When it comes to driving referral traffic to your website, there are several major sources to consider making the most use of.
We know implementing good SEO, both on-page and off-page is critical for driving organic search traffic. But we also know that search traffic can be both unreliable and unpredictable.
There are plenty of other ‘more reliable’ ways to drive website traffic. In fact, I wrote a lengthly article a while back on how to drive referral traffic to your blog, you can find it here.
One of the strategies I mentioned in that very post was creating videos, and using YouTube as a major source for targeted website traffic.
As a matter of fact YouTube is just the start, these days you can upload video content to many more platforms. We’ve now got Facebook, Vimeo, DailyMotion, MetaCafe and SlideShare just to name a few.
And let’s not forget that we can also cross-promote videos on so many social media platforms as well.
So let’s get back to YouTube for the time being, because YouTube is considered to be the third largest search engine on the internet. Being owned by Google you’d expect it to I guess.
You’ve probably noticed that when you search for some things on the internet, often than not it’s YouTube videos that grace the top of page one in the search results.
So I’ve got to tell you, if you’re not tapping into video, you’re clearly missing out here. Just check out these astonishing YouTube statistics:
- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each single month
- In 2011 alone YouTube generated 1 trillion views! That’s insane, right? Even more insane if you’re not using video in your content marketing.
Marketers believe that those numbers are only going to increase in the years to come, check out these interesting quick stats on NBSL.
So with all these statistics floating around, you’ve really got to ask yourself this.
Am I doing enough to promote my brand, my content, products and servicing through video and YouTube?
Well I certainly hope you’re doing something.
But I don’t have a YouTube channel!
I’m astonished if you don’t have a YouTube channel, because I’d guess that most bloggers and marketers will have. If you don’t, then don’t waste anymore time and go create one this very second.
If you already have a YouTube channel, good for you, because it’s time to start making better use of it, I’m serious with you.
But of course having a YouTube channel is one thing, having an active and engaging audience is another thing completely. And it’s a critical thing too…
To truly get the most value from YouTube, or in fact from any platform where you’re going to be creating and promoting content on, is to build an audience.
With Facebook, you have to build an engaging audience.
With blogging, you have to build an engaging audience.
With YouTube, you have to build an engaging audience.
So how do you grow your YouTube audience?
Or more appropriately these days, how do you get more YouTube subscribers?
In this post I’m going to share with you 9 actionable things you can do right now, to start growing your tribe on YouTube!
Let’s get stuck in.
Quality video content is king!
Before we crack on, I need to mention something very important here.
Trying to grow an audience on YouTube is just the same as trying to grow an audience for your blog! In other words the starting point is content. No sorry let me rephrase that…
The starting point is creating “amazing useful content”.
You’re going to need to create some seriously epic video content for anyone to be interested in subscribing to your channel, that much needs to be said before anything else.
One great way to create epic content on YouTube is to solve problems. People essentially go to YouTube to find solutions to their problems… And yes, also to procrastinate and watch useless prank videos as well…
So your first port of call, is to create great content. You’ve no doubt got loads of great content on your blog right? If so, consider repurposing some of it and turning them into videos.
Once you’ve got some great content going, it’s time to grow your YouTube audience!
Let’s get to it… finally…
Tip #1: Brand your YouTube channel
The first thing you want to do, to encourage visitors to first of all take you seriously, then to subscribe to your channel, is to actually make your channel visually appealing and look professional.
Branding your YouTube channel helps you to not only establish your identity, but to also enable users to instantly recognise you and your brand.
Chances are you’re already using a unique brand image for your blog right? And the same goes for your social network profiles right? So naturally you should also carry branding through to your YouTube channel, it makes perfect sense to does it not?
Here’s a screen shot of my branded YouTube channel.
Spend some time creating a custom channel graphic art that is going to be instantly recognisable to your audience, and one that will distribute the right message to potential subscribers about what you do and what your channel is about.
If you can’t create a standout channel art yourself, click this link for help!
In addition to the above advice, don’t forget to add custom URL’s, write an interesting and relevant bio about who you are and what your videos are about.
Take a look at mine to get some idea of what to write in yours, it’s not the most inspiring I know, but it will give you an idea of what to come up with for your own bio.
Your bio doesn’t need to be in the form of an essay either, keep it short, sweet and totally relevant and most of all, make it compelling.
Tip #2: Use branded thumbnails in your videos
Continuing on the subject of ‘branding’ and making things instantly ‘recognisable’ for your visitors. As well as customising your channel art, don’t forget to add some cool customised thumbnails to your videos.
I’ve always done this for all of my videos, again so that folks who know me through my blog or through my social media profiles, can instantly recognise my videos when they see the thumbnails with my website logo and colours.
Before you run off to create some custom branded thumbnails for your videos, here are some essential ‘thumbnail design tips’ to keep in the back of your mind.
- Use high quality, high resolution images. You want your thumbnails to appear as crisp as possible, regardless of what size format your videos are being viewed on.
- Edit your images so they stand out even more, use attractive filters, maintain brightness etc.
- If you’re using images to represent the content of your video, make sure they’re relevant and suitable for a wide audience.
