How to Promote Your YouTube Channel

If you want to promote your YouTube videos, you have literally hundreds of avenues open to you – some of which, let’s face it, work a lot better than others. If you really want to grow your channel, get more views, more subscribers, and more engagement, and to really make your content reach more people, check out these marketing strategies to help promote your YouTube videos and channel.

If they’ve worked for the world’s most successful YouTubers, they can definitely work for you, too.

Collaborate with Video Creators on YouTube 

Collab videos are the #1 most efficient (and fun) way to get more viewers on YouTube and increase your exposure. When you collaborate with another YouTuber who creates video content that’s related to your own, you instantly expose your channel to their entire audience.

At the same time, they get exposure to your audience, too, and you both win by increasing your audiences. You can collaborate on a video together in a number of ways.

Make a Collab Video Together

For a joint video collaboration, you and another YouTuber will agree upon a topic and create a script together. You’ll then either get together – if locations and timing allow – to film and edit the video, or you’ll each film your segments and then share them and agree on who does the editing or you’ll share this duty, as well.

Collaborate with Separate Videos 

In this instance, you would again agree on a topic, but rather than collaborating on the making of a single video, you would each create your own takes on the subject. You would then upload and share your own videos to your respective channels, and you would each give the other an in-video shout-out as well as link to the other collaborator’s YouTube channel.

The Guest Appearance

For a guest appearance, you can either appear in another YouTuber’s video or have them make a guest appearance in one of your videos. If you appear on their video – for an interview, as one example – they will not only introduce you and your channel to their audience, but they’ll also give a link to your YouTube channel in the video description.

If you have a guest appearance from another YouTuber, they’ll be very likely to promote that appearance on their channel before you release the video. Then their audience will come over to your channel to see the video, and some of them are very likely to watch more of your videos and to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Whoever you decide to collaborate with on a video, the more you get involved with YouTube’s wide community of creators, the more views and subscriptions you can get. When searching for YouTubers to collaborate with, look for channels similar to yours and those who create content that’s related to your own. Subscribe to them, get involved in the conversations on their channels, and then reach out to them and suggest a mutually beneficial collaboration.

Promote Your YouTube Videos with SEO

When potential viewers search for content like the videos that you create, you want your channel and your videos to be the first results to pop up.

You could have the very best video content online, but if it doesn’t show up in the first few results on a Google or YouTube search, you’re not going to get very many views from search engines.

For example, there are a lot of beauty vlogs out there, and a lot of them cover similar material in their tutorials. Because women looking for these tutorials know this, they’ll search either Google or YouTube for things like, “How to flat iron curly hair.”

If you have a video that shows how to easily flat iron curly hair, you want it to be the first in the list because viewers searching for that kind of tutorial are likely to click on the first video they see.

If that YouTube video doesn’t play, is too long, or seems confusing, they’ll move on to the next, but not all viewers will scroll through page after page of tutorials to find the “perfect” video, especially when they don’t even know they should be looking for yours. Fortunately, you can make your videos much more visible and relevant to search engines by paying attention to a few details and adding the right keywords in the right places.

Using Keywords and Phrases

Google and YouTube both have pretty complex algorithms for choosing search results and ordering them by relevance. You don’t have to understand everything there is to know about those algorithms, though. You just have to know your properly placed keywords and increased views will boost your videos’ relevance in searches.

To boost your placement on Google searches, first understand how to use keywords and phrases. What phrases will your audience use to find you? Common searches today include, “How to _____” and “What is a _____?” Which means it is a good idea to incorporate them into your video’s keywords.

So, for the beauty vlogger example we used earlier, your keywords for a flat iron tutorial could be things like, “How to flat iron your hair,” “flat iron,” “straightening hair,” and, “Hair styling.” Be sure to fit these words and phrases naturally into your title and the description of your video.

Google has been working hard to make sure that their search engines skip or put very low relevance on sites and videos that do too much keyword stuffing. As a rule of thumb, try to keep your keyword density low or it will seem unnatural.

Where should you include these words and phrases in your YouTube video? First of all, make sure that your primary keyword or phrase appears in your title. Then write a long description that gives you plenty of chances to naturally fit your primary and secondary keywords and phrases into the text. Finally, use the video tags box to add more relevant keywords.

Start a Blog for Your YouTube Channel

The more opportunities you give people to see your videos, the more views and subscriptions you’ll get. Creating a blog is a great way to increase your audience and promote your YouTube videos by adding another online presence.

YouTube makes it incredibly simple and easy to embed your videos into almost any website or social media platform. Just copy and paste a little bit of code from your YouTube video’s page to your blog, and your audience now has twice the opportunity to see your content.

But that’s not all a blog can do for you. Regular posts will keep your audience engaged with you between video releases. Some vloggers can put out videos every day, but most are limited to once a week or once every two weeks. That gives your audience a long time to get distracted and forget to come back for more.

