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How to Make Better Content in 2023 with Jake Thomas

March 27, 2023
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad-fit client again!.

In this three-part mini-series of The Recognized Authority, we’re focusing on the importance of video. We’ll look at how you can make better videos, how to earn the click, what you need to do to crush it on YouTube, and how to make videos that work great on LinkedIn.

In part one of the series, host Alastair McDermott is joined by Jake Thomas, the YouTube “title nerd” from Creator Hooks. 

Jake gives us a masterclass on the art and science of crafting captivating titles that make your content irresistible. He talks about the importance of understanding your audience, assembling a swipe file of successful titles, and how to use psychological triggers like curiosity, fear, and desire to “earn the click”. Jake tells us the secret of avoiding clickbait titles (this one won’t shock you!)

This episode is jammed-packed with practical tips that will transform your thinking about content creation. Discover why negativity may thrive on social media platforms but not in search engine optimization, and learn how to adapt your title strategies for different channels.

Jake talks about the value of authority, timeliness, and title techniques that can elevate your content. Don’t miss this chance to use video to up your game, captivate your audience.

Show Notes

Guest Bio

Jake Thomas is a YouTube title nerd. He runs the Creator Hooks newsletter where he breaks down why viral videos worked so you can use those same ideas for your channel.


titles, people, content, search, audience, writing, authority, thumbnail, read, click, thinking, talk, curiosity, youtube, books, negativity, fear, clickbait, words, linkedin

Alastair McDermott, Voiceover, Jake Thomas


Voiceover  00:00

Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. Here’s your host, Alastair McDermott.


Alastair McDermott  00:11

Hello, and welcome to The Recognized Authority. Today I’m here with Jake Thomas from Creator Hooks. Jake, thank you for coming on the show.


Jake Thomas  00:20

Alastair, thanks for having me.


Alastair McDermott  00:22

So we just had a wonderfully meta conversation for the past 10 minutes chatting about what we would call this episode, right?


Jake Thomas  00:31

Yes, we did.


Alastair McDermott  00:33

And we went through a bunch of different options. And I put them in the in the episode description. If you’re watching this live, you can see them right there in the in the description. So the one that we chose in the end was how to make better content in 2023. But we could also have called it do this before you create your next piece of content, how to write titles, people want to click creating content, people actually want to watch or stop producing content, no one reads. So we went through a whole bunch of different options and kind of considerations and things. And I looked at this was so matter, because what I want to talk to you about is creating great titles you help people. You call yourself a YouTube title nerd, right?


Jake Thomas  01:10

Yes, yes, I do.


Alastair McDermott  01:12

Yeah. So let’s talk about big titles and attracting people’s attention on clicks. Can you tell me a little bit about how you think about this?


Jake Thomas  01:21

Yeah, I mean, so we could just talk about what we just did with, you know, writing all of these titles. So the first, the first thing we needed to do is kind of know our audience, and you know, what they want? You know, because we’re going back, like I asked you, do they watch? Or do they read, so like, so we were considering how to make titles, or how to how to make content that people actually want to watch or how to make content people actually want to listen to. So you know, so just that small, you know, that small differences like that one word could grab different people.


Jake Thomas  01:53

Now, so the first thing is like, is really knowing your audience, knowing their hopes and dreams and fears. And that’s just like, that’s like a prereq. Like, before we even get into titling really just knowing what is going to make your audience click. And that’s, that’s like, you know, part of the reason I was having a little bit of trouble is I don’t know your audience as well as you do. So that’s why like, you know, when we were going back and forth, I asked you a couple of questions. So knowing your audience was the first thing.


Jake Thomas  02:21

And then the second thing, what I did, so when we were talking, I kind of froze up. And like, This always happens when, like when I’m live and when I’m thinking. So the best thing for me, is I have a swipe file or like a database of proven titles. And once I start reading through those proven titles, then the wheels start spinning. And then I started to think, oh, like, let’s put, let’s use in 2023, at the end of this title. And, you know, let’s, let’s try these different angles. So, I mean, one of the best things that I think everybody should have is a swipe file of proven titles, that, you know, that got you to click, or that, you know, did really well, that’s just like, I feel like that’s just a shortcut for forgetting getting a wheel spinning and actually getting in the mind mindset of like, alright, this is people like these types of, of titles. And then another thing that, that I did, you know, I asked you do you want to go for like, a negative angle or a positive angle.


