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Common issues that keep you under 1,000 subscribers

Discussion in 'YouTube Tips, Tutorials, Help & Guides' started by Tim Schmoyer, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Tim Schmoyer
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    Hey YTTalkers! I recently heard a small YouTube creator complaining about how YouTube needs to update their algorithm to favor small YouTubers and not just "the big guys." Other small creators chimed in and readily agreed, but I honestly have a different perspective on why small creators stay small and it has nothing to do with YouTube's algorithm.

    I thought about this community today and thought I'd share my thoughts here in hopes of encouraging some of you. Hopefully this helps some of you break out from under the 1,000 subscriber barrier that seems so difficult to break sometimes.

    First of all, let's talk about that good ol' YouTube algorithm. Is it really geared for the large creators?

    For context, I'm a YouTube Certified Consultant and work with both my personal channels and client channels. I started my first channel in 2006 and grew my most recent personal channel from 0 to 10,000 subscribers in the first 12 months. It's now about 25 months old and has 54,000 subscribers and 2.8 million views. It's in a very narrow, small, specific niche, too, not something big and broad like gaming, vlogging, or beauty (ha! image me doing that!).

    Most of the channels I work with as clients come to me with under 1,000 subscribers. After about a month or two of working through some common issues that keep creators stuck in that subscriber bracket, they start to exponentially grow. That proves to me that the problem is not algorithmic.

    One client of mine came to me before he even started his channel. After 9 months, he's now making $30,000 per MONTH in Adsense revenue alone. I don't say that to point the finger at me -- I say that to say: You can do this! If this guy who didn't even have a YouTube channel can do it, so can you. The algorithm is not the problem.

    I've worked with countless channels that have grown from 0 to hundreds of thousands of subscribers and a lot of money fairly quickly. In fact, I used to be co-workers with the guys behind the CinemaSins channel. They'll be the first to tell you that YouTube's algorithm doesn't squish the little guys on YouTube. They started with 0 views just like everyone else. You can do this!

    So what are those common issues that cause creators to feel stuck at under 1,000 subscribers?

    1. Poor branding.
    This goes far beyond a simple forum post, but think much broader than logos, header images, and branded bumpers. Essentially it's answering the questions, "Who specifically is this content for?" and, "Why should that person care?" Why does your channel matter? What difference does it make in that person's life? What's their motivation for wanting to subscribe to your channel in the first place? How easily does your channel answer those subconscious questions for them? How well is that "branding" integrated into your content and channel?

    2. Poor titles and thumbnails.
    It doesn't matter how awesome your content is if the thumbnails and titles aren't engaging, enticing, and attract people to click. That doesn't mean you should be misleading and tease a story that really isn't in the video -- that will backfire every time -- but it means knowing what the true value of your video is for someone and then crafting a "billboard" for it (title and thumbnail) that accurately pitches its value.

    3. Craft better videos.
    And I don't mean just in terms of production value -- I mean in terms of actual content value. Most creators assume that their videos are awesome and that the only problem they have is exposure. The problem with that way of thinking is that it locks you into a mindset that doesn't change with YouTube and causes you to start blaming other things that you don't control. It's pretty self-defeating. If you've been creating videos for even 6 months, go back and look at some of your first videos. You thought they were awesome back then. Today you're probably embarrassed by them. And next year you'll look back on the videos you're creating right now and feel the same way. So use tools like "audience retention" in YouTube analytics to craft better videos. Drop the stuff that causes audience drop-off (like branded intros, for example) and learn to start the videos with better hooks, eliminate wasted time, stuff like that.

    Hope that helps some of you get on the right track. Like I said, anyone can do this YouTube thing. I really believe that. The key is to work smart, not to just work hard.

    I'd love to hear what tips and ideas you have for breaking past 1,000 subscribers! Let's all help each other out here.
     
  2. Zack Wellman
    Graphic Designer
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    This is crazy to see you here; I literally spent the last 3 days watching, studying and utilizing the advice in your videos.

