How to write YouTube titles to get more views with Jake Thomas

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Jake Thomas is a YouTube title nerd! He deep dives into titles that perform well on YouTube to find patterns and frameworks. He shares all of this in his newsletter newsletter, Creator Hooks. In today's episode, Jake shares title trends, common mistakes YouTubers make, and which emotions to leverage to get more clicks.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Jake: The best titles, uh, spark three emotions, curiosity, fear, and/or desires.

[00:00:15] Akta: Jake Thomas is a self-proclaimed YouTube title nerd. He writes a newsletter called Creator Hooks, where he helps you to write better YouTube titles. In today's episode of Creators on Air, Jake shares everything he knows about writing YouTube titles from writing titles for search or discovery to common mistakes that YouTubers make. There's a lot more to it than you think.

[00:00:39] Jake: I was a, a channel manager at my last job. and I, at first I was like really bad at writing YouTube titles and I almost got fired because I was so bad. Um, and, uh, I actually, I talked to my boss like two years later and he is like, yeah, like, we weren't sure if you were gonna make it, but you did.

[00:00:56] Yeah. But, uh, but, and he was really good. He was really good at writing YouTube [00:01:00] titles, so, um, but he, he wasn't, He was, he was just like, kind of naturally good. He couldn't really like, tell me why, you know, what makes a good, good title. Um, so kind of the pressure was on just working under him. Um, But I finally figured it out, and what I kind of figured out was, you don't have to like, uh, just be totally original.

[00:01:21] You can just model what works. Um, so an example of this was, um, uh, he was on a, a hunting podcast, and so we're a fishing channel. He, uh, he was on a hunting podcast and he said, Hey, uh, they did a podcast about, uh, newbie hunting gear. So he's like, let's do a podcast about newbie fishing gear. And that worked really well for us. Um, that was like our best podcast in the last like two months. Uh, we had a ton of downloads, a ton of people like opened the email and clicked the email, and we also made a bunch of money from it. So that was kind of the light bulb moment where it's like, "okay you don't need to be totally original. You can just model what works in another industry."

[00:01:58] Uh, and then like finally, like things started clicking. I started becoming much better at writing YouTube titles. Um, and what I was doing, kind of internally, was every Monday morning we had our content meeting and I would send our, so we had fishing coaches, so they were doing the, the fun stuff. They were out on the water fishing and like do, uh, filming tutorials.

[00:02:19] And I was, I was at home, uh, turning all their cool videos and putting those online. Um, but I would send them, uh, different ideas from other industries. It's like, hey, um, you know, "five mistakes for saving money did well in this finance channel. Let's do "five mistakes for catching trout." um, something like that. And so that worked really well for us. And then I was wondering, "well this is working well for us. I bet this would work well for other industries too, or other channels." So I started a newsletter. Um, I sent it out to like, 50 people, like, just kinda like cold emails. Um, I had a couple people say they really liked it. Um, so that started the newsletter and that was about a year and a half ago and uh, it's been going very well since then.

[00:02:59] Akta: I love that you were looking at different niches to apply to your own. I think that's a really clever strategy. Were there any kind of patterns that you were seeing across the board in terms of what titles performed well?

[00:03:11] Jake: Yes. Lots of, there's lots of patterns. Um, so like my whole, like all I do, uh, is look for patterns across different industries. Um, A couple patterns. Right now I'm seeing, uh, habits work really well. So, um, there was a, a channel, so in this morning's newsletter, a channel she had, she was averaging like one or 2000 views a video, and then she made a video about like four one-minute habits to save 20 hours a week.

[00:03:40] Um, and that got like one or two or three hundred thousand views. Um, so like, I think it ended up getting like 140 times her, like normal, uh, her normal, um, normal view count. So I've seen that a lot. I've seen habits work really well. That's one of the patterns. Um, and then, you know, [00:04:00] uh, negativity works well often too. A lot of people don't want to be like fear mongers or just talk about, uh, about negativity. But it does, uh, it does work very well on Youtube.

[00:04:13] Akta: I feel like I've noticed that on my channel. Cause I feel like my two most popular videos, their titles are like, I don't wanna say negative, but like, have more negativity in them versus other titles. . Um, but do you ever find, like, what do you ever find there's a pattern in terms of like, what makes a viewer want to click though?

[00:04:30] Like, so not necessarily the like model of the title, but just what that title creates for that viewer. Do you know what I mean?

