12 Tips to Help you Organically Grow Your YouTube Channel
YouTube Tips to Grow Your YouTube Channel from Scratch
YouTube is the second most popular social media platform with more than 2 billion monthly users—that’s one third of the entire global population of Internet users. It is broadly popular among men and women and viewers tune in for a combination of education and entertainment. However with 500 hours of video uploaded to the platform each minute, it can be hard to cut through all the noise and build a successful channel. We won’t lie; it will take some hard work and dedication to build a successful channel from scratch, especially if you want to do it organically. This is because YouTube is based off an algorithm. In order to get your videos recommended to viewers to watch, you will need to score higher with the algorithm. However, with persistence, you’ll be able to build yourself an audience that will keep returning for more of your fresh content. To get you started, here are our best tips for growing a YouTube channel from scratch.
Get the Right Equipment and Setup
On YouTube it is important to make your videos look and sound professional. This means getting the right equipment and setup a small studio to shoot in. This will allow you to just switch on the lights and get started filming in no time. This will help improve your video production workflow and help you to turn out more content on a regular basis.
If you don’t want to use your phone camera, do your research and pick out a quality camera that is right for you. You will want to make sure that you have the capacity to film in HD as most viewers expect high quality video. Buy some studio lighting that will ensure your videos are well lit and make sure you have the proper mic. This may mean a lavaliere mic or one attached to an arm on a desk—it all depends on what you will be doing in your video. You might even need acoustic foam if you need to block out distracting background noise or deaden an echo in your room. And finally, you will need video editing software. Some popular choices include Adobe Premier and Apple’s Final Cut Pro or iMovie. Be sure that you take some time to get familiar with your equipment before filming any videos that will get uploaded to your channel.
Content is King
Make it Topical
This may seem obvious, but it is key that you build your video library around a single topic or keyword. This is one of the best ways to get the traffic you need to grow your subscriber list. To help find the perfect keyword in the niche you are looking to target, use a keyword tool such as KeywordTool.io, which is specific to YouTube. You’ll want to pick out your keyword before you even begin to build your video content library. This is because choosing that keyword will help you construct the best information around that specific topic. Once you have found a keyword, check out trending videos in that topic to make sure you are on the right track in terms of intent.
By keeping things around a specific topic or keyword, it will help you remember to use your keyword naturally throughout your content so that YouTube picks it up when closed captions are added. And finally, make sure to optimize your title and descriptions around your keyword. Doing all of these things will help the YouTube algorithm recommend your video to the right users and it will also help users find your videos when searching YouTube for specific keywords or topics, helping increase your organic views.
Branding and Optimizing Your Account
When you open a YouTube account, there are a few things you will want to do to optimize and brand your profile. This is your channel’s homepage and there are three main things you will need to set up: your channel art (the banner across the top of your page), channel icon and your about section. You want your branding to be visually appealing and professional. Branding will help users immediately recognize your content on YouTube. If you already have a blog or website, you probably already have a look and feel to your content—be sure to keep it consistent throughout your different platforms.
When choosing an icon, make sure that you choose an image that displays well large or small. This icon will represent you throughout YouTube. It’s also a good idea to regularly change out channel art to keep your page looking fresh. This is a good space to draw attention to your latest videos, products or projects. The about section not only is where you describe your channel, but you can also provide contact information and important links.
It is important to create quality content to get viewers interested in your videos. The first 15 seconds of your video is crucial. This is your chance to compel a viewer to keep watching the rest of your video. Think of it as a teaser, letting your viewer know what they can expect in the rest of the video. Promise something exciting or pose some questions they may want answers to. The longer viewers watch your video, the better your algorithm score will be.
Keep the Title and Opening Sequence Short
Don’t waste that precious 15 seconds at the beginning with a long title or opening sequence (the branded graphics you may use to open a video). Attention spans are short and longer openings discourage binge watching. No one wants to watch the same long sequence over and over again, so keep any branded graphic in the open short and sweet. It should be no more than five seconds.