However, if you’re posting teasers and other entertaining, related material to your blog on a daily basis (or even every other day), then you can keep your audience engaged, even when you’re not ready to release new video content.

Blogging Gives You the Power of SEO

And there’s more! Even if you always write long, keyword-rich descriptions for your videos, and you always make sure that your keywords and phrases are included in your videos’ titles and tags, you still only have so much room for written content on your YouTube channel.

Search engines can’t watch your videos to see if they’re relevant to users’ interests or not, but they can pick up on keywords and key phrases. If you have a blog full of the kinds of keywords and phrases that your audience searches for, they may not directly find your YouTube channel in a Google search, but they’re highly likely to find your blog. If you have your videos embedded in your blog posts or on your sidebar, they’ll then be able to view your videos, follow the link back to your channel, and subscribe.

Add a Subscribe Widget Directly to Your Blog

If you want to get even more YouTube subscribers using your blog, add the YouTube Subscribe widget to your blog posts. You can find the code for this convenient widget at the Google Developers Page. Just copy and paste the code into your blog, and your readers won’t even have to leave your blog to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Convenience is key with views and subscriptions. Instead of just linking to your YouTube page, you can embed a video. Instead of saying, “For more fun videos, go to my YouTube channel and hit Subscribe!” you can have a button right there that your audience members can click to automatically subscribe them to your YouTube channel.

Promote Your YouTube Videos on Social Media

How well do you know your audience? Do you know where they hang out online? Are they more active on Facebook or Twitter? Are they always sharing pictures and videos on Google Plus? Social media is perhaps the most powerful marketing tool you have to promote your YouTube channel.

We’ll get into how to effectively use a few specific platforms shortly, but you can use the same basic rules for all social networks. First, be aware of how often your audience uses the platform. On Facebook, a single or few posts in a day is sufficient, and more can be seen as annoying to some users. On Twitter, multiple tweets in a single day will be par for the course.

Whatever platform you use, remember that hashtags are your friends. Twitter started the hashtag revolution, and Instagram, Facebook, and Google+ have all since picked it up. Basically, when you use hashtags – for example, #TravelTips – you just increased your post’s exposure significantly. Adding a hashtag includes your post with all other posts that use that hashtag. Instantly, people who don’t follow you but have similar interests will see your content, and you’ll get more views, followers, and subscriptions.

Overall, across platforms and networks, having a social media presence means getting more exposure to a wider audience. Every time one of your fans likes, comments on, or responds to a post or tweet, their friends and followers will see that activity. As more of their friends and friends of friends see your content, you’ll get more likes and views, resulting in a major increase in audience engagement.

Start Tweeting on Twitter

With a quick tagline and a URL-shortener, you can post links to your YouTube videos on Twitter. When you do this, a link will take viewers to your video, but they’ll also be able to watch the video directly on their Twitter feed. While you don’t want to post the exact same tweet 20 times in a single day, you have a little more freedom to post more often with Twitter than you do with Facebook or Google+.

With so many tweets flying by all the time, people don’t mind when you post a few different tweets throughout the day because you’re not clogging up their feeds.

Be sure, though, to pay attention to your audience engagement. When someone replies to one of your tweets, don’t be shy about responding.

Get the conversation going with your audience and keep it going for more engagement and exposure.

You can also increase your Twitter exposure by holding a retweet contest. Say, for example, that your YouTube channel is entirely dedicated to cats on the Internet. Tweet a link to your video with something like, “Retweet this video and reply with your favorite thing about cats on the Internet, and you could win a free ‘Cats on the Internet’ hoodie!”

When you encourage retweets, your followers get more engaged, and then their followers see the retweets, too. If a follower of one of your followers sees the retweet and wants a chance to win that cool hoodie, then they’ll expand your Twitter exposure even more, and so on.

Create a Facebook Fan Page 

For the best Facebook engagement, constrain yourself to a few posts per day. Any more than that, and your audience will get annoyed and feel like they have to scroll past your posts to get to the ones from their friends and groups that they really want to see. You want to be one of those posts that they really want to see, not an annoyance that they scroll past or unlike when they get too annoyed.

Create a Facebook fan page that has the same tone and style as your YouTube channel. When you post links to your YouTube videos, your audience will be able to follow the links to your YouTube channel or watch the videos directly on Facebook, so be sure to always cross-post your videos to Facebook as well as Twitter, your blog, and other social media platforms.

Avoid using Facebook to only promote your YouTube videos. As we mentioned earlier, you may not have video content to post every day. However, you can post related news, behind-the-scenes pics, exclusive content, and links to YouTubers whom you collaborate with.

