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How do I get new subscribers on YouTube?

If you're creating ad campaigns for your YouTube channel, it’s vital for you to make sure that your channel and videos compel viewers to convert to subscribers. I wanted to share one of the most popular articles in the YouTube Creator Community. This post has really helped many creators on YouTube grow their channels: 

 

Adapted from "How do I get new subscribers?" by Common Man Cocktails

 

I think the most popular comment I see on Youtube for new creators is, “how do I get new subscribers?” Such a simple request, such a hard answer. Below you will find things that I’ve learned first hand, things I've learned through others, and things I’ve read on blogs and the creator playbook. I’ve tried to boil them down to key points and use-cases that make sense.

 

Use this as a starting point to answer the question “how do I get new subscribers?” And, remember, until you’ve done all of these key points, don’t ask the question again. Until all of these have been taken into consideration you’re wasting everyones time by asking that big question because the answers all start here. Once you’ve mastered the answers below, you can now ask the question because you’re ready to move onto the next stage of growth.

 

So..here they are:

 

About Page : Your Story

People seem to not put enough effort into their about page. Don’t write "we do cool stuff” or “watch our video’s for entertaining fun” — you need to tell people what you do and why they should care. If a potential viewer is reading your about page, they actually care enough about you to read it… give them something about you to read. What is your video release schedule? What is your videos about? Do you have any personal interests? Why should we believe what you’re talking about is important? Why are you the authority on the topics?

 

Don’t waste a perfect chance to build a loyal viewer. If I don’t understand your story then I’m not going to build a relationship to you and I’ll go hunt another channel that will. Need more on your story? Read the book Primal Branding.

 

Channel Graphics

Your channel should have a nice pretty banner graphic. It should enforce your recording schedule (e.g. “a new video everyday”, “a new video every friday”, “cooking video on Monday, coffee video on thursday”, ec.) The graphic shouldn’t look like you spent 10 seconds working on it in a basic paint program—it should look polished and professional. If you couldn’t take the time to make a banner that looks good, why should I take the time to believe you have quality content? First impressions count.

 

If your banner looks like a 2-year-old created it, you’re already losing subscribers (unless your subscribers are 2 year olds of course).

 

Channel Branding / Logo

Don’t skimp on your logo. Even if you just use letters (like, CMC for Common Man Cocktails or SF or SORTED or something). Take the time to build a branding that people can remember and integrate that into your thumbnails.

 

Not a graphic artist? Go out to dafont.com and find a font you like and use that for your ‘text logo’ so that you stand out. You don’t have to be a graphic artist master to at least use a text logo that isn’t 'courier'. Or, head to a place like Fiverr and have a cartoon anime photo profile done of yourself for $5 to $10. Suck it up, spend the cash to look more professional like a real gaming channel or other style of channel. Spending $10 on your channel is the least you can do to provide evidence you care about what you're doing.

 

Thumbnails

Most subscribers are going to see a wall of thumbnail tiles showing all the shows they subscribe to (or may want to subscribe to). Make sure your thumbnail stands out amongst the crowd, bright colors, consistent design, logo included, etc. Don’t let Youtube decide your thumbnail, put in the effort because viewers will subscribe to your show if they feel like you care about them enough to put effort into your channel.

 

If your thumbnail sucks, I'm going to assume your content will match. Might not be true, but do you want to take the chance?

 

Channel Video Trailer

Your channel should have a <2 minute video telling me why I care about you for all new unsubscribed viewers; what do you do and how it can change my life? You won’t get me as a subscriber if you can’t tell me why I care. To be honest, I don’t really even care that much about you, but I do care about me (humans are self-serving) so you have 2 minutes to tell me why I my life is going to change watching your channel. If you can’t convince me, I’m out.

 

Here is our trailer as an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAKA9gsr6D8

 

The goal is to tell people what they’re going to learn, why they care and give a few shots of what our show looks like for the new folks seeing it for the first time. Just a lifestyle vlogger? How is that going to benefit me? Am I going to be entertained? Am I going to see new products being unboxed? Are you going to give me life hacks? Teach me sign language? Explain to me best ways to manage a disabled family member? Let em know what it's all about!

