7 Hard Hitting Ways to Grow Your YouTube Audience

youtube

Here are some crazy statistics about YouTube: over 800 million people visit YouTube once a month, 72 hours worth of videos are uploaded every day, and, in 2011, YouTube had 1 trillion views.

But the really crazy thing is that those numbers are about to get bigger. A recent eMarketer study said that online videos will grow as much as 55% in 2012.

This is a huge opportunity for content marketers to tap into. But just setting up a YouTube account, recording some videos and uploading them isn’t enough to get people to subscribe and follow you on YouTube.

You need some hard-hitting strategies that will draw people in and convince them that you are somebody to watch and follow. Let me show you 7 strategies that will help you boost your YouTube subscriber count today.

Tactic #1: Monitor “attention score” to measure good storytelling

YouTube executive Bing Chen says, “Another thing that cannot be replaced is good storytelling. We really recommend you go into your dashboard and look at your attention score.”

What exactly is your attention score? This shows you the level of attention and the length of time people spend watching your videos.

youtube attention score

If your score is a solid red, then you are doing pretty well. But if it is falling off at a particular area, you might want to change that.

There are two types of YouTube content: entertainment and information.

Entertainment videos pull people in with good headlines or enticing thumbnails, so the attention level is high at the beginning but drops off towards the end.

Here’s what makes a great entertaining video:

  • Five-second rule - A great entertaining video must grab people in the first five seconds. You can use questions or put yourself into an unusual situation. And don’t forget the conflict. People have to get a feeling of suspense immediately.
  • Storytelling - Bing Chen says this is essential. Learn the tricks of weaving a good story so that people will hang with you through the duration of the video. You can use gimmick or conflict to achieve that.
  • Short - Entertaining videos can’t be too long. Between one and three minutes is ideal. This is where looking at your attention score is critical. Where are people dropping off? Is that the upper reaches of attention span?

The other type of video is the informative video. This is your tutorials and how-to and do-it-yourself clips. The thing about these types of videos is that their attention scores will be just the opposite of an entertaining video.

  • Early attention score is low – Most of the traffic drops off early. People decide quickly whether they will learn what they want to learn from a video.
  • Late attention score is high – Those who stay past the two or three minute mark will typically stay for the entire video.
  • Steps - Great informative videos pull people along by giving them systematic steps to accomplish a particular task. In fact, people may tend to pause the video and write notes or actually perform the task. Think about how you would learn to fold a paper airplane or fix a sink.
  • Length - It doesn’t matter how long your informative video is as long as you are giving people the answers they need.

Tactic #2: Use annotations

youtube annotation

YouTube annotations are the notes on your videos. You can use them to help you increase your audience by following these techniques:

  • Call to action - Create a sticky note suggesting people subscribe to your channel.
  • Spotlight annotation - This will allow you to create a clickable annotation on the video itself. Drive people to a landing or product page.
  • Link to other videos - Annotations will also allow you to link to related videos (whether they are yours or not).

You control where the annotations appear on the video. You also control when they appear and disappear.

These are shown on your video any time someone plays it, but the viewer can go into the video player menu screen and turn them off.

Tactic #3: Five steps to planning a good video

There is a lot of planning behind a good video. Let’s look at five elements of good video planning:

  1. Keyword research - You won’t get traffic, let alone high-quality traffic, if you don’t do your research with keywords. Google’s keyword tool will show you what’s hot and has the highest volume. Avoid the long-tail keywords.
  2. Transcript - After you’ve recorded the video, grab the transcript and upload it to YouTube. This will give Google more context to help index it and give you an additional number of words to help people searching.
  3. Bookmarking sites - Share your video across social bookmarking sites like Delicious and StumbleUpon, but don’t forget to use social media engines like OnlyWire. In addition, you should also manually build links to your videos.
  4. Social Media Engagement – Work your social networks. Share the video two or three times a week on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ each. The more shares you can get, the more your video will rise in the rankings.
  5. Your Blog – After about a week, embed the video on your site. Then you can go through the process of sharing it again.

So, those are the basics of creating and sharing a good video. Let’s look at some other ways to share it.