Jake Thomas  03:20

So we can talk about this a little more, but there are three different ways to build or to trait, three different emotions to get people to click, and those are curiosity, fear and fesire. So I was like, alright, well, how do we do a? How do we add curiosity, curiosity to this to this title, so that was, like, you know, do this before you create your next piece of content, you know, that starts with an open loop, or like a curiosity gap, like, do this, you know, when someone reads that they think, do what, so they’ve got to click, and they’ve got to find out. And then we thought about desire. So like, how to make better content, that’s a pretty much straight up desire that people want. We also talked thought about, like fears or negativity. So you know, stop doing this, you know, in your content. Or, like, you know, do this before, you know, that’s, you do this before you make your next piece of content. That’s like a little bit of a warning. You know, so anyway, so and then also just a couple different things like we put in the year, you could do you know, we considered a timeframe how to make better content and 10 minutes you know, so there are a bunch of little quick triggers, like curiosity for your desire timeframes, authority, timeliness, like using the current year, a bunch of different moves that you can make when writing when writing your title so that was a that wasn’t just a big like, you know, word spillage there but that’s kind of what we did in our little in our 10 minute chat before we started recording.


Alastair McDermott  04:48

Yeah, and I love how meta that is. And yeah, so that the we saw some of those and and just just to to get a little bit medical like some of the The thinking behind my, my choice was I really like a How To title I liked the positive rather than the negative. And I was also talking to you about how short it was because I am thinking about where is this going to go, in particular on podcasts, title art and things like that. And, and also, you know, sometimes when people are looking at in the podcast player or even the YouTube player, I guess it’s gonna get clipped off at the end, and you’re gonna see those three dots and kind of one of the words is gonna get cut halfway through, if it’s if it’s longer. And that was one of the one of the reasons why I didn’t want to do the, in 10 minutes. One was because it was a little bit long, even though I liked that idea. And so there’s a lot of different, a lot of different things that were kind of a lot of different. Different things go into making this decision. So it was, it was wonderfully matter. But like this stuff is really important. Right?


Jake Thomas  05:57

Yeah, I mean, if, if nobody clicks on your content, then you’re not going to, you’re going to waste all that time that you spent currently, if we if we wrote a terrible, a terrible title for this, nobody’s gonna click on it. So you’re gonna waste an hour of your time, I’m gonna waste an hour of my time, that’s gonna sink, you’re also not going to get any benefits from this, you know, we’re not going to get any leads, sales followers, subscribers, you know, authority, you know, goodwill with our audience. So going to have a ton of a ton of negative consequences, no benefits when you’re when you write a terrible title. So and it’s, it’s a simple thing. But just I know, in the YouTube world, a lot of people, they make their video, they make the thumbnail, like as they’re uploading their video, they’re like, alright, what should I title this, and they just kind of like slap a title on there. And that is definitely not the way to not the way to approach it. The best way is, in my opinion, and people smarter than me agree, is to come up with a title beforehand. I mean, just like what you and I did, and come up with the title before and that you know, is going to get people to click. And we can talk about like clickbait and clickbait is essentially just not delivering on the promise that you made in your title. You baited them to click, but, but if you deliver on the promise and your title, then it’s not clickbait. So in order for, you know, so we it’s best if you can come up with a great title beforehand, know what you want to talk about in your content, and then deliver on that promise. So that’s a an easy way to avoid clickbait. And also get more people to click your content when you’re coming from the angle that you know people are going to it’s going to grab people’s attention, and it’s going to make them want to click right away.


Alastair McDermott  07:49

Yeah, and that’s, that’s something a lot of people I think are fearful of is I don’t want to look like one of those. Clickbait kind of kind of guys. But that’s a really good point. It’s, the clickbait is not about the title, it’s about the delivery. And if we’re actually delivering on what we promised in the title, even if it seems like it could be clickbait, then then it’s not clickbait. So yeah, I like that, that that view on that framing of it, because I think it was really important that we actually put in the effort to make those titles that could be clickbait. Because that’s what we want, we do want people to click we want we want attention on our content, because you know, we’re putting in effort and making good content, and at least that’s what we should be doing. So, you know, so so we want we want eyeballs on our content. That’s like, that’s why we produce content.


Jake Thomas  08:43

Yeah, so yeah, exactly.


Alastair McDermott  08:46

So okay. Can we can we dive into some of the things I don’t know how much into the weeds you want to get on this. But I’m really interested in talking about like some of those different aspects or categories, like when we get into the negative into the fear base stuff. When is it good to use that? Or when should we not want to use that? Can you can you talk a little bit about that about how you think about that?


