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.
Download this cheat sheet of 7 hard hitting ways to grow your YouTube audience.
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.
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 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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!
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?