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10 Tips for Writing Viral Titles
Posted on August 6th 2014
Are you having trouble with traffic or clicks? If so, it sounds like you need a little help with your title writing. The title of your video, article or other piece of content is by far the most important. Along with the image and introduction, the title of your piece will get noticed first in most cases. If it's really good, a title alone can entice a click (and thousands more, for that matter). Your job is to make sure that all of your titles are in fact that good. Here are ten tips to make that happen.
1. Make Big Claims
'This Video Is So Funny It Will Make You Spit Milk Out of Your Nose'. That right there is a bold claim. The only caveat is that your video must actually be funny if you're going to use a headline like that. But don't be afraid to make the most extravagant claims within reason. After all, a title like the one above is much better than, 'A Funny Video Everyone Should Watch', don'tcha think?
2. Use You and Your
Speak directly to the reader for best results. 'You Will Never Believe You Lived Without These 39 Life Hacks', one of your titles might read. You might also say, 'Your Cat Is Trying To Tell You This'. Make the title personal for the reader and you'll get far better responses.
3. Name the One Thing
Putting the number 'one' in the title entices clicks for a good reason. It may be the loneliest number, but people identify with it. It also makes the title extra exciting. Which title is better? 'This One Way To Make A Turkey Sandwich Will Make You Swear Off All Other Sandwiches Forever' or 'Ten Ways to Make A Turkey Sandwich That Will Make You Swear Off All Other Sandwiches Forever'. While both make bold claims, the title with the word 'one' in it is going to be far easier to digest and it piques the curiosity a bit more. Readers are going to wonder what in the world that single tip could be.
4. All Types of Numbers
One isn't the only number that gets attention. Titles also tend to get clicked more often when the have other numbers in the title. '79% of People Don't Do THIS In the Shower. Gross' one title might read. Or you might have '10 Small Changes that Would Make Your Cute Cat Suddenly Terrifying'. Lists, facts and figures always tend to do well, so use them as often as you can.
5. This, That and People
These three words also bring the clicks. Consider the title, 'People Who Do THIS Are More Likely to Be 'That Guy''. The word 'people' speaks to the reader's need to belong and the words 'this' and 'that' pique the curiosity. Notice a trend?
6. Write Like a Human
Don't be so matter-of-fact when you write titles. Write like you would talk to a friend. Instead of writing '10 Ways To Listen To Music', you might instead say '10 New Ways to Listen To Music That Will Blow Your Mind'. Be real, not robotic, and more readers will come your way.
7. Time Is of the Essence
Put a time constraint on your title for extra effect, such as 'Do This Today to Make More Money Tomorrow'. Another good title might be 'Fifteen Minutes a Day Doing THIS Will Change Your Life'.
8. Break the Rules
Think titles have to be short and concise? Not necessarily. Consider the title 'You Will Never Believe What This Guy Did to This Other Guy. And Now They're Friends! Crazy!' A title like that is sure to get clicks because it's real, it uses the word 'this' and it gets the reader curious (What the heck did the one guy do to the other guy, the reader might wonder). Sure it's long as heck. But if the title entices more readers to click, then it will have done its job.
9. Lists Bring Clicks
Lists are easy to digest and people love them. They also go great with numbers. Whether it's 'Ten Tips', '6 Tricks' or it's a list of 'Eighty-One Pies You'll Never Want To Eat Again After Reading This' are excellent ways to get more people clicking and reading.
10. Pique the Curiosity
This is by far the greatest driver of traffic ever known to man. Notice how almost all of the examples above appeal to the curious side of reader to some degree. The lesson is to not give away the whole enchilada when writing your titles, but do give a hint of what's to come. 'If You Watch This Video And Get Scared, You're Probably A Wuss' will drive potential viewers crazy with curiosity. They'll wonder, "Will I get scared?" There's only one way to find out -click and watch. And that is exactly what you want.
Another good one is 'This Guy Hid THIS in His Back Yard and Went To Prison For 20 Years By Mistake.' "What?!?" The reader might ask. What on earth could anyone hide in their back yard that could send them away to prison, only for it to be a mistake? They'll have to click on the article and read if they want to know the answer.
And that right there is the power of viral titles. You now have ten great ways to inject a little virality into your own online creations. Use them and watch your traffic, clicks and sales numbers soar.