Jake Thomas  09:10

Yeah, so the first thing that popped into my mind was just knowing what platform that you are creating content on. So for example, you know, 10 mistakes people make in content marketing would never rank on on the first page of Google. Google for the most part, you know, if people are searching for how to stuff, they are looking for a positive angle, they want to achieve a goal. But if you are, if you are like writing a Twitter thread or LinkedIn post or you’re making a YouTube video 10 Mistakes Content Marketers Make would, you know probably wouldn’t do well because negativity does great at grabbing people’s attention. So really think about are people searching for this, then go for the positive angle. Is this trying to is like kind of interruption marketing? Are we are we trying to make people like you know, stop in their tracks stop the scroll, then you could do positive or negative. But for the most part, if you’re ranking if you’re trying to rank on Google, avoid negativity in your titles, and pretty much I mean in your content, really. And then put on on Discovery platforms like YouTube browser suggested LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s kind of all fair game.


Alastair McDermott  10:26

Right. Okay. Very interesting. So. So this the negative, negative, fear based stuff can be really effective at grabbing attention, stopping the scroll, particularly on social type platforms, but less for something like search engine optimization.


Jake Thomas  10:45

Yes. Yeah. And I 90% sure, that goes for like YouTube search as well. Right. So because YouTube is both a search and discovery platform, so So yeah, you know, but you know, when you think about, like, you know, if you’re at the grocery store, and you are, you’re checking out, and there’s like a magazine, the magazine covers, a lot of them are full of negativity. So your magazine editors know that negativity grabs your attention really? Well.


Alastair McDermott  11:13



Jake Thomas  11:13

And they know that you’re not like, you know, you’re not searching Oh, like, you know, let me see what, you know, the Queen of England is up to or what, you know, whoever. So, you know, so negativity just grabs people. And you can see it in the news and in magazines. And that’s a great way to like to get inspiration for writing good titles. Because those, you know, those, those folks who are in the news, and who are our editors are, you know, are have been doing it for a very long time, like way, way before YouTube was around way before social media was around. You know, so that’s a, an interesting way to grab to study titles, and to study what makes people click, if a little tangent here, but, you know, when you’re thinking about writing your titles, and thinking about what makes people click, try to think of it from, like, kind of the basic elements of like, what actually got me to click, so, so maybe, it’s like, you know, President Biden did this ridiculous thing. And you might end it, you know, it’s like, front page news. So instead of just writing an offer, like, alright, that’s stupid, annoying clickbait and I’m not trying to grab that magazine. It’s like, alright, what are they using? They’re using authority, right? They’re using, you know, the president of America’s name. They’re also using fear, right? So feared authority. And then you could start thinking about how would I use fear and authority for my niche? You know, if you’re, you know, talking to content marketers, you might be like, you know, you know, how, how Mr. Beast is, is, you know, gets people to click right, so you’re using the authority of Mr. Beast, or you could use fear. Like, you know, how, you know, the one, the biggest regret that Mr. Beast has with his last video. So that’s fear and authority. So really just noticing what is it that made people click? What are they made? You know, that got your attention? And what are those emotions? And how can you use those for your titles?


Alastair McDermott  13:18

Yeah, really, really interesting. And just as, as you said, that I Googled two magazines. I know, I think they’re probably in the US as well. Men’s Men’s Health magazine, very popular, long running magazine, and Cosmopolitan magazine. I think that both of those are in probably every new newsstand in the world. And what’s really interesting is if you look at the the covers of those, you will see repeated time after time after time, the same headlines, if you look at you know, going back several years worth, you’ll see that they just recycle the really effective headlines, the really effective titles. So there is there is something to that. I mean, I I back it back in the day when I was learning a little bit about copywriting. There was a blog called Copyblogger. And they had a series about writing headlines. And I have used that there particular I think there were seven word headlines typically as a as a kind of a cheat sheet for myself. So I so I typically if you look back through all of my podcast episodes, you’ll see that a lot of them I use the how to I particularly like how to episodes and I also try to make the actual content in there deliver on that that’s why I like to get into the weeds on some of this stuff. You notice Jake, we didn’t get into your backstory and stuff. It’s because I like to get straight in on the details and that kind of stuff is because I want to make this a how to I want to make this educational content for people who are listening or watching this. So


Jake Thomas  14:54

can I can I share with you something interesting. So a couple You know, kind of recently, I did a big project where I A B tested 103 YouTube titles. And for one of the things I tested, I think three times, three or four times was how to titles versus list titles. And the list of titles beat the How to titles all three times. So it was like, you know, five tips to versus like how to, you know, three tips to 10 ways. So that was interesting, you know, and that could be I believe that those titles were getting more traffic through browsers, through browsers suggested so kind of more interruption based versus like search, you know, in a really, we can kind of go into weeds and search and stuff, and what titles do well in search, but but I would assume that how to titles do better and search and lists titles with a number of do better at grabbing people’s attention, and browse suggested and other kind of interruption based marketing.