[00:04:39] Jake: Yeah. So I mean, as, so as far as like in my, uh, my opinion is that, you know, the best titles, uh, spark three emotions: Curiosity, Fear, and/or Desire. So usually it's like Curiosity plus Fear or Curiosity plus Desire. Um, and that's just like general terms. That is what often gets people click is those three emotion.

[00:05:04] Akta: That's really interesting. And how would you, is there like a difference between titles that are performing well in search and titles that are more for going viral? Cause I feel like there is a difference on YouTube and how should creators take that difference into account? Should they be trying to create titles more for one versus the other, or mixing them up?

[00:05:24] Jake: Uh, that is a, that is a great question. So I am a title nerd, not a YouTube strategist. So like, ed, ed, uh, ed from Film Booth, he, I think he's a big, a big fan of just making videos for, um, making videos for kind of discovery, you know, like browse and suggested.

[00:05:43] Um, and that's where most of the views on YouTube are. It's like 70% of the views are from browse suggested on Youtube . That being said, if you rank for like, you know, if you're like an accountant and you rank for like, uh, you know, accountant in New York City, then you could make [00:06:00] a ton of money from that. So it definitely depends on your strategy.

[00:06:04] So I have like a dog channel and um, there's actually specifically about golden retrievers and there's actually another golden retriever channel and they focus just on search. And my channel gets between like, I don't know, like 150,000 to 350,000 views a month. And there's a dog channel that only focuses on search and they get like 30,000 views a month.

[00:06:28] Um, like all of their views are, like, all of their videos get like, 500 views or like 1000 views. Um, so it's kind of like a lot of, in, at least in my my opinion, it's a lot of work for like, not that much, um, you know, not that many views. So, so it definitely depends on your strategy. If you're, if you have a, a channel and you're monetizing through, um, Through like adsense and like sponsorships, then I probably wouldn't do search. Um, you know, [00:07:00] because, uh, you know, you're gonna wanna see a ton of views, so I probably wouldn't do search there, but, um, but if you have a service, then yes, you would definitely want to at least make some videos for search.

[00:07:12] But then as far as like what, um, uh, What titles do do better and, and which one? So for search, it's pretty, it's pretty basic. Like it just kind of comes to knowing what the audience wants, right? So what are they searching for? What are they searching for and who they are, and like, why are they really searching? So, for instance, if you're trying to, to, uh, to rank for how to start a YouTube channel, if you, if you search that up right now, a lot of them say how to start a YouTube channel for beginners.

[00:07:44] And that's because if you're looking for how to start a YouTube channel, you're probably a beginner. So it's like calling that specific person out, um, because you know, I'm, you're not gonna look up how to start a YouTube channel because you already have one. You don't really need to to look that up.

[00:07:59] [00:08:00] You've already done it. Um, but beginners know that. So, so that in that case, it really comes down to knowing your audience and like, who are they? So in this case, you know, calling up beginners is a great strategy. Um, also if you look up like how to get a sixpack, almost all of the top results will be "how to get a sixpack in 10 minutes" or like in 10 minutes a day, or like "how to get a sixpack in 22 days" or something. So if you want a six pack, you probably want it fast right?

[00:08:27] Um, so it's really knowing your audience. I've seen a couple, what I'm calling them, click triggers. Uh, a couple click triggers seem to do better in search. Um, so like calling out a specific audience, usually that's for beginners.

[00:08:41] Timeframes. So that's like, uh, the six pack example, you know, "how to get a six pack in 22 days" or whatever. Um, using the current year works well. Um, and that works well, especially for, um, technology. So like, you know, if you look up like "best laptops", you're gonna see "best laptops in [00:09:00] 2023". Um, because laptops are always changing. Um, right? Like, you don't wanna see "best laptops in 2021" because those are all old. Um, so those three and then, um, there is one or two more, and I'm blanking on them, but I will find them for you right now. So, um, so lists. List is like, you know, especially if you're looking up like "best laptops", you're gonna see a lot of lists. Um, like the current year, calling out beginner tips or calling out beginners. And then timeframe. So lists was the one that I was, uh, the, the one that I was forgetting. Um, so that's ranking in search. And then as far as, um, oh, and then, sorry. Also you don't wanna like exactly match or you can, you can exactly match what the user is searching for.

