YouTube is one of the largest platforms on the internet. It’s great for everything from learning how to change a tire, entertaining yourself with Vine compilations, or growing your following online.
While the first two are great, today we’re going to focus on the third.
YouTube is one of the best platforms to grow a following because it’s a search engine in itself and it’s used by 1.5 billion logged-in users each month. The potential for reach is near limitless, you just have to employ the right strategies to promote your YouTube channel.
The thing is, there’s a lot of competition on YouTube with 60 hours of video being uploaded each minute.
That’s why you need to create an intentional YouTube promotion plan.
How to promote your YouTube channel
There are countless ways that you can promote your YouTube channel. Some are necessary for every YouTube channel, others you can mix and match depending on your own preferences.
Necessary promotion strategies
When it comes to driving traffic to your YouTube channel, there are a few non-negotiables that every successful YouTuber needs to include. Luckily, they’re easy to tackle and yield a huge reward.
Creating a custom thumbnail
Thumbnails are so important when creating video content, and eye-catching thumbnails can help convince your audience to click your video. Otherwise, YouTube will auto generate a thumbnail for you, and more often than not, they just so happen to choose the most unflattering frame in your entire video.
Using SEO in your videos
Like search engines, YouTube has a ranking algorithm that establishes where content will show up in search results. To make sure your content is ranking on YouTube, put some thought into your title, description, and tags and optimize them for SEO.
Choosing a title for your video
The title of your YouTube video should help your audience understand what your video is about. YouTubers with huge audiences often use “clickbait,” using titles like, “You wouldn’t believe what happened!” which works great if you’ve got tens of thousands of engaged fans, but when you’re just getting started, clickbait won’t work nearly as well as a straightforward title.
What’s more effective for smaller YouTubers is using simple titles with keywords.
Writing the video description
When you’re uploading your video, you get the opportunity to fill out a video description. There are several things you can do to optimize this space.
- Make sure your description is keyword dense and describes what your video is about
- Fill your description out completely, longer descriptions are often ranked better
- Link to your other assets: your blog, social media, course page, etc.
Tags act as a categorizer for your video. Your tags are a very simple way to signal to YouTube what your video is about. When you’re tagging your video, choose an array of keywords related to your content and your brand.
For example, if your video is about knitting, your tags might look a little something like this: knitting, how to knit, how to knit a scarf, knitting stitches, knitting tutorial, knitting for beginners.
And you’ll also want to throw in tags that make your business searchable. For example, let’s pretend I have a knitting business and I made the video. I’d add the tags: “Morgan Timm” and “Knitting with Morgan”
How to drive traffic to your YouTube videos
Once you’ve got the basics, you can choose from other strategies for driving traffic to your YouTube videos. Depending on where you’re business is at currently, some of these methods may work better for you than others.
Embed your videos on your website
One of the quickest ways to increase viewership to your videos is to embed them into blog posts or pages that are already performing well on your website.
When your website visitors land on those popular web pages, many of them will stick around and check out your video, too.
Share your channel on social media
If you have a social media audience, your favorite platforms are an obvious choice for promoting your YouTube channel. Depending on the platform, the promotion strategies will vary.
Promoting your channel on Facebook
Facebook is a great platform because despite their past scandals, it feels like just about everyone uses the platform. What that means for you? Your audience is out there waiting for your videos.
The strategy: Everytime you upload, make sure to share your video to your Facebook page. If you want to extend your reach, send a link to your business friends (or your mom, not judging) and ask them to engage. Facebook’s algorithm favors content that people are clicking on, liking, and commenting on. By asking friends to engage, your video will be shown to more people.
Promoting your channel on Instagram
Instagram is one of the trickier platforms to promote on for a few reasons. The biggest? There isn’t an obvious way to link to content in your posts. Instead, you have one link you can customize in your bio.
Want to more effectively use Instagram? Download our free Instagram Hashtag Cheatsheet!
We use Link Tree on the Teachable account to add more links, but if YouTube is your primary focus, you can also use that space to link to your YouTube channel.
Interested on promoting with Instagram? Here’s our beginner’s guide to getting started.
Promoting your channel on Twitter
Twitter seems to be the “it” platform for huge YouTubers. It’s great because it feels the most personal, and if you’ve got a following, chances are they’re going to regularly check your account for the chance to engage with you.
Even if you’re a smaller YouTuber, you can still harness the power of Twitter by regular posting on your page, creating polls, and letting your followers know when you’ve posted new content.
If your audience feels like they’re in the loop about what you’re working on and what to expect, they’ll be more likely to engage with your channel.
Twitter is a great way to grow your influence, here’s how to use it as an entrepreneur.
Email anyone mentioned in your video
When you’re creating your videos, you may mention where you learned what you’re talking about, or how a colleague has a really cool alternative strategy for doing what you’re teaching. If you mention any individual or business, send them a link to your video.
You can send a formal email or casually let them know that you mentioned them via tweet. Best case scenario is that they’ll share your video with your audience.
Mention your video in your newsletter
Wondering what else to send to your email list? Download our free email marketing guide!
Give them a direct link to subscribe to you, and maybe share a list of your most popular video content.
Engage with others on YouTube
If you’re looking to play the long game, this one is for you. One way to build a genuine and engaged audience is by engaging with others posting videos in your niche.
The key here is to engage in an authentic way and leave comments pertaining to the content, not saying, “Hey! I make videos about this too! Check me out!”
When you leave thoughtful and engaging comments, you get “thumbs up” from other viewers. The more upvotes you get, the higher your comment will rank in the comment section. If you rank high, people will see your comments and check your profile out. If you’re engaging with people in the same niche as you, those people may subscribe.
Link to your YouTube on Quora
If you’ve been around the Teachable blog for any chunk of time, you’re probably well aware of the fact that I think Quora is one step away from magic.
Quora is a great place to ask and answer questions, and drive traffic to your website or YouTube channel.
The gist of promoting via Quora is this: find questions related to your content, write well thought out answers, add a “if you’re interested in learning more about this, check out my video” phrase to the bottom of your post and linking to your channel.
Here’s our complete guide to using Quora as an online entrepreneur.
See consistent growth
One thing to consider with YouTube, is they champion consistency. If you’re uploading regularly, your channel will rank higher in search.
Don’t get discouraged if after just a few uploads you haven’t gained any traction. It might take a bit longer to get the ball rolling.
Do you have a YouTube channel? Which strategies best helped you grow your audience?