Alastair McDermott  15:57

Okay, well, let’s get into the difference in psychology there. So what is it? So why do do people or search engines want to rank the how to type content better in search, then?


Jake Thomas  16:12

So I would assume that that is, it’s, it’s very, it’s giving the audience what they want. They like it, you know, in the simplest terms, like, if I’m searching, you know, how to how to change my oil, then I probably don’t want to see how to or five tips to change by all it’s like, no, this is, this is what I’m searching for, this is what I want. And you know, how to title gives me exactly what I want, you know, in just a very short, you know, short real estate, they’re


Alastair McDermott  16:44

simply what we’re searching for the the search, the searches, are the search engines returning, literally what we’re looking for, and people don’t look for five tips, people look for how to.


Jake Thomas  16:57

That’s what, that’s what I think, or, you know, let’s say you are, you’re looking up, you know, best laptop, you’re probably going to see, you know, 10 best laptops in 2023. In that case, you know, someone likely isn’t searching for like, well, at least, I believe the algorithms are thinking that people aren’t searching for just one, they want to see a couple different options. So if you’re looking at products, you’re you’ll you’ll most likely see lists. So you know, five, and then you also especially with technology, you’ll often see the the current year and then because the audience wants to know, is this relevant right now, you know, if you’re looking up, you know, best laptops, the best laptops and 2021 are certainly not the best laptops in 2023. You know, because technology is always changing.


Jake Thomas  17:47

So, so it’s really thinking about what does the audience want, the audience wants options, and the audience wants to know that it’s relevant right now. So a list video with your with the current year satisfies those, those two desires of the audience, so they’re more likely to click. And then also, you know, when you’re talking about how tos, you know, let’s say, you know, I’m looking up how to start a YouTube channel, if I’m looking up how to start a YouTube channel, the results are probably going to be how to start a YouTube channel for beginners in 2023, something like that, because if I’m looking up how to start a YouTube channel, one, I’m going to be a beginner. So if I see the word beginner in the title, I think, Oh, good. This video was made for me, it’s not too advanced. So I feel better that you know, that grabs my attention. And also YouTube is their interface is changing every year. So having the current year in there, works well there. So you know, talking about beginners, you know, really thinking about, you know, what does the audience want, using the current year, and then, you know, going back to, like, what does the audience want, let’s say I’m looking up, like how to get a six pack, a lot of these, a lot of the results you’re gonna see are How To Get A Six Pack In six weeks, or, you know, best ab workout in 10 minutes, because people want it fast. So there are certain types of, of searches where people just, you know, they’re beginners, they want things fast. You know, so it’s a bit depends on what you’re trying to rank for. But, you know, just but you need to know, you know, who your audience is, why they’re searching it so that you can deliver the best content possible on that topic. And then when that click and then you know, start climbing up the rankings.


Alastair McDermott  19:31

Okay, so we have been talking a lot about titles and get getting the click, but we did title this how to make better content. So I do want to talk to you about the content itself as well, because you kind of talking about that there. It’s not just about the title itself. Tell me about how you think about actually producing content that’s, that’s useful, or that is better, and tell me what what better means to you in terms of content?


Jake Thomas  19:57

Yeah, um, so It’s, it’s, it’s kind of the same as writing titles. So it’s kind of all the same. Because we you need to know your audience know what their hopes, dreams and fears are. So you can address those in your content, you also kind of need to know who they are, if you if you’re telling stories or making analogies or jokes, you know, and make sure that they get it, you know, if you’re writing, you know how to how to become a knitter, in your 60s, you’re probably not going to use like slang that people are using on Tiktok. You know, because you know, that your, your audience is a 60 year old woman, and she’s not going to get those jokes, and she’s gonna kind of be turned off, and you know, she’s not gonna enjoy it. So knowing who your audience is, you know, knowing what they’re, you know, what they’re why they’re why they’re, why they’re consuming your content, right? So, if they’re searching for something, you know, you know why they’re searching? No, no, who they are, are they beginners, that, you know, do they want it fast? Do they want like, you know, credibility or authority. And then also knowing, like, what their excuses are, or what their objections are. So you can answer those in your content. And just make the make your audience feel like wow, like, this person knows exactly who I am, you know, he knows, you know, he or she knows my, you know, my biggest fears my dreams. And that’s going to, it’s going to encourage them, it’s going to inspire them, you know, telling stories of, of how you helped people just like them, you know, overcome their exact objections, overcome their exact fears of excuses, you know, all that is going to help the audience just feel better be inspired. And, and, you know, think that, wow, this, this, this creator is great. They know me, and, you know, I want to read all their content now.


