16 Tips for Growing Your YouTube Channel

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August 7, 2020
16 Tips for Growing Your YouTube Channel

YouTube is the second largest search engine just behind Google so it goes without saying that getting traction on the platform can give you a huge audience reach and have a positive impact on your business!
But how do you build a presence on YouTube? Let’s dive into 16 tips you should follow to give yourself the best chance of quickly growing your YouTube channel!

1.  Have A Clear Channel Focus
Make sure to have a clear direction for your channel. This applies to the topic(s) you will focus on with your channel and the kinds of videos that will make up the bulk of your content too.
YouTube users are much more likely to subscribe to a channel that has a clear and consistent offering than they are to one that seems to jump from topic to topic without an obvious direction.

  Brand Your Channel
If you want to make a lasting impression on visitors to your channel, you need to make it look good. Here are the simple steps to do just that:

  • Set up a brand account on YouTube – this will give you access to YouTube analytics, which is important (more on that later)
  • Add contact information and your other social profiles so visitors can engage with you in their preferred way
  • Fill in the about section of your profile (using keywords where relevant) to help visitors learn about your brand
  • Add a channel trailer – this is a great way of setting viewer expectations of your channel and introducing them to you
  •  Add a channel icon or logo – if you don’t have one there are quite a few logo makers you could use.
  • Add a great looking YouTube banner – this can help you quickly tell a story about your brand (and your channel).

  Create Content for Your Audience (Not just yourself)
If you’re just having a bit of fun with your videos, then by all means create content for yourself. However, if you want the best chance of building a successful channel you need to create content that your target audience are interested in, and in formats they enjoy consuming too.
Of course, this takes some research, and it might require a bit of trial and error to work this out too, but once you find a winning formula for you and your audience double down on it.

  Discover What People Are Searching For
The best way to find winning topics is to see what people are already searching for on YouTube.  TubeBuddy’s keyword explorer tool can give you some great insights on the search volume of keywords, related keywords, and the competition levels too. All essential elements for picking the right topics.  
You can view a playlist that takes you through how to get the most of the keyword explorer here.
Another option for scaling your topic research is to use a tool called You simply put in a broad keyword (e.g. in the image below you can see we put in “how to _ youtube”)

And the tool spits out hundreds of keyword ideas that contain your original keywords.  Many of which will be more specific topics (often called long tail keywords) which could be great topics to cover on your channel.

Choose a topic you like the look of and use TubeBuddy to check how competitive it is! Do this for every video you produce and this will give you a better chance of success.

  Optimize Your Videos (SEO)
It is vitally important to optimize your videos to give them the best possible chance of getting viewers and rankings.  Here are the basic steps for optimizing your videos:

  • Use you target keyword in your video title
  • Use video titles that will attract the most clicks (check out the competition to see common themes in their titles)
  • Write keyword-rich (SEO friendly) and detailed video descriptions
  • Make sure you’ve covered all the main tags for your video (TubeBuddy has a tool that lets you copy your competitors tags in seconds)

For a full walkthrough on how to optimize your videos, check out this video.

  Be Consistent
Uploading your videos consistently is a great way of getting viewers to come back to your channel for more.
Commit to your audience by uploading videos weekly, monthly, etc. depending on what works best for you and keep it going. The key is to develop a sustainable workflow and avoid dry spells which can lose you subscribers (and momentum).

  Design ‘Clickworthy’ Thumbnails
According to YouTube 90% of the best performing videos on YouTube custom thumbnails. So, if you want to have a successful channel and videos you need to create thumbnails that YouTube users are going to click on.
The main reason is suggested videos. This is the biggest source of organic traffic on YouTube, and your thumbnails will make or break your success here.

Here are some basics for successful thumbnails:

  • Keep it simple and clean – cluttered thumbnails are an eyesore (and overwhelming)
  • Have good color contrast!
  • If you’re using text in the thumbnail, use a good font and readable text size
  • Show your emotions (if you are using your face on thumbnails)
  • Create a consistent look and feel
  • Design for small screens (70% of YouTube traffic come from mobile devices)
  • Make your viewers wonder what’s next
  • Deliver on the thumbnails promise (needs to be relevant to your video content)

For a full guide on thumbnail best practices click here.

  Utilize YouTube End Screens
YouTube allows you to add end screens to the last 20 seconds of your video. There a few ways you should be utilizing them:

  • Give viewers a reason to stay by talking over the end screen
  • Keep viewers around by linking to more of your videos in your end screen (great for improving watch time and session length)
  • Make it easy for viewers to subscribe by using a subscribe button in your end screen (viewers have watched your whole video so they’re likely primed to subscribe!)

If you’re looking for an easy way to create quality end cards, you could consider trying out one of these end card makers.

Also, TubeBuddy makes it easy for you to save end screen templates and use them for future videos.  A massive time saver!