[00:09:46] Um, But it needs to be close, right? So you can, like, if you're looking up how to start a YouTube channel, you would probably want to put "how to start a YouTube channel". Um, you know, just because, uh, because the audience is gonna be like, "oh, this is exactly [00:10:00] what I'm searching for. This is answering my question. I'm going to watch this video." You probably would not rank for like, you know, "don't do this if you wanna start a YouTube channel", that's not going to rank well in search. Um, but it would probably do well. Um, you know, it would, YouTube would probably show that person who watched "how to start a YouTube channel", uh, next time they log into YouTube on their homepage, it's probably gonna be like, "watch this video before you start a YouTube channel." um, or "the one thing I regret before starting my YouTube channel." Um, so a lot of usually negativity won't work well in, um, in. But, uh, but it will work well, um, in, uh, in like discoverability.

[00:10:43] So, um, so yeah, so it's different. Um, so in search, yes, you want to kind of give the audience what they want in, um, in Browse and Suggested, it's like everything goes like, you know, that's when all like the, the vague like curiosity based titles go, uh, that's where all like the [00:11:00] negativity goes, you know, A lot of desire works there, uh, too. Um, but it's a, it. Much broader. Um, uh, you have so many more options when you're writing titles for, uh, for Browse and Suggested.

[00:11:12] Akta: Yeah, definitely. That makes sense. So for search, you're being a lot more specific versus browse, you're, you're kind of creating that intrigue cause so people just want to click. You're just trying to get that click basically. Do you feel like it, do you feel like there's a difference between the type of channel. So if you're like a educational channel, would you lean more into one category or like if you're an entertainment channel or can any type of channel use either sort of title?

[00:11:39] Jake: Um, I think entertainment probably. There's probably not. Much for search there. Um, I, at least from what I've seen, I'm, I'm definitely not like the best I, most of my experiences with like education and entertainment. Um, but I would assume not many people are looking for Mr. Beast. Like, "I survive 50 hours buried alive."

[00:12:01] Like, that's, that's not like a real like popular search term. Um, so I, I would assume that if you're entertainment, you're just going for like, forget search. Um, you're just going for the crazy, the crazy spectacles and challenges and all that stuff. Um, and then for. , uh, for education. Many channels do a mix of like search and, um, and kind of, you know, uh, browse based, um, titles.

[00:12:27] But I mean, there's so, there's so much opportunity. Um, just kind of forgetting, uh, forgetting search. Um, I think, I think there's also a different type of person who is looking for a specific answer versus someone who's just like, kind of in browse mode. Now I don't have any like data to back this up. Um, and I'm sure there are people smarter than me that have a better answer, but, um, but when I, when I changed from, uh, from writing videos to rank on search versus writing videos to get su uh, like [00:13:00] suggested on the homepage or recommended videos, uh, my end screen click through rate went up a lot higher. It almost, it almost doubled from like, about like 6% or 7% to like 12-15%.

[00:13:15] And I would, this is, uh, just a, a theory, but I would assume that if someone is searching for something, they kind of wanna find their answer and then they wanna move on with their lives. But if someone is in like browse mode, they're like, "oh, I'm just, I'm, I'm chilling. I'm watching YouTube right now." Then they, they watch a video and they're much more likely to say, okay, cool, like, this next video, I wanna watch this one too. Um, and then they can kind of fall into like the rabbit hole of like, binging your channel. Um, and then, And then that's how like YouTube's like, "oh cool, like this type of person. Like they watch all of their channels, uh, let's just do a lot or watch all their videos. Let's, let's recommend them a lot more." Um, and then that's how like channels take off.

[00:13:55] Akta: That makes a lot of sense. It's a good approach. Do you think there's anything that YouTubers [00:14:00] do wrong with titles? So like any common mistakes that you've seen happen?

[00:14:04] Jake: Yes, yes. I've seen five, uh, five common mistakes. I think the most, the most common one is like picking the wrong topic for your channel. Um, so like if you have a channel about like "how to grow on YouTube" and then all of a sudden you. You know, you start talking about Instagram or something. Oftentimes people, uh, and this isn't like, you know, there's definitely ways to kind of grow outside of your niche or expand your niche. Um, but uh, but oftentimes people know you as like the YouTube person. So like they don't wanna watch your Instagram videos. Right. And also, maybe they're not on Instagram, like they're definitely on YouTube if they come to you for YouTube advice.

[00:14:47] But, um, but maybe they don't wanna watch your Instagram stuff or, um, Or maybe they just, they don't trust you for that. So one of the biggest mistakes I see is people picking the wrong topic. [00:15:00] Um, and so it could be something as small as that or like, you know, something much bigger. Like if I'm like a fitness channel and then I start talking about how I grew on YouTube, like, that's totally different. So people, like, "I don't wanna, I don't wanna learn about how to grow on YouTube. I just wanna get a six pack" or whatever. Um, so, so, yeah, uh, picking the wrong topic is, is definitely like the biggest mistake there. And we can go into the other mistakes if you want. But it's upto you.