Alastair McDermott  21:47

Yeah, it’s, it’s creating that, that kind of that, that connection, where they feel like you can read their mind that you know, exactly what what their situation is. Yeah, that’s, that’s something I talk to, to my my clients, but all the time is about getting to know getting to know their clients better, and having conversations and even if that means getting on calls, and, you know, having these discovery calls where you talk to a lot of people spending time, I know, it takes time, but sometimes you can repurpose that. And sometimes you can turn those into podcasts and things like that. So invite your ideal client onto your podcast and ask them questions. That’s something I was talking to somebody about just today. So I love when you can kind of dual purpose, things like that. And then you’re also creating content.


Jake Thomas  22:36

Yeah, another another thing is clarity. So clarity in your title, so a big mistake people make is writing their titles like too long or too wordy, you know, we talked about, you know, the this title, if it’s too long, it might get truncated, you know, depending on on where you’re reading or watching, you’re listening, you know, so, you know, making sure that your titles aren’t too long. And also like using big words, you know, if it kind of takes a lot of mental energy to like to read a title, especially if you have, you know, 10 or 20, or 30 other options, you don’t want to sit there and try to like really understand these really big long words. And it’s the same thing with your content, you know, make sure your content is clear, you know, using dumbed down words, right, like, you know, not dumbed down, but using very simple language, so people can easily understand it. And even if you’re even you have like an affluent audience, just, you know, make making your content so easy to quickly digest quickly understand. And that’s another one of those things where it’s the same thing in the title, you’re in the thumbnail, and the in your actual content is just being clear, so that your audience knows exactly what you’re trying to tell them and exactly what you want them to do.


Alastair McDermott  23:48

Yeah, and that’s something I think a lot about is when I’m writing I try and write it as simply as possible. And I know that I don’t know the the US grade grade levels, but I know that basically, if you if you try and write it so that like a 12 year old can read it, then anybody can read it. And even if you’re writing for like a C suite audience, business leaders, it’s still gonna be easier for them to process it, it’s gonna reduce the cognitive load, or maybe a simpler way to say it as reduce the mental energy. But But that does make a difference because people are browsing stuff very quickly. They’re not giving you the entire 100% of their brain when they’re scanning through these things, making decisions what podcasts to listen to or what what video to watch or what article to read. They’re making those split second decisions with a tiny percentage of their mental energy and so if you make it easier to understand their instinctively going to know that that the content that is inside behind the click that it’s also going to be easy for for them to understand and to process as well.


Jake Thomas  24:55

Yeah, definitely in Yeah, I think that’s a problem that many smart people have is you know, writing to an easy to understand level, you know, writing, you even feel like you’re a doctor, when you’re creating content, if you’re creating, if you’re a doctor creating content for doctors or a lawyer for lawyers, you still need to produce or to write at a at a 12 year old level. Yeah, and I think a lot of people struggle with that. You know, I was working with one psychologist, and we were talking through this, and he’s like, Yeah, this is the curse of knowledge, where you are very smart. And, you know, you’re using words that that you know, and that your audience knows, but not like instinctually knows, like, right away in a split second when they read it. So using like jargon, and you know, kind of industry specific, technobabble is, is a great way to not create content that people want. So just yeah, just using, like you said, just using simple words, reducing the cognitive load. But that’s, that’s probably that’s probably a great answer, or a great example of, I know, like, you and I, we both know what cognitive load is. But also at the same time, we don’t know that as much as mental energy. Or, you know, a simpler way to to put that. And I bet the audience, you know, they probably all know what that means to instinctually. But, but just when you’re reading it, and you’re, and you’re scrolling, it’s a lot harder to understand phrases like that.


Alastair McDermott  26:24

Yeah, and I think Einstein said something like, If you can’t explain it to a six year old, and you don’t really understand it yourself. So. So explaining things in simpler language? Well, it first of all, it can teach you, when you when you’ve got to when you’ve got to explain something, somebody else and can teach you yourself. It will make you a better communicator. I think there are studies that show that writing that is simpler is is actually processed quicker and is taken on board. I think there is a place for using industry jargon, when you’re talking to somebody who’s also in your industry to to show them that you’re an insider, because you want to show you want to make that connection. But I also think that you got to be careful that you don’t overdo it.


Jake Thomas  27:06

So yeah, yeah. And then also going back to, you know, kind of like ranking in search. The I did an A B test, where let me see if I can pull up the, the example. So the AV test was sim swapping explained and how you can easily avoid it. That was the original title. And I the title B was stopped using Texas message verification to log into your accounts. So my thought was that text message verification is more easy to understand and sim swapping. But, but this title was ranking in search for sim swapping. So the audience was they weren’t searching textbooks message verification, they were searching, sim swapping. So so so just, you know, kind of to your point, you know, there there is a time and place to use jargon if if you know if people are searching for it, or if you know just to if it’s simple enough to prove that you know, you are an insider, and you’re using correct terminology.


