Contrary to popular belief, YouTube subscribers aren’t just another irrelevant metric or ‘badge of honour’ for your channel. True, some people place disproportionately heavy emphasis on subscriber numbers, overlooking (or ignoring) the importance of everything else. Nevertheless, you cannot and will not achieve your goals on YouTube without an audience of an appropriate size.
In reference to the above, subscribers aren’t everything. There are countless examples of channels on YouTube which despite having enormous audiences accumulate comparatively few views.
Roughly translated – just because you have over a million subscribers doesn’t mean more than 100 of these people will regularly view your content.
This is something to bear in mind when looking to build your audience, as the numbers alone are inconsequential. This is also why it is inadvisable to take the low road and buy YouTube subscribers, for the sake of keeping up appearances.
It may look good to have a ton of subscribers, but what’s the point if nobody watches your videos?
The Influence and Appeal of YouTube
No video sharing platform has ever come close to rivalling YouTube in terms of reach, influence and appeal. Right now, more than 1 billion hours of content are viewed on YouTube every single day.
As a video marketing platform, YouTube really is in a league of its own. The downside to the whole thing is, of course, the ferocious competition you face from all corners.
Finding a way to be heard above the noise isn’t easy, but is something that begins with attracting the right people. Rather than casting your net too broadly, it pays to focus your efforts on relevant YouTube users with a confirmed interest in whatever it is you do.
Whether you have your sights set on a hundred, a thousand or a million subscribers, your strategy must be based around several tried, tested and trusted components. Of which, the following 10 typically prove the most effective of all:
#1: Perform Some Serious Housekeeping
First up, your YouTube channel will only ever be as strong as its weakest video. If there’s anything on your channel that you cannot honestly say you are seriously proud of, it could be diluting the appeal of the rest of your work.
Housekeeping should be performed on a regular basis, stepping things up to a major decluttering project on occasion. While doing so, take a close look at your written content, thumbnails and visuals in general, in order to identify and eradicate anything substandard.
Always prioritise quality over quantity with everything you do on YouTube.
#2: Start Taking the Quality of Your Content Seriously
This is both obvious and an extension of the above, but nonetheless warrants emphasising. Today’s YouTube is simply too big, too popular and too powerful to get away with anything that is not flawless in quality.
When creating content for YouTube, ‘quality’ covers everything that makes a video stand out. The most important examples of which include uniqueness, relevance, value, purposeful and immaculate presentation.
One of the easiest ways of working out what you need to do is to take a look at what your closest competitors are doing and figure out how you can do it better. Consider your brand’s USPs and ensure they are reflected appropriately in your content.
#3: Make Sure You Hook Them in 10 Seconds or Less
Irrespective of how long your videos need to be, they need to be of consistent quality from beginning to end. However, it is important to do whatever it takes to grab the attention of the viewer within the first 10 seconds or less.
Research has shown that more than 20% of all exits occur during the first 10 seconds of YouTube video clips. Which isn’t particularly surprising, given the scope of options available for those who aren’t immediately impressed. If you cannot give them the instant gratification they expect, they’ll find it elsewhere.
Watch and re-watch the first 10 seconds of your clips repeatedly, ensuring you can identify how and why they are guaranteed to hook the viewer.
#4: Learn How to Shoot and Edit Properly
One of the few things almost all successful YouTube content has in common these days is its professionalism. Everything you need to shoot and edit high-end videos is right there on your phone and your laptop.
Amateur hour is over – people just aren’t willing to waste their time on YouTube content that’s not up to scratch.
Invest the necessary time and effort in learning how to use your equipment properly, along with whatever editing software you need to create a polished and professional-looking result.
#5: Make a Magnificent Channel Trailer
Before subscribing to your channel, chances are they’ll want a snapshot of who you are and what you do. This is where your channel trailer can make all the difference, giving you no more than around 30 seconds to provide a complete cross-section of what you’re about.
Your trailer should be your showreel – a 30-second compilation of the best bits and pieces of content you’ve created to date. If you prefer a more personal approach, you’ve 30 seconds to plead your case and get new subscribers on board.
Whichever way you go, the importance of incorporating a high-impact call-to-action (CTA) cannot be overstated.
#6. Keep Your Videos Short and Punchy
There will always be cases where YouTube videos need to be comparatively long and in-depth. However, extensive research has found that the optimum length for generating engagement (and attracting subscribers) is approximately 2 minutes.
This doesn’t give you a great deal of time to work with, but at least aiming to keep things limited to 5 minutes at the most is essential.
Where possible, try to edit longer videos down into short, punchy and snappy compilation of smaller clips. Focus on the key points and ‘best bits’ in your videos, editing out anything that doesn’t have to be there.
#7: Post Regularly and Consistently
People will only subscribe to your channel if they believe there is some long-term benefit in doing so. On your part, this means posting quality content on a regular basis, so that your subscribers know exactly when and where to expect new clips.
Long periods of inactivity (or completely random posting) will have the opposite of the intended effect. Even if you manage to build an audience of a decent size, they’ll quickly lose interest and stop watching your videos if your channel lacks consistency.
Plan ahead and ensure you always have a good few ideas lined up for future videos, in order to avoid dry spells.
#8: Invest in Paid Advertising
A quick point but worth mentioning nonetheless, paid ads on YouTube can be immensely powerful. They can also be surprisingly cheap, when considering what you stand to get out of the deal in return.
This is often the quickest and easiest way of getting people in potentially huge numbers to check you out. After which, it’s a case of letting the quality of your content speak for itself.
Don’t write paid ads off purely on the basis of cost concerns – they’re not always as expensive as you may think they are.
#9: Leverage Your Other Social Accounts
If you are active on any other social networks, use them to your advantage. Ideally, you should be making every effort to bring your social media accounts together to create one unified entity. One that could work wonders for your marketing strategy, if approached the right way.
Each time you publish content on YouTube, ensure it is promoted across all of your online assets without exception. This includes Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, your primary website and your blog (if applicable).
Show them the way to your YouTube channel, ask them directly to subscribe and there’s a good chance they might.
#10: Grease the Wheels with an Incentive
Finally, it’s worth remembering that bribery goes a long way with most people. It’s also one of the easiest and most effective marketing strategies of all time.
Introducing incentives can be a great way of motivating people to subscribe to your channel. It can be as simple as running a contest for a relatively rudimentary prize, where the only caveat for those looking to enter is first hitting the ‘Subscribe’ button.
Most people are powerless in the face of a freebie – especially if they don’t have to do a great deal to be in with a shot of winning it. Just as long as you can think of something (anything) your target audience will be genuinely interested in, it’s a fool-proof strategy to get more subscribers on board.
If you would like to learn more about any of the above or have any questions regarding your own social media marketing strategy, book your obligation-free consultation with Tait Pollack today.