In May of 2019, YouTube’s video creators uploaded 500 hours of content every minute. That comes to 720,000 hours of video per day. Granted, much of the content gets ignored because it doesn’t have much value to viewers. Still, the stupefying amount of video on YouTube makes it obvious that you have plenty of competition.
It can take years to build a loyal following and reach the 100,000 subscriber mark that earns you an award from YouTube.
Don’t let the hard work deter you from optimizing your channel. Instead, start with these eight simple ways to boost your views and subscribes.
Choose Sponsors That Will Interest Your Audience
No matter how many people subscribe to your channel, you need to grow your audience to stay relevant on YouTube.
Coordinating with other channels and brands is one of the easiest ways to bring new people to your videos.
Finding a sponsor makes it much easier to earn money from your YouTube videos. Instead of relying on ad revenue, you can also get money directly from the sponsor or through affiliate marketing.
You can’t accept every sponsorship opportunity that comes your way, though. You want to make sure that you choose sponsors that pertain to your channel and your audience will find interesting.
The Goal Guys channel has several examples of relevant, interesting sponsors. Since the channel focuses on self-improvement by reaching goals, it uses sponsors like Habit Nest, a collection of journals that helps people build healthy habits, and Audible, a streaming service for audiobooks. The sponsorships help Goal Guys make money and educate their viewers about tools they can use to reach personal goals.
You may also want to connect with professional marketers to discover whether they have clients that want to connect with you, give you a sponsorship, or display ads on your channel.
Engage With Viewer Comments
Think of your channel as a small community. As the community leader, you need to engage with other people who get involved.
Responding to viewer comments is a simple, easy way to keep people interested in your channel and give them more information about specific videos.
By engaging with viewers, you encourage them to keep checking your new content. Your replies will also include a note from YouTube showing that you have posted a response in a conversation. A lot of people will read those conversations to see what you wrote.
[Read: The Building Blocks of Branding on Social Media]
Plan and Follow a Consistent Release Schedule
Releasing videos regularly helps keep your audience interested and tells YouTube that you deserve a higher ranking than channels that rarely upload content.
If you have a new channel, try to release at least three videos per week. Doing so will help your content library grow, establish your channel as an authority, and give followers more videos to watch.
Once you have a deep library of content, you can scale back to releasing one or two videos per week.
Many YouTube creators find it difficult to plan and follow a consistent release schedule. Make sure you consider how much time it will take to:
- Brainstorm and choose topics.
- Write a script.
- Gather any props that you might need.
- Interview experts
- Find actors when necessary.
- Record the episode.
- Edit the footage.
- Add effects.
- Optimize your new video before you release it.
Do not sacrifice quality for quantity. If you only have time to release one video a week, then that’s the path you should follow. Releasing fewer videos means it will take longer for you to build an audience. Releasing low-quality videos, though, means that you will never build an audience.
Vary Your Content to Stay Fresh and Interesting
Successful channels tend to specialize on specific interests. For example, Vsauce focuses on exploring scientific topics and educating its viewers. Simone Giertz specializes in fun projects such as building a robot that serves soup and turning a Tesla car into a pickup truck.
Even though you want to stay within your channel’s general interest, you need to vary your content to stay fresh and exciting to your viewers. Otherwise, they will get bored and find new channels to follow.
You can find new topics to explore by:
- Holding brainstorming sessions where you consider every idea.
- Talking to other YouTube influencers to collaborate on projects.
- Asking your audience to contribute ideas.
- Researching your industry so you can keep up with emerging trends.
Not every video will get 100,000+ views. As long as you challenge yourself to take creative steps and explore new territory, you will attract more people to your channel.
[Read: What Do Consumers Want From Branded Content?]
Optimize Your Videos for Search
Your channel needs more than excellent content that will keep viewers coming back for more. You also need to optimize your channel to help Google understand and find your videos.
Try these simple optimizations so Google will notice your video and give it a higher rank. Titles
Write short, catchy titles that contain keywords that potential viewers might use while searching for videos. Ideally, your titles should have at least five words and contain a keyword or keyword phrase.
Video descriptions give you an opportunity to give viewers calls-to-action, links, and performer bios. Make sure your descriptions include CTAs like:
- “Subscribe to MY CHANNEL on YouTube.”
- “Follow ME on Twitter.”
- “Click here to like US on Facebook.”
The description should also include the publishing date and other information about your channel, such as how often you post new content.
Google will give your video a ranking bump when you include transcripts. You can’t trust the automated transcript, though, because it often creates errors. Write your own transcript, use a transcription service, or edit the automated transcript for errors.
YouTube doesn’t display tags to viewers, but you should include them to help Google find relevant videos that match viewer searches.
Tags are pretty intuitive. If you make a video about buying a Mazda CX-9 from a dealership in Baltimore, then you would add tags like:
- Baltimore Mazda
- 2020 Mazda CX-9
- Baltimore Mazda dealership
- Baltimore car dealership
If you want to do deeper keyword research, add the vidIQ Vision for YouTube extension to your Chrome browser.
A thumbnail image’s quality can affect whether people click your video. You can entice viewers to click by:
End Every Video With a Call-to-Action
All of your videos should end with a call-to-action that encourages viewers to:
- Subscribe to your channel.
- Click the thumbs up icon.
- Share the video with others.
- Watch more of your content.
Don’t assume that your audience knows how to follow through with these actions. In addition to telling viewers to subscribe by “pressing the Subscribe button,” point to where the button appears on the page.
When you make it as easy as possible for people to follow your CTA, they’re more likely to like, subscribe, and share.
Use YouTube and Google Analytics
You need data that shows whether following these best practices actually helps your channel get more views and subscribers.
Start by using YouTube Analytics. YouTube Analytics uses data to generate:
- Earning reports.
- Watch-time reports.
- Interaction reports.
When you have this information, you may discover that the majority of your viewers stop watching a video around the 5-minute mark. Knowing this, you may want to edit the video to remove boring sections, shorten the video’s length, or improve the video’s quality. Something is making people abandon the video 5 minutes in. If you can uncover the reason, then you can make the video more appealing.
You can also connect your YouTube account to Google Analytics for more insights into:
- How many people visit your website after watching a video.
- How many people watch videos directly on your website instead of visiting YouTube.
- Which keywords bring the most viewers to your channel.
- Whether watching your videos converts viewers into subscribers or buyers.
Growing your YouTube channel will take time. Don’t expect to attract thousands of people overnight. It may take several months or even a couple of years before you reach 100,000 subscribers.