How FaZe Teeqo made me realize I’m a Title/Thumbnail noob.
When we’re not making content and resources to help aspiring gamers/creators grow, we’re helping already established gamers do the exact same thing. This week the Dojo crew had the pleasure of facilitating a collaboration between RSK Dubai and FaZe Blaziken. We went out to the FaZe House in Newport, helped set up, and then quietly snuck off into a corner to get some work done while RSK and Blaziken were shooting. I was uploading a video where Ninja described how he got his start in streaming. “Ninja’s beginnings? How Ninja Got Started on Twitch?”. I rattled off title ideas and sifted through images struggling to come up with the profound title/thumbnail combination I hoped for. FaZe Cheo saw my frustrations and thought he’d recruit some help, “Teeqo, can you help Reza out with a title and thumbnail”.
This is when I became blatantly aware of the mastery that Teeqo and the other FaZe members have achieved when it comes to creating content on their platform of choice: YouTube.
You have to keep in mind that some of these guys (Apex included), have been creating a YouTube video EVERY DAY for years. That means that every single day their routine includes the following:
Pro tip: use this as a checklist for uploading your own videos
It's nearly impossible without a daily routine.
I’m not going to tally it up, but I’m sure that’s thousands of hours spent merely contemplating the best way to display their content to grab attention.
But I digress...
Teeqo walked over and asked me what the video was about. “It’s basically just Ninja talking about how he got his start on Twitch”, I said. “Call it, ‘THE HISTORY OF NINJA’”, and use a thumbnail with his face making an expression his fans are used to, that background is too dull as well, put some bright colors in there.” This may not seem profound, but after spending 20 minutes trying to think of cool title that said exactly that, I was pretty impressed. Teeqo did my job in 2 minutes.
We’re consistently fed the narrative that these, “YouTube Celebrities”, catch a lucky break and basically live their lives casually putting out videos whenever they feel like it. It’s hard for people trapped in a 9–5 they don’t enjoy to admit to themselves that it’s not luck, but passion combined with hard work.
Generating quality content on a regular basis is difficult. It’s creatively taxing, and most will find themselves quickly out of ideas and brain-dead. That’s why it’s so important to construct a daily routine. You can learn about the routine that’s allowed FaZe Apex to amass his audience here.
Creating content is HARD
Writing compelling titles is HARD
Creating attention grabbing thumbnails is HARD
I bring that up to highlight something that I feel isn't discussed enough...
We use Canva to make a large portion of our own thumbnails at the Dojo. It's easy to use, and has a free version.
I personally find the hardest part of the content creation process to be the first step. Actually ideating the concept and storyline for the video. Executing comes easy when you have a plan- so make sure you plan out your video to ensure you have all the shots and elements you need to bring your concept together.
Sign up for free and watch the first 3 video lessons from FaZe Apex's Youtube guide, "The Daily Content Routine"
So don’t get discouraged when you can’t think up a revolutionary title for the video you’re about to drop, or if you’re having trouble figuring out what to use in the thumbnail. It takes practice and learned skills to make your videos stand out in the crowded Youtube feed.
That doesn't mean you shouldn’t worry about that stuff. Like I said, thumbnails and titles can make or break a video.
They’re pivotal to your contents success. If you’re struggling, try one of Apex’s solutions to overcoming a creative block (Lesson 5 in his course).
After I hit my own creative block the other day, I spoke to a few successful content creators and put together this list of simple tips to make better titles and thumbnails.
A large part of the reason that I made this, and brought up the story about Teeqo, is so that you can start to look at this as more of a process.
Create a routine for creating, and creating becomes less difficult.
Use high contrast to accentuate the focal point of the thumbnail, this will naturally draw a potential viewer's eye to your video. The image below are some high contrast colors that are good choices for text or calls to action on your thumbnail.
Connect your thumbnail to your title i.e. “I GOT A NEW GAME”, coupled with a thumbnail of a video game case with a question mark over it.
Note: I hear a lot of debate between using bright/contrasting colors vs having a well designed thumbnail. Some YouTubers sacrifice design excellence for attention grabbing colors, you don’t have to. If you prefer to use cool stills from your videos as the thumbnail- go for it. Just make sure that whatever that still is that it’s interesting, and don’t forget to touch it up!
Do you have a brand? You should (here’s why), and it should be shown constantly throughout your thumbnails. Keep consistent branding throughout videos of the same classification or in the same series.
In this screenshot you can see TSM ZeRo’s YouTube page. He breaks up his content into different playlists and uses the same style for all the videos in each playlist.
It’s popular for thumbnails to show a close-up of someone’s face. If you use this style, make sure there is emotion. Don’t put up a selfie of you blankly staring off into space. If the video is a montage of the best game of your life, show some damn excitement! Proven fact that pretty women and babies draw attention first, so if you’re not female, do your best baby face!
FaZe Blaziken uses a close up of his sister with a gigantic smile on her face to capture the mood and emotion in this video.
Make a FB advertising campaign with two thumbnails you want to test against each other and see what gets the most clicks paired with the title of your video.
When you are choosing or designing an image for your thumbnail, there are four main aesthetics to focus on in order to drive more eyes, clicks and views to your video.
This is the key difference between a solid thumbnail and clickbait. You'd be surprised how often people will put up thumbnails that have nothing to do with the content they lead to.
If you use an awesome and attention grabbing thumbnail that has nothing to do with your video- you'll still get some views, but you're not going to convert those viewers to subscribers or returning visitors.
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I hope you enjoyed our guide on titles and thumbnails. At the Dojo we’re all about helping gamers and creators reach their full potential online. We want to help you turn your passion into a living, and do so by taking information from the best and distilling it into actionable steps for our members to follow. If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to comment or reach out!
If you’re looking to take your content creation to the next level and start taking the dive into making YouTube your full-time gig. Click here to check out our course with FaZe Apex called, “The Daily Content Routine”. He outlines the methods and routines he used to gain over 4 million subscribers.