If you have a YouTube channel, you will want a high number of video views. But you also may want people to subscribe to your “channel.” This means that when they log onto YouTube, any new video you’ve posted that they have not watched yet will show up on their main screen.
1. Content, as always, is king. If you don’t have high quality video and high quality content, then all else is futile.
2. Post your videos to social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc. Put your videos on Facebook, Twitter, and wherever you think your potential viewers hang out.
3. Invite your YouTube friends to subscribe to your video if they haven’t already. And don’t be ashamed to invite your favorite YouTubers to subscribe to you if you’ve subscribed to them.
4. Title your video with something not only relevant to the video’s content but also interesting, shocking, mysterious, or controversial. Also use Title Case and don’t make it a long sentence–get to the point.
5. Use keywords not only in your title, but in that handy keyword box YouTube has you fill in. Be specific, often using multiple words or even short sentences as keywords if you think people will be searching for that exact phrase or sentence. If you have a video on how to play the harmonic underwater, if you just put “harmonica” and “underwater” your video will appear on all searches for “harmonic” or “underwater” but because they are popular phrases, your video could be at the very bottom. If your keywords are “harmonica underwater” and “playing harmonica under water” your video is more likely to be number one on the list for when people search those. You may also want to include things like “strange talents” and “weird instrument.” Also use keywords in the description, but avoid key word stuffing.
6. Don’t make the description too short (or too long for that matter). Include any relevant links, the most important “above the fold”. Ask them to subscribe.
7. You can even embed a little “subscribe” or “click to subscribe” button into your video once you’ve uploaded it, so it will actually show up on your screen. Some people like to pick out something that is talked about and focus on that to get people to either subscribe or thumbs-up their video. (The thumbs up gives the video a better rating and gives it a chance at being featured on YouTube’s front page or at least being higher on the searches, so you might want to ask your viewers to do this if they are not ready to commit to subscribing.) For example, if in part of the video you talk about zombie caribou, you might embed a little thing that says “Click thumbs up if you like zombie caribou!”
8. Be part of the YouTube community (communities). Subscribe, comment, and friend. People often will look at your channel if you are talking to them on YouTube or have requested to be their friends. But don’t be a spammer!
9. Be consistent. Let people know what to expect from you. Doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind later on if you want to have a new feature that posts every day for a month and then goes back to posting just once a week on the old feature, but let your viewers know this is going on. Don’t disappear off the face of the Earth for four months and then come back to YouTube expecting everyone to remember you.
10. Be a YouTube partner. You get to pick your thumbnail, which is important for when people are scrolling through videos (otherwise, try to put your select thumbnail at the halfway point of your video). You also get a nice banner on your channel and lots of other fun stuff that lets you stand out.
11. Don’t use copyrighted material. If you’re using a song, for example, owned by someone else, YouTube could prevent you from having a high-ranking, delete the audio track to your video, or delete your video all together.
12. Some people disable the comments and rating ability, which is maybe because they don’t want to have to answer questions and delete spam, etc., but if you don’t want to answer questions, then don’t answer questions. It doesn’t mean you can’t let your fans post comments and talk among themselves. Allow them to build a community around being your fan. However, the more you are involved and respond to your viewers, the more affection toward you they will have.
13. Instead of leaving comments, you can leave a video comment. Try leaving a video comment to similar videos or creating videos in direct response to someone else’s video.
14. Best face forward. On your channel, the default will show your most recent video in the player. But you can change this. Pick the best video (you can use free YouTube insights to see which video has the most interest or you can just look at number of views) and put that on the front. Or maybe you have an introductory video. You can also choose to have the video automatically start playing. Personally I find this annoying but it probably has its advantages too.
15. Fill out your profile (be sure to include your website) and customize the appearance of your channel for branding purposes.
A lot of people will buy software that will generate comments and views on your YouTube videos. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But either way, I personally find this to be a dishonest way of gaining interest. If your videos are good and you know how to market yourself well enough using the tips above, you shouldn’t have to stoop that low. But you will need patience. It usually doesn’t happen over night. Don’t expect to be a viral hit. Just aim for having loyal followers.
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