, and comments. As a result, it showed up high on March Madness searches. Be clear with the search engines and use terms that everyone would use.
6. Know the Memes
You don’t need to just know the news, you need to know the current internet memes, as well. Think of memes as the strange and wonderful ideas that bubble around in Net culture, things like “I can haz cheezburger?” and the cinnamon challenge. Know what’s being talked about right now, so you’re “not the dorky older guy going into the club and pretending he knows what’s going on,” says Myers. He regularly visits social media sites like Reddit [http://www.reddit.com/]. He also says Know Your Meme [http://knowyourmeme.com/] is a good place to start, since it dissects each meme, letting you know why it’s popular. While you’re exploring, notice how viral videos are organically titled, so you can give yours a similar natural name.