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1,000 Subscribers in 4 Months - How I Did It

Discussion in 'YouTube Tips, Tutorials, Help & Guides' started by Brandon Nankivell, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. Brandon Nankivell
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    --- 9 Crucial Tips For Early Growth ---

    The tips are ordered from most important to least important. Grab some popcorn, this will be a long one. =D

    1. Get Started...NOW

    50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. No videos = No subscribers. Simple as that. Your first few videos will likely suck. That's okay. Improve as you go.

    2. Create Quality Content
    You may have heard this a million times already, but it's so true. Quality Content is the cornerstone for channel growth. No other growth techniques or strategies matter if your content sucks. Period.

    So how do you create quality content? BeUnique. lɐuᴉƃᴉɹoǝq. Sei anders. What value can you add to your videos that your 'competitors' aren't already doing?

    I can't say all of these have brought me life-changing results, but here's what I've done to stand out:
    • In my video descriptions, I've provided a downloadable PDF, an image file that summarizes the video, and a list of highlights with a clickable TimeStamp
    • I have an Aussie Accent - different to my competitors
    • I share my personal experiences - no one else has completely identical ones or the same way of delivering them
    • Scheduled Uploads - most of my competitors don't have a schedule
    3. Create Videos People Are Searching For
    There are over 90,000,000 videos on YouTube. Sure you could take a chance making an awesome video that people aren't searching for, and it could get big, but you're chances of getting found are waaaaaaayyyy higher if you create videos people are searching for.

    If people want fish, give them fish. I'm giving you fish right now. I posted this on a forum where YouTubers are looking for strategies and techniques to grow their channels. You are likely to be looking for ways to get more subscribers and that's why you're reading this!

    Once you start growing and building a relationship with your audience, you can give them dinosaurs instead.

    4. Optimize Titles, Descriptions, and Tags
    1,000,000,000 people use YouTube every day. It's the second-largest search engine in the world. Seriously, read that again... This is why optimizing your titles, descriptions, and tags is CRUCIAL.

    You can slap your videos on all the social media outlets you want, however - I argue that the most powerful social-freaking-media-outlet is YOUTUBE. It generates 84.7% of my traffic. 36% come from Suggested videos and 29% from YouTube search. I spent hours optimizing titles and descriptions so people can easily find my videos among the chaos.