[00:15:25] Akta: Yes, definitely. No, of course I do. I need to know this though. .

[00:15:30] Jake: So, um, Speaking the wrong topic. Also being too wordy is the next mistake. So there are two reasons why you don't wanna be too wordy. Um, the first one is that your titles will get truncated if they're too long. Um, and that depends on where, uh, where your, where the audience is looking. Also, YouTube is changing it's, uh, UI right now. I don't have any like definite, um, you know, character, uh, character counts, you know, as far as like, you know, [00:16:00] your title should be less than 56 characters. Um, but just in general, you want to have short-ish titles. Um, you know, because, because, you know, because your title could get truncated or also people are skimming your, uh, your, your titles, right? They're, they're, they're scrolling through YouTube really. . And if you have a really long title, it's gonna be like, harder to read. People might be like, "all right, I'm not reading all that nonsense. Like, I'm, I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna move on." um, or uh, or like they, you might have, let's, here's an example like, uh, "five mistakes that I wish I knew before I started my YouTube channel." so like the video is about started your YouTube channel. So "five mistakes. I wish I knew before that." That's a lot of words. Um, so if someone's just kind of like scrolling, then they might not even see that, oh, this is about starting a YouTube channel. Um, cuz that's way at the back. Um, so either we'll get truncated or it's just too many words to get to like the main topic.

[00:16:57] So we'll just like, kind of keep on scrolling. [00:17:00] Um, so that's so you don't wanna be too wordy. Um, so. In, in this example, five mistakes that I wish I knew. Um, it might be like "five mistakes I made before starting my YouTube channel." I mean, that's only like two or three words shorter. Um, but when we're talking about like 56 characters or 55 characters or whatever, then two or three words makes a big difference.

[00:17:23] Um, and I, I don't think enough people know that. So anyway, so being too wordy, um, also being too specific, uh, is a, is another problem. And I think this goes really, you have to think about what your goals for the, uh, for the video are. Um, if you, yeah, and this really goes back to like our, our, um, our talk about like strategy.

[00:17:47] Like should you go for search or should you go for like, browse and suggested. Um, so if you are trying to rank and search for a specific camera, Then, you know, you would probably want to make a video about that [00:18:00] specific camera. So that's the difference between like, um, like "Nikon B 500 review" versus like "best camera for vlogging."

[00:18:09] Um, so if, if you tr if you're trying to rank for like Nikon B 500 review, then yes, you'll probably want to have, you know, "Nikon B 500 review" in your title. You could probably get a lot more videos if you just talk about, like, if you kind of give this camera like a label, like "best camera for vlogging." Um, and then like take it to the extreme so like, you know, best camera, um, That'll often do, that'll often get you more views.

[00:18:36] So, um, and again, that goes down to your strategy, but I'm just talking, being a little bit more general, talking about like pain points and benefits. Best camera for vlogging or like, you know, "I wish I might, I wish I never bought this camera." Um, that will often do, uh, do better than being very specific. And, and it definitely, it definitely depends on how many views do you [00:19:00] expect to get for a video.

[00:19:01] If you, um, if you expect to get a million views every video, then "Nikon B 500 review" is definitely not going to do it. So, yeah, so, so it all goes down to your strategy there. Um, and then, uh, also at the, the other end is being too general. So you just like a title like "My favorite camera ever." Uh, it's like, okay, well that's like, doesn't really like say anything like, it's not that cool.

[00:19:27] Um, you know, "my favorite camera for vlogging" or like "best camera for vlogging", uh, it speaks to like a specific person. It's like, this is what I'm looking for, but like, "best camera ever" is often too general, and that depends on. Uh, your channel and like who you are. So like Emma Chamberlain, her titles like nobody should ever look at her titles for, uh, for like inspiration because they're like they're like one or two words.

[00:19:52] Um, and, and that's because she has like a massive audience who loves her. So she's not playing by the same rules [00:20:00] that most of us are playing by. So, uh, for most of us , for most of us, we need to find that, um, that balance of like, all right, and like "Nikon B 500 review", too specific. Uh, oftentimes it depends on your strategy, but too specific, "best camera ever", too general. You would probably want to go in the middle "best camera for vlogging." Uh, something like something like that.

[00:20:23] Akta: And, question, does it matter who the title applies to? So for example, yes, they released a video about how to be more confident and I wasn't sure whether the title should be, you know, something like "how I became confident" versus "how to be more Confident." Do you know what I mean? So is it best to be first person or like telling your audience that they can.

