Paola Bassanese is a freelance author and writer specialising in food, lifestyle and entertainment.
Think Like a Viewer!
If you are a content creator on YouTube, as much as you are allowed to express your creativity in any way you like, you may also need to consider the interests of your audience. The key to a successful YouTube channel is to keep your viewers engaged with videos they want to watch.
Step 1: Improve YouTube Video Titles
If you consider how important blog titles are if you want to be found in searches, you need to apply the same amount of attention to YouTube video titles. Because Google owns YouTube, your video content will be ranked on the basis of its title and its tags.
While it's tempting to jump on what's trendy, if you want longevity on YouTube the secret is to find a niche and provide useful information. If you can also be entertaining while sharing knowledge, that's even better.
Have a look at what is already out there: what titles make you want to click on the thumbnail? The more relevant information you can put in a title, the better.
Step 2: Improve Your Video Description
Simply writing “Welcome to my next video, enjoy!” is pretty much useless to a new viewer and it does not help your video to be found in searches. Use the video description as a mini blog. First, look for keywords that people search for the most. You can find that information in websites such as Ubersuggest, for example. Use the keywords from the title and from the content of your video to add as much detail as possible.
While you can write links to your website and social media profiles in the video description box, this practice is not particularly favoured by YouTube as it moves the viewer away from the platform. Your priority should be to add information about the content of the video. This is particularly useful if your video does not contain any spoken words but only music.
Step 3: Add Closed Captions to Your YouTube Videos
It’s all about content, content and more content: adding closed captions gives you an additional opportunity to tell Google about the content of your video. Again, this will increase the chances of being found in searches plus it will help non-native speakers coming across your videos to understand what it is being said. You can also ask other YouTubers to contribute translations to your captions. To add closed captions, click on the edit button for a video and select Subtitles and Closed Captions. If your video is in English, it will display automated captions. If there are any mistakes you can edit them and publish them.
Step 4: Clearly State If Your Video Is Sponsored
Stating whether your video has been sponsored by a company is a legal requirement and yet many vloggers are still conveniently “forgetting” to disclose any conflict of interest. Make sure you reveal very early on in the video that you have received payment to talk about a product.
Step 5: Collaborate With Other YouTubers (But Don’t Be Needy)
Collaborations with other YouTubers can really raise your profile but before you approach someone with a collaboration idea, ask yourself what you can do for the other YouTuber. Don’t beg famous YouTubers to collaborate with you. Start with vloggers you already know and who have a similar audience to yours. You can use an interview format or keep things light and chatty.
Step 6: Mix Long and Short Videos
When YouTube started, many videos were only a few seconds long.
Long form videos then became more popular as YouTube rewarded content creators who could keep viewers on the platform for longer stretches of time. Watch time became a bigger factor in analytics compared to number of views.
You can experiment with different video lengths and see what works best for you.
YouTube will display short videos in a separate category on your home page, together with YouTube Stories and other community messages such as polls.
The competition from other platforms such as Instagram and TikTok has shown that short, Vine-like type videos can get good traction.
Step 7: Keep a Regular Schedule
Updating content regularly is the key to YouTube success. If your commitments don’t allow you to upload several videos a week, stick to a weekly schedule. Talking of schedule, just in case you don’t know, you can schedule videos in advance: this feature is great if you are going on holiday and you know that you won’t have time to upload a video while you’re away. It is also great if you have filmed a lot of content and you want to break it down into a number of videos that you can plan to go out on different days.
Unfortunately in the past few years this also meant that some content creators suffer from burnout, feeling under pressure to release content. You can always communicate with your viewers to let them know when you are taking a break.
Step 8: Engage With Your Audience
Do you want to be a better YouTuber? Reply to comments. This also gives a signal to the YouTube algorithm that your content is valuable. Make your replies as detailed and informative as possible and thank people for watching your videos. YouTube rewards videos that get more interaction by placing them higher in search results.
Use the Community Tab and the polls function to generate more engagement. If you have a small channel you can still make the most of the comments section.
What if you receive negative feedback? Take this opportunity to explain why you chose to do that particular video and your intentions in your replies. If you have failed to meet people’s expectations, you have an opportunity to improve future videos. On a similar topic, check how many thumbs up and how many thumbs down you are receiving on your videos: if, for example, one video has only thumbs down, that is valuable feedback and it means that you either need to remove the video as it is not relevant for people or turn it into your advantage by doing a reaction video explaining what went wrong.
If the negative comments are crossing the line you are entitled to remove them and eventually block the commenters if they become abusive.
Step 9: Support Other YouTubers
Give other YouTubers a shout out in your videos. This point is related to engaging with your audience and to the next point about YouTubers who have inspired you. Most importantly, if you have seen some good content from new YouTubers who could do with more subscribers, tell the world about them.
Among the people worth supporting, small businesses like your local cafes would definitely benefit from a little shout out so share the love and do a vlog about your favourite coffee places (or any other small business that you think would benefit from a bit of publicity).
Step 10: Tell People About the YouTubers That Inspired You
If you have a list of YouTubers who have inspired you, you can do a whole video about them. You can talk about people who have inspired you stylistically, both in terms of editing and equipment, and people whose content you find compelling to watch.
A good way to increase the engagement for your videos is to create a playlist of videos from influencers you enjoy. You can also add some of your videos that relate to them in some way, for example parodies or recreating someone's look etc.
Questions & Answers
Question: How do I get sponsors for my YouTube channel?
Answer: Good question! You may want to ask a big Youtuber this. I tend to watch experts such as Derral Eves and Brian G. Johnson; they are in a better position to answer this. I would say it's important to build a loyal following first and make sure you get good engagement because these are the metrics sponsors look for. Then, you can start by reviewing a product you really like and contact the manufacturers telling them about your video reviews and asking them if they are open to doing a brand partnership.
Question: What do I do if someone tells me to stop making YouTube videos?
Answer: Do you mean someone in the comments? And why would they ask you that? If you enjoy making videos and other people like them, why should you stop? Unless you are violating YouTube's terms and conditions, I don't see why you should listen to someone who may be wasting your time.
Question: I tried it all, but they didn't work. Can you offer any other help?
Answer: I think the YouTube algorithm can penalise small YouTubers so their content isn't shown as much. As long as you're having fun, keep producing!
Paola Bassanese (author) from London on May 14, 2018:
Thank you Ranju!
viewfinders from India on May 13, 2018:
Paola Bassanese (author) from London on December 11, 2017:
Thank you Dale.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on December 11, 2017:
cool hub with smart, sensible tips and advice. much thanks.