Every day, over 1 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube worldwide, representing an enormous opportunity for content creators and marketers. However, the competition for exposure and viewer share is fierce, and there are no shortcuts to building a large, highly engaged audience. Thankfully, there are some time-tested strategies to help boost subscriber numbers and set your channel apart from the crowd, and the good news is that many of them require no investment and very little effort to set up. Below are some of the most effective strategies for building an audience and boosting your subscriber count on YouTube.
Reply to Comments
Internal data published by YouTube reveals a strong correlation between replying to viewer comments and subscriber growth, and it’s no surprise why. Taking the time to interact with your audience is an easy way to set your channel apart in a sea of creators who are chasing dollars and views by pushing out content as quickly as possible with no regard for the people watching it, and the sense of community and audience participation that such interactions foster can easily lead to steady, organic subscriber growth. Take the time to reply to comments on your videos whenever possible, and be aware that time is of the essence – audience engagement declines rapidly the longer you wait to get involved.
Polish Up Your Channel Description
When it comes to boosting traffic and subscribers, YouTube channel descriptions are a very useful but surprisingly underappreciated tool. Not only can you sprinkle targeted keywords throughout the description to help your channel rank better, it also serves as one of the first impressions that prospective subscribers have of your content, which means it also provides a crucial opportunity to grab their attention. A good channel description should tell viewers exactly what your channel is about and who it is for, as well as a general overview of the topics you cover. Your description is also a great place to include a strong call to action to subscribe to your channel.
Identify Subscriber Magnets
YouTube Analytics offers a bevy of useful information for content creators, and one of the most useful things it provides is a clear-cut look at which videos are drawing the most views and subscribers. Under your Subscribers tab, simply look for the YouTube watch page and identify which of your videos brought you the most subscribers last month. This is what is known as a “subscriber magnet,” and once you’ve identified it, the key is to get as many eyes on it as possible. Feature your magnet content on the end screens of each new video, put them at the top of any relevant playlists, or even use it as your channel trailer so that everyone who visits your channel page is exposed to the content that is most likely to turn them into a subscriber.
Quality Over Quantity
There was a time when churning out video after video as quickly as possible was an effective strategy for building a subscriber base, but as the platform has matured and the competition has grown more intense, YouTube’s algorithms–and its viewers–have come to prioritize high-quality content. Your videos need to provide real value to the audience, ideally in an engaging and entertaining way that separates you from the rest of the crowd. Videos that keep the viewer’s attention result in higher watch times, which in turn means higher placement in YouTube’s search rankings, so making high-quality content is the surest way to boost your visibility and draw new subscribers.
It may go against the conventional wisdom, but several large-scale ranking factor studies have discovered a conclusive correlation between longer video length and higher search rankings. While many social media platforms are dominated by the idea of a short audience attention span, viewers are increasingly looking to YouTube for expert, in-depth commentary on the topics they are interested in. Content creators who want to stay ahead of the trends should aim to make videos that are at least ten minutes long, and when it comes to maximum length, data suggests that 30-45 minutes is a sweet spot, though even videos that push over an hour in length see surprisingly little viewer drop-off.
Promote With Your End Cards
The end cards that cap off each of your videos represent a powerful opportunity to convert viewers to subscribers, as long as you are willing to put in a bit of time and effort to format them properly. One of the best ways to hook subscribers is to get them to watch multiple videos in a row, s aim to set aside a full 10 seconds for each end card, and include a “next video” card that links to another one of your videos on the same or a similar topic. As well, don’t forget to add a highly visible subscribe button directly to your end cards–if a viewer has enjoyed your content enough to watch a video all the way through, the odds are high that they can be converted to a subscriber with just a tiny marketing push.
YouTube’s enormous amount of daily traffic and lengthy visitor dwell times present an enormous opportunity for dedicated and savvy content creators, but those same qualities are also what makes it so challenging to build a steady, organic subscriber base. By applying the strategies outlined above to your content, you can ensure that your channel is optimized to increase views and turn those viewers into subscribers.
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