[00:20:44] Jake: Oh, that is a great question and I have been thinking about that a lot. Um, so I think I have two answers for you. So Alex Hormozi, uh, he's kind of like blowing up everywhere. Uh, he talks a lot about when you're [00:21:00] making content, talk about how "I", um, because if you're talking about you should do this, you should do this, um, that can be like a little preachy and it can turn some people off. Right. Like, you know, "here's how you should be more confident." And it's like, well, like, okay. Like, uh, I don't know. It just, it just, it seems a little preachy sometimes and they, it doesn't always come off very, uh, very well. But then at the same time, um, I did a, I did a bunch of A/B tests.

[00:21:29] I did like a little project where I did 103 YouTube title A/B tests. And I think with like three of the titles, I made them more about the audience. Um, so one was like a fishing example. It was like, "I bought too many rods." Uh, like that was like title A and then Title B. Um, it was like, you know, why you, you know, "watch this video before you buy rods online."

[00:21:53] And so making it more about the audience, and I think it was three of the tests where I made it more about the audience instead of the creator. [00:22:00] They did better. Um, so , so I don't have an, I don't have an answer for you. Um, I think it also depends. It is a hard one. Um, so in my. I did three A/B tests and they, it worked better when it made it about the audience. Uh, Alex Hormozi has a fantastic point, as in you don't always wanna be preachy and share your story, because that will give you more credibility. Um, so, but I also think it depends on, um, depends on the creator and kind of like the relationship we have with your audience. Um, A lot of entertainment channels and like, you know, Mr. Beast. And like, you know, he says, I, he's like, he's like not, he's like, how I, you know, "I survived 50 hours Buried Alive." It's not, you know, "how you how you'll survive 50 hours buried alive" or whatever, .

[00:22:43] Um, and that's, that's a weird example. But, um, but with a lot of these, a lot of these channels, like the, the audience just loves the creator, right? They're here for the creator. Um, in other channels, the audience is, the audience is here to better themselves. So in that case, I think it would [00:23:00] make more sense to talk about how you can get more confident on camera. .

[00:23:06] Akta: Yeah. I feel like that makes a lot of sense actually, because you've just reminded me, I dunno if you've heard of the YouTube channel, "The Wizard Liz", she's been blowing up on YouTube. She's like, I think she's got almost 2 million followers in like the space of 10 months. And she had a video called, "This Video Will Make You Confident." And that's got like 6 million views, but it's because it, it suits her because she's this very like, motivating person and she's, she's not preachy though, but she's just like motivating. She's telling you what you should be doing. Yeah. So her titles reflect that, but I don't think I could get away with that because I don't talk like that in any way. So I think you've made a really good point there to think about your relationship with your own audience.

[00:23:42] Um, and it's interesting that you mentioned A/B testing as well, cause it's something I wanted to ask you about. Do you think that's something that you should be doing? For every title? And how often should you change your titles for A/B testing?

[00:23:56] Jake: That's a good question. I love A/B testing. Uh, but [00:24:00] maybe not how most people think about A/B tests. So, , um, one, you want to A/B test your titles to kind of optimize your channel so that you have like the best titles and thumbnails. Right? That makes a lot of sense. Um, but, uh, but I like A/B testing most for learning what works for your channel. Um, so I, I did an A/B and like the, the project that I just mentioned, when I did 103, uh, A/B tests, one of the guys that I did, uh, a test on, he was like, "Hey man, uh, I was looking at the test that you did on my channel, and I used that to make a future idea, you know, based on what worked for my channel. And that is like my best video ever." So he, he used the A/B testing, not to like optimize old videos, but to take those learnings and use that to create future videos. Um, so I think that's, I don't know. Maybe, I dunno. I, I think that's like the most valuable thing that you can get is like, just testing different theories and then using [00:25:00] that to kind of move forward.

[00:25:01] Um, that being said, um, like in my little dog channel, I've A/B tested a couple, um, a couple titles and then, you know, a couple like months later there were doing a lot better. Um, because it has, like, cuz I increased the CTR by like 20%. Um, so, so yeah, I, I love A/B testing. If a video is doing really well, I won't, I won't A/B test it.

[00:25:25] Um, you know, just because, you know, I don't wanna mess with it. Uh, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Just thank you YouTube for making this video do very well and I'm not going to touch it.

[00:25:35] Akta: But, how do you personally A/B test them?

[00:25:37] Jake: Like it's like, uh, like really like tactical nitty gritty stuff?

