Your YouTube channel has been created and you’re ready to start uploading videos.
You’ve already selected your category, written a short description, and uploaded your first video.
Everything looks good, but now you want to start seeing the views and subscribers go up.
This can be tough if you are doing the wrong things, so let's look at how you can grow your YouTube channel and get more views.
If you want to boost your following on YouTube, read these 10+ free techniques to promote your YouTube channel and get more views.
Collaborate with other creators
One of the best ways to grow your channel is to work with other creators.
The best way to collaborate with other content creators is to make two videos, one for your channel, and one for theirs.
By doing this, you will be able to showcase yourself to their audience and vise versa.
Build a list of creators that you want to collaborate with, and then reach out to them and see if they are interested in working together.
Three simple ways to reach out to other creators:
- Comment on their recent video
- Send them a tweet
- Send them an email
I prefer the latter two.
When you reach out to channels that you want to collaborate with, you need to tell them why they should collaborate with you.
It's also a good idea to have a few different video ideas in mind, before messaging them.
If you are contacting massive channels with millions of subscribers, it's unlikely that you will get a response, so just reach out to channels that have a similar or slightly larger audience than yours.
Design thumbnails that POP
What's the first thing you see when you make a search on YouTube?
The thumbnails for the videos in the search results.
Which video do you click on?
The one that has the most engaging thumbnail that stands out from the others.
Taking your time to design an enticing thumbnail for every video that you create, will increase the click-through-rate for your videos.
You need to look at videos related to yours, see which ones stand out, and which ones have the most views.
Then think to yourself... what is it that makes those thumbnails stand out?
Is it the text?
Could it be the background colour?
I have searched "how to make ice cream", let's have a look at the thumbnails in the search results.
In my opinion, the thumbnails for the first and last videos stand out the most.
These thumbnails have two main elements:
- The main image (A clear picture of what will be made in the video)
- Title text (This is bold text that can be read at a glance)
It's always good to look at thumbnails for videos related to yours, because they are the videos that you will be competing with, so you need your thumbnail to be more enticing than theirs.
I like to use Canva to design thumbnails, as it's easy to use, and has some awesome templates that make the process super quick!
Here are just a few of the YouTube thumbnail templates that are available on Canva.
You can either start your design from scratch or pick a template and add your own unique style to it.
If you have enough time, you could even design a couple of different thumbnails for each video, and then use the one that stands out the most in search results.
Create a series & use playlists
YouTube playlists are an undervalued feature available for content creators.
A playlist is a collection of videos that are related to each other.
YouTube video creators can manage playlists from within the YouTube studio.
Playlists make your content more discoverable, resulting in more viewers watching your videos.
There are two main ways for creators to use playlists:
- Create a video series
If you want to create a video series, where ideally the videos need to be watched in order, you should put them in a playlist.
- Sorting your videos
If you want to categorize your content, you can sort your videos into playlists to make them easy to access for your viewers.
Here are some reasons why YouTube creators should be using playlists:
- They are discoverable in search results
This means that you will be able to rank even more content in YouTube searches, your videos, and your playlists.
- They encourage viewers to keep watching your content
If viewers are watching your videos through one of your playlists, when the video ends, YouTube will auto-play the next video in the playlist.
This keeps views watching your content, meaning your videos will have a higher view count.
- Playlists can be shared
Playlists can be shared through social media, so if you create a great playlist, your fans could share it with others!
All in all, playlists are easy to create and will help grow your channel, so you should not miss out on this easy strategy!
Embed your YouTube videos
Embed your videos onto relevant pages on your website.
If you have a website, use it to your advantage.
When you create a video, post a blog post on the same subject, and embed the video into the blog post.
There are three main methods that can be used to embed a YouTube video, and they all depend on which platform your website is built on.
If you have a WordPress website, you can use a plugin (like this one) to embed YouTube videos into your pages and posts.
Do you want to use a snippet of code to embed YouTube videos into your web pages?
You can find the embed code for every YouTube video by clicking "share" on the video, and then selecting the "embed" option.
You will then see the snippet of code, simply copy it, and paste it onto your website.
Copy Video URL:
Alternatively, you can use the easiest option, which is to simply copy & paste the video URL.
This will work for most content management systems, including WordPress, Ghost, and many others.
To embed this video, I simply copied the video URL and pasted it into my page (my site uses the Ghost CMS).
By embedding this video, readers can click play, and watch it from within this page.
Write engaging video titles
Writing a high-quality video title will boost your video's performance, resulting in more people watching and sharing your video.
Some YouTube channels even pay copywriters to write the title and description for their videos!
If you properly optimize your video title two things will happen:
- Click-Through-Rate: Your video will have a higher CTR, meaning a higher percentage of users who see your video will click onto it.
- Video SEO: If you include your targeted keyword into your video title, it will rank higher in YouTube search results.
Now you know just how important it is to write a brilliant title for your YouTube video.
Elements required for the perfect video title:
- Include your keyword
- Avoid click-bait
- Keep it under 70 characters
- Focus on Click-through-rate
Along with the thumbnail, a well-written video title can convince users to click on your video.
Additional tips to boost CTR:
- Use attention-grabbing words
- Add a number (best for list videos)
- Explain what the user will learn from the video
If you look on YouTube, you can clearly see the difference between an optimized video title, and one that was added last minute.
To recap, when writing your video titles focus on grabbing the user's attention, and ensure that you are using your main keyword.