Tip #3: Use annotations to add powerful ‘call to actions’
Call to actions create engagement, so make sure you’re using them.
I know that from a viewer’s perspective, annotations can be really annoying at times. Especially if there’s hundreds of them that pop-up at any one time. You don’t need hundreds of annotations, they destroy user experience.
If you’re going to add an annotation, make sure it’s some type of call-to-action. For instance, asking folks to subscribe to your channel at the end of the video is quite a normal thing to do. Like the one shown below.
Tip #4: Use custom links to create a highly visible, additional ‘subscribe to channel’ link
You already have a subscribe button placed in your YouTube channel for the public to see. But what I like to do to increase the chances of getting viewers to hit that subscribe link, is do add my custom link.
If you look at the image below, you’ll see that I’ve created an additional ‘link to subscribe’, and named it ‘Subscribe To Channel‘. I really recommend doing the same for yours. More chances are better right?
You can also experiment with different call-to-action texts, for example: Subscribe For Updates or Subscribe For More etc.
Tip #5: Link your associated website or blog
YouTube allows you to connect your associated website to your YouTube channel, this helps to improve their search results and to also verify your channel as the official representation of your brand on YouTube.
Simply go to your channel and hover your mouse over the navigational links section of your channel page. Hit the channel settings link to add your blog or website URL, and hit link your associated website. (See images below)
Tip #6: Promote your videos on other social and content platforms
Probably the most effective way to grow your YouTube audience is by promoting your actual videos.
When you create a brand new video and upload it to YouTube, who’s going to know about it apart from your existing subscribers? And are your subscribers likely to share your videos around?
But if you want to get as many views to your new videos as possible. If you want to get as many peeps visiting your channel and hitting that subscriber button, you’ve got to do some marketing and promo work yourself.
Hit your latest video up on all your other social networking sites, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, StumbleUpon. Where ever you are online, where ever you have an audience, promote your video there.
Don’t forget to cross promote your videos as well. Here are some ideas for promoting your videos on social and content platforms:
- Upload your videos to your Facebook page, then add a link back to the original video on your YouTube channel.
- Share your videos in relevant groups and communities around Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
- Pin your videos to your Pinterest boards.
- Scoop your videos on Scoop.it, and suggest your videos to other relevant topics on Scoop.it.
- Add videos to your presentations in SlideShare.
- Link to your videos from your free reports, eBooks and PDF’s etc. You can do this by screen capturing the video and linking to the video itself from the image.
- Create a dedicated video page on your blog like this one, and promote it like your life depends on it…
- Blog about your latest video.
- Add your videos to related articles on your blog.
Tip #7: Create a compelling channel trailer video
YouTube allows users to create a channel trailer to welcome new visitors and entice them to subscribe.
Your welcome video doesn’t have to be long, just around 30 to 60 seconds long, however this is a great opportunity for you to really let people know about who you are, and what you’re passionate about, and how they can benefit from subscribing to your channel updates.
For more information, tips, ideas and examples of some cool welcome videos click here.
You can also do a search on YouTube for “channel trailer” for some truly inspirational ideas of how others have created their welcome intro videos.
Since my channel is about blogging and web design, here’s my channel video for some inspiration.
Tip #8: Don’t be shy and show your face…
I fully appreciate how important it is for you to promote your brand, and like I pointed out in tips #1 and #2, branding your channel and videos are critical elements for helping you to strengthen your brand, and to help you grow your audience on YouTube.
But when it comes to video marketing, YOU are the face of your brand.
If you’re a blogger, solopreneur or business coach creating tutorial videos, or videos where you’re doing a lot of talking, remember that you are the face of your brand! So don’t just let viewers hear you, let them see you as well.
I know this can be quite daunting at first, but trust me it gets easy, and it’s fun as well. And of course showing your face can really help you connect with your audience on YouTube.
If you yourself represent your brand then use your real name. For your YouTube profile image, use a real picture of yourself (your face), not just your website or company logo.
People like to feel as if they’re talking to someone, like I said it makes them feel more connected with you.
Tip #9: Make sure your videos are well formatted before showing them off
Finally, and this goes without saying. No one remembers a poorly created video that is badly formatted, so make sure if you’re going to spend time creating compelling video content, that you’re spending just as much time creating them properly.
That means shooting in HD when ever possible, creating visually quality screen casts, using adequate lighting in your videos, using quality visuals and images etc.
YouTube has some awesome built-in tools to help you format your videos as well, but you can use your own software should you wish.
If you’re a PC user Windows Movie Maker will do fine. If you’re a Mac user like myself, iMovie will do just fine. Filmora is also a great tool for making your videos look and feel professional.
Few last words of wisdom for growing your YouTube audience…
Before I end this post, I just want to say a few last words.
None of what I talked about above really matters if one key ingredient is missing here: Creating quality, useful and compelling video content.
Create as much awesome content as you can.
Marketing and promotion plays a huge roll as well if you really want to grow your YouTube audience quickly! Getting more eyeballs on your videos will essentially help you increase your subscribers, but you can’t wait around and hope that people will eventually find you and your videos, because they won’t.
I wish you all the best!