Design Eye Catching Thumbnails
Your video thumbnail is the first thing a viewer will see when your video shows up in their recommended feed and other places around the platform. You will want to design a thumbnail that stands out and also teases what someone can expect when they watch your video. Don’t forget to deliver on the thumbnail’s promise—nothing makes a viewer click away faster than the feeling of being tricked. To keep it professional looking, make sure that your thumbnail is designed to the right size and isn’t pixilated. And even though you need to design your image to YouTube’s recommendation, don’t forget to design the imagery for smaller viewing. You don’t want the image to be overly crowded and distracting. Also be sure to keep a consistent look and feel to all of your thumbnails as this will help with branding.
Add Information, Cards and End Screens
Once you have uploaded a video to YouTube, you will have the opportunity to fill in a title and video description as well as add keywords. Be sure that your title and description include your keyword to help your video get recognized more by the algorithm.
Within your video, you can add cards, which is a little popup in the top right of your video. You can use this to promote another video, such as one you reference in your current video, or link to a YouTube channel, such as someone you collaborated with.
End screens show up at the very end of your video. The end screen allows you to direct viewers to watch more of your own videos or even subscribe to your channel. To encourage a viewer to subscribe to your channel, simply add the subscribe button to your end screen. When it comes to promoting more of your other videos you have several options to choose from. These options include automatically promoting your most recent upload, allowing YouTube to recommend one of your videos to the viewer or you can manually choose which videos to promote or do a combination of all three options.
To get your videos picked up in the YouTube algorithm, you will need to commit to posting multiple times a week. When you are just starting out and trying to build an audience, you should post three or more times a week if possible. Keep your posting schedule regular, such as every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This will help quickly raise your channel in the algorithm. Posting more often in the beginning will also help you create a content library that will usher viewers from one video on your channel to another, boosting your watch time and giving viewers a reason to subscribe. Once you have built up an audience, you can consider posting only twice a week, however just know that the more often you post per week, the more you will grow your subscriber count.
Playlists, Featured Videos and Trailer
Don’t forget to utilize YouTube’s ability to organize your videos into playlists. This will help viewers find what they are looking for on your channel more easily, meaning they will get to consuming your content faster. It can also help you organize a series of videos in one place so that viewers can easily binge watch an entire series.
Set a featured video or playlist for returning subscribers. It’s up to you what you choose to feature here, but some ideas include: your most popular video or playlist, your latest video or a video you just want more views on.
The trailer is the video that is shown at the top of your channel page to people who are not subscribed to your channel. This video allows you a chance to visually explain what your channel is about and what viewers can expect to get from your channel.
Ask for Subscribers and Likes
Sometimes all you need to do is ask! Tell your viewers that if they enjoyed the video, to like the video and subscribe to your channel for more great content. So they don’t miss new content, tell them to turn on the bell so they get notified as soon as you upload a new video. Simply asking viewers will remind them to do these actions and it will help you grow your audience.
Comment and Reply
Users who take the time to leave a comment on one of your videos want to engage with you. That means it is key that you reply to them or, at least acknowledge their comment with a like. Even if a user doesn’t leave a comment on your video, they often will spend time perusing the comment section and just seeing that you are willing to engage with your fans is a positive sign for those less social viewers. Make sure that you respond to comments as soon as possible. This may mean replying to and liking comments on your video the following a few hours after it has been posted. This may not be possible for a smaller operation so try to respond within 24 hours. If your comment sections on your videos become so large that you can’t possibly respond to every single comment, let your viewers know that you still see their comments and appreciate the time they take to interact with you. You can do this in a pinned comment of your own or in your videos.
One of the best ways to grow your own channel is to collaborate with other YouTubers who are within your niche. The viewers of these other channels are already a warm and receptive audience for your content. When you do a “collab” video, it often entails doing two videos—one for your channel and one for your collaber’s channel. In these videos, you’ll encourage your subscribers to subscribe to the collaber’s channel and your collaber will do the same. For more information, check out YouTube’s has an excellent guide on Collaboration.
Following these tips and guidelines will have you pushing out professional and fresh content that is recognised by YouTube’s algorithm. This will increase the amount of times your videos are recommended to viewers and help you grow your subscriber list. Remember, persistence and consistency are key to organically growing your new YouTube channel.