[00:25:41] Akta: Yeah. Like are you using tools or are you just...

[00:25:44] Jake: yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I. Two tools, um,, um, that, uh, that tests, uh, titles and thumbnails, not just thumbnails, um, and TubeBuddy. Uh, they're both great tools. They do the, they do pretty much the same thing. Um, I think like, you know, you have to be on TubeBuddy's like legendary package or something.

[00:26:03] But yeah, I use one of those two tools. Um, I've ran hundreds of A/B tests with both of them. I like both of them. Um, and uh, so I usually don't start an A/B test until like five days after the video is published. Um, so how both of those tools work is they flip the video or they, they, you know, do title A and Title B and they switch it every 24 hours.

[00:26:25] So if you start it on, like day one, if you do an, if you start an A/B test right away, uh, the first 24 hours, um, the title is like, it's way more likely to have a higher click-through rate because YouTube is showing it to your own audience. Um, and then after that, so like, so like Title A has an advantage right out of the gate, so you're not, I don't think you're really getting, um, accurate data. So that's why I wait like five days to hopefully kind of, Get more accurate data, um, to kind of get like the, your, like your, uh, your current audience. Most of them have hopefully already seen your video. Um, you know, by that time. So, so anyways, so, so five days after I start the start, the title or I start the, the test, and then I usually, it depends on the size of your channel.

[00:27:15] So if you have a bigger channel, you can get away with, um, running a, uh, an A/B test for shorter timeframe if you have a, uh, if you have a smaller channel, you would want to run an A/B test for a very long time. Not a, not a very long time, but longer. So that you can get more accurate data. Um, so, but I normally do like seven days per, um, per, uh, variant.

[00:27:38] So on, uh, on TubeBuddy you can only do like an A/B test. So the t the, the norm, the total time will be like 14 days, um, of how long I run a test. Normally on thumbnail test, you can do like A/B/C/D variant. Um, so if I'm doing three different variants, then it'll be 21 days, or like four, it'll be 28. . Um, I would probably only do three. Um, I think four, like now you're waiting like a month for like test results and I don't know. That's, that's a long time. But, uh, but yeah, I, I would, so I would use thumbnailtest or, uh, yeah, or TubeBuddy, wait five days, run the test for 14 days and only test one element at a time. For the most part, uh, like I wouldn't want to test a, a thumbnail and a title at the same time because then it's like, okay, well was it the thumbnail or was it the title? Um, I mean, you could, you could, uh, make an argument that like, you're, you're totally changing. Like, like the angle, like maybe you're talking about like, you know, five mistakes to, um, or, you know, you know, "five mistakes people make when getting a six pack" or like, um, you know, 10, uh, or, or like, you know, "five tips to getting a six pack."

[00:28:50] So like, you know, the. You might wanna have like, mistakes in the thumbnail and mistakes in the title, or it'd be like, kind of just a different angle so you can make an argument with that. But, uh, for the most part I'd just like to do either the thumbnail or the title.

[00:29:05] Akta: And you said that you only have like two variants of a title, but beforehand do you come up with like loads of title ideas for one idea and like how long are you spending on titles as part of your ideation process?

[00:29:18] Jake: Ah, so it depends. So sometimes I will come up with an idea like right away, and it's like, all right, this is like, this is the title. Um, like, and usually that's when I'm modeling, like pretty closely. Uh, From another channel. So like with my golden retriever channel, there's a, a video that did really well and it was like, uh, "weird cat behaviors explained." so I was like, okay, I'm just gonna do "weird golden retriever behaviors explained." So that's like pretty, like, yeah, I don't really need to like overthink that. Like it's, it's a kind of like a, a one-to-one thing. And that's like, it was the same thing with our like newbie fishing gear, like newbie hunting gear. Like that's like, that is what it is. [00:30:00] Um, so in that case, it took me about two seconds to come up with a title. But if I'm trying to, if, if it's a little bit more complicated, um, then I'll write between like 10 to 30 titles. . Um, and I'll try to, I'll try to write, write 'em from different angles. So I'll write, like, I'll think about like, curiosity, fear, and desire.