 

Channel Playlists / Layout

You should make sure to have great playlists on your channel homepage. A playlist of your most popular videos (if others love them, chances are I may as well). If you have different content for different days of the week, show that to me on that main channel page so I know what to expect and what days I should be tuning in. If you can’t convince me to click on any of those video’s you’ve lost me as a subscriber already.

 

Your Title is Important

Your title is the first impression everyone is going to get on your content. It decides if they click on your video or move on. It’s your “news headline” so make it count. Stop typing in ALL CAPS because it annoys more people than you can understand. Keep your titles fairly consistent and focused on your content.

 

Keep your titles short and to the point but not so short you lose the point. Don’t use funny characters or waste space with non-sense. Tell your viewer just enough to make them want to watch.

 

Good title: "How To Make A Whiskey Old-Fashioned", "The Old Fashioned Cocktail", "Old Fashioned Cocktail, Common Man Style", "Old Fashioned Cocktail with Warren Bobrow".

 

Bad title: "~~~ Everydaydrinkers Presents The Old Fashioned~~~~" "ITS AWESOME -- THE OLD FASHIONED-- CLICK TO WATCH", "{--- Old Fashioned ----}", "Common Man Cocktails Presents The Old Fashioned Cocktail - Everyday Drinkers Show"

 

Your title should lead with what matters, be that "how to" or the keyword of the show (e.g. "old fashioned") or an influencial guest cocktail author "Warren Bobrow" or at least lead with the word "Old Fashioned Cocktail" because thats what people are looking for when they search. All the rest is irrelevent--you don't need your show name in your title, it's already on the second line of the search results anyway!

 

Description Metadata

Your description needs to be more than “I hope you enjoy the video!” as that tells the viewer nothing about your video. It also gives Youtube nothing to rely on for finding relevance with your video against other videos like it (which means you’re not going to show up in the related video sidebar because Youtube knows nothing about you).

 

Your description should have plenty of juicy keywords for search but not be stuffed with keywords just for the sake of trying to show up in search. Make sure it describes your video (at least in the first paragraph) and re-enforces the title of your video (use the same phrase/wording once to stand out). This is a great place to add verbosity about your video (remember, search engines can’t ‘listen’ to your video, so you need to make sure to leave some key points). Links to your work, your website, your social media places all can be utilized here. If you leave the description empty you’re losing potential fans from finding your instagram account and Facebook fan page.

 

Don’t have an instagram account of Facebook fan page? That’s a separate problem that you need to solve immediately.

 

Use-Case: I link to an affiliate site for a place people can find the alcohols we use on the show (or similar ones). In one rum review video I put an affiliate link to buy the rum. I had 35+ clicks on those links within the first day of posting the video. With affiliates, your viewers get 'cookies' inserted in their browser which allows them to track the point of origin (you). That way, if 23 days later they decide to buy something YOU still get credit. That means anyone that buys any products on the website I will get credit for them and all I had to do is put a link to the site in my description. It took 10 seconds to make the link, if one person buys something that was the best 10 seconds of cash return ever. Where else can you make money for ten seconds of effort? 

  

Playlists

Playlists contain great data and give you secondary ways to show up in search results. Utilize your playlist descriptions (leaving them blank kills my inner child). Make sure you describe why a playlist exists by giving the user (and youtube search) a good description.

 

Case in point, go to Youtube and type: Warren Bobrow Cocktails

 

You will find a bunch of videos (mostly mine) and down near the 10th video is our playlist (which contains the other 9 videos in the search results). We got an EXTRA result just for having a playlist of the top results. More real-estate for you, less for the others trying to get those keywords (in this case it was an easy win since the keywords were so specific). A) Playlist had the right keywords in the name b) description enforced those keywords.

 

Lots of playlists mean additional content for Youtube to find that requires 0 additional video effort on your part, why not take advantage of it?

 

15-Seconds is Key

You really love that 15 to 30 second animated video you have showing me your logo and a zooming sound along side a cool graphic about your show? You’ve lost me, I don’t have time to subscribe to your show. Lose the long introduction music and fun graphics because I don’t care. I want to know why I care about your content and channel. You have the first 15-seconds for me to care. As a matter of fact, assume that while someone is watching your video they are hovering their mouse over the “back” button on the browser. You have 15-seconds to convince me not to click it.