Alastair McDermott  28:13

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Okay. Well, let me ask you something else. You mentioned earlier, you talked about YouTube thumbnails, and I know you’re a big YouTube guy. So the thumbnails are super important. They’re kind of like the first thing that grabs our attention, even sometimes, before we see the text of the title. Can you talk to me a little bit about what makes for good thumbnails and, and how you think about them?


Jake Thomas  28:35

Yeah, so I will preface this with I am a YouTube title nerd, not a YouTube thumbnail nerd. I’m working. I’m working on my thumbnail game. But it’s, it’s kind of the same thing with titles, you know, clarity. I think a big mistake that people make is having cluttered thumbnails, and just having so much crap in your thumbnail that the audience doesn’t know what to focus on. There’s this thing called the three element rule, where you should pretty much have just like three, three main elements and your title. Also, as far as like text goes, having, like, you know, two, three or four words is typically better. You know, because we want to make it simple. People just glancing really quick. So if you’ve got 6-7-8 words in your title, it’s like around your thumbnail. It’s like, okay, well, I’m not here to read all that stuff. Let me just kind of scroll on by it. But, you know, a simple, just one thing that I really like, is to I mean, when you’re thinking about titles, and thumbnails are like a one-two punch. So what that means is you want them to complement each other and work together to get somebody to click. So I mentioned earlier that people click because of three click worthy emotions fear, curiosity, and desire. So I typically like to kind of mix and match those in the thumbnail in the title. So if I’m using a desire in the title, I might use fear or, and or curiosity in the thumbnail. So I might say like, you know, you know how to make better content 2023 The thumbnail might be like, stop this, you know, with an arrow, just, you know, someone like making a mistake. So, you know, stop this is it builds curiosity because like what, you know, what do I need to stop? And it’s negativity as well, it’s you know, telling it’s giving somebody a warning telling them to stop this. So, you know, that would be an easy way to use Curiosity, Fear and Desire and your title and your thumbnail. So a big mistake people make is repeating the title in their thumbnail. And you’re, you’re missing an opportunity. Yeah,


Alastair McDermott  30:45

it was that I bought that T shirt. Yeah, I’d been there.


Jake Thomas  30:49

I mean, it’s like you’re you’re missing, you’re missing an opportunity to, you know, to kind of attack people’s brain at another angle. And to get them to click, you know, when you’re when you’re repeating when you’re repeating the thumbnail or the title in your thumbnail.


Alastair McDermott  31:04

Okay, and that’s another call back to the kind of the effect of fear, desire and curiosity. That’s, that’s really interesting. I hadn’t thought about my content or my titles in that way before. That’s something I’m definitely gonna take away from this as thinking how can I actually tweak one or all of those in some way.


Alastair McDermott  31:26

Okay, so is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you think is important about about creating titles for content?


Jake Thomas  31:35

I mean, I, I kind of brought up clarity, you know, something. We talked about being being relatively short. I don’t I don’t think so. I mean, I think this has been a relatively comprehensive chat, like I’ve gone on some tangents, but like, it’s been pretty good.


Alastair McDermott  31:56

I love it. I love it. Okay, well, we’ll let me let me ask you then about about authority, because authority is something you actually mentioned here. So I always ask people, what’s the number one tip that they would give somebody to build authority. I know, we spoke briefly about this beforehand.


Jake Thomas  32:15

So authority, there’s a lot that goes into authority. So let’s kind of take it from the top here. So there are two ways to do it to talk about using authority, your titles or building authority as a,


Alastair McDermott  32:26

I would actually like to do both, because I know that you’re gonna have some, you’re gonna have some good insights on this.


Jake Thomas  32:31

Go. Alright, so I’ll talk about using authority in your title first. So there are two ways to do it, you can use somebody’s position, or you can use the person so position or person. So the easiest way to like thinking about using a person is like think Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Oprah Beyonce, like, you know, people that you would recognize their name, you can use their face in a thumbnail, you can use their name in your title. But but you’re, you’re kind of leveraging or borrowing someone’s authority, or you’re borrowing their notoriety, or their their name and face recognition. So you’re gonna get more attention on your content. If, you know, just by by name, pretty much your name dropping somebody else, you would probably, you know, let’s say you were talking about like Asana, you wouldn’t say, I don’t know who their CEO is, but like, you wouldn’t say whatever that person’s name, you’d probably say, you know, Asana CEO, or, you know, like productivity tips from Asana CEO, or, you know, work organizational tips from Asana CEO, because you don’t know that person’s name. So in that case, you would use their position. So, so that’s how to use authority and titles.


