With 400 hours of video uploaded every minute, YouTube is a crowded but popular venue. Because subscribers are more likely to find and watch your videos in the future, you’ll want to read more about increasing your YouTube subscribers.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you build your audience:
Tip #1. Plan your content
We’ve all heard about that person whose impromptu performance or funny moment got uploaded to YouTube as an afterthought and unexpectedly went viral. Unfortunately, these stories are popular because they’re so rare. Most people who consistently grow their subscriber base and get high numbers of views take the time to plan quality content.
This means developing a script, reading, refining, editing, and perfecting it, then practicing the final version. Figure out what props or costumes you need ahead of time, and invest in good quality equipment. This doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive camera you can find—even smartphones can produce high-quality video these days. However you might want to invest in studio lights, a tripod, and a simple background.
Tip #2. Focus on Quality
This doesn’t just apply to the videos you plan to make in the future. If you have old content that isn’t great, delete it. You want everything on your channel to reflect the highest-quality work you can produce, so people don’t lose interest when YouTube’s algorithm recommends another of your videos.
Tip #3. Make Sure Your Video Hooks the Viewer Immediately
Studies have found that you need to capture a viewer’s attention in the first ten seconds, or they’re likely to keep scrolling or look at something else. Twenty percent of viewers bail after ten seconds, and a full one-third click away after thirty.
Tip #4. Don’t Waste Your First Ten Seconds
Start with the most exciting, funny, or interesting part of your video. This gets the viewer’s attention. Then you can circle back and add a few sentences of background or setup for explaining the main point. Not sure where to start? Go through your script and try to pick out the most engaging, shocking, or interesting sentence. That’s probably your hook.
Tip #5. Consider Making a Channel Trailer
YouTube allows channel owners to create a 30-60 second trailer that runs every time someone visits their channel page. If you do this, you want to put in the effort to make it as high-quality as your other videos. Depending on your brand, you may want to use humor, or you may choose to go for a more serious, emotionally resonant approach. Either way, your trailer needs to be extremely compelling and contain a clear, concise call-to-action (CTA) to make people click the subscribe button.
Tip #6. Keep Videos Short
The ideal length for a YouTube video is about two minutes, but they should never be longer than five minutes.
Tip #7. Pay Attention to Themes and Organization
If several of your videos fit into a category—Indian cuisine recipes, how-to computer repair videos, etc.—consider creating a playlist. This will encourage subscriptions by showing viewers you consistently produce good content in whatever area of interest brought them to your video in the first place.
Tip #8. Don’t Forget the CTA
YouTube allows you to make an end screen for your videos, where you can remind people what you’d like them to do—subscribe to your channel, sign up for your newsletter, etc. You can also make end cards that pop up on the right side of the video near the end. These can be for the following:
- Other links
Remember to always include a CTA like, “Subscribe to our channel for more great content!” in your script as well. The cards and end screens are just reinforcement.
Tip #9. Make Custom Thumbnails
This accomplishes two things: It ensures YouTube doesn’t randomly freeze on a frame where your face is in a weird position, and it allows you to choose exactly what people see as a preview of your video. One of the most effective things you can choose for a thumbnail is a picture of a smiling human face.
Tip #10. Be Consistent and Post Often
This goes back to planning. Make sure you have enough content planned that you can post weekly, or at least every other week, for several months—and keep adding to your planning so you never run out of new things to post.
If you can post once a week, choose a day of the week—Friday, for example—and try to always post on that day. That way viewers know they can always or usually expect a new video from you on that day. You can mention this in your CTA—“Be sure to subscribe so you never miss our new content, posted every Friday.”
Tip #11. Considering Spending a Little Money to Make Money
Some people are reluctant to invest in paid advertising on YouTube, but the old saying about having to spend money to make money is true on today’s internet. With cost-per-click, you can set a small daily budget if cash is tight, and only pay when someone follows your ad to your videos.
YouTube offers a variety of advertising options:
- Overlay ads
- Display ads
- Bumper ads
- Skippable and not-skippable preroll video ads
- Sponsored cards
Tip #12. Don’t Be Above Bribery
Another way to encourage subscribers is to offer them an incentive—giveaways and contests are good ideas. Offer to give away something at the end of your next video, and remind people to subscribe so they won’t miss it. Or make being a subscriber a requirement for winning. Additionally, you could offer a free ebook on your topic to anyone who subscribes.
Tip #13. Make Sure Your YouTube Channel is Easy to Find
Optimizing your channel for YouTube’s search algorithms will take a little time, but will be worthwhile when it helps your target market find one of your videos in the first place. Do some keyword research and include popular keywords relevant to your topic in your title.
Adding a transcript not only makes your video more accessible—both for people with hearing difficulties and those who like to watch on their phone with the sound off—but it also provides page copy for search engines, and will help your video be found.
Another idea is to copy relevant meta tags from videos similar to yours.