Welcome to the second article in my YouTube content and creation series! If you missed the first article, Creating Compelling Titles and Thumbnails be sure to check it out to get started in attracting viewers to your videos. In this article I’m going to discuss how to turn those viewers into subscribers and why subscribers matter.
Subscribers are critical to your success on YouTube, they are your most loyal fans. If you’re creating original and interesting content, your subscribers can be the best way to increase views and watch time. Subscribers are a bit different than Followers on Twitch. Subscribers always have access to your content and are notified of new content every time they visit YouTube, whereas Followers on Twitch are only really aware of when you’re actually streaming at a specific time.
When you upload a new video, subscribers tend to be the majority of new views and watch time. These stats are what greatly help you become noticed in the early moments of your video which can lead to more exposure. Subscribers spend more time watching videos on YouTube than a casual viewer or someone watching an embedded video from another site.
Believe it or not but watch time matters more than views. In the earlier days of YouTube, videos were ranked and rewarded based on their total views and not how long the video was watched. Now the systems behind YouTube bases recommendations and searches off of total time watched for a video. If your videos are being watched longer they are more often to appear in searches and recommended videos. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my top 5 traffic sources:
Only 6.2% of my watch time, and 8.0% of my views are from external sites (top two sources being Google and Reddit). Also notice that external sites have a lower average view duration than any of the other sources. So not only am I getting fewer views from external sites but each of those viewers are watching less.
So how do you get more subscribers? You can start by setting up your channel in a way that makes subscribing easy and desirable. Creating engaging content is also important. Here’s a few things you can do to encourage viewers to watch and subscribe to you:
- Have an interesting and compelling channel trailer. Give people a quick snippet of everything great about your channel.
- Branding. You want your branding to be consistent across all videos and your channel, making sure it looks good on all platforms as well.
- Have your titles and thumbnails tell a story so viewers know what to expect from a video.
- Use a Call to Action, asking viewers to subscribe during your video, both verbal and a visual cues.
- Collaborate with similar content creators so their viewers will come check you out and vice versa.
Good content is key though. You could be networking, have an awesome channel trailer and great branding…but if the content isn’t worth watching, then people aren’t going to stick around. Remember earlier when I said Subscribers are different than Followers on Twitch? Well, they’re also kind of the same. They’re the same because it’s a community that follows and supports you, supports the content you’re making and wants more of it.
Developing a community and subscriber base on YouTube is no easy task. It takes time and a commitment to create something you enjoy and finding people who enjoy watching it. Focus on making great content, not just a one off video. How often do you see one video that sky rockets some one into a YouTube career? Not really that often. When it does happen, it’s because they already have a library of other great videos to watch with a smaller community behind them to support the growth.