    How to optimize your title ►
    1. Go to Google AdWords Keyword Planner
      • Click 'Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category'. For example: If you have a fishing channel, search for 'how to catch fish'.
      • Click the 'Get ideas' button at the bottom.
      • Click 'Keyword ideas' tab below the volume trends chart.
      • Filter the results by clicking 'Avg. monthly searches'. This shows how many times a term is searched every month on Google. Although it doesn't show YouTube statistics, people search similar things on YouTube and videos can also rank in Google search results. This gives you an idea of what people are searching for in general.
      • Write down relevant keywords that have an average monthly search volume of 200 - 5,000. Some terms I found were... 'how to catch a catfish' (3,600 searches), 'how to catch bass' (1,900 searches), and 'bass fishing techniques' (590 searches). I have a preference for the less-searched keywords. These are often more specific, also known as 'long-tail keywords'. You're more likely to get found using these keywords in your titles because their's less competition.
    2. Discover YouTube Search Auto-Suggestions
      • With the keywords you found in the previous step, begin typing your keywords into the YouTube search bar. This is how you'll know what keywords people are really searching for on YouTube, not just Google.
      • You'll notice that 1-10 search suggestions show up, #1 being the most searched and #10 the least. I usually pick one in the 5-10 range because there's less competition. Make sure your content is relevant to the keyword if you use it in your title.
    3. Create a Title
      • Based on your research, choose a keyword and put it at the beginning of your title. Include more detail after the keyword. For example: If I used the keyword, 'bass fishing techniques', a great title would be 'Bass Fishing Techniques - How to Catch Your First Bass'. YouTube likes it when you begin your video with a keyword and include extra detail after it. As a bonus, 'How to Catch Your First Bass' is a second keyword which I could potentially rank for as well!
    How to optimize your description ►
    1. Include your keyword in the first sentence
      • YouTube will rank your video higher in the search. Using the title in the previous step as an example, my first sentence in the description could be, 'Learn how to catch your first bass with these brilliant bass fishing techniques.'
    2. Include your keyword multiple times
      • Further along in your description, mention your keyword a few more times. Make sure it blends in nicely. I wouldn't use it more than 5 times. This is known as 'keyword stuffing' and YouTube doesn't like this.
    3. Include other keywords
      • Don't be shy, you can rank for more than 1 keyword! Include other relevant keywords that you've researched throughout the description.
    How to optimize your tags ►
    1. Download TubeBuddy for Google Chrome
      • Don't worry - it's free and safe :) We'll use this later.
    2. Make your first tag your channel name
      • Remember how I said 36% of my traffic comes from 'Suggested videos'? This is partly why. If your channel name is 'The Fishing Channel', then make sure the first tag is 'The Fishing Channel' (without the quotes). This will make your other videos show up on the YouTube Sidebar, leading to more exposure for your videos.
    3. Include suggested tags
      • I'd highly recommend watching TubeBuddy's official video for this step. Navigate to 'Info and Settings' of your video in 'Video Manager'. Beneath your tags, click the 'Suggest' button (this will only appear if you have TubeBuddy installed). 2 Columns will appear. Tags under 'Suggested for Search' are suggestions based on search volume and competition. A tag with an indicator in the yellow or usually a good choice, but make your best judgment because sometimes the keywords can be unrelated to your video. Tags under 'Suggested for Related' are tags that may help you show up on a competitor's sidebar.
    4. Use as many tags as possible
      • You're given 500 characters to use for tags, why not increase your chances of getting found by using as many tags as possible?
    5. Sort your tags
      • This requires the Pro version of TubeBuddy so feel free to skip this step. You can sort your tags manually, it just takes longer. After 24-hours, a ranking may show up on some of your tags (make sure TubeBuddy is installed). Click the 'Sort' button at the bottom. Click 'Auto-sort by Rank'. This will organize your tags into a hierarchical order, potentially helping you rank higher for your tags that are already ranking.
    5. Create Engaging Thumbnails
    Okay, so your video has ranked high in the search results. But what does that matter if your thumbnails suck? Even if people see it, many won't click on your video if it isn't relevant or attractive. I use thumbnails that clearly represent the title of my video, usually with one prominent image in the middle. Have a look at popular but relevant channels for inspiration. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube if you are unsure how to make an attractive thumbnail. The appeal of thumbnails may be less relevant to your existing subscribers, but they certainly help for attracting new ones.

    6. Post on Targeted Subreddits
    A successful post on Reddit can vary depending on your niche and which subreddits you post in. Fortunately there are many subreddits for my niche that respond well to my posts. In my experience, the more targeted a subreddit is, the more success your post will have. For example, a video on 'bass fishing techniques' would likely have more success in r/bassfishing than r/generalfishing. This is partly why posting in r/videos often delivers poor results.

    You can post once every 10-minutes. I accumulated close to 1,000 views in 48-hours by posting in 16 subreddits. Half of them delivered decent results, the other half almost nothing. After a while, you'll discover which subreddits work well and which ones don't.

    7. Make It Easy to Subscribe
    1. Include a subscribe link in the description
      • Include a subscribe link somewhere near the top of your description. Mine says, "Subscribe For More ► <link>".
    2. Include subscribe annotations
      • Include an annotation at the end of your video asking viewers to click to subscribe. You could try putting this annotation earlier in the video, but I don't like annoying my viewers. If they stayed to the end, it tells me they enjoyed it and are more likely to subscribe anyway.
    3. Verbally ask people to subscribe
      • If you do voice-overs, asking viewers to subscribe may be a good idea although I've only tried this once.
    4. Include an arrow in your channel art pointing to the subscription button
      • Accompanying my arrow is a message saying, "Videos Every Friday". Having a schedule gives viewers another reason to subscribe. I don't know how effective this is but this is what I've done.
    5. Modify your subscribe URL's
      • Add the following text to the end of your subscribe links: '?sub_confirmation=1' (without the quotes). This will present an unsubscribed viewer with a 'Confirm Channel Subscription' window in the middle of the screen. I've only started doing this so I'm unsure if this brings in more subscribers, but it certainly can't hurt!
    8. Understand Analytics
    1. Subscribers
      • Navigate to Creator Studio > Analytics > Subscribers. At the bottom it will list 2-3 sources that indicate where you're subscribers are coming from. If you click 'Videos', it will list how many people have subscribed for each video. This gives you an indication of what types of videos lead viewers to hit the subscribe button. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
    2. Traffic Sources
      • Navigate to Creator Studio > Analytics > Traffic Sources. It will list places on the internet where viewers have come from. The sources at the top are the important ones because they show you where the majority of viewers are coming from. As I mentioned earlier, my top source is 'Suggested videos'.
      • Click 'Suggested Videos'. It will list in order which videos are being viewed the most, based on the videos being recommended in the sidebar of other videos.
      • Click 'Youtube search'. This will list in order the search terms / tags / keywords that are generating the most views.
      • Click 'External'. This shows your traffic sources outside of YouTube. This let's you know if your Reddit, Facebook, or other social media posts have been working. My strongest source is Facebook (thanks to people sharing it), followed by Reddit.
      • Feel free to look at other traffic sources that are working for you. It's wise to focus on the traffic sources that are working best, especially if you don't have much time in your life to promote your videos.
    3. Explore Other Analytics
      • Take some time to look at other areas of your Analytics. Other areas of interest may be watch time, audience retention, demographics, devices, and sharing.
    9. Be Patient
    I didn't see much progress in the first 1.5 months. The time it takes for you channel to 'take-off' varies for everyone. As the humble billionaire Warren Buffet said, "No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant."

