Looking to boost your YouTube channel’s subscriber count? Follow these steps to reach (and retain) as many viewers as possible.
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Say you just launched your own company, freelance website, or personal account. Great, now you’re ready to build a YouTube page — a daunting, strenuous process. Building a channel from scratch is one of the most challenging projects you can take on. It requires hours upon hours upon hours of work to build an audience. Whether you’re creating fun, daily life content or strictly using the platform to promote your business, there are right ways and wrong ways to establish yourself on the video-sharing site.
With so many creators already propelling the medium with each new upload, making a splash can be a difficult, seemingly impossible challenge. So let’s take a look at a few ways to kickstart your channel and get that subscriber count you’re looking for.
Understand Your Audience
Once you start uploading content to your channel, you’ll find out very quickly who subscribes to your content and who likes or dislikes it. This can be disheartening because the internet is brutal, especially if your videos are not up to the standards YouTube users create.
Whether you love it or hate it, the YouTube comments section is an incredible resource that you should never overlook. Yes, you’re going to see some truly terrible comments and get a peek into some of the darkest corners of the internet, but you shouldn’t disregard your audience. Often, the comments can be an excellent source of feedback; the like-to-dislike ratio is a good way to determine if a video worked or not.
But, the comments aren’t where the improvements will come from. If you’re in the business of pleasing fans and building a community around your brand identity, listen to the subscribers.
Build a Community
If you look at some of the best YouTubers and content creators, one of the few things they have in common is how they interact with their audiences. Don’t be afraid to comment back or tag other brands and people. Let people know there is a human behind your account. The whole point of creating a channel is to start a conversation and give people a reason to subscribe. People want engagement and communication; it’s how they feel validated.
Also, be smart about links in comments. Readers and viewers don’t want you to show you them where to go — they want to be there already. If you’re posting about a new video on Instagram, post the link in your bio, not the caption.
One way I’ve seen creators do this is to address their fans head-on. Let them know you’re reading the comments and appreciate their interactions. In your videos, don’t be afraid to use verbal calls-to-action. Let your viewers hear you tell them to “Smash that like button” because that is a valuable way of building your voice and pulling the community into your channel. If you interact enough with your audience, they’ll interact with each other, and soon you’ll see organic engagement and communication right before your eyes — in the comments section.
Find Your Voice
This could be the most difficult aspect of creating a successful brand. With so many channels and pages and accounts, how do you distinguish yourself? This is not a quick process. It often takes a while for individuals and companies to figure out how to communicate with a signature voice.
The best advice for mastering this step is simply practice. Listen to your audience. What works? What doesn’t work? How are people responding to things you’ve tried on your channel? And whatever you do, do not try to imitate other brands. The YouTube audience will see right through this, and your comments section will pay the price. Consider the demographics of your audience the next time you try out some humor or a stylized voice. And be careful: proofread, proofread, proofread.
Give viewers a reason to check out your content. A clickable thumbnail is the obvious way to entice viewers into your video, but if all your videos rely on clickbait thumbnails, you’ll never build a steady foundation of subscribers and fans. Your content has to be engaging and enjoyable, so let the thumbnail reflect that. A good, eye-catching thumbnail should be sleek, visually relevant, and stylish. There are a few ways you can pull this off without advanced Photoshop or Illustrator experience. Use big, minimal text with a consistent font across all thumbnails. Remember, many people watch YouTube on mobile devices, so the text needs to be easily readable.
While you’re shooting your video or capturing a tutorial (or whatever type of content you’re creating), keep the thumbnail in mind. If you’re on location and you see something that could be an excellent still photograph, take a picture to save time in the edit. One of the many secrets of maintaining a consistent presence on YouTube is how much you upload, and that requires a quick turnaround. So be thinking of your thumbnail and title from the very beginning of production.
If you’re just starting out in content creation, you don’t necessarily have to master After Effects and motion graphics. Rocketstock’s Creator video pack is a perfect, minimal pack full of titles, lower thirds, and any other motion graphics you’ll need to launch your channel.
Promote Across All Outlets
Regardless of the type of content you’re producing, or the company you’re trying to promote, all of your social media outlets will be crucial for bringing in traffic. If you upload a new video to YouTube, the next step is to post the link on all your social media accounts. Make sure that whoever follows you sees the upload, no matter what platform they use. The beauty of these different outlets is that they show your audiences different types of content. If you’re promoting your work on Twitter or Instagram, give your audience something they wouldn’t expect, whether it’s behind-the-scenes blog posts or photos and videos that you can’t see on the main channel.
Link to everything and keep your voice consistent. You want readers and viewers to keep the same tone and presence in mind when they consume your content. Don’t rule out any type of social media. Post on Reddit. Post on Pintrest. If you think there’s an audience for your content that you’re not reaching, expand your social media presence with accounts for every platform.
Another way to ensure that your videos are getting the search they need in Google is by using keywords. Make sure you use SEO-friendly keywords in your titles and descriptions so Google places these as close as possible to the top of its search results. Keywords bring in organic traffic, so they are absolutely vital to the success of your channel.
And finally, if you really want to build a strong YouTube channel, don’t stop uploading.