Grow Your YouTube Channel
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We all struggle with which social media platforms to focus our attention. I often recommend you develop a social media solar system to simplify your social marketing efforts. YouTube is an excellent choice as video continues to grow in importance and popularity. To grow a YouTube channel it takes many of the same tactics as other social media platforms. However, there are some differences and valuable advantages.
One difference is the SEO factor; search engine optimization. Unlike other social media platforms, much of the power of YouTube is in its search engine. People use YouTube to find information, insights, solve problems and how to videos. People use YouTube search so much, it’s the 2nd largest search engine, behind it’s owner, Google. Other social media depends on regular interaction. As you are aware, status updates fade quickly in most social media. Yet, YouTube offers the opportunity, like a blog, to share evergreen content and earn new subscribers years after you hit publish.
So, how do you grow your YouTube channel? Well, let me get the basics out of the way. If you do research on YouTube growth, you’ll hear many of the same themes from YouTube guru’s. Ideas we’ve talked about on this blog over the last ten years. More is better, be consistent and engage with your audience. The more is better is always met with the caveat that more is not better when quality suffers.
The YouTube Journey
I’ve been on YouTube before Google bought YouTube in 2006. My first titled Vlog was in 2008. Actually, I called it a vblog. I’ve used YouTube as a tool over the last ten years, uploading over 200 videos on my main channel alone. It wasn’t until last fall that I decided to embrace YouTube as an outer planet (where you engage), based on the solar system method, in my marketing plan.
I’m aiming high, my goal is to be the best business and marketing resource available on YouTube. Over the first ten years I gathered 100 subscribers. So, lucky me. I didn’t have to start from zero. However, this doesn’t make growing my channel easy. My big goal is 1 million subscribers, and I know it will take years. Yet, I’m learning a lot during this process and I have much to share with you.
The first few subscribers are easy. Family and friends are ready for you. The next big step is 100 subscribers. It’s a hard climb and you may feel like your efforts are fruitless. Don’t give up. Once you get there your next goal is 1000. Here is where more opportunities open up and YouTube takes you a little more serious. Once your are in the thousands, set your sights for 10,000 subscribers. Now, you are a player in the space.
Yes at 10,000, you are still a small channel, however, you have legs. Once you hit the mid-ten thousands you may start to receive more promotional and sponsorship opportunities. Plus, you may start to earn some real money from YouTube AdSense. It all depends on your channel topic. Your first 100,000 subscribers earns you some serous Google recognition with a silver play button. You’ve made it to rock star status. Yet, you are not among the YouTube royalty until you hit 1 million and receive the gold play button.
Next, the 10 million mark is in your sights. With it comes the diamond play button reserved for the Gods of YouTube. Lastly, there is only one PewDiePie.
Before I offer more insight from my young growing channel, let me share some information from the experts who are doing it now and prove the strategies everyday.
Professional YouTube Advice
There are a few professional YouTubers I recommend you follow, if you are serious about growing our YouTube channel. I’ve linked their name to their channels. Make sure you check them out.
- Brian G Johnson: Brian is newer to the game, however, he proves his YouTube insights and ideas regularly as he grows his channel. Give him credit, he earned his first 10,000 subs in less than a year. I find him accessible, entertaining and real. Brian should be on your top five list, whomever you choose to follow. Note, he has book a coming out soon.
- Roberto Blake: Roberto is a creative, like many of the people who subscribe to this blog. This fact alone is good enough for me. He’s one of the YouTubers I hope to meet someday on the road. He is blunt and straight forward when it comes to his recommendations. Yet, his insight is awesome.
- Video Creators: Tim Schmoyer is a veteran YouTuber and the YouTube nice guy. Someone you want to be your neighbor. He shares great insight on how to grow your YouTube channel. Like some of the other pro’s, he offers excellent live question and answer sessions.
- Derral Eves: Derral and Tim Schmoyer are both YouTube growth certified. They go hand in hand with your YouTube education. Derral is a powerhouse in the YouTube growth field. He has good insight into how YouTube works.
- Nick Nimmin: Another newer YouTube guru and his growth is incredible. He hails from Thailand and shares good insight on various topics related to growing your YouTube channel.
- Amy Schmittauer: Amy shares ideas and strategies to help vloggers grow their channel and business. Her channel savvy sexy social is full of great tips and advice. She also has a new book, so you can vlog like her — like a boss.
- Video Influencers: Benji Travis and Sean Cannell share insights on how they have grown their channels. They also upload interview posts with other successful YouTubers.
- Owen Video: He’s kinda of a nut, which is good thing. I enjoy his question and answer sessions. I really appreciate the tools he shares to help you grow your audience. He seems to share more advanced tips which others YouTubers don’t regularly share.
There are certainly many more YouTube and video professionals online. You can find more information from business and marketing YouTubers to help your channel grow. I’ve also found some of the YouTube gamers and vloggers have a few videos with good YouTube growth insights and advice. Listen to the people who have done it.
The Technical Side Of YouTube
If you keep in mind Google owns YouTube, you should be able to apply some good SEO knowledge in to the mix. Still, it’s not all technical, you have many directions you can go to promote and develop your channel.
- Search: YouTube is a video search engine, you should adhere to standard YouTube search guidelines, especially if you have a very young channel. I’ll explain more below.