    --- 10 Uncategorized Things For Growth ---

    The following things don't fit in to what I consider 'crucial tips for growth'. Nonetheless I'm an optimization junkie and enjoy squeezing out every bit of juice I can even if it's an 'inefficient' use of my time. The things below include principles, ideas, tips, tools, and musings. Read on below if you want to squeeze the juice too, otherwise scroll to the bottom of this section.

    1. The First 48-hours After Uploading is a Crucial Window of Opportunity
    If you can get lots of engagement (views, watch-time, comments, and shares) within 48-hours after uploading, YouTube will see that people love your video. I've ranked higher than older videos with tens-of-thousands of views because I've encouraged engagement immediately after uploading. This is when I do my Facebook and Reddit posts. I also reply to all comments during this period (2 comments becomes 4 in YouTube's eyes).

    2. TubeBuddy is love, TubeBuddy is life
    I'm in love with this tool. There are more features I haven't mentioned in this post that are worth exploring.
    1. Annotations Template
      • It's a big time-suck always having to create and tinker around creating annotations for each video I upload. The tool allows you to create a template, press a button, and... 'wha-la' - your video will now have annotations. Thanks TubeBuddy.
    2. Bulk Find, Replace & Append
      • I recently created an Instagram account for my channel. I wanted to include this in my video descriptions. Using this tool, I was able to update EVERY video description with a link to my Instagram, without having to go through each video individually... Thanks again, TubeBuddy.
    3. Vid2Vid Promotion
      • Remember the crucial 48-hour post-upload window I talked about earlier? This tool is a great way to get more engagement with your recent upload. It will promote your latest video by overlaying a little annotation/card thingy on your other videos, that links to your latest video.
    4. Best Time to Publish
      • According to TubeBuddy, by not using this tool, 'You are losing out on early views and engagement by publishing at the wrong time'. I haven't found this useful with the amount of subscribers I have, but I certainly see the potential as a channel grows bigger.
    5. Tag Explorer
      • At the bottom of your tags, click 'Explore'. This will bring up TubeBuddy's Tag Explorer. Typing in your target keyword such as 'bass fishing techniques'. Click 'Explore'. A list of the most used tags will show. These are tags that videos ranking for the same target keyword are using. If you use some of the tags listed, you increase your chances of showing up in the related sidebar of your competitor's videos.
    3. Have an Upload Schedule
    1. Motivation
      • Anyone who says they're motivated 100% of the time is bananas. In my experience, knowing I have to upload a video by a certain time every week motivates me on those days where none exists. I've stayed up for hours well past midnight to have a video ready.
    2. Engagement
      • Your viewers will learn when to expect videos from you and may enable instant notifications on their device, giving you that early engagement juice.
    3. Ranking
      • YouTube's algorithms love channels that post regularly giving you an extra edge in the search results and suggested videos.
    4. Show Your Personality
    I used to speak like a Robot and hide behind the camera. Now I show my face on my channel art and speak naturally (this took practice). This is my attempt to connect with my subscribers on a personal level and encourage engagement. Transparency is becoming a highly desirable trait to have these days.

    5. Interact With Your Viewers
    Reply to all comments. Ask them for their feedback and opinions. Become friends.

    6. Pretty Things Up
    In other words, create an appealing logo and channel art. I've been complimented several times about its professional look. It adds credibility and shows your serious about the channel. Make if funny, make it cunning, make it relevant. Don't create a low-quality banner using MS paint (unless you're GradeAUnderA). There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube.

