20 Tips for Growing Your YouTube Following
There are many tactics you can employ and tips you can effectively use to grow your YouTube following. Here are 20 of the best!
- Do your best to keep domain URLs and Channel names short and easy to read.
Use initial caps in your embedded links to differentiate between individual words. (“www.OlssonsBusinessServices.com” is much easier to sound out and understand at a glance than “www.olssonsbusinessservices.com”).And remember that the longer and more complex your URL (whether clickable or not), the longer the time you should allow for it to be displayed at the end of your video so that people aren’t still trying to spell it out as its fading out of frame.
- Create “Parts” or “Chapters” if a topic is complex. Break it down into bite-sized components that viewers can easily absorb. If you don’t want to create these, give your series consistency and cohesion by always beginning each episode the same way (e.g. “How to”) while dealing with the same topic (just different aspects)
- Share your Playlists, as well as individual videos. You can copy the URL and share it on social networks.
- Record your Google+ Hangouts. Share them on YouTube. (But make sure your participants are cool with this first!)
- Display “Featured” Channels. If someone with more visibility and you produces similar videos (especially if they complement yours, rather than duplicate and outshine them) display their Channel as a Featured Channel. This may seem counterproductive, but it’s not: You’ll attract a percentage of their audience in return.
- Keep any theme music or credits short. YouTube recommends 5 seconds or less. While these may add consistency and help brand your videos, slick intros are not what will hook your viewers. In fact, any longer than 5 seconds, and you’ve probably lost them.
- Use “call to action” images in your videos. Annotate them by Spotlighting them or use Speech Balloons, sending people to “Subscribe” to your Channel.
Remember: Images are much easier to understand than words!
- Make your topic clear from the word “go”. Your viewer should never be left wondering: “What on earth am I watching?” (Unless, of course, you’re the next Ang Lee and you want to shock and surprise.)
- Edit your videos. Even if you only have windows movie maker, you can quickly teach yourself to:
- Cut out rambling bits
- Condense your storyline to the essentials
- Use (sparsely and carefully) special effects such as fade-outs
- Add links or hot spots
- Insert a soundtrack, if appropriate
- Add short musical intros and credits
Watch your video carefully many times. Go back to it at different intervals, so you will see it with fresh eyes. Ask yourself “Is this shot really necessary to getting my message across?”
Look for “distractions” and remove them, re-shooting if you have to; or cutting the clip. (For example, do you really need that cage-full of chirping budgies behind your head? You may have learned to tune them out – but your audience won’t – and will likely click away before you’ve ever made your point.)
You may not be worried about using top of the line, quality equipment or professional quality sound editors – but your message should be clear, dynamic, entertaining – and feel like the real deal.
- Pay attention to lighting. You don’t have to have a full Hollywood set up with HMI globes, 600-watt Molequartz Tweenie-Mole Solarspot Fresnel luminaires and separate 2000-watt Softlites (just for low ceilings). But you do have to watch:
- The level of lighting
- Where direct light or shadow falls
- That your video is simply bright enough for people to clearly see what’s going on
Poor lighting will make your video seem blurry and amateurish. Your viewer will quickly lose interest.
- Every video should have a call to action asking viewers to subscribe to your channel. No matter what.
But you also need to give them a reason to subscribe. Your highly entertaining and/or helpful content should be number one in fulfilling this purpose, but you can also plant others:
- A promise of “more ways to…”
- Further parts in the series – plant the fear of missing these
- A continuing “episode”
- Your sparkling personality (hey, some people just “got” it!)
- A call to action that connects emotionally
- Repeating your message in the Description and at more than one point in the video
- Displaying more videos in a series or in the same vein that they’ll want to click through and view
- Never, ever try to bribe actions from viewers (e.g. “The first ten people will get a free copy of my Ultimate World of Warcraft Cheater’s Bible, normally $7,000.00”).
Putting up any sort of conditional incentive for subscriptions, click-throughs, et cetera, is a direct violation of YouTube’s terms of service, and will quickly get your account shut down.
- Create and follow a specific strategy for promoting your videos – and your Channel. This should be part of your business plan – not random attempts to drum up viewers.
- Include and promote videos from fellow niche experts, to keep your Channel active with content. Make a playlist, and promote your playlist.
Your aim should be to keep offerings coming at a consistent flow; neither so intermittent that it becomes easy to ignore your links or not take you seriously nor so often that people feel flooded with too many video links, and grow irritated.
Learning how to pace your video flow is a basic but important part of maximizing YouTube’s incredible power
- Create powerful Titles. These don’t necessarily have to be clever. They do, however, have to make your potential viewer:
- Wanting to see more
- Pick yours over possibly hundreds of similar videos
Elements such as Title are crucial, when it comes to influencing potential viewers’ decision-making.
A powerful title…
- Is less than 66 characters long
- Is keyword optimized
- Contains the word “video”. (Hey. What one common keyword do people most often search with – in both Google and YouTube – when looking for the right YouTube offering?)
Let people know what type of video they are looking at. Use keywords such as:
- How to
- Introduction to
- Spend time looking at other YouTube titles. Study titles and decide which ones appeal to you. See if you can spot a common denominator for the ones that do appeal.
Take note of the viewer count. Figures in the low thousands should be of first interest. What is a common denominator for these Titles?
Look at the bad-and-ugly titles too. Which ones only got a handful of viewers? Again, any common denominators in the Titles?
- Feed YouTube’s search algorithms. You want your video to be among the first few served up to searchers. Keep in mind that YouTube selects ranking order within viewer searches based on:
- Related videos – the more you have, the more YouTube likes it (another reason for creating a series)
- Ad-serving potential (for YouTube)
- Whether or not you have monetized your video
- The amount of active promotion that is going on with the video
- Did we mention “keywords”?
- Consider monetizing your video. A short AdWords campaign can give your YouTube career a strong launch – especially if you’re brand new to your niche and nobody knows you.
If you do decide to monetize, however, make sure:
- Your niche isn’t one that is especially resistant to ads
- Your video is actually worth promoting!
- Remember that those searching YouTube are often visual learners. Don’t overlook that fact. Make full use of the maxim “show, don’t tell”: Make sure your first screen shot in the video “shows” what they are going to learn or discover in your video.
- Remember that it’s all about the viewer – not about you. People want something when they turn to YouTube – information, entertainment, instruction, a gap filled, a time slot filled, a problem solved.
Making the videos your viewers want (and applying the rest of these tips) will help increase your YouTube ranking.
And please your target market.