[00:30:20] So I'll think about like all curiosity, like, you know, "do this to get a six pack", or I'll think about like negativity, like, you know, "10 mistakes that will keep you from getting a six pack." Or I'll think about like, um, you know, like desire. You know, "I got a six pack in 10 days. Here's how." Um, so I would just kind of think all those different angles, write 'em all down, and then think about like, all right, what, uh, you know, what's my strategy for this? Am I going for search or am I going for, um, just like for browse And also like, you know, what is my audience like, you know, I'll look at, um, past videos that have done well. Like, do they like it when I do negativity? Do they hate it when I do negativity? So let me do like, you know, desire [00:31:00] here. So, yeah, so I'll, I'll just, you know, I'll use a bunch of different, um, kind of angles and then writing a bunch of different titles and then kind of narrow them down from there.

[00:31:10] Akta: And when you narrow down to just the two that you A/B test, do you do them so they're different angles or. , do you not really think about that? It's just the two that you like the best?

[00:31:19] Jake: Usually, uh, I, I think both. Uh, both. So sometimes, so I'm, I'm a, a title nerd, so I will I'll do, sometimes I'll just test like little tweaks, like, oh, does like this, like one word, does this make a difference?

[00:31:35] Or like capitalization, like, does capitalizing this word make a difference? And that's only because like, Uh, I'm, I'm a nerd and I wanna know, and I'm also like writing about this stuff on Twitter and in my newsletter, so it's like, okay, I need to do more research than like the average person on titles. Um, but, uh, but yeah, sometimes, sometimes I'll do both. Like if I, if I like the same angle and like two titles are similarly [00:32:00] worded, um, then I'll do those. Or other if, and if, like, it also depends on how confident I am in like, the angle that I'm going with. Um, if, uh, if like weird golden retrievers, beha, weird golden retriever behaviors explained, I might try "10 weird golden retriever behaviors explained." Um, so that's pretty similar. Um, but that would be something I would want to go with. Um, you, something I might wanna test just because like, do, does adding a number, uh, does that help increase the CTR? Um, so I don't know. I, I would do both.

[00:32:32] Akta: Okay. And how much do you think about your thumbnail as you're coming up with the title? Like are you thinking them about, about them together or separate?

[00:32:41] Jake: Yeah. So I am a title nerd, not a thumbnail nerd. . Um, I'm like, uh, I've like always been like visually challenged . Uh, I'm, I'm not that good at titles. I'm or not that good at thumbnails, which is why I have a newsletter about titles.

[00:32:56] Yeah, I'm, uh, I'm getting better. I'm getting better at thumbnails. [00:33:00] Uh, but I. So it depends on, uh, like what type of channel you have. But, uh, but I think it all, it, it all starts with the idea. So, um, and that's like pretty correlated, pretty close to the title, right? Like, um, so it might be, you know, "how to start a YouTube channel", right? That's like the idea that people want to, um, like that's what they want. So how to start a, "how to start a YouTube channel" is our idea. And then we might write a title, "how to start a YouTube channel for beginners in 2023." So that's our title, but it's kind of like, it's really close to the idea.

[00:33:36] And then like the thumbnail. It's like, okay, well, you know, how do we visually represent the idea? Um, so, so I it all, it starts with the idea and then I usually, this is just me because I'm a title nerd. So idea, title, and then like thumbnail is like a visual representation of the title.

[00:33:55] Akta: Yep, that makes sense. I feel like I've learnt a lot about titles in this half an hour, [00:34:00] so thank you so much. I'm gonna end with a quick fire round, which is a bit more general to creators as a whole. Um, so I'm just gonna ask you a question and then just answer the first thing that comes to mind.

[00:34:10] Jake: Let's do it.

[00:34:11] Akta: Cool. So what's your favorite thing about being a creator?

[00:34:15] Jake: Um, I love research. I love this is like YouTube specifically. YouTube gives us so many numbers. I love numbers. Um, that's why I love A/B testing because I love doing research and like documenting, uh, just like kind of documenting, all right, you know, this works better than this. Or like, people love numbers more than like, not numbers. Um, so like the re the research is, is my,

[00:34:38] Akta: I wish I was more like you. That's what I'm not good at and I'm trying to be better at that place. Suck at it. Um, what gives you the most inspiration for what you create, your newsletter, what you're doing?

[00:34:50] Jake: Oh, um, that's a really good question. Um, Just like this is gonna sound maybe lame, like searching for truth. So like, that's why I [00:35:00] love the research. Yeah, I know . I know. Um, and like, I feel like that's like not even possible. Like there probably isn't truth like on, you know, when it comes to being like a creator, but, um, but I just, I love trying to find it. I love doing research. Um, you know, so kind of searching for searching for like, what you know the truth about, like, you know, what really gets people to click and what really gets people's attention. So just, just on that like journey to learn more and more, um, I think that that inspires me and drives me a lot.

