How to Start & Grow Your YouTube Channel

How to Start & Grow Your YouTube ChannelYouTube marketing has evolved in many forms. To date, the video platform reps more than two billion monthly users, with 74% of U.S. adults using it. That puts it above even Facebook, which is often considered the top dog in digital marketing.

Needless to say, you’re going to want to know how to start a YouTube channel—and how to grow its presence beyond a seedling.

How to Start a YouTube Channel

The first step in your YouTube development is actually building your channel. Here are the key steps involved, including how to approach them:

Come Up with Your Name, Description, Art, and Trailer

When setting up your YouTube channel, the first thing you need to decide is your name.

For content marketing, your best bet is your brand name. After all, it’s what people recognize (and your YouTube channel will help them recognize it even more).

Ignite Visibility YouTube Channel
Ignite Visibility YouTube Channel

Here’s a screenshot of the homepage for my agency’s YouTube channel. You’ll see that we took a straightforward approach with branding, sticking with the agency name as well as a cover photo showcasing the logo.

Once you decide on a name, it’s time to build a description. This can be simple, but it should include key terms (e.g. your brand name). You can even include a link to your main landing page and a brief (very brief) description of your channel’s purpose. Is it educational, humorous, entertaining, all of the above?

You’ll also want to focus on art, like the cover photo and channel image (a logo works well here). If your channel has high-quality art to match your brand, it’ll be more inviting and seem as legitimate as the pros.

Finally, your trailer is crucial. See that video on our YouTube channel landing page? You want a welcome video to introduce users to your channel and help them get a feel for your content. Make it snappy—about a minute, give or take.

Define What You’ll Post and Frequency of Posting

This is where your YouTube video content marketing strategy comes into play. You should define what type of videos you want to post and make a template schedule for the frequency of posting.

For example, maybe you want to post industry news once a week on Mondays, staff introductions every other Wednesday and behind the scenes content on Fridays.

Of course, this is merely an example. You’ll need to tailor this to your brand and what you’re trying to convey through your content. The important thing is to stay consistent so your users know what to expect!

Architectural Digest does this really well with their Open Door series:

Architectural Digest Open Door Series
Architectural Digest Open Door Series

Build Playlists

Playlists are a YouTube feature that you should definitely take advantage of. It keeps your content organized and helps users maneuver through your channel to find what they’re looking for. It also gives YouTube and Google a little more information about your content, which can only be a good thing.

Also, playlists help keep your publishing schedule on track. Ultimately, this helps you get more attention.

Ignite Visibility also uses playlists on our YouTube channel. Here’s a peak:

Ignite Visibility YouTube Playlists
Ignite Visibility YouTube Playlists

You’ll notice that we have a rich series on digital marketing classes. There are a full 70 videos (and counting) under this category! That’s obviously one of the more popular subjects.

However, we keep it exciting by focusing on categories like email marketing, PPC, conversion rate optimization, beginner marketing classes, Google updates, and digital marketing webinars—just to name some.

Take time to think out what playlists you’d like to focus on. Deciding this early on can help you choose topics as you create new content.

You can always add more playlists, but you still want to keep your channel organized (so don’t go overboard).

How to Grow a YouTube Channel

Once you have your channel and a basic content strategy in place, you’ll want to focus on growing your presence. Outside of ensuring the highest quality for your videos, there are two key ways you can do this:

Advertise on YouTube

There are four types of YouTube ads you’ll want to know about:

  1. In-stream ads that users can skip
  2. In-stream ads that users can not skip (this includes bumper ads)
  3. Video discovery ads (sometimes referred to as their former name, in-display ads)
  4. Non-video ads (e.g. overlays and banners)


Each of these ads has its own benefits. You’ll have to determine your ad budget and goals to figure out which is right for you. Skippable in-stream ads can be skipped after just 5 seconds while non-skippable ads will play for up to 20 seconds. Discovery ads appear alongside organic search results, might like Google ads. Non-video ads can be helpful too for a holistic YouTube advertising approach.

Promote Your Videos

Use an omnichannel approach to promote your videos for a wider reach. This means building a cohesive approach with social media channels, email newsletter, and on-site content marketing included.

Be sure to engage with your YouTube community as much as possible. This will help with video promotion.

As a digital marketing professional, I know how crucial SEO is in every aspect of your digital footprint. You’ll also want to optimize your videos for Google results to help promote visibility.

Now That You Know How to Grow a YouTube Channel the Right Way, Get Taping

You can know all the tricks of the YouTube trade, but nothing will happen without that one key ingredient: content.

Plan your content strategy, film high-quality videos, and edit them so they fit right in with your unique channel.

When all is said and done, you can know how to start a YouTube channel—and how to grow a YouTube channel—but the content you’re putting out there really is the spice you need to gain users’ attention. 

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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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