Tactic #4: Add a YouTube widget to your blog

youtube cta

You can drive traffic to your videos if you have a blog that gets a lot of traffic by using a widget. Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Embed your videos on your blog - This way you don’t drive traffic away from your blog but keep all the visitors engaged on your site. If your viewers are watching your video on YouTube, there is a greater chance of them being distracted by other videos.
  2. Use the Subscription Widget - Ask your blog visitors to sign up for your YouTube channel from the sidebar with this widget. It’s pretty simple to install.
  3. Call-to-action graphic - You can even include two call-to-action graphics that will display while the video is playing (similar to the image above). The “Click Here to Subscribe” button will bring your visitor to a confirm page, and the “Click Here to Watch More of Me” will take them to more videos. You control the words behind these messages.

Tactic #5: Add featured channels

youtube featured channel

You can also grow your audience by partnering with other content creators on YouTube. You can find this option on your YouTube channel page.

It’s pretty easy to do. On your channel:

  • Click Modules > Other channels > Save changes (This will make “Other Features” available on your channel.)
  • Add a channel or channels and save.

Be sure to choose content creators who are similar to your industry and whom you think your audience will find beneficial.

Once you’ve found other relevant YouTube content creators, add them to the “Featured Channels” function.

Eventually, you’ll get other YouTube creators sending you traffic because they will choose you as a “Featured Channel.”

Tactic #6: Create personalized videos

Did you know that Old Spice created over 162 two-minute videos over and above the original “Smell Like a Man” video? Those videos took over two days to record, but the critical thing about them is that they were personalized to people like Kevin Rose, Demi Moore and Alyssa Milano.

The thing is each video took about seven minutes to record. The lesson is that quality videos are super easy to create. And the list of equipment you need is short. Check it out:

  • Lighting - You can get a set of $200 lights at Cowboy Studio that will deliver great natural lighting.
  • Camera - Nothing fancy here, just your laptop camera or even your phone.
  • Microphone - Get a great USB microphone for $100.

Tactic #7: Engage with inquisitiveness

Another thing that Bing Chen said was that building a solid YouTube brand and audience involved community engagement.

But this isn’t just about replying to comments. It’s so much more. Let me show you:

  • Ask questions - Dig into the lives of your commenters. Ask them why they liked the videos and what other content they would like to see.
  • Embrace other YouTubers - It just takes 15 minutes a day, but watch a few videos of other producers, like them and comment. Consider subscribing to a few quality videos too. Also, consider creating videos in which you showcase three or four great YouTubers you think your audience should follow, kind of like #followFriday on Twitter.
  • Encourage video replies - When asking for ideas for future videos, allow people to create videos replies. But don’t stop there. Make them reply by using your brand. For example, Michael Buckley asks for readers’ questions, but they have to start with, “Dear Buck,” which reinforces his brand.

The rule of community engagement is simply to give, and you will get in return!

Conclusion

The real magic behind growing your YouTube audience is being consistent. All of the superstar YouTubers share this in common: they’ve committed to a schedule and churn out quality, authentic videos according to that schedule.

Some became famous in a matter of days or weeks. For others, it has taken months or longer. But they all stuck to it and eventually succeeded. So, get out there, start cranking out some videos, measuring success and growing your audience.

Can you share any other ways you’ve used to grow your audience?

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Comments

  1. This is going to be really useful when I start making youtube videos for my business. I know friends in affiliate marketing who’s main source of traffic is Youtube and it’s the 2nd biggest search engine, so why not take advantage of that? It’s something I’ve been putting off but I think it’s a great way to brand a business even more and get your product/service out there.

    -Amir

    • That is true Amir. Video is huge in certain niches and not to mention that from time to time, videos can rank in search engines easily.

      And just recently, Google has decided to integrate Google+ features into Youtube so in the near future, Google may decide whether you are truly an expert for a niche by looking at not just text articles (authorship markup), but also Youtube videos and related activities since they are now able to link those information together with a real person.

    • Great, happy to hear it. Let me know if you have any questions as you go.