Share your videos to other social platforms
When you publish a new video, share it to your other social media pages.
Here is an example of a tweet where I shared a YouTube video to Twitter...
To do this, I just clicked "share" on the video, and YouTube automatically wrote the tweet, I just had to publish it.
If you want, you can copy the URL for your video, and write your own tweet, it's completely up to you.
You don't have to just share your YouTube videos to Twitter, you can share them to other social media platforms too.
Best social platforms for sharing YouTube videos:
- Facebook groups
- Facebook page
- Instagram stories
Where do you like to share your videos?
Create niche content
If you create content that is focused on a specific niche, you will be able to build your own community.
Sticking to a niche will keep your audience interested in your content.
If you create one video on healthy cooking, and then another on gardening, your subscribers are unlikely to keep watching, and may even unsubscribe.
Ask your audience what videos they want to see from you.
Creating niche content will also help your videos to show higher in YouTube searches, because you will have fewer people creating the same content as you.
To find more niche content ideas, I like to use answerthepublic.com.
Simply enter a search term, topic, or keyword, and it will generate tons of related questions and phrases that people enter into Google.
It will put the questions and phrases into a visualization graph like this one...
You can then use these questions as ideas for your video or blog content.
Other tools you can use include:
There are also loads more tools like these, but these are my personal favorites.
Add end screens to your videos
When you upload a video to YouTube, you will have the ability to end screens to your videos.
End screens are used to direct viewers to something else at the end of your video, so that they continue watching your videos rather than clicking off.
They can be added to the last 5-20 seconds of a video, and they are displayed on both mobile and desktop devices.
You can promote up to four elements within an end screen, these elements can direct viewers to other videos, channels, playlists, or to your website.
How to add End Screens to YouTube videos
- Open the video within the YouTube Studio
- Click onto "End Screen"
- Add elements, or use an end screen template
- Edit the duration of your elements
- Click "Save"
Once you have added an end screen to one video, for all of your other videos you can select the end screen template labeled "Import from latest video", this will help you to quickly add end screens to all of your videos.
Considering how easy they are to add to your videos, I highly recommend adding end screens to all of your YouTube videos.
Interact with your audience
To keep your audience engaged in your content, you need to interact with them.
An engaged audience will watch more of your content, follow your other social media accounts, and stay up-to-date with what you're doing next.
How to interact with your YouTube audience:
- Reply to comments
- Publish community posts
Community posts are posts made by the owner of a YouTube channel, that are displayed in your channel's community tab.
A channel is only given a community tab once it reaches 1000 subscribers, so if you don't see yours, that could be why.
Community posts can be in the form of text, photos, videos, GIFs, or polls.
Ideas for community posts:
- Create a poll to get the opinion of your audience
- Remind your audience of new or upcoming content
- Post behind-the-scenes photos
- Post a funny GIF
Users can like, dislike, and comment on community posts.
To keep it simple, the community tab is a place where you can turn your audience into a community that really cares about the content you create.
Write amazing descriptions
The video description is the text below your video, known as "metadata".
A well-written, optimized description, can help viewers to find your videos in YouTube search results.
The video description will give YouTube more information and context surrounding your video.
It's a ranking factor that the algorithm uses to display the video in relevant searches and to suggest it to users who may want to watch it.
Key video description elements
- Use the focus keyword near the beginning
- Focus on the first few sentences (these show in YouTube searches)
- Write 200+ words (original content only)
- Use your target keyword 2-3 times (important for SEO)
- Write in your natural language, as if you were talking to the viewer
- Link to your website, social media pages, other videos, etc
- Add related hashtags to help users find your video (no more than 10)
Here is a description for one of my videos, it's easy to read, has keywords and hashtags, and I also added timestamps as it's a rather long video.
Once you have written a decent amount of video descriptions, you will start to generate your own unique style that works for you.
The description can often be overlooked, but if you write an amazing description, you will be a step ahead of your competition.
Use a call-to-action
For YouTube videos, a call-to-action (CTA) is the desired action that the video creator wants the viewer to take.
You see CTAs everywhere, in adverts, on social media, in videos, on apps, and so on.
By using a CTA, you are simply asking your audience to do something.
An example of this would be asking your viewers to subscribe to your channel at the end of a video.
It may sound simple, but asking your viewers to like, comment, and subscribe will make them more likely to do it.
YouTube CTA Examples
End screens - Add the subscribe element to your end screen.
Channel links - Add links to your channel's about page.
Video description links - Add CTAs to your video description.
Narrated CTA - Ask your viewers to subscribe by talking in your video.
These can all be done for free, and only take a couple of minutes to set up.
Optimize your channel
Optimizing your channel will make it more appealing, and more discoverable.
If someone clicks onto your channel, and it looks like it's not active, they will not subscribe.
However, if someone clicks onto your channel, and it's appealing and has an engaging icon and channel art, they are more likely to watch your videos, subscribe, and share your content.
There are certain things that you should do to your channel to optimize it, which will increase the percentage of users who click subscribe!
Steps you should take to optimize your channel:
- Upload channel art and a channel icon
- Write around 200+ words for your channel's about section
- Add links to your website & other social media pages
- Add relevant channel keywords
- When eligible, add a custom channel URL
- Add a video watermark
These are the most important steps that every creator should take to optimize their YouTube channel.
Once you have completed all of these tasks, your channel will look more professional, reliable, and trustworthy.
Stick to consistently uploading high-quality videos, and before you know it your channel will start growing.