How to Grow on YouTube: 10 Strategies for Any Channel

How to Grow on YouTube: 10 Strategies for Any ChannelOften referred to as the world’s “second largest search engine,” YouTube gives creators a chance to get their content seen by over 1 billion people.

But with 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, you may have noticed that your channel isn’t getting the viewership it deserves.

Let’s change that.

Today, we’re sharing all the secrets that have helped skyrocket Ignite Visibility’s YouTube channel from 0 to 50,000 subscribers.

If you’re ready to learn how to grow on YouTube and crush the competition, keep reading!

What We’ll Cover:

  1. Leverage SEO
  2. Optimize Videos for Watch Time
  3. Add Branding Watermark
  4. Leverage YouTube Cards
  5. Use Power Playlists
  6. Join the YouTube Community
  7. Create a Video Series
  8. Customize Thumbnails
  9. Reply to Comments
  10. Rank Videos in Google Search

1. Leverage SEO

Although YouTube is technically a social platform, it’s also a search engine.  When it comes to how to grow on YouTube, one of the best ways to get more views is by optimizing your videos for search.

In other words, when a viewer types in your keyword into the search bar, you want your video to rank near the top of YouTube’s results list.

This is where a tool like Google Keyword Planner will come in handy. You can use it to see which keywords have a lot of search queries, but few videos. Then, take those keywords and incorporate them into your video title, description, subtitles, and other metadata.

RELATED: What is YouTube Keyword Research? Do I Need it?

2. Optimize Videos for Watch Time

In addition to producing algorithm-friendly YouTube content, another thing you want to pay close attention to is watch time.

Put simply, watch time refers to the length of time a viewer watches your videos, measured in minutes and seconds. The term also encompasses the amount of time someone spends on YouTube during a single session.

To maximize your videos’ watch time, be sure to include titles and thumbnails that accurately reflect your content.

YouTube Watch Time
YouTube Watch Time

3. Add Branding Watermark

If you’re still wondering how to grow your YouTube channel, watermarking is the ultimate YouTube video hack.

Not only does it help with video theft protection, but a video that has a branded watermark will allow viewers to subscribe to your channel from within the video itself.

You can opt to use a watermark that is unique to your business or design one that looks like the normal YouTube subscribe button.

YouTube has laid out some guidelines regarding customized subscribe buttons:

  • The button should be in PNG or GIF format
  • Should not exceed 1 MB
  • The resolution must be 150 px x 150 px
  • White is preferred for image background
  • You can use two colors
YouTube Guidelines for Customized Subscribed Buttons
YouTube Guidelines for Customized Subscribed Buttons

4. Leverage YouTube Cards

If you haven’t heard of YouTube cards, you’re not alone.

These are interactive elements that can appear at any point in the video. The cards often show up on the top right-hand corner of the screen while the video is playing, and can include images and outside links.

By adding YouTube cards, you have the option of adding recommended videos at the exact point where a viewer chooses to drop off. Though the card will disappear after a few seconds if it’s not clicked on, those who end up clicking on the card will be taken to your other content and stay on your channel, boosting your channel’s ranking.

There are 5 different types of YouTube cards you can add to your videos:

  • Video or playlist: Promote your own video content.
  • Channel: Promote a similar channel.
  • Donation: Feature a nonprofit of your choice and encourage subscribers to donate.
  • Poll: Encourage viewers to take a multiple-choice poll.
  • Link: Link to an approved website directly from YouTube.
Amy Landino YouTube Card
Amy Landino YouTube Card

5. Use Power Playlists

One of the most helpful tips related to how to grow on YouTube involves organizing your content into “power playlists.”

Power playlists are game-changing. They’re like regular playlists, but better.

Instead of being organized by topic, power playlists are organized by outcomes. By outcome, I mean something tangible like “how to grow your YouTube channel fast” or “how to get higher Google rankings.”

By matching user intent, you can grow your subscriber count while also providing value to your existing subscribers.

6. Join the YouTube Community

Promoting your YouTube videos isn’t the only way to grow your channel.

Since YouTube is a video-sharing community, actively participating in the YouTube Community allows you to network, gain feedback, and share interests with fellow content creators who have the same goals as you.

7. Create a Video Series

YouTube video series are a win-win for both creators and viewers alike.

It allows creators to hold themselves accountable for creating fresh, innovative YouTube content around a recurring theme without having to rack their brain for ideas.

For your subscribers, they will have something to look forward to and likewise a reason to keep coming back to your channel.

Take Bon Appétit, for example, which is a well-known foodie channel that has numerous series that make up their YouTube presence, including their popular “Taking on Takeout” videos.

“Taking on Takeout” Video Playlist

8. Customize Thumbnails

Another effective tactic at promoting your YouTube channel is building custom thumbnails.

You should view your title and thumbnail as part of a two-part package to grab the viewer’s attention.

By default, YouTube will automatically snag a screenshot from any given video and assign it a thumbnail. Unfortunately, sometimes the image it grabs is blurry, dull, or doesn’t really convey the purpose of the video.

Creating your own custom thumbnails not only makes your videos look more professional, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Image creation tools like Canva can help you design a template to make the thumbnail more consistent and on-brand.

9. Reply to Comments

If you’re still wondering how to grow on YouTube, replying to comments is one of the easiest ways to get more subscribers. This includes the negative ones.

According to YouTube, “When creators take the time to interact with their loyal community, it can encourage audience participation and ultimately result in a larger fan base.”

While staying on top of comments may seem like a big task, you can manage your YouTube presence using a platform like Hootsuite.

With Hootsuite, you can easily review, reply to, and/or moderate comments on your YouTube videos all from one place.

10. Rank Videos in Google Search

A critical, yet often overlooked, part of YouTube marketing is getting your videos to rank higher in Google search.

 To do this, you need to target keywords that already have a video section in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

As an example, the keyword “video marketing” has a video section. In most cases, if your video is performing well enough on YouTube, Google may start serving your video in the SERPs.

Getting YouTube Videos Ranked in Google Search
Getting YouTube Videos Ranked in Google Search

Wrapping Up

Subscribers are the bread and butter of any successful YouTube channel.

But when determining how to grow on YouTube, the key is to develop content with both the viewers and the algorithm in mind. Doing so will bump up your watch time, play counts, and engagement.

Remember—the more work you put into your channel now, the more it will pay off down the line.

Just keep the tips in this article top of mind and watch your subscriber count soar!

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John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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