Clickbait, by definition, is content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage a visitor to click on a link to a particular web page. In this article we’re going to be talking about YouTube specifically.
Clickbait titles can often be a bit of temptation that you need to resist, or at least learn how to perfect in an ethical manner. Clickbait titles can be tricky because more often than not they work—they can very effective in getting a lot of clicks on a particular article or video. Viewers like things that are shocking or surprising, and that is what clickbait often capitalizes on.
However, there’s no doubt that users HATE clickbait. So, you may get a lot of clicks on one video, but you’ll probably likely lose followers and your brand’s reputation will suffer if you continue to put out content that misleads and therefore upsets your viewership.
Audiences have been so vocal about clickbait in the past few years that many social media platforms are cracking down on these kinds of sensationalized, misleading titles. For instance, Facebook has changed its algorithm many times to throttle the reach of clickbait content and other kinds of spam.
That’s why it’s important to be able to write ethical clickbait titles—titles that are effective and attention-grabbing without being misleading about the information you’ll be providing or misrepresenting the topic of your video. In this article, I’ll be going over how you can write effective YouTube clickbait headlines that are ethical.
How To Write Ethical Clickbait Titles
As we’ve discussed multiple times when it comes to posting YouTube videos that will get a lot of views and subscribers, the packaging of your content is very important. This means the thumbnail needs to be eye-catching and sell your video, and of course it means your title needs to be engaging.
Clickbait titles are effective as long as they are done right. However, the biggest mistake YouTube creators make is creating clickbait titles that are misleading. These misleading titles propose one thing in the title but when the viewer actually clicks on the video, it delivers something completely different. This type of title is dishonest and unethical, as they do not conform to the basic concepts and fundamental principles of decent human conduct through action.
When you’re creating titles you have two main goals:
- Entice viewers to click on your video
- Get people to stay and watch your video
This can be accomplished by creating thumbnails and titles that people want to click on, and by creating intriguing content that is relevant to your niche. We can think of this as the new clickbait—intriguing thumbnails and titles that deliver the content promised.
Not following through on your packaging—your title and thumbnail—is a sure way to break trust with your audience. For instance, imagine someone promise you they would get you $5, but instead of giving you the money, they give you 5 monopoly dollars. You definitely wouldn’t trust the word of that person again.
Use the Right Words
The bottom line is: good title will get clicks. While your goal long-term should always be to grow your subscribers and grow your audience, titles are typically your first impression with any new viewers. No one is likely to hit the subscribe button without watching your video first, and they’re not going to click on any videos if your titles aren’t any good.
There are definitely some words that work better than others. Some things are just more intriguing to us on a human level, and will always grab our attention. You should always use these words—we’ll call them pop words—to make the title more enticing.
Some examples of pop words or phrases are:
- “The Top” “
- “The Best”
- “The Most”
For example, if you run a digital marketing agency, a good idea for a title could be “The Top 5 Free Website Builders.”These pop words are helpful because they’re showing the viewer that they’re going to be getting valuable information—they’re only going to be hearing about the best or the most helpful thing on this particular topic.
Just like pop words, using numbers in your titles can also be very effective in getting clips. Not only will it be helpful to put numbers in referring to what kind of information the viewer is signing on for, but putting in the year can also be effective.
The use of the current year and numbers within the title (i.e “10 Top…”, “…In 2018”) tells viewers exactly what they’re going to get. You’ll be telling them about 10 of the best tools, or giving them 5 of the best tips about a particular topic. Additionally, putting in the year lets the prospective viewer know that the information is going to be up to date and current.
Combine numbers with some pop words, and your titles will be irresistible!
Keep Titles Short But Sweet
As is the case with so many other things in the digital realm, sometimes brevity is the best choice. Your YouTube video title length should be no more than 6 to 7 words.
This is primarily because it is better SEO. Shorter titles rank better on Google, and though long titles can work too, it’s better to limit your videos to no more than 13 primary words. Google truncates the length of the video down to 66 characters, so it’s better to stay within that limit than to have your title to be cut down to something that doesn’t make any sense.
Writing engaging titles for your YouTube channel really isn’t rocket science. In fact, there’s a very simple structure to follow to find success. What it boils down to is essentially the topic, the keyword, the pop words, and the title length.
If you’re still having trouble figuring out how to write great, ethical clickbait titles that will get you more views, check out our Clickbait Titles Template below:
Template to Write Clickbait Titles
The first and perhaps most important step in writing good titles is to make sure you’re starting with a good foundation—the topic. You’re going to want to make videos that your target audience actually want to watch and learn from. For example, the topic for this template is going to be: Engaging Titles to Attract Views
Every great headline focuses on a keyword. Now that you have your awesome topic, you’re going to need to find the keyword that is going to help your viewers find the viewer, or draw viewers in when they’re scrolling through new videos. Taking our earlier topic example, we’re going to have our primary keywords for our title be: Ethical Clickbait Titles
3. Pop Words
Now, we want to find the right words that are going to make your video pop out to your viewers. These are the words that are going to grab the viewer’s attention and not let them move on until they’ve clicked on the video. For our ethical clickbait titles video, we’re going to use a couple different pop words to entice the viewer. First, we’re going to start the title with: The Secret to… and end it off with some more pop words: …Explode Views
4. Title Length
Now that we have the meat of our title through our keywords and pop words, we need to put them together in a title that stays within the 6 to 7 words, or 13 primary words in length rule. For our video, we’ll go for the shortest option: The Secret to Ethical Clickbait Titles + Explode Views
Now that you know the secret to writing ethical clickbait titles on YouTube, make sure you’re making the most of your YouTube channel by checking out our video on How to Get 1,000+ YouTube Subscribers and by checking out our blog. You can also get more great content daily by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!