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.