As with Twitter, don’t hesitate to enter the conversation. When your audience starts commenting on your posts, get involved with the conversation. Doing this makes you appear more human and approachable, a quality that viewers love in their favourite YouTubers and vloggers.

Design T-shirts For Your Channel

Though we live in the digital age, not all of your promoting and marketing needs to happen online. In fact, you can do some very effective offline marketing just by making a cool T-shirt with your YouTube channel’s brand prominently displayed on it. Every brand needs a logo, so make sure that you have one that relates to your channel.

You can find many print-on-demand sites online that can print a quality version of your YouTube channel logo on a T-shirt. Most print-on-demand stores (like CafePress, District Lines, Spreadshirt) don’t have minimum orders, so you can start with just one as a test item. Then start wearing the shirt whenever you go to networking events, when you’re filming your videos, or even when you’re just going to the grocery store.

This style of marketing works in a few interesting ways. First, when people are in conversation with you and see your logo and brand on your shirt, they’ll be likely to ask you about it. You can then tell them a bit about your brand, your channel, and why they should watch.

Then, sometimes people will not necessarily be engaged with you directly, but they’ll see the cool design on the shirt and the brand associated with it. Since we all have the Internet in our pockets, those people who get curious about your shirt can just take their phones out and type in the brand name to find out what it’s all about.

Finally, some people won’t be immediately moved to search for your channel on their phones, but they’ll notice the logo. As they see it more and more – for example as you start selling and giving away t-shirts to friends, family, and viewers, and more people start wearing them – they’ll start to make associations between your cool shirt, people they know, etc.

T-shirt marketing is an instance of visual brand identification. When you see a stylized apple with a bite taken out of it, you immediately think of Mac products, right? That’s because Mac has put years of marketing strategy into that icon. Just by creating and wearing a t-shirt with your brand on it – and by getting others to wear it, too – you’re doing the same kind of marketing.

Promote Your YouTube Videos with Great Titles

You already know that search engines will rank your YouTube videos higher in their results if you have the proper keyword density and placement. You know that you need to include your primary keyword or key phrase in your title if you want people to see your video at the top of the list, but just adding keywords will not get you more views.

Remember, search engines help people find you, but you shouldn’t be marketing to them; you should be marketing your content to your viewers. So, be descriptive and use natural language. Also, keep in mind that Google will truncate long titles. So, while you want to be descriptive, make sure that the important information fits within your video title.

Most importantly, the title of each video you upload on YouTube should spark curiosity of potential viewers. For example, let’s say you record a video on 10 cool physics experiments. Instead of using the title “10 Cool Physics Experiments” try something like “10 Cool Physics Experiments That Will Blow Your Mind”. Video titles that intrigue viewers to watch a video are essential for getting more views on YouTube.

Use Engaging Thumbnail Images for Your Videos

Now, let’s talk about what your viewers see when they search for videos on YouTube. Of course, they see your video title and a truncated version of your description, but they also see a thumbnail for your video.

YouTube will automatically set your thumbnail your videos, but that’s usually not very enticing. In fact, it could just be a blank screen. Fortunately, when you upload your videos you’ll have the option to change your thumbnail image. Scan through your video and find a still shot that gives a teaser for what your viewers will see when they click through to see your content.

If you want to promote your YouTube videos, use an image that sparks curiosity and is intriguing as mentioned earlier in regards to video titles. For example, if you’re a prankster and make prank videos on YouTube, you could use an image of someone reacting to the prank. Many creators even use custom images and add in-video graphics to make the thumbnail image more appealing for viewers. Having great video thumbnails increases your click-through rate which is an important factor for growing your viewership. 

Write for a Local Publication

Does your area have a local magazine or newspaper that publishes content related to your YouTube channel?

Whether it’s a free local lifestyle magazine, a cooking magazine, or any other relevant print publication, you can create brand recognition and generate views and subscriptions by submitting articles.

Find the magazine or newspaper in your area that’s most likely to be interested in your content and submit an article to them. Be sure to include your channel’s logo, and/or a headshot of you – as well as a brief bio. If the publication’s editor is interested in your piece, they will likely include at least some of the information on you and your channel with the article, gaining you some great offline exposure.

Promote Your YouTube Videos with Playlists

When a viewer clicks on a single video on your channel, they’ll get just that, a single video. When they click on your YouTube playlist, they’ll get an extended viewing experience. When one video ends, the next one begins, just like with the playlist of music on your phone.

When you have a series of related videos, putting them in a playlist can significantly increase your views by giving your audience the option to sit back and watch. This promotion strategy follows the same strategy as the automatic play feature on Netflix.

How many times have you “accidentally” watched several episodes of a great television show on Netflix simply because the next episode played automatically after you finished the first one? You can use the same strategy to get more people watching more of your YouTube videos, just by grouping them into playlists.

Leave Valuable Comments on Videos Related to Your