    • loloolololooolololooooololololloolloolololoooololool

  2. Hey Neil,

    Love this! Great stuff. Quick question.

    Under tactic #3 you mentioned to post your video to your blog a week after it’s been released on YouTube. Why a week?

    Thanks!

    • Yes, I was wondering this is well. Does the time between upload and posting on your blog have any correlation? Especially if its a week?

    • I was wondering this also.

      I think it because its already on YouTube as “original content”, then it’s added to your blog so that you can “repurpose” the content and provide it to your readers.

      Also, if you are getting traffic to your blog, it gives the video a boost in shares, views, and hopefully social interaction which will make it more popular in YouTube causing it to show up in more “related searches”… resulting in more views. Just a guess though ;)

    • I like doing a week, because it keeps showing the video is spreading.

  3. I got hung up on the 72 hours a day stat – that seemed extraordinarily low. I checked YouTube’s FAQ and it says “48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day.”

    Sorry to be a pedant but it was a fact that caught my interest and then immediately got my mind wandering off topic!

  4. I agree with you Neil that monitoring your attention score graph for each video is incredibly important.

    With every video I make on YouTube, the attention score is the first thing I look at after the views.

    I have found that one of the best way to start your video to create the highest engagement score is to use this specific intro sentence.

    “Hi my name is (your name), and in this video you will learn….(What you will teach them).”

    Once you hook them with this phrase, if they are really interested in what they will learn, they will stay to the end.

  5. Thanks for another quality post. This served as a reminder about why I should not be ignoring YouTube.

  6. Great post! I really want to get into doing more youtube videos myself. I think if you follow all of the things you mentioned above and get a little creative, you can really see some awesome traffic!

  7. Hey Neil,

    I have been wanting to really start to use YouTube… honestly, I have been wanting to test it (& Vimeo), but I keep putting it off.

    Recently I was reading a book in the airport (for the life of me I can’t remember the name of it)… but it had to do with creating new habits.

    I think what I discovered is that, as you know, time is precious and I don’t know if the time that I will put into this will bring back the results (fear of the un-known… Lol).

    So, back to creating a new habit… I am going to work on coming out of my shell here and try it. Why not? Lol

    Do you have many clients that are using YouTube as a main traffic source?

    And I noticed that you said not to use “long tail” keywords. Is that because most of your traffic will come from related videos and that I shouldn’t be as concerned with getting ranked on search engines for those keywords?

    Anyhoo, thanks for the post. I know it’s been a super long time since I have commented, but I am always listening to your insights. Thanks.

    Kenney
    The Marketing Experiment

  8. Hey Neil, actually I had one more question…

    …I see a lot of these “power point” style videos out there. What is your opinion on those?

    Do you think that we should approach YouTube (video marketing) with these types of videos, or should we use pro like videos (i.e. Eben Pagan style) or should we go with video blog type stuff (i.e. Jake Sully in Avatar… Lol)?

    I know that that is a loaded question, but just some of your insight whatever comes to mind would be cool. Thanks again.

  9. Great content…I’ve been creating and posting videos 1x/week for the last 6 months. It was tough at first but it definitely gets easier and more fun if you do it consistently.

    • Hey Herman, what kind of success are you seeing with your videos. I would think pretty good if you kept up with it for 6 months. Are you driving traffic back to your site or using the videos as testing grounds for releasing new content, or to follow up with your list? Just curious how it’s working for you and how you are using it in your marketing. Thanks.

      Kenney
      The Marketing Experiment

      • Kenny..I’ve found sending YT visitors directly to a landing page (to subscribe to my free e-course)instead of my blog gets more sign ups. The less steps the better. Also some videos rank better than others and get more engagement.

    • Thanks Herman,

      Keep up the hard work! Like you said it gets easier as you go.

  10. Definitely great post Neil.
    You churn out so much content, I hope I will be able to utilize half the ideas in my business.
    Thanks alot.

  11. Wether it’s Youtube, Vimeo, G+ or any video platform, I’ve found that they key to success is customization. The best thing you can do for your video channel is to custom-tailor it to your audience. Channels like Old Spice and Tippex White Out, are popular because their channels interact with visitors in “exceptional” ways.