[00:35:29] Akta: And what's your favorite tool?

[00:35:31] Jake: Ooh, um. Probably Thumbnail Test is my favorite tool right now. I, I like, so Thumbnail Test is my favorite paid tool. I like Google Trends a lot. Um, and that's for a, a free tool, so, Like, the other day I was taught, or , I, I just brought on a golf client and, um, and I'm like helping him come up with ideas and he was like, man, why is my, uh, "why is my channel just like tanking right now?" So we went to Google Trends, we put in golf and like [00:36:00] goo uh, golf is very, um, seasonal, so it, like, it peaks in the summer and it's like tanking in the winter.

[00:36:06] So like just all golf channels are tanking, right. Because it's just like people aren't thinking about golf right now. It's wintertime. Uh, and so I love, I love Google Trends for that. Also, I use Google Trends to, um, to consider, like if I'm gonna like name drop a person, so like for like the, the Nikon B 500 example that we talked about earlier, I would put in like "Nikon B 500" in Google Trends. And I would also put. It's like "best camera ever" or something. And you would see probably that like, you know, like "your best camera for vlogging" has like way more, way more searches than "Nikon B 500". Um, probably, I'm assuming I haven't, I haven't put that in there. Uh, but that would help me know, like, all right, do I use like the, the, the name for this or do I use like a label for this? So those are my two favorite tools. Thumbnail Test, and Google Trends.

[00:36:57] Akta: Oh, I like that. That's, that's a good lesson as well. [00:37:00] Thanks for telling me that. And what helps you most with your creative work-life balance?

[00:37:04] Jake: Ooh. Um, I have terrible work-life balance right now. Um, Nothing, nothing helps me. I have a kid on the way. I think she will, she will inspire me, uh, because I'm gonna, I gotta, I gotta pay for college. I gotta pay for a car, you know, I gotta pay for diapers. Uh, so she'll inspire me. And then, um, and she will also help with work-life balance , and so I won't be working as much and I'll be, uh, I'll be hanging out with her more.

[00:37:31] Akta: Yes. Oh, I love that. That's amazing. And what's one piece of advice that you'd give to other creators?

[00:37:38] Jake: One thing that has helped me a lot is to think about like the, the process and like not the, Not the like, outcome. Uh, so for an example, um, or maybe not the process, but like thinking about like very, very tiny outcomes.

[00:37:55] So I have a, a blog about dog, like a little dog blog. And like [00:38:00] two, like three years ago I remember like I was getting like one, uh, one like visit per day from like Google search, right? So I was so excited about that one visit per day. And then a couple weeks later, I was getting two visits a day and I was, I was so excited about getting, you know, uh, getting two visitors from SEO a day.

[00:38:19] Uh, now I get like a couple thousand a day, but like, . If I was expecting a couple thousand, like in the beginning, I probably would've burned out. So just getting excited about like the tiniest little things. Um, like, oh, I had, I had one visitor today. I was, I was, I was so pumped and that kept me going every day. It's like, all right, let me try to get two, lemme try to get two. Uh, and like same thing with like followers on like Twitter, like. Um, you know, oh, I got, I got an extra follower today. I'm at eight now. This is great . This is, this is working. So, yeah, just taking it in like incredibly, incredibly, incredibly small baby steps and, uh, and getting really excited about those and letting those motivate you.

[00:38:57] Akta: Yeah, I agree. I think you really have to celebrate every win [00:39:00] you can as a creator to keep that journey going. So that makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much, Jake. This has been such a great conversation. I love talking about YouTube and I feel like you've given us so much knowledge about YouTube titles. I didn't think I could talk out. YouTube title for 40 minutes. I'm not gonna lie.

[00:39:15] Jake: Oh, we can still, we can keep going. I can go on there.

[00:39:17] Akta: This is amazing. Honestly, we probably could. We probably could. It just shows how much there is to YouTube, isn't there?

[00:39:22] Jake: Yes, yes. And this is only titles we didn't, you know, like thumbnails, there's like ideas, there's topics, there's intros, there's retention, all that stuff. YouTube is so fun.

[00:39:33] Akta: It is. But thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.

[00:39:36] Jake: Yeah of course, Okta. Thanks for having me.

[00:39:39] Akta: This conversation has given me a lot to think about for my own YouTube channel, especially applying the different angles of curiosity, fair and desire to your titles. If you want more advice on writing YouTube titles, check out Jake's newsletter, "Creator Hooks". And if you are a creator, check out "PassionFroot" we help you to manage sponsorships, collaborations, and payments all in one place.