Jake Thomas  32:59

And then as far as, like building authority, I wouldn’t say I’m the most authoritative, first of all talk about that. But, but what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to, you know, to backup my, my thoughts and my stories with with real data. You know, I’m currently building a little like, case study YouTube channel. So, you know, to build authority. I just started it like, two or three weeks ago, so not talking about it yet. But, but yeah, but this is a case study that I’m planning on using to say, hey, like, you know, what I’m sharing is true. And you can here’s evidence of that same thing, when I did, you know, 103, YouTube ad tests, where, you know, I use what I’m learning and sharing through my newsletter, to say, you know, to put it to the test, I never want to be that person who’s just like, kind of like, you know, speaking with with nothing to back it up. I want to have kind of real numbers behind that. So that’s how I’m trying to build authority. And I think another way to build authority. This is like when I when I see people follow me on Twitter, I always look who they follow, or sorry, who who was following them. And that’s just like a real quick way to be like, oh, this person is legit, like, you know, all these people, these really smart people that I respect follow them. So I think your network is I think your network is a is another way to kind of show authority.


Alastair McDermott  35:16

Yeah, and by the way, speaking of your authority, the reason why I wanted you to come on the show and talk to me about titles is because you posted about those A B tests, and I saw that post on LinkedIn. Certainly. Working, so it is working.


Jake Thomas  35:33

Good. Yeah. I mean, you know, how do you know that? You know, that what I’m saying is true. You know, I’m not, you know, a Mr. Beast type guy. I don’t have you know, I’ve worked with a couple of people. But, you know, fortunately, I can’t like really share their name because they asked me to keep quiet. So like, how, how do I build this authority as a behind the scenes guy? So those are two projects that I’m that I’m working on? And I’m glad to work here.


Alastair McDermott  35:58

Absolutely, absolutely. We have some, some comments on LinkedIn Live Show. Alastair, thank you. This is just showing up as LinkedIn user, sorry. So I don’t know your name. Thanks to, to to the platform. But yeah, there you go. I didn’t just make that up.


Jake Thomas  36:15

I heard I heard it on. I was listening to one of your podcast earlier today. And you’re talking about LinkedIn user. I was like, oh, that’s gonna weird. And then here I am. Oh, I see it. It’s


Alastair McDermott  36:24

just it’s just the way Restream works. But Crystal, because I logged into check to check LinkedIn, and Crystal says my partner writes case studies. Jake. Brittany Hertzberg. So there you go. So cool. Well, thank you so much. This has been really great to talk to you about this stuff. And I think it’s, it’s something that I think about all the time as I create more and more content is is what do I call this? And if something then, you know, it’s it’s it’s a big deal. Crystal Waddle is okay, there you go. Thank you. That’s who it is. So thanks, Crystal. Yeah, so I know that. I know, I told you some some questions that I always ask at the end of the show. So I want to ask you, if there’s a business mistake or failure that you have experienced yourself that you can tell us about? Because I love to talk to people about failures, I find it really interesting. And I think it’s educational for everybody.


Jake Thomas  37:23

Yeah. I’m currently making a couple of mistakes. Actually, the biggest mistake I did was not focusing. So I’ve got a dog blog. And I, I started in like, 2019. And it was it’s, it’s most I mostly get traffic through search. And then I was like, Oh, well, let me do let me try out a virtual summit. So I did a virtual summit and spent a lot of time doing that. And that did, okay, made a little bit of money, you got a couple of leads, but it wasn’t the best. And then I went back to writing content for search. And I was doing well. And then I started running ads for affiliate programs. Because I was at the time, I was a media buyer. And I’m just doing all these things. And meanwhile, search is just going up and up and up and up and up. And I’m like I asked, it was probably like eight months later, I was like, What am I doing, I’m spending all this time, like chasing all these like shiny objects. Meanwhile, like the easiest, most basic thing is just is working really well. And I’m not spending any time on that. So that was like that was my biggest mistake is getting, you know, falling into shiny object syndrome, wasting time on on, you know, on what was not proven to work. And also, I mean, this is something I’ve been thinking about recently is trying to do things that will work forever. You know, it’s not always the best, the best strategy because I was running Facebook ads, and I was making, I don’t know, like two or three times more through the Facebook ads, and I was through search, but I turned the Facebook ads and off and then the income was like totally off meanwhile, like the revenue I was making through search was there every single month. So So yeah, just just you know, falling the shiny object syndrome and being not being focused was my big mistake.