    Try to customize your video experience to the platform it’s hosted on. Distilled does a Video Q&A that is pretty good.
    Please, for the love of pete. People, stop creating cookie cutter channels.

  12. Hi Neil,
    My business, home inspection, provides a service once, maybe twice in a client’s lifetime, and the clock is ticking on their window of opportunity by the time they look for me. What can you say about content or relationship marketing to this group of people?

  13. Hi, I think you have some errors in this article. In first sentence there is one extra “and”? And you say 72 hours are uploaded on youtube every day, but on toprankblog they say 72 hours of video are uploaded every minute. Which one is correct?
    Other than that, great tips.

  14. Neil,
    Great post dealing with how to get more traffic on youtube. These tips are great. I was unaware of the notion to actually avoid the long-tail when utilizing keyword research. Thank you for the great post.

  15. Thanks Neil,
    I’ve been meaning to make youtube videos.

  16. This post is gold. I’m saving it to Evernote as a reference post. A lot of my early YouTube videos would profit a ton from these observations.

  17. Transcripts of the videos…man what a simple way to get more searchable, targeted keywords in there. Cant believe I havent been doing that all along. Another great, simple easy to implement idea, Neil…you always write top quality stuff tha makes you think. Thanks.

  18. Hey Niel,

    Great post and perfect timing!

    Before I get started, I think there is a typo in your post here:
    “Short – Entertaining videos can’t be too long”

    You know, I’ve just launched a couple youtube videos related to my startup. I’m giving away DIY plans for green acoustic treatments, to be used in peoples’ home recording studios. The videos are visually cool, but quite esoteric. They’re scientific simulations of sound waves being shredded to death: http://youtu.be/UkPmuSGCizI?hd=1.

    I’ll use your advice to help promote them to the right people (mainly, I’ll art engaging with other youtubers in the pro audio niche!), because “Fractal Sound Diffusers” does not mean much to most humans. :)

    Also, I did a bit of link building, and they are actually ranking quite high in google already. I embedded the videos on my research pages at the University of Victoria (uvic.ca), and on the same page I linked to my best video with a relevant keyword phrase. However, my keywords don’t have huge competition.

    This brings me to a simple question regarding linking: if I have only 3 links to a video (or page), how many of them would you suggest using exact keywords on? In your “7 Link-Building Mistakes You Ought to Avoid” you mentioned up to 30%-50% exact matched. Just wondering if these numbers still apply when the total number of links is low.

    Thanks again for the great content (day in and day out!).

    Tim

  19. Great post… filled with lots of great info about video marketing and Video SEO.

    I’ve seen others post the same statement which is not accurate (from my experience) so if you can help explain how you can make an Annotation Link jump off YouTube and onto your website I’m sure we would all appreciate it.

    You mention in the area of “Spotlight Annotations” that you can “Drive people to a Landing or Product page” which is not correct unless you are one of the very few places like Kickstarter of change.org that have been recently added to the off-site capable links via Annotations… can you help clear that up for us please?

  20. Hi Neil!

    Great post and great organized list. I love reading your posts its been worthy reading your great informations regarding increasing website traffic. Excellent Post :-)

  21. Great article, some of which I have already started to do but thought your tactic number 3 was very good, will start this process immediately, thanks.

  22. YouTube audience is hard to please, they are very arrogant and rude.

  23. It seams that YouTube is a great marketing opportunity, but lot of videos are set to show ads just for certain countries, most of them for USA. I know from experience that it’s much harder to properly take advantage of YouTube ads possibilities for viewers from other countries, especially smaller ones, because ads are targeted and they have much smaller online markets.

    • Are you thinking about using YouTube to buy traffic? And from actual users (like a sponsor of the video) or through Adwords? Sorry for all the questions… Before I do any marketing test I often like to gather as much info as possible because I am such an all in or nothing kind or guy and like to know what I am really going all in on. It keeps me motivated… Lol

    • Yes, ads on YouTube are geo-targeted, at least ones on the beginning of each video, but there are lot of other possibilities for advertising on YouTube.