    Anyway! These are all extremely valid points, ones that I've tried to convey nicely to other YouTubers on these forums. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of stern advice to get most of these people to sway from these "copy ____, get big" attitudes.

    Thanks for the awesome information you provide, Tim. Look forward to following your videos in the future!
    --- Double Post Merged, Mar 2, 2015, Original Post Date: Mar 2, 2015 ---
    As a tip, I'm only on 440 subscribers (Can't seem to break the 440-500 mark, just came back after a 9 month hiatus though) - but I've found that the most "common" ways of promoting are ineffective when starting off.

    People seem to think that posting on your Facebook Page & sending out a few tweets will get your video some traction? That's wrong, unless you use it properly. It's important to use correct tags in posts on other social networks, but the key to getting anywhere with external promotion is interaction; get involved in the communities and followings of the hashtags you are using.

    For example; I commonly use #IndieGames and #LetsPlay in my posts. These were good, but no one clicked through. Then I started communicating and interacting with other people using those tags, sharing advice and opinions and eventually building strong connections and friendships with these people.

    90% of my YouTube friends were met through social media platforms, so it's definitely a great way to build a loyal fanbase. You need to show them you're a human, and that your videos will reflect your personality online.

    Build a connection, and it'll definitely encourage click-throughs to your content.
     
  3. Tim Schmoyer
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    This is very true. Why? It goes back to the branding thing. Just posting your videos on Facebook and Twitter doesn't get people to care about your videos. Instead, it actually just adds noise to their life. It's another post to filter out.

    When you start interacting with the community, though, then they care about your videos because they care about you a bit. They feel like there's a relationship that's worth investing into.

    That'll get you started, but knowing why your videos matter and why they're valuable to someone is very important. Integrating that into your branding, videos, and channel strategy is what will get you past the 1,000 subscriber mark and beyond. Eventually there will only so much community participation you can do in one day, ya know?
     
  4. Zack Wellman
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    Absolutely right; I tend to communicate with people who "Like" or "Favorite" posts, and then go from there. I make sure my thumbnails stand out on all platforms, and I've got my own templates that I've adapted so they look good on all platforms with no core information being blocked or left out.

    I suppose being my own Graphic Designer has it's perkes, and I've started developing templates and resources to try and help others.

    But yeah, all good points.
     
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  5. FAM0X
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    Hey Tim, I didnt read this post lol... But I just want to say that I bought your book and its really a fountain of useful knowledge. I was able to get myself to 8k subs in 1 year by myself, but your book has opened my eyes to many things I haven't even thought about. I read through the whole thing in a night, and Im now working through each assignment. Great work man.
     
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  6. amberly
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    Thanks this is very helpful
     
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  7. Tim Schmoyer
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    First of all, read the post! lol Second of all, thanks so much for sharing your experience about my ebook! Glad it was helpful for you and your channel! Sounds like you're on a great trajectory.
     
  8. SuckMyDax
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    It probably applies to less folks on these forums as it does the general mass of new YouTubers, but being unwilling to put in the work comes to mind too. You can't spend 30 minutes a day on YouTube and then run off to watch Netflix and expect anything other than 30 minutes worth of results.
     
  9. SomeGuyDude
    Just some guy, dude.
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    TBH I feel like I don't know how much further to go in those three categories, my man. I've put everything I can into production values, Lets Play titles are kinda self explanatory, you don't have a LOT of leeway, and branding, well... again. It's a Lets Play channel. There has to be more than that.

    You give me a way to work that magic in this realm and I'll happily pay for services haha.
     
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  10. FlameSlicer
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    I just gained about 7-8 subs (can't tell, analytics is acting VERY strange right now) In one week. Is that unnatural for an entirely new channel that started one week ago? I didn't advertise except for one person I told about it who did not tell anyone else... Hmmm right?

    Edit: it's not the one in the signature, I haven't started gaming yet. But it's called Vloreog, and I think I'm becoming a bit better at the camera than before. I SUUUUCKED at the first one, and at the fifth(or sixth) I'm doing pretty well considering the last time
     

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