    Also start improving your overall video quality. Invest in a high-quality microphone (I'm a fan of the Blue Yeti). Upgrade your video-editing software (I'm a huge fan of Sony Vegas Movie Studio, it has plenty of features and isn't as confusing as Adobe Premiere in my opinion). Upgrade your camera (although I use animation software, the camera I use for face-shots is a Canon 650D/T4i. For those on a budget, I hear the Logitech C930e is a killer webcam.)

    Remember these suggestions are not in the 'crucial tips for growth' section for a reason. You don't have to break the bank to get your first 1,000 subscribers.

    7. Model Success
    Look at similar channels that are doing well. What are they doing that you aren't? How do they keep your interest? How often do they post? What do people in the comments say that they like or don't like? I often look in my competitor's channels comments section to get an idea of what people like and don't like and then adjust my channel/videos if it makes sense to do so.

    8. The Big Get Bigger
    The more attention your videos are getting, the more YouTube's algorithms will help promote your video. How long people watch your videos (audience retention) is more important than views. Comments and shares help too.

    9. Educate Yourself
    Constantly be learning. There are people out there willing to help you. Watch videos, comment in forums, join a Facebook group. Ask questions. Teach others. Get involved.

    10. Surround Yourself With Fellow YouTubers
    Jim Rohn famously said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." I spend time with YouTubers that have similar channels. I created a YouTube Growth Mastermind group on Facebook where we share useful insights with each other. I've made genuine friendships with my 'competitors' in this group, and you can too!

    Conclusion
    Congratulations, you made it! Do you have any popcorn left...? Let me know if this has helped you or if you have any questions.

    Cheers,
    Brandon :)

    Boring Disclaimer
    I cannot guarantee results from the tips and strategies mentioned in this article. Third-party recommendations included in this article are intended to genuinely help readers. If there are any violations in this post, feel free to let me know and we can get things fixed quickly!
     
    #1 Brandon Nankivell, Apr 17, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2016
    DayaVera, Eiree'E, RavitsART and 60 others like this.
  2. Solly
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    Thanks for the tips! I'll be sure to take them into account. I am really lazy with my tags and I guess I should be optimizing them as much as possible!
     
  3. PeppaPig
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    Brandon Nankivell likes this.
  4. PositivelyBrainwashed
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    Very helpful. Read many of those tips before, but even finding one or two golden nugget makes the read worth it. Just one modification, the tag sort function is available for free users of TubeBuddy as well. I use it on all my videos from time to time.

    I'm curious what subreddit you post to on. I use whiteboard animation software as well, and your channel is something I will move towards someday.
     
    BillyVlogsTV likes this.
  5. TopScienceFacts
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    I was doing most of what you had written but the SEO stuff was new to me so I will defiantly use this! Do you have any sources backing up your claims that "Include your keyword in the first sentence, Etc."

    Thanks for writing this will help a huge amount of people!
     
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  6. xingcat
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    Wow. That is an incredibly detailed account. Thank you for taking the time to put this together.
     
  7. Uncivilized Elk
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    A subscription link in the description...?
    You do realize that in every video directly above the description is your avatar and a big red button to subscribe if you're not already subscribed, right?

    The rest is all standard good advice (with some subject to preference; I personally hate people verbally asking for subs and likes and won't do it myself).
     
  8. ChrisLegend
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    This is hands down the best guide I've read on here. It deserves a sticky. Will bookmark and apply all of these when I get home tonight from work placement. Thank you so much man
     
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  9. Brandon Nankivell
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    Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad to see a fellow whiteboarder :p In regards to the tag sort function, I'll make adjustments to the post to fix that, thanks!

    As for the subreddits, you can actually see which ones I use with TubeBuddy. Below any video, click 'Stats' (only visible if you have TubeBuddy installed). You'll see a Reddit icon with a number indicating how many times the video has been shared on Reddit. Click the number and it'll show you all the subreddits the video has been posted in :) An image below showing you what I mean.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Brandon Nankivell
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    Cheers Chris I appreciate, I'm glad you've found value in it. I checked out your channel, I love the niche you're in! You've got a beautiful looking channel with some great content and an uplifting personality. I can see you've read some great books too. Just subbed. You'll go far dude!
     
    BillyVlogsTV and ChrisLegend like this.

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