- Networking: Network with other YouTubers of similar size to help each other grow. Don’t go down the road of trading subscribers for subscribers. But you can share each others work in social media, comment and work as a support network.
- Collaboration: If your networking partners channel is similar, you can collaborate and create videos as guests or ask each other questions. In other words, introduce each other to your audiences.
- Social Media: If you have a good social community on other social media channels, make sure you share your videos. Urge your followers to subscribe and become active in your YouTube community.
When it comes to SEO, you should follow seo best practices. Consider the title tag the most important real estate on your YouTube page. Everything should be related to the title. Make your title interesting while still containing your keywords. Trust me, it takes practice.
You should use the description section to expand the idea of your video. It doesn’t seem to carry much SEO weight, yet it can be helpful to encourage people to watch your video. You can also use the description area to list you social networks, channel information and affiliate links.
Tags are like keywords. They carry more weight in YouTube than keywords on regular websites. Make sure you fill them out well. Although, there are hints they will be devalued over time. Most likely for the same reason website keywords were devalued. In your early YouTube days, when your channel has less authority, I recommend using longer tail keywords to help you rank. Ranking helps your videos get found in later search results, include Google results.
There are some helpful tools which make setting up your videos easier and more effective. Tube Buddy and VidIQ both have valuable features to help you make the right moves. It’s also important to note once you publish your video it’s not over. You can always go back and rework the information on old videos as you learn which keywords and techniques work best for your channel.
However, if you want to get people’s attention, you need to focus on your thumbnails. Creative and interesting thumbnails get viewers attention and helps to brand your channel. Make sure your thumbnails relate to your title tag, although, it doesn’t need to say the exact same thing. Consider the branding of your entire channel and make sure it’s consistent and on message.
What Makes A Channel Grow?
If you really want your channel to grow, it’s all about watch time and retention. Like Facebook and other social media platforms. YouTube wants visitors time on site to be as long as possible. The more you keep people watching videos on YouTube, the more YouTube rewards you with opportunities to earn more views and subscribers.
Subscribers are milestones in the YouTube community. At various levels you earn more features and coveted YouTube play buttons, such as the gold 1 Million subscriber button. This is one I have my eye on. Earning subscribers is helpful, because many of them will watch your video as it is uploaded. As a result, you receive a more early watch time. Google doesn’t care about how many subscribers or views you have, it cares about how much time people spend on YouTube.
When you don’t have subscribers, it’s more important to work YouTube SEO (search engine optimization) to help people find you. However, once you have 1000 or more subscribers, you can depend more on catchy headlines to earn views and improve your view velocity. A rate of views metric YouTube considers when promoting videos.
Retention is another factor. If you have a four-minute video and your average viewer watches three minutes, that is 75% retention. Anything over 50% is good, in my opinion. Your channel as a whole should be over 25%, I would aim for at least 30%. Of course, higher the better. As a reference, My channel currently sits at about 43% average for the last 28 days.
Longer videos tend to have lower retention. However, YouTube would rather promote a 20 minute video with 33% retention than a 10 minute video with 50% retention. Why? because the people watching the 20 minute video are on YouTube longer.
Still, you want to keep your videos as strong as possible. The best combination are videos which keep people’s attention for the longest period of time. For some, its two minutes, while others do well with fifteen minute videos.
Make sure you learn and understand the YouTube analytics. They offer excellent insight as to what works on your channel and the videos your audience appreciates most.
How To Get To a Million Subscribers
I created a video which explains much of my philosophy (below). My goal is to reach 1 million subscribers by uploading a video a day for the next four years. Am I guaranteed 1 million subscribers in four years? Absolutely not. However, I’ve done the math and if I can grow an average of 20% compounded per month, I will get there. Actually, after four months I’m currently ahead of my predictions. You may notice it took many of the big YouTubers you appreciate 3-4 years to reach large audience status.
Sadly, many who try, will not achieve their YouTube goal. The reason is most people are not willing to do the work. When I tell beginning YouTubers it might take up to two years of daily video uploads to reach 10,000 subscribers — they do not want to go for the ride.
Growing a YouTube channel takes work. It is very rare for a YouTuber to make the big time in a few months. It is possible, yet, most have to work hard for it. Chances are, those who are looking for quick money and internet fame will drop out of the race in a mater of months. YouTube will break their heart.
YouTube rewards consistency, good work which keeps people on YouTube and persistence. YouTube likes it when you bring people to YouTube and not use YouTube to send people to other social media or your website.
YouTube is more than subscribers and AdSense
The development of a YouTube channel is a journey. I know this well because I’ve embarked on similar journeys over the last ten plus years on social media. I found success with some channels, while I’ve abandon others.
It’s nice to earn rewards for your good work in social media. Google does reward you with income if you do a good job. Their AdSense program can add a little coin to your bank account. Revenue is available to you once your channel reaches 10,000 views. However, there are many more ways to earn money on YouTube, such as business opportunities, sponsorships and affiliates.
My goal is to earn more authority as a marketing professional, speaker and author. From my experience, there is more money in speaking fees and consulting opportunities. Every channel is different. I’m a rather straight shooter and I don’t expect to win any comedy awards or rise to the top with a crazy viral video. I will have to work for every subscriber and opportunity.
I do know this, those who win in social media are active, create value, commit to the channel and persist. Those who last the longest, often win. The same goes for YouTube.