A Word from The Wibbitz Editors: Best Practices for Writing Video Titles

Posted by Sarit Landsman on Jun 7, 2016 1:53:39 PM

Topics: Editorial Resources

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Wibbitz's in-house editorial team creates daily Top Story news videos using our text-to-video Control Room platform. In this guest post, our Director of Content Strategy Sarit reveals her tried-and-true practices for writing video titles that attract audiences and boost views.

You’ve just created a great news video. It features exciting transitions, colorful text overlays, quality footage, and a succinct summary of today’s trendiest story. Nice work, but don’t expect it to drive traffic or gain views just yet. It’s still missing the one key ingredient that will make or break a user’s decision to check it out: a title.

Before you write a title for a news video, there are a few important things to consider: What type of story is it? Where will the video be published? Who is the audience for that particular type of content, and what do they expect to gain from it? Do you want them to get excited about something, learn more about a subject they’re curious about, or catch up on the latest events? In short, what is the news video’s purpose?

For a Breaking News story, your video’s purpose is to alert audiences that something very important is happening right now. So for this type of content the best titles are simple, to-the-point, and indicate that this news is time-sensitive. The best way to get this across? Use the term “Breaking News” in the title, or something similar like “This Just In” and “Newsflash”. If your Breaking News video has raw footage (which it should), then your title should clearly state what the footage shows. “Watch The Moment The Tornado Hits” cues audiences that the video will contain actual footage, and draws more attention than a title like “Tornado Hits Small Town”. It’s also helpful to include a short quote in the title, especially if that quote is given a bit more context within the video.

  • Breaking: Trump Clinches Republican Nomination for Presidency
  • Australian MP Blames 'Human Stupidity' for Suspected Fatal Croc Attack
  • Game on: Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Just Agreed to Debate

 For an Entertainment News story, your video’s purpose is to, well, entertain. Your title for these types of videos should be catchy, funny, engaging, and maybe even provocative. Entertainment news audiences look for stories that reveal juicy gossip and surprising events, so make sure your title hints at the story’s shock value. Listicle videos are a great way to tell these types of stories thanks to their short, easily digestible–and therefore clickable–nature. By using numbers in your headline to indicate the video will be in the form of a list, audiences will know what to expect and are more likely to click play to find out what is hiding behind those numbers.

  • Britney Spears Has A New Haircut, Did She Re-shave Her Head?
  • 5 Times Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama Were #RelationshipGoals
  • Forever Young: 5 Things You Should Know About Bob Dylan on His 75th Birthday

If a video is published on your site, the title can impact how many viewers find it via organic search. Adding rich media (read: video) to an article page will boost its SEO ranking in Google and other search engines to drive more traffic to your site. Just like an article title, your video title should be rich in keywords. Make sure to use keywords for the video’s meta tags as well. Your title should be as attention-grabbing as possible, but may have to give away a bit more information so search engines and audiences browsing your site have a better idea of your video’s content.

  • Los Angeles Braces Itself for Arrival of Zika Virus
  • Calvin Harris Breaks Silence on Car Crash: 'I'm Feeling Lucky'
  • 5 Things We Learned About Presidential Candidates' Money in April

When that same video is posted on social media, you may have to rewrite the title in order to reflect the style of a newsfeed. Avoid complicated and passive sentences by sticking to the active voice (subject, verb, object) and motivate audiences to stop and watch your video by using action verbs and commands (“Watch This,” “Check This Out”). Your title should be intriguing and feature buzzwords rather than keywords - give them a reason to want to know more!

  • Wow! Britney Spears Brings Her Best in 2016 Billboard Music Awards
  • Internet Loses Its Mind Over Donald Trump Eating McDonald’s
  • Happy Bey-Day! Beyonce Just Got Her Own Official Holiday in Minnesota

This may go without saying, but it’s crucial to keep in mind: make sure that everything promised in the title is actually within the video. Audiences need to be able to trust your brand if they’re going to continue clicking and watching, and will only do so if your videos deliver the promised goods - especially in a world full of clickbait. As long as you keep your promises, and keep the best practices listed above in mind, your videos will be packaged perfectly with titles for success.

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