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There’s no denying it; video marketing has been on the rise over the past few years, growing ever more popular and accessible for brands. And while popular sites such as SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even your own website are great places to invest, YouTube remains the giant in the space, with individuals spending a billion hours each day watching videos on this platform.
Often referred to as the world’s “second largest search engine,” YouTube can help your content be found quickly and engaged with thoroughly - if you know a few tricks. Here are 10 effective ways you can grow your YouTube channel.
1. Build Videos Around a Single Keyword/Topic
It may seem obvious, but building your video around a single topic/keyword is the best way to get the traffic you want and grow your audience. Many people who are unaware of SEO best practices skip this step, but it’s crucial if you want your videos to get the maximum amount of viewers. Try using a keyword tool like KeywordTool.io, which is specific to YouTube, to look for the most searched keywords in the niche you’re looking to target.
It’s important to pick your keyword before you even build your video content because it helps you construct the best information around that specific topic. It also helps you remember to include your keyword naturally throughout the content so YouTube picks it up when closed captions are added. Once you’ve chosen your keyword, check out the videos that are currently ranking for that topic to make sure you’re on the right track in terms of intent, and don’t forget to optimize your title and descriptions. Despite popular myths, the most successful videos on YouTube are typically less than 5 minutes long, so don’t feel you have to make a film or write a novel. Keep it short and sweet.
2. Reformat Existing Quality Content
Of course, the easiest way to grow your channel is to build great content. But that content doesn’t always have to be built from scratch. Some of your best videos can be built from engaging, valuable, useful and actionable content you’ve already created. Many people go to YouTube to find answers and how-to tutorials for the issues they’re facing, so content that solves problems is a great fit. Look at the blogs, guides, and other high-performing pieces you currently have and think about how to make them into cool videos.
3. Engage with Your Audience
It's important not to overlook the fact that YouTube is a social media channel, and therefore demands social interaction. If you’re just posting videos without encouraging comments and discussion, you’re missing a trick. YouTube rewards channels with great engagement, including overall time spent on channel, watch time, likes and dislikes, and most importantly, comments. Try to respond to every comment you receive (if possible!) and ask users to engage with audio/visual prompts.
4. Get Branded
So your content is great. But is your channel itself visually appealing? If you want visitors to take your YouTube channel seriously and subscribe to your channel, you need to look professional. Branding your channel will also help users immediately recognize your content. If you have a blog or website, you probably already have some sort of look and feel you use to differentiate yourself from other individuals and/or companies, so it only makes sense to carry over that branding to your YouTube channel as well. Here’s an example from fashion brand ModCloth.
In addition to visual branding, don’t forget to add custom URLs to your channel header - and to write an interesting bio about who you are and what your videos are about.
5. Promote Your YouTube Videos on Other Social Channels
One of the beautiful things about social media is that you can cross-promote content on different channels. Promoting your YouTube videos on your other social channels is the easiest way to grow your audience. What channels are you on? Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest? There are many from which to choose. And if there’s a channel (such as Facebook) on which you want to post videos directly, you can always do a teaser for the full-length video on YouTube so that you have optimum engagement on all channels. Don’t forget about your blog; you can post your videos there as well!
6. Show Up
If you’re running YouTube by yourself or as part of a small organization, it can be extremely beneficial to put your own face on screen. When you put a face to a brand, your audience can more easily connect with you as an individual. This is especially important for bloggers; fitness, life, or business coaches; and solopreneurs. Every video you make doesn’t need to include your face, but you should reach out personally to your audience every few videos or so. Additionally, if you are this type of YouTuber, use a photo of yourself on your channel (not your logo). See the example still from marketing guru Adam Erhart below.
7. Post Great Thumbnails
They may seem like a small thing (because they are), but thumbnails can have a big impact. YouTube advertises other videos via thumbnail in its sidebar, so you want yours to stand out among the pack. The same goes for YouTube search. Videos with a catchy title and appealing thumbnail usually rank higher, even if the content itself isn’t as valuable, because they have a higher click-through-rate (CTR). To get your CTR where it needs to be, try using tactics such as highlighted areas, arrows, large text, and unexpected or unusual images. See the example below from Neil Patel.
8. Leverage YouTube Cards
We’ve already discussed the fact that YouTube rewards channels that keep viewers on their pages longer. These longer average watch times mean people are truly engaged with your content. (You can see how long people are staying on your videos by using YouTube analytics). By adding YouTube cards, you can add additional recommended videos at the exact point where users are currently dropping off. Though they may abandon that video, users will be taken to your other content and stay on your channel, increasing your channel’s ranking.
9. Push for Subscriptions
One of the ways you know for sure that viewers are engaged with your channel is when they “subscribe’ to see any new videos that are posted. Ask viewers to subscribe to your channel in each video that you upload, and keep engaged with your existing subscribed users. (You can see your list of subscribers, here). Never pay for subscribers. This will only bring down your engagement and hurt the authenticity of your account in the long run. Remember, if you don’t ask your viewers to subscribe, you may be missing out on a lot of potential followers.
10. Increase Your Uploading Frequency
This tip may sound intimidating at first, but to grow your audience, you need to increase your posting frequency to at least one video a week. Don’t worry; you don’t need a design firm or fancy advertising budget to get this done. Today’s smartphones offer excellent video recording ability, and tools such as Animoto make editing videos easy for anyone. Consistency is of the utmost importance. Try to post at the same time each day or week (depending on your frequency), and keep your subscribers updated about when new videos will arrive. Then stick to your schedule.
Remember, driving engagement with quality content is what develops engaged followers and subsequently. advocators of your brand! Be true to yourself and your brand, and communicate with your audience along the way.