Launched only fifteen years ago, YouTube is now a multimillion-dollar industry of content creators, influencers, companies, and communities. OG YouTubers like Jenna Marbles, Smosh, Shane Dawson, and Lucas Cruikshank (“Fred”) have built expansive careers off of the platform, including selling merchandise, making movies and music, and even earning wax figures at the famous Madame Tussauds museum. Likewise, brands such as Walmart, Bon Appétit, and Red Bull have successfully utilized YouTube to showcase their products, employee engagement, event coverage, and content such as recipes. A recent study shows that 29% of tweens in the U.S. want to become a YouTuber as their future career!
So, the competition is tough. How does your business get noticed on such a booming platform, especially if you’re just starting out? Unless you have an effective strategy to promote your channel, your brand may not get the kind of conversions and following you aim for. To help you quickly build up your following, boost brand awareness, and ultimately reach your conversion goal, here are my top tips to build your YouTube following:
Build Your Content Around a Single Topic
It’s easy to get involved in many topics when brainstorming ideas for your next video. However, if you want to build a loyal audience, try to stick to one subject, or better yet, one single keyword. Most of your views will come from users who search for keywords related to the topic. Maximize your position in search results by specifically targeting those keywords in the video. Use tools like KeywordTool.io to find highly researched keywords in your niche and use them in the title, description and throughout the video. For more tools and tips on best keyword research, check out my podcast on the subject.
Optimize Your Existing Content
It takes a lot of time and effort to produce video content. Between scripting, filming, and editing, there’s a reason that YouTube is many creators’ full-time job. That’s why the easiest way to boost subscriptions and increase viewership is through optimizing your existing videos. Here’s a quick checklist for converting your existing video content for YouTube’s algorithms:
· Is the target keyword in the Title?
· Is the target keyword used in the Description?
· Did you use Hashtags?
· Did you create a compelling Thumbnail? (More on this below!)
Another way to utilize your existing video content use clips from old videos in new content to establish your experience and expertise. Similarly, you can take old video ideas and redo them or expand on them to be more relevant today.
Use Great Thumbnails
The last time you searched for a keyword on YouTube, how did you choose which video to click on? By looking at the thumbnail, of course! Even though we are told not to judge a book by its cover, it’s exactly what we’re doing on YouTube. Increase click-through rate and views by using appealing thumbnails for your videos.
For optimum clickability, here are some tips to have top-performing video thumbnails:
· Don’t bait—make sure the thumbnail accurately portrays the video content.
· Using a face, especially with eye-contact and showing a strong emotion, will often pull the audience’s gaze.
· Use bright colors and defining shapes, with limited text.
· Be consistent in your imaging.
· Brand brand brand!
Promote the Videos on Social Channels
Professional YouTubers provide a variety of ways for people to connect with them on social platforms. That way, when a new video is out, they will simultaneously post a link to the video on their social channels and their fans will be alerted. You can also post clips from your YouTube videos on your Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and IGTV. If you have a Patreon or OnlyFans, you can even incentivize your following on other channels and increase revenue by posting videos early (or extras like bloopers and behind-the-scenes) there for paying audience members.
This can also work in reverse—use your existing platforms to send your established followers to your YouTube channel to get you started! Grow from there by cross-promoting content on every platform. Remember to use consistent but platform-targeted hashtags.
Utilize YouTube Cards
YouTube is known to reward channels that keep users engaged by increasing their rankings. One way to boost the time a user spends on your channel is through YouTube Cards. By adding these cards, you can direct the user to your other videos either at the end of the current video or whenever relevant. Even though the user may abandon the video, they are taken to your other content which will increase your total view time.
One popular way many YouTubers maximize their Card clicks is by mentioning another video they’ve done, then physically pointing out on their video screen the Card link to the video they reference. That draws the viewer’s eye and attention to the Card. End-of-video cards often offer videos that are thematically or structurally similar to the video just watched.
A good way to give people incentive to subscribe to your channel is by posting regularly at a predetermined time. This way, your subscribers don’t have to sit there wondering when the next video will be released. They know that when they open YouTube at, for example, around 10am every Wednesday, your new video will be there.
There are indeed some YouTubers who post every single day, but typically most channels post new content once or twice a week. This gives you enough time to edit each video and prepare the next one. It’s also a good idea to film a minimum of three videos in advance so that you always have content ready to post. Sometimes life gets in the way of making new videos, but the show must go on! Browsing through popular channels during the current coronavirus event, you can see how channels like The Try Guys are doing this by posting both new content from home and pre-recorded content from before quarantine.
Engage with Your Audience
No one wants to continue talking to a wall. A lack of response makes your audience feel neglected and they will gradually stop responding to your new video releases. Some YouTubers even do fan shout-outs if they engage enough with their content, especially monetized followers on their Patreon.
When you engage in the comment section and try to answer as many questions as you can, you don’t just show fans you care about them, you also improve your video rankings because YouTube factors in the engagement in the comment section when calculating rankings.
Remember, quality content is king when it comes to building a strong viewership on YouTube. Own your expertise! Check out my blog and podcast about being the face of your brand to help get you in the groove of hosting your YouTube channel. If you need help devising an effective marketing strategy for your YouTube channel or other social media platforms, don’t hesitate to contact me!