 

I use the first fifteen seconds to also disqualify my potential subscriber. That means, if I know they’re not going to like my loud energetic obnoxious personality I use that first 15-seconds to show them my “true self.” I start by screaming out my introduction and jumping around like an idiot. If they stick around for more than 15-seconds then I know they’re attracted to my energy and are ready to really watch. I’d rather lose potential subscribers right away than draw them 50% into my show and have them go “what’s wrong with this guy?” and click away. I don’t want to waste their time. That's just me, you can do what you want. But I'd rather get 15 seconds to understand the hosts personality than a 15 second animation of your logo.

 

If your potential subscriber has to sit through a 15-second ad, then another 15 second silly introduction, you’ve lost them. Still want your intro? do a 15-20 second “hook” to tell your viewer how awesome this video is going to be and how it will change their life, then show off a 6 second intro logo / graphic and jump into the show. Don’t waste their time.

 

Call To Action

I like to bring in a subscribe option for all my viewers before the 3-minute mark. A graphic flies over the screen (I did it in Adobe After Effects) that has a subscribe button (which I link with an annotation). I then have one at the end as well, for those that finish the video. That way I capture both opportunities. I rarely remember to tell people to “like and subscribe” but you should do it because it reminds them to ...like and subscribe. I just happen to suck at remembering this part (which is why I use the graphics to add in later when I forget).

 

End Card

Every video should end with a chance for the viewer to subscribe and a video preview of a past episode so that they can click on that (with a spotlight annotation) and jump to another of your videos. If you just let Youtube decide the next video automatically, it may not be yours. Grab their attention before the Youtube automation kicks in and they’re off your channel. You want them to spend time on your channel getting your advertising so that you get paid. The longer they stay the better chance they’ll subscribe to you anyway, so it’s the best of both worlds.

 

Quality Subscribers Are Key

You can have a bunch of empty headed subscribers that click the sub button and never come back. Or you can have good subscribers that watch your content and interact. Work to get a smaller number of quality subscribers and build them into loyalists. This is more improtant, to me anyway, than larger numbers of subscribers that don't do anything but click that red subscribe button. Sure, it looks cool, sure you love to have a growing number, but a subscriber doesn't bring ad revenue..not at all. A viewer does.

  

But that's not what the popular youtube people are doing!

Guess what? You're not the person with 10 million viewers, so don't act like one. Some of the biggest Youtube personalities got their by accident. They hit a popular topic, had a great personality or were doing things on youtube before anyone else even thought of it. They rose fast to the top and they didn't have any guidelines, books, manuals or forums to help them do it. Don't try to reproduce the random success of a youtube channel just because they have millions of viewers.

 

You don't have millions of viewers, so it's up to you to follow some best practices to work up to their status. Perhaps you'll be a success over night like a few of those big celebrities where. Then again, perhaps I wake up tomorrow morning and the NFL Patriots call me up and ask me to take Tom Brady's place as quarterback. Chances are, I'm not going to be a star NFL quarterback tomorrow. Chances are, you won't wake up with 10 million subscribers either.

 

Never Stop Learning

I’m a blackbelt in Kempo Karate and you know what? Black belt is just the beginning of my learning in the martial arts. Youtube is the same way. Do everythign I wrote above and you're now at "the basics" and ready to really learn. How do you progress your learning?

 

Don't just stop here, you need to keep learning and sticking with the changes in trends. You should watch all the content on the Youtube Academy.

 

Also, download this PDF playbook and read up. Done reading it? Put it down, pick it up next week and read it again--get all the details to slowly sink into your brain stem.

 

Now head over to Video Creators and watch all Tim’s content. Also, juggle that between Derral Eves channel. Start at the beginning of their videos and watch through to the current stuff and learn as you go. Take notes, implement their suggestions and grow. Need more inspiration, checkout Gary Vaynerchuck's content more focused on growing businesses, entreprenuers and hustle.

  

Now go young padawan, go learn and implement. Never stop learning. I only have 69k subscribers and I’m constantly refining and trying to get more of an edge on my subscriber count (and most important, viewer count). I'm still a newbie beginner trying to learn.

 

If I think I was the master then I am already lost....

 

If you want more tips like these be sure to check out the Creator Community

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