  24. Annotations are a hit-or-miss, in my opinion. Some people just have them off by default because they get annoyed looking at them. However, linking to other videos can be utilized in a good way. One example is the “REMAG” series of the channel “TheGameStation.”

  25. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for your great suggestion, I uploaded many videos but can’t get traffic to my videos or even subscriptions to my channel.

    I am a great fan of your blog and you , this post really help because I have no idea how to get traffic on you tube videos.

    Thanks and Regards
    Saurav Sharma

  26. I wasn’t aware that we can use “featured channels” options so easily. It’s certainly the easy way to target relevant audience.

  27. The Blogging Penguin :

    Hi Neil,

    This seems to be really useful ways for getting youtube audience.
    Once again effective tactics and detailed information by you.

    Thanks for your information sharing.

  28. Hi Neil,

    I didn’t really think about analysing the attention score (even though it is an extremely obvious and vital metric) but it makes total sense to at least take 5 minutes to understand your Youtube traffic.

  29. Youtube has the potential to generate a lot of traffic but, going back to your concluding point, you have to set a schedule and stick to it. Much like with everything in life, Youtube success requires a lot of hard work and it doesn’t happen overnight (though it does in some cases).

  30. The traffic potential of youtube is simply massive. Good points made here :)

  31. Wow! 1 Trillian Veiws In 2011… I Wonder What The Number Will Be In 2020!?! Seems Now A Days As If These Websites Have Took Over The World! Personaly I Use YouTube As A Business. One Of My Best Internet Marketing Tool Without A Doubt For Sure. My Only Hope Is That YouTube Keep Up The Good Work On Preventing Spammers From Spamming The Life Out Of YouTube. I Say “Good Work” But Really YouTube Is Already Pretty Much Used As An Online Marketing Tool By Millions And There Is Alot Of Spam On It… But I Beleive It Could Be Alot Worse In A Massive Scale. To Be Honest As I Said Previously I Do Use It As A Marketing Tool But At The Same Time I Beleive That We Shouldnt Spam The Life Out Of It. The Way I Like To Do It Is Comment On Someones Video With Good Content Relating To The Actual Video.. I Dont Just Say Hey, Go To My Site http://www.com. If We Follow This Basic Rule I Beleive That You Tube Will Make More And More People Money Everyday And You Could Be One Of Them… Thanks For Sharing This Very Intresting Post On YouTube. Some Of The Statistics Blew Me Away. I Think It Would Be Worth Doing More Posts Into How To Use You Tube As A Marketing Tool. Well Done… David @www. I-SatelliteTv.Com

  32. Youtube is the right source to drive a traffic for our website thanks for wonderful tips Neil

  33. Wow, thanks this is what I was looking for, I have been trying to get traffic on my youtube channel but still I haven’t succeeded. I will try again with by your help.

  34. Post videos which to some extent must be useful for our common user.

    Posting promotional video about your site showing your product or service simply won’t work.

  35. Hey Neil,

    Thanks for the article – YouTube is still a bit of a mystery to me…

    when you say ‘grab the transcript’, how do you do that? Do you have to write it yourself or is there a tool to do that for you?

    thanks,
    Alan

  36. You Tube is a major player these days, but I am afraid it is fast becoming overcrowded. Just like any medium. Really need to be everywhere. Can’t rely on any one medium anymore. My 0.2 cents — whatever medium you adopt, build strong relationships.

  37. Asset Alliance :

    Youtube is a very effective marketing tool.You can grab new customers very quickly with your video

  38. Although im not much on youtube, these techniques could come in handy, if i some day choose to market myself on that portal.

    I will never forget the best oldschool youtube audience trick with the 0.1sec unrelated image inside the video then set as the thumbnail preview. People have raked millions of viewers on that..

  39. Will be checking out the featured channels feature later as I haven’t utilised that enough yet…

    Another key factor can be making sure that your video is one of the first to publish along with the launch of a new product/service or release of a new story. The first mover advantage alone can be responsible for thousands of hits to your videos!

    • Cool, definitely check it out further.

