Krzysztof is a 10+ year YouTube researcher who spends hours researching, analyzing, and uncovering YouTube trends, challenges, and media.
The Secret to YouTube
What's the secret to YouTube success?
It's not any different than the secret to anything. You have to work hard, put in the time, and in most cases produce high quality content.
But some YouTubers struggle to understand that concept because they feel entitled to get what they want at no cost.
Many amateur youtubers start YouTube because they want instant fame/money, and they try to achieve that in the worst possible way.
So how bad can it get?
Find out in the 5 worst ways to gain YouTube subscribers.
1. Spam Popular YouTube Channels
Do you hate getting spammed?
If yes, then imagine how other people feel when you constantly try to promote your channel on their YouTube videos.
Some people try to be slick without directly promoting their channel, but it's obvious what they're doing.
The more comments they leave, the more likely people will notice but not in a good way.
The worst offenders are those who leave comments without watching the videos. They use the video title or comments section to post an opinion.
It's not clever, it's a bit pathetic, and they could be taking that time to create content instead.
Youtubers hate spam including bots and they will not reward you for it.
On the other hand, if you genuinely show interest in the creator and their content, then tasteful promotion isn't bad. A lot of big youtubers try to support smaller channels because they know how hard it is to succeed.
But any form of promotion has to happen naturally, so you can't force other creators to promote you either.
The best strategy is to focus on your content because it bodes better than looking desperate.
2. Social Media Self-Promotion
Self-promoting isn't a terrible thing, but there's a time and place for it.
There are three rules to remember when self-promoting:
- Make it relevant to a topic/subject
- Don't Overdo it
- The 20-1 Rule
I've seen many popular creators post irrelevant links on their Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, but they can get away with it.
They have enough clout to do so unlike amateurs who need to build theirs.
That means if you're starting out, then don't post links to your content unless they have something to do with a larger topic.
And don't spam your links over social media.
If you want to post occasional videos or links then that's fine, but don't overdo it.
In fact you should be helping other creators over yourself. There's a 20-1 rule that for every link you post, there should be 20 links from other creators to off-set spamming issues.
Furthermore mutual self-promotion not only helps others but you too. You'll be surprised how fast you would grow once you spread the wealth.
3. Low Quality Videos
You're not going to get any subscribers with terrible content.
Yet there are a lot of discrepancies regarding what's considered good content. There are YouTube channels that put out low-quality videos that do well, so where do we draw the line?
The answer is we don't.
Beginners can't expect their videos to go viral and become hits because that's unrealistic. You have to be extremely lucky and bet on an idea before it gets popular to become an instant success.
YouTube is like the stock market; every video you make is a gamble.
The only thing you can control is what videos you make, so always make the best video possible whether through visuals, dialogue, or creativity.
How you indulge your creativity is extremely important because your content should appear unique. You don't want to be accused of directly stealing from other creators. That's against the law and it'll serve you no purpose.
I'd suggest making videos about something you enjoy because even if the video doesn't have the best quality, at least the passion is there behind it.
4. Lack of Content
While quality is important, you'll find that not having enough content can be worse.
There are exceptions but why would you take that chance.
This doesn't mean you have to make 2+ videos daily or a video per day, but you should be uploading something on a weekly basis.
If you want to make YouTube your career, then I highly recommend at least 1-2 videos a week without cutting back on the quality.
Anyone can make quick videos with little to no effort, but don't be surprised when those videos receive zero hits.
You have to combine quality with quantity and constantly try to improve. Your viewers will respect you more when you evolve your craft.
Few youtubers start out making high-quality productions, but the most popular creators never stop progressing and you shouldn't either.
5. Upload Inconsistency
PewDiePie is the most subscribed youtuber because he provides quality content, produces daily videos, and uploads at the same time everyday.
He and thousands of other channels with a million plus subscribers know that your upload schedule is just as important as the content you show. The reason for that is Google; they love consistency.
They give higher rankings to channels/content that is fresh, consistent, and on time.
Too many youtubers post random, inconsistent videos and complain about their subscriber growth.
But does consistency apply to everyone?
Not quite, there are a few exceptions to the upload rule such as:
- Viral videos
- Premiere content
- YouTube hobbyists
Premiere content includes highly advanced pieces that can't be produced on a weekly basis. Such content is likely to be uploaded on a bi-weekly to monthly schedule.
Additional exceptions include hobbyists who do YouTube as a side gig. Since it's not their primary or majority form of income, they don't have to be as static.
If YouTube is your planned career and your channel doesn't fall into those categories, then you better be consistent.
Additional YouTube Tips
These are some additional tips when starting a YouTube channel:
- Don't abuse the YouTube algorithm
- Avoid excessive clickbait titles and thumbnails
- Be aware of Fair Use laws
- Always follow YouTube's Community Guidelines
- The first year will be difficult
The YouTube algorithm favors longer videos (10+ minutes) with regards to greater ad revenue, but that doesn't mean you should stretch a video to hit 10 minutes because context matters.
Clickbait is okay within reason, but the title and thumbnail should be applicable to the video.
Follow YouTube's guidelines and be aware of fair use laws especially if you use video clips without permission. A few seconds of a clip is fine as long it's trans-formative and you add something new to it.
You're unlikely to make much money in your first year on YouTube. It can take a long time to obtain a Google AdSense account and/or partnership with YouTube.
In other words, a YouTube career is a journey not a trip.
Questions & Answers
Question: Isn't it amazing the lengths people will go to to avoid getting an actual job?
Answer: I agree and this is pretty tame when you consider what people do. However, this is a very lazy way of going about it, and that I don't support.
Question: Do you think the Little Kids TV YouTube channel will take off?
Answer: I believe so. Kids programming for YouTube continues to grow rapidly.
Question: Is there any way to know if a channel can be monetized again after a copyright strike? I had a copyright strike on my channel 3 months ago.
Answer: A copyright strike shouldn't completely demonetize your channel, a strike is more of a warning than anything. I would definitely contact YouTube or Google about the problem if you haven't already. Most stricken channels, unless they violated YouTube's terms of service, can be appealed and re-monetized.
Naud on December 18, 2018:
The worst way to gain YouTube subscribers is by buying subscribers made with bots. Those will be inactive and make your channel worse.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on January 31, 2018:
You should definitely give it another go, good luck with everything and thank you for the kind feedback.
Lauren Flauding from Sahuarita, AZ on January 25, 2018:
Interesting and insightful tips on what not to do. I could have used these back when I was actively uploading videos, but I'll keep them in mind if I ever get back at it.