  Improve Your Watch Time
YouTube’s main objective is to keep viewers on their platform. So, if you can help them do this, they’re going to reward you (and your videos!)
The way you do this is by improving your watch time, which is the total time viewers have spent watching your video(s) since they went live.
So how do you improve watch time? Here are some tactics you can use:

  • Match your video title and thumbnail with your content
  • Keep your titles and opening credits short
  • Give you videos a ‘hook’ to keep viewers watching (the first 15 seconds are vital)
  • Create long videos (as long as makes sense for your topic) – unsurprisingly, longer videos get more watch time
  • Check your video retention stats in YouTube analytics for data on what is working. Or use TubeBuddy’s retention analyzer for even more insights
  • Create video playlists – this keeps viewers on YouTube and watching your videos, which will increase watch time (and session time)

  Use Insights From YouTube Analytics
This one should go without saying but it’s vital you regularly check your video analytics to see the health of your channel, what’s performing (and what’s not), opportunities for growth, and much more. Pay attention to these areas:

  • Realtime views: Especially important to see how new videos are performing
  • Audience retention: See the average view duration of your videos, where people are dropping off, etc.
  • Demographics: This shows the age range and locations of your viewers. 
  • Traffic sources: This shows where your video views are coming from
  • Click through rate (CTR): Look at the performance by video and optimize

You can also use the channel health report from TubeBuddy to quickly get actionable insights on your videos and channel as a whole.

  Do More of What Works
One thing you should get from your analytics is a sense of what is working for you in terms of video formats and topics.
If channel growth is your main objective, look at what videos get the most subscriber conversions per view (subscribe rate). Things to take note of in those high performing videos:

  • The subject matter
  • The editing style of the video
  • How long it was
  • Calls to action used
  • How the content was delivered

Once you have that information, you will start to understand what kinds of videos you should be producing more of.

  Test Where You Can
Where possible you should do tests to see if you can improve the performance of your videos (and grow your channel).  One way of doing this is through A/B testing. This is where you test two variants of the same thing to see what version performs the best.
For example, you could test the following:

  • Video titles
  • Video thumbnails
  • Video descriptions
  • Video tags

This will give you incredible insights on what attracts your audience, gets the most clicks, views, subscribers, better rankings etc. and will allow you to do more of what works (and keep improving).
TubeBuddy offers a free A/B testing tool that allows you to easily setup tests for your videos.

  Jump into The Comments
Something that is often undervalued is the impact that engaging directly with your community and video viewers can have. When you engage your viewers there’s more chance that they will feel a connection with you, subscribe to your channel and share your videos.
You can even find out what topics your viewers want you to create content on in the comments which gives you surefire concepts to focus on.

Dealing with comments can become overwhelming at times, TubeBuddy have a few tools to help such as:

This also applies for other people’s videos too. Leaving insightful comments on related videos to your channel is a great way of some extra exposure of a relevant audience (which can drive new viewers to your channel) but also helps to establish your authority and build relationships with other YouTubers.

  Share Your YouTube Videos On Other Channels
Give your new YouTube videos an initial boost after launch by sharing them via your other channels. This could include your email list and social profiles. 
The people on these channels are already subscribed to you via one platform or multiple so they’re likely to be engaged in your content. This can improve the watch time for new videos, which in turn can boost its rankings in YouTube and help that video find new viewers (who may subscribe to your channel).
If you want to easily share new videos to your social profiles, TubeBuddy allows you to post your videos on Facebook and Twitter in just a few clicks.

  Create A Video Series
Turning one-time viewers into subscribers can be a challenge at times but one tactic that can help improve this is to create a video series (or multiple).
Video series do a few main things:

  • Increase watch and session time (through viewers watching multiple videos)
  • Increase the likelihood that viewers will want to come back for the next installment in the series (i.e. more chance of them subscribing)
  • Create an extremely valuable resource people can tap into on demand (this positions you as an authority on whatever topic you’ve chosen)

Of course, your content still needs to be good but some of the most successful channels on YouTube have developed their own video series.
To find a good topic for your series look at what content has already performed well for you in the past, this may give you some ideas.

 Work With Other YouTubers
An extremely effective way to increase your exposure and potential audience on YouTube is to collaborate with other YouTubers.
You get to reach people who might otherwise never have heard of you, and this comes with social proof too as your fellow YouTuber trusts and values your work enough to share it with their audience.
Collaborations works best with the following conditions:

  • The other YouTuber has a similar audience but different content focus than you
  • You both have similar sized audiences (or preferably they have a slightly larger audience)
  • You can find a topic that is interesting to both sets of audiences

Click here to check out a great video that takes you through the ins and outs of collaborating with other YouTubers.
So, there you have it! There are plenty of ways you can improve your videos and your channel to give yourself the best chance of growth.
What steps are you going to take next to grow your channel?