      I agree, it is a great advantage being the first to do or come out with something. It is important to always try and be unique!

  40. I have been on youtube since 2007 and I have to admit it’s the best traffic source on the net and it barely used by people. More than 60% of my traffic to my site comes from youtube I have over 90 + and they all get traffic from stumble upon and other blog and website that have spidered them.

  41. Another great way to grow your audience is to bring them in from other sources. One of the great new ones i’ve seen recently is YouNow.com, where people compete for attention, there are also many other examples such as ustream -twitch (if you’re into gaming), etc.

    The possibilities are actually endless.

  42. I have used mostly youtube for songs and all that stuff. Now surely I am going to use it other ways also.

  43. From creating to publishing video on YouTube, I have seen a great piece of information here. Implementing a rich snippets and optimizing a video with viral title and specific search terms will increase more chances for your video to be visible. If you have target audience in mind, then you can use this tool to search keywords [ads.youtube.com/keyword tool].

  44. We often develop video clips for YouTube, without concentrating on options to get more audiences. The points highlighted by Neil will definitely help both digital marketers and novice users. Some of the concepts like monitoring the attention score of the existing videos will also be great help to develop new video clips with a higher chance of going viral.

  45. I’ve saved these tips on my pc!! I still have a lot to learn regarding youtube and their analytics data.
    Youtube can be your best organic source behind Google

  46. Just what I was looking for I am about to start creating Videos for my business. I have one which I’m going to up load to YouTube and have a few ideas for some others.

  47. Hi Niel I always try to do something innovative to increase my followers on youtube and as a result in 3 months i have got over 1k subscribers in youtube

  48. Great tips niel will work on them and hope i will see a rise in the subscribers

  49. There are some good tips here. I think that even if just own a website you show make videos and post them on youtube to grow your website audience.

  50. Hi,
    This is going to be really useful when I start making youtube videos for my business.it is the second search engine of world.day by day it is becoming more benificial for us.
    Thanks for the sharing.

  51. hey neil,
    good stuff as usual. nice tips for every reader. you are doing great job, by providing us such valuable information.

    Thanks a lot.
    Matt

  52. I got so much to learn about youtube traffic.You have shared such a nice post, thanks so much.

  53. Hello!,,,

    Hi!,,,Great post dealing with how to get more traffic on youtube. These tips are great. I was unaware of the notion to actually avoid the long-tail when utilizing keyword research. Thank you for the great post.

  54. Hi there Neil,

    Started a new channel called Musical Talent Stream which is all about showcasing musical talent — Needed help with increasing viewership and subsribers

    This is really helping thanks a lot for the information!

    Jordan

  55. Neil, great post on youtube and how to get more views & subscribers. Everyone using Youtube should make the Five-second rule a must!

    Many videos on Youtube are way to long and cause me to switch off and find another on my subject choice.. keep it short and simplify!

  56. I would move to Hawaii after which travel the world.

  57. Thanks for the ways Neil.

    Basically if the number of subscribers get increased the youtube video views will also get increase!

  58. With all the bigger Youtubers getting more of an audience, what would you advise me to do to start off my channel in the thick of everything?

    • YouTube advertising. If you add a few good views and do some advertising, you will quickly gain some subscribers. Then when you post more videos, you will gain more video views.

  59. Also, you can share your youtube videos as a pinterest pin.

  60. This article was written awhile ago but the advice is still valid. Some of the information is new to me and I will be putting it to use to get a bigger audience for my music. Feel free to subscribe youtube.com/DonteeWeaver

    –Dontee Weaver

  61. Great post. We don’t do enough on YouTube really and didn’t realise how we could use it to generate more traffic. Thanks Neil!

  62. I’m really happy there was an Alex Jones reference :D

  63. I for all time emailed this web site post page to all my associates, since if like
    to read it after that my friends will too.

  64. When someone writes an post he/she maintains the image
    of a user in his/her brain that how a user can know it.
    So that’s why this article is perfect. Thanks!

  65. Wonderful article on getting more views for youtube videos. Thanks for sharing this useful information. I will recommend my friends to read this article.

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