10 Ways to Actually Grow Your YouTube Channel

by Joanna Franco Nov 13, 2015

After what felt like 10 years, we finally hit a huge milestone for our YouTube channel: 100,000 subscribers! As you can imagine, we’re stoked and so appreciative, and we also wanted to take the time to tell you partly how we took our channel from plateauing at 4,000 last December to tripling in the past few months — so you can do it too.

Don’t waste your time trying to get someone who never watches YouTubers to watch you.


Get people who already watch YouTube to watch your videos. While your family and close friends will watch and support you, the bulk of your YouTube channel will be from people around the world who you’ve never met. You have to target the community already existing within YouTube. The more you watch other YouTubers, the more you’ll realize how addicted people get to YouTube – and you will probably turn into one of these people, just like we did.

Comment on other users’ channels.


No one will just stumble upon your freshly-started channel. You have to comment everyone and everywhere, and comment cleverly so people will click your thumbnail and be redirected back to your channel.

Comment on recently uploaded videos.


Target people who are already online. Search a term that is relevant to your own video content (“beauty” for beauty vloggers, etc.), and then under Filters – Upload Date, click Last Hour or Today. You want to find videos that are live and then comment on those videos because the people watching them are online now and more likely to click your channel after you comment.

Comment on other users’ comments


But don’t spam. People love to be noticed and if you took the time to read and respond their comment, the chances are in your favor that will be curious enough to click to find out who you are.

Collaborate with YouTubers…seriously.


Collaborating is key – which I know is so annoying to hear, especially since you may live somewhere where you can’t just meet up with another YouTuber. There are ways around this; You can both film clips, send via WeTransfer, and then combine into the perfect virtual collaboration video. In theory, collaborating is the best way to get a mass number of subscribers for doing what you already do: make videos.

Use that description box.


The first three lines of the description show up above the SHOW MORE, so make sure you put your social media and maybe a blog post link or a link to another video to show off. The first line should always be about the video itself, because it will be used by YouTube to decide if your video is relevant to what users’ search results.

Use tags, words, and phrases that people will search.


How many times have I had to delete a quirky headline or title because it’s not SEO-friendly? Make sure your title is something people will probably search. As for the tags, you have more room to spit out anything that could be remotely related to your video. For our video on Cinque Terre, we tagged Cinque Terre, a few more village names Manarola and Riomaggiore, but also relevant tags like Most beautiful places in the world and Italian towns.

Stick to a thumbnail theme.


Do not just pick one of the three thumbnails YouTube provides for you. Most of the time, they are super blurry, and super unflattering. Plop an image into iPhoto, VSCOcam, or Photoshop and mess around with the colors and font options. We tend to try a new theme for every travel adventure.

Make your thumbnail speak


The title of your video is great for SEO (showing up in people’s search results), but the thumbnail is where you get to be more creative. Notice how these titles are very basic b*tch, whereas the thumbnails are a bit edgier. This is where you can finally put that quirky somethin’ somethin’ you wanted to put in your title.

Resources you should know about.

Starting a YouTube channel, or wait, no, growing a YouTube channel is not easy. Here are the resources we have used that we highly recommend:

Epoxy: One dashboard to manage all of your social media. As Epoxy puts it, “giving back all the love sent your way can be super hard,” and if you’re a growing YouTuber, you know that could not be more true (as much of a humble brag as that may sound?). When you’re a smaller YouTuber, Epoxy is an awesome way to do cool things like design GIFS or create mini-clips to tease on Twitter, and when you’re a bigger YouTuber, using Epoxy becomes a necessary daily tool to not feel overwhelmed by all the love (it’s rough).

Reelio and Famebit: Marketplaces connecting YouTubers with brands. You scroll through the list of opportunities for sponsored video content and then apply for whichever you think is the best fit. Sometimes it’s many, sometimes it’s none.

Jingle Punks and YouTube Music Library: The two sites we use to find royalty-free music for our videos. You can try to get away with sneaking in a copyrighted, Top 40 song, but your channel will probably get flagged one day and you’ll either be forced to take down the video, or maybe even be sued. Scary, right?

Tube Filter and Video Ink: Online video industry news — sounds super dry, but really these are two news websites dedicated to YouTube, YouTubers, Social Media Stars, and what’s happening in “the industry.”

This article originally appeared on ShutUpandGo.com and is republished here with permission.

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