Five Tips for Building Your YouTube Audience

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Excerpts and summarization of "Chapter 7: Building Your Audience from YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts" by Alan Lastufka (aka fallofautumndistro):

I am routinely asked about how to gain more subscribers. First, you can’t fake it. Well, okay, you can fake it, but any cheat you attempt will be transparent and won’t really do you much good in the long run. Second, while having thousands of subscribers is good, it's not necessary to enjoy your time on YouTube or even to "go viral." All it takes to go viral is for one viewer to share your video with another, who shares it with two or three others, who each pass it on, and so on. But obviously, the more subscribers you have, the greater the chance that one of them will pass your video on...to be the seed that quickly becomes a forest.

Before you set out to earn more subscribers, remember that your content has to be good. I can show you how to get a lot of traffic to your channel, but if your channel description, your profile icon, or, most important, your videos don’t entertain or pique visitors’ interests, they won’t subscribe!

Review your channel design. Take some time to write a compelling channel description. Make it personal, make it funny. Insert a favorite quote of yours. And make sure the featured video on your channel is one of your best.

Now you’re ready to set out to actually use some of the following tips. The best way to drive traffic to any web page, whether it's a blog, a new e-commerce site, or your YouTube channel, is to create inbound links. Inbound links are hyperlinked (usually blue and usually underlined) words or phrases that, when clicked, take viewers from a web page to your YouTube channel page. With that in mind, drive viewers to your channel by:

  • Commenting on other videos. Every time you leave a comment, your username is hyperlinked and takes those who click on it directly to your YouTube channel.
  • Commenting on other channels. Videos typically receive new comments at a very quick rate, depending on when that video was uploaded. But channels, unless they are extremely popular, tend to receive far fewer comments. So your channel page comments won't get buried to the bottom as quickly as your video comments. If you find a video maker whose videos you enjoy, leave them a channel comment.
  • Create playlists. Playlists show up in the YouTube search results. YouTube is the second biggest online search engine after Google. If you create interesting, entertaining or educational playlists of good videos, viewers will check out your channel and hopefully subscribe as they want to get to know you.
  • Network and collaborate. Appear in videos on channels that are more popular than your own. The video maker will either give you a link in the video description, or annotate directly to your channel page. This is a great way to drive viewers to you, and a great way to have fun while building your audience.
  • Make videos. Sounds silly to say, but if you don't make videos, regularly and consistently, people won't watch. Hours and hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. A video that's a week old may as well be three years old. Stay current to stay relevant.

Remember, you want people visiting your channel as often and as much as possible, in hopes they will subscribe. You can't do that if you only interact within your own bubble. So get out there and watch, comment and interact with other video makers.

For more tips and information on building your YouTube audience, check out YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts: http://tinyurl.com/youtubebook.




106 Responses on "Five Tips for Building Your YouTube Audience"

  1. ElfLady64 says:

    That was very informative, thanks Alan! Perhaps when I find myself with lots of time again I shall resume making videos!
    -Fiona
    (PS. When I woke up this morning, my google reader informed me that there had been an Earthquake in Illinois! I'm sure that you'll be happy to know that my first thought was, "Oh noes! I hope Alan didn't break his face! I love his face!" But then twitter told me that you slept through it. ^_^ <3)

    I really liked it.
    The most important think to earn a lot subscribers and paageviews is the same think with any content in web: Relevant content! Interesting content.

    Of course, design usability and other concepts make difference, but the content is the key.

    congratulations for your article.

    Fabricio Gimenes
    Wik Solutions (Brazil)
    www.wik.com.br

    Jeremiah says:

    One thing I discovered is that you need to specifically ASK people to subscribe to your channel by using an annotation, and you'll be even more successful if you say that you'll be releasing more videos similar to the one the person is watching (assuming it's a video they would like).

    Jeremiah
    www.YouTube.com/JeremiahJW

    Thanks I do all of these, but they dont work that well. But I WILL keep trying! I have a partnered video so thats a start! Thanks Alan!

    Andrew
    http://www/youtube.com/user/Precomo97

    BMD POSSE says:

    This is sound advice and with the workload I have, it is hard to do this as a hobby. Thanks for the advice.

    Foxy Roxy says:

    Thanks for the advice Alan. I might have to wait until summer to be recording videos again, but once I do I'll definitely use these tips! :)

    Sorry, I don't agree with Alan. I read his whole book a few months ago and it was a disappointment. It went over a few topics, showed some screenshots, and he interviewed a few YouTubers, but that was it. He says in the book that every time someone subscribes to you, to comment their channel and thank them. Seriously? YouTube would probally mark that as spam if you do it enough. For a guy that tells people to comment videos and channels, he doesn't do it a lot himself. I'm sure he is a nice guy, but I just don't agree with him except for his section in the book about cheating. Anyone that hacks people should be suspended.

    Sorry for the rant, I just think I could write a better article about getting views on YouTube. Do you realize this whole article telling people how to get more views is saying that commenting videos and channels, making playlists, and making videos will get you more views? He doesn't even mention about putting your video links on your website, social networking sites, emailing it, etc.

    Maybe I should write a book about YouTube.....

    This seems to be some sound information, I will look into it and see what type of success I get. I am constantly looking for good informative information about get my video out to the public more. My video is about "How to find your Soul Mate and not Just Another Date." The good thing about this video is that I have been blessed to find mine and I know that this material works. Many time people will write about things they haven't experienced, but experience is still the best teacher. Title of Video: Your Soul Mate Awaits

    variants says:

    It's not enough to just make good content and people will find you. Getting viewers on YouTube isn't like SEO on a website. These are good tips and hopefully, I'll see more views with this kind of approach. Wish me luck!

    youtube.com/thevariants

    illicon says:

    Thanks for the tips.
    I shall try these for my channel

    pursebuzz says:

    Great tips. I will have to integrate these into my stuff. :)

    I'd like to inform all video publishers of a valuable, new (free!) service, to optimise your channel content and vids:
    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/youtube/thread?tid=125fdf0b54c892f1&hl=en
    Hope that's helpful!

    Glenn says:

    Placing videos in a website is the trend nowadays. Thanks to this blog, I was reminded on the basic things that I should remember in optimizing my Youtube channel. My cousin wants to know more about Youtube videos optimization. It's helpful for her studies regarding seo services, Indiana area. Her school paper is about analysis on seo company, Indiana area besides search engine optimization.

    Thanks for the post, Alan!

    Matte says:

    Why would I want to have a lot of audience? I mean yeah it is cool to have people watching your videos, but why would I ask people to subscribe to my channel? Will I get free passes to Buy Viagra or something?


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    Julian says:

    Thanks for the tips! Some are easier said than done (i.e. appearing in other people's videos), but the fact remains that quality content and audience engagement will spark a growth in your fan base, same as any other social medium. Do you know of any blogs or articles that detail YouTube etiquette beyond the points you mention? Just as Facebook has a different set of unwritten rules from Twitter, I assume YouTube has its own accepted behavior. Thanks!

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