Image courtesy of Martin Fisch
Building a loyal YouTube audience doesn’t happen overnight. A large part of creating high quality content involves passion and dedication, but when you look a little deeper, there’s a science to engaging audiences too.
Here are 8 tips to help you reach the right audiences on YouTube and keep them coming back.
1. Match your expertise to the type of content you want to produce. Be consistent too.
Before you start thinking about the audience you want to reach, ask yourself what you’re good at. Are you a total movie buff? Experienced make-up guru? Comedian at heart? Choosing to focus your channel on an area that you’re well-versed in sets you up to succeed. When you speak to your passions, your knowledge and personality shine through. Bonus: you’ll come across as genuine and authentic (we’ll speak more on that later).
2. Do your research on the audience you wish to reach, and start speaking their language.
Once you’ve figured out the type of content you want to produce, it’s time to consider your audience. When it comes to targeting the right one and getting them to engage with your content, you need to do your research. Find out the names of relevant fan communities, learn their lingo, and incorporate their official names and vocabulary into your speak. From Tumblr to Reddit, communities congregate in specific places and you want to help shape those discussions.
3. Be genuine and socialize.
YouTube may be the hub for television, movies, music, and entertainment in general, but it’s still a social media platform at the core. Like any other social media platform, you want to get involved in conversations and, well, socialize. Like and comment on videos that catch your attention, give shout-outs to other influencers and content creators, ask interesting questions, and engage with your subscribers. The YouTube community values authenticity above all, and being genuine in your videos is what keeps viewers involved. Don’t treat your channel simply as a means to self-promote. If you’re going to engage in some self-promotion though, be transparent and have fun with it!
Image courtesy of Esther Vargas
4. Use the YouTube tools available to help measure and build audience engagement. Try other tools too.
YouTube’s attention score measures the length of time and attention viewers give to your videos. This insight is great for identifying what excites your audience and what you can do to improve. If your score reveals that viewer attention is high during the latter half of the video, but low during the first, then perhaps you should work on your hook. Viewers will generally decide within the first 5 seconds of a video whether they want to continue watching. With that in mind, make sure your opening gives enough context to keep viewers intrigued.
Video annotations are another way to engage your audiences, prompting them to take action. Use clickable annotations to link to other relevant videos or blog posts. You can even encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel here. The key here is do this smartly and sparingly.
With YouTube popularity growing every day, new tools and services are available too. Take for example vidIQ’s Chrome Extension that displays detailed metrics allowing you to look more deeply into keywords, historical data, and more. By leveraging what’s out there, you’re just upping your odds of succeeding.
5. Monitor your success.
Get comfortable looking into your channel’s analytics to find out what works. This is important as it can help you replicate success. Tools are helpful, but what’s better is staying on top of all the information in general and setting aside time to do so. vidIQ’s web app is the go-to place to do this as you can monitor your videos, your competitor’s channels, and find key insights to help when producing future content. Setting aside time to capitalize on research will payoff in the long run.
6. Optimize your videos for search (for YouTube and the web in general).
Optimizing your videos for search will help build traffic, much like how SEO is a critical component of ensuring written content succeeds across the web. Craft your video headlines and descriptions carefully, incorporating any trending topics and keywords that are relevant to it. Avoid the urge to overuse video tags though, and only use those that actually apply to your video. vidIQ Pro’s proprietary Keyword Research Tool makes it super easy to discover powerful tags to help improve your videos’ search ranking.
As search engines crawl text when processing search queries, adding an audio transcript (where you describe, in writing, the contents of your video) can help them index higher in search. Not only does the audio transcript add additional context to your video, it also gives you an opportunity to throw in some more keywords to help people discover your content when searching.
Image courtesy of Global Panorama
7. Partner with other content creators and share the YouTube love.
Collaborating with other content creators is an effective way to grow your audience. Whether you’re partnering with YouTubers that focus on similar topics, or just users that interest you, both will act as an introduction to new audiences.
Don’t be afraid to mention other YouTubers your fans should check out! Unsurprisingly, YouTubers know other YouTubers, and earning your way into the ranks of this influential network will help drive your traffic through cross-channel promotion.
8. Share your videos on other social media platforms and content discovery engines.
Other social channels are great places to share YouTube videos. They provide an opportunity to tag/mention friends, brands, and other content creators too. Not only will this attract more viewers, it’s also a great way to generate and keep a conversation going outside of YouTube. Pick the channel where your desired audience is the most active. Then, make sure the content you’re adding contributes to the conversation. Seeding your content into discovery engines like StumbleUpon can also be a good way to drive additional traffic to your videos.
With a bit of effort armed with this information and the vidIQ toolset, you’ll be able to grow your audience in no time. Remember, always have a plan and be sure you’re appealing to your fans. Before you know it, fellow YouTubers and fans will engaging with your great content.