With over one billion users and one billion hours of footage watched daily, YouTube has five billion views a day. Fighting for views is tough though because of the deep sea of content–so how do you set yourself apart and capture consistent views? Subscribers.
A loyal base of followers is going to tune in each time you post a video on YouTube. Getting subscribers can help your channel really snowball because a higher number of subscribers leads to more video views, which helps you show up more in search and suggestions. Getting subscribers also shows YouTube’s algorithm that viewers like your content enough to sign up to see more of it.
The first thing you should recognize is that there are no shortcuts that pay off in the long run. Don’t be tempted by “buying subscribers” or social hacks that add subscribers who never tune in to your subscriber count. It takes great content and engaging your audience to gain real subscriber traction.
Let’s learn more about the techniques you can use to organically gain more subscribers on your YouTube channel.
Publish Early, Publish Often
The reason that many viewers subscribe is simple: they don’t want to miss out on your new content. That fear of missing out is natural if they see you publishing regularly. Simply put: it’s hard to convince someone to subscribe if you only publish a couple of times per month.
We can’t all be Casey Neistat and publish every day. But getting on a regular content calendar and posting 3 to 4 times per week helps you in two essential ways:
- You have more content published in total, so there’s a greater chance that viewers will find your channel.
- You signal to viewers that your channel is one that’s worth subscribing to because they can’t afford to miss out on your content.
If you don’t have to time throughout the week to publish, set aside time to produce a set of videos. Then, upload them and schedule them for later publication.
Again, there aren’t a lot of shortcuts to building a YouTube channel up. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t add thousands of subscribers after publishing your first few videos. It’s the long haul, the consistent cadence of publishing content that will help you gain traction.
Understand Your Audience and Traffic
Understanding YouTube Analytics can help you make sense of your YouTube traffic and find meaning in it. Then, you can use analytics to help you make decisions about what to produce and publish going forward.
YouTube’s analytics platform is deep and tracks a ton of data. You can use that data to help you steer the content you produce and publish. Here are some metrics to keep an eye on while you’re seeking to grow your channel.
- Subscription rate: If you’re experimenting with producing different types of content, what impact is this having on how viewers are subscribing to your channel? Make sure to keep an eye on the rate that users are starting to follow your channel.
- Subscriber engagement: Conversely, if you’re changing up your content style constantly, some of your early subscribers may be unsubscribing. Make sure that you aren’t straying too far from your core audience in the process.
- View count: In general, making sure that the total number of viewers is increasing is a great indicator that your content is what viewers are looking for and will ultimately lead to more subscribers.
Channel traffic and subscription growth beget more of the same. As you gain traction, YouTube will favor you more and show your channel in suggestions and related videos. It’s important to monitor your analytics to make sure that you’re trending upward.
Don’t Forget to Ask!
For many companies or brands, a YouTube channel is just one leg of their marketing strategy. Maybe you’ve already mastered the art of email and other social channels, and YouTube.
Running a YouTube channel is a serious investment of time. While platforms like Facebook or Instagram only take a few minutes to create posts for, creating video content for YouTube is a serious time investment.
In that case, don’t forget to cross promote your YouTube content. Make sure that your YouTube channel is a unique content leg of its own where subscribers can find content that isn’t mirrored on any other channel. You want to give viewers a reason to check and subscribe to the YouTube channel as a platform of its own.
There’s nothing wrong with asking a viewer to subscribe to your channel. As you launch your channel and start to develop content for it, make sure to mention it on your existing Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and email channels.
Another way to ask for subscribers is within a video itself. If a viewer makes it to the end of a video, it’s the perfect time to ask for subscribers. Make sure to add an “ask” for new subscribers to your video content. For example, one of my favorite YouTubers asks at the end of a video to subscribe to the channel if the video was interesting, and then quickly explain the type of content that a viewer will consistently see.
If you’ve already gone to the effort of developing other social channels, leverage those followers to add YouTube subscribers. You need to present a real reason to follow the YouTube channel as a unique content platform of its own. Too many brands repost the same content to YouTube. Instead, show viewers why they should subscribe as a separate place to engage.
Like it or not, YouTube’s algorithm is pretty much a popularity contest. It rewards content that viewers are watching, liking, and subscribing to. At the end of the day, growing a channel takes time and commitment. If you’re going to build a YouTube channel, it takes consistent posting and engagement with your audience to scale up.
Make sure to remember:
- Successful channels aren’t born overnight. It takes consistent content and regular posting to ensure that subscribers want to follow your channel.
- Analytics can help you understand your audience and tailor future content to them.
- Don’t forget to ask for subscribers, either from your existing social media followers or on the video itself.