A YouTube channel without subscribers is like a pizza without toppings. It’s got potential, but you just aren’t sure it’s worth your time. The YouTube algorithm agrees with that sentiment.
We’re attracted to channels with a strong user base. Active subscribers send a signal that this content is OK. That it’s worth watching. And because the algorithm carefully watches our behavior, it favors the same type of channels we do.
This leaves us in a chicken-and-egg conundrum. How do you get subscribers when channels with subscribers get prioritized? By using the right techniques and planning your approach is how! In this post, we’re going to share five things you can do to get high-quality subscribers. Let’s do this.
1. Don’t wade in without a plan
In an ideal world, you need to decide two things before you make a single video: define who this channel is for and what it’s about. If you’ve already got a channel, take a step back and answer these questions anyway. The answers will show whether you’re on the right track or not.
Next, research your audience. Who are they? What kind of content are they looking for? Can you give it to them? When you’ve got your people, decide on your differentiator. What do you offer that your competitors don’t? What makes you stand out? These two bits of information will prove invaluable for planning, optimizing, and marketing your YouTube videos.
Once you’ve got the basics down, decide how often you’re going to post and sketch out a rough content calendar.
There’s no magic number here. The key is consistency. Work out a regular and realistic posting schedule that works for you and commit to it. Some successful creators like Charlie from Charisma on Command post once a week. Others, like Phil DeFranco, post five times a week. Choose a number that works for you.
Once you’ve got your number, spend a bit of time coming up with content ideas. Come up with a rough content calendar for the next 1-3 months, schedule the content, and set individual deadlines for each video.
About 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. We’ve got content on every conceivable topic and new channels sprout up from all directions only to get dragged back to obscurity. One of the reasons so many channels fail is poor planning. Creators dive in, make a few videos then run out of momentum and their channels languish. Don’t let that be you. A bit of research and a strong foundation will help you grow your channel faster than jumping in blind.
2. Create quality content
OK, this one is pretty obvious. The problem is that quality content is an extremely vague term. What’s great to one person is absolute rubbish to another. So let’s rephrase that.
Create content that delights your audience. YouTube Analytics can help you here. Log into your Creator’s studio and take a look at your most popular videos. This is the type of content that’s working: make more of it.
Next, take a look at your audience retention rates. Which videos are keeping people hooked until the end? See if you can work out how they’re doing that and replicate it in future content.
There’s one final ingredient that’ll make your videos stand out. Personality. Think about the channels you’re subscribed to. Why did you choose those ones? Chances are it’s because you like the presenter. Something about them speaks to you. You need to sprinkle that same something through your own content.
3. Optimize your content
If you want people to actually find your stuff, you need to make them appealing to people and the search engine. This means making the most of YouTube SEO.
Do some keyword research: Find out what keywords your audience uses to look for content. You can use YouTube’s autofill feature and tools like TubeBuddy’s tag explorer.
Craft killer titles: Use time-tested copywriting principles to assemble titles that drive clicks. Be clear, concise, descriptive, and use relevant keywords. Don’t be afraid to tease a little.
Create a great video description: Tell people, and the search engine, what your video is about by crafting a solid description. Put the most important info in the first three lines, as those appear above the fold.
- Use the right tags: Tags help identify what your video is about. Use a tool like TubeBuddy to find the right ones and to track their performance.
Create playlists for easy navigation: bundle together relevant videos into playlists. This will keep people watching what you’re doing.
4. Set your channel up right
The best way to get subscribers? Ask people to subscribe. Include a call to action at the end of each video, add one in the video description, and use end cards. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.
But it’s not just about popping the question. Make your channel a welcoming space for newbies, too.
Make a channel trailer: Introduce yourself, tell visitors what your channel is about, and let them know what to expect.
- Standardize your thumbnails: Create a branded look across all your videos. This makes your content instantly recognizable, helps build trust, and raises awareness.
5. Come up with a marketing plan
Growing a subscriber base on any channel is all about marketing. Here are some things you can try:
Create a blog post and cross-promote it: Sharing your actual YouTube video can earn you some penalties on social media. To avoid that, make a blog post that features your video and promote that through your social media channels.
Email your list: Send out a newsletter blast promoting your video to your email list.
Promote through Quora: Answer questions around the same subject you make videos about and include a link to your channel in your bio.
- Collaborate with other YouTubers/content creators: Find people in your niche you can partner up with and create some content together for each other’s channels. This will help expose you to their audience and vice versa.
Your options are endless. Promote your videos across different channels and your subscriber base will grow in no time.
Should you ever buy YouTube subscribers?
But hang on a sec…wouldn’t it just be easier to buy some subscribers to get started?
Why? Because the money you’ll spend won’t bring the kind of ROI you are looking for. It’ll end up costing you.
Relevant subscribers — the ones you build through hard work and proper promotion — engage with, and share your content. They spread the word and act as brand ambassadors. Bought subscribers are just a number on the screen. They’re meaningless. Oh, and YouTube can hit you with penalties.
Building your subscriber base
Building a subscriber base takes time and considerable effort. But, with the right plan, quality content, and solid marketing, you can build a quality base relatively quickly.