Alastair McDermott  39:15

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that there are so many different ways. There’s so many different paths to success. It’s very hard not to do that. So yeah, I think I probably am guilty of that. And so I decided a couple of years ago to start focusing on the podcast and and so I’ve been doing I think this will probably be like episode 109 or 110 or something like that. And it’s it’s an it’s worked, you know, so I think that’s, you know what, when you funny enough when you start doing something and you focus on doing that thing, eventually it works yeah, that’s that’s really shocking, I’m sure to nobody.


Jake Thomas  39:53

I feel like my favorite podcasts like they’re in there. 100 200 300 episodes and yeah, like this is proud There’s probably something to that.


Alastair McDermott  40:01

Yeah, it takes a while to get going and figuring it all out. But you know, there’s there’s a thing in longevity. Also, a lot of people give up. So a lot of people give up after eight episodes, or five episodes. So if you just stick it out, you will eventually build up a following. And you’ll eventually figure out what works for you and what works for the audience. So yeah, of course, this what we’re doing today is is new. It’s experimental. For me, this is the fifth episode that I’ve recorded live. And so the live broadcasting part is new. But, but I had to do that I had to do the 100 episodes first before I kind of said, Okay, I’m willing to try doing this live now.


Jake Thomas  40:42

But it’s cool that like, you’re, you’re doing something new, but you’re still doing the same thing. So you’re keeping it fresh and exciting for yourself. So you’re not you’re not giving up, you’re still moving in the same direction. And that is one of the things with with the blog, I was not doing, you know, things were going in different directions that, you know, I wasn’t having everything go the same way. And I think it’s really important to, you know, just figure out how to keep things fun for you. You know, what you’re doing here? It’s


Alastair McDermott  41:07

Yeah, yeah, true. True. Okay, just watching the clock better, better move on. Is there a business book or resource that’s been important for you or that?


Jake Thomas  41:17

I love Russell Brunson’s books, especially “DotCom Secrets” and “Expert Secrets”. And then as far as like writing titles, oh, I’m blanking on the name. It’s Tae Woo. Yeah, I’m totally blanking. Wow. Dr. Drew? Well, yeah, I can I can text you and maybe we can put it or I can email you.


Alastair McDermott  41:44

Check the links in the show notes. And magically there will be the name of another book thereby titles. Cool.


Jake Thomas  41:50



Alastair McDermott  41:50

What about fiction? Do you read fiction?


Jake Thomas  41:52

I do. I am the type of person who gets like obsessed about about books, so I have to be careful. Big. I’ve been getting into Brandon Sanderson a little bit.


Alastair McDermott  42:07

Oh, yeah.


Jake Thomas  42:08

So well, if I started reading Sanderson book during the week, it will be finished by the weekend. And I will not do anything else. So I I approach fiction books with with caution.


Alastair McDermott  42:22

Yeah, I’m a bit like that as well. Yeah. So


Jake Thomas  42:25

books. “Cashvertising” by Drew Whitman.


Alastair McDermott  42:29



Jake Thomas  42:30

Is is one of the best ones. And then…


Alastair McDermott  42:33

I think I have the I’ve read that as well. Yeah.


Jake Thomas  42:35

And then “Adweek Guide” by Joe Sugarman. So Joe Sugarman and Drew Whitman are two of my favorite to my favorite copywriting books. They share a lot about creating content, like we talked about, but also writing better titles.


Alastair McDermott  42:48

Yeah, cool. Brandon Sanderson is your fiction author. He writes a lot of fancy books, a lot of huge books. Very, very long book. So but but really, I really love his stuff. “Mistborn” is good series that isn’t too long. If anybody’s looking for any his. That’s why…


Jake Thomas  43:08

I enjoyed it very much.


Alastair McDermott  43:09

Yeah. Awesome. Well, Jake, where can people find you if they want to learn more?


Jake Thomas  43:13 is the website free newsletter, I send it out every week, help you write better YouTube titles and just really, you know, get better at getting people’s attention and getting people to click, and then also at Twitter and LinkedIn, at Jake Thomas, you’ll see a guy with a beard and a dog. And that’s how you’ll know it’s me.


Alastair McDermott  43:33

Awesome. Well, Jake, thank you so much for coming on the show and doing that bit of meta work beforehand.


Jake Thomas  43:41

Of course, thanks for having me.


Alastair McDermott  43:45

Thanks for listening. I know that you’ve got a choice of podcasts and shows that you can listen to so I really do appreciate your time and your attention. If you did find this episode, interesting. I would truly appreciate if you could take 30 seconds to rate the show in your podcast player or even leave a text review. It won’t take you long but it has a huge impact on the growth of the show. And it also helps to motivate me and continuing to do it. So it’s right where you’re listening to the show. You can also find a link in the show notes which will take you to rate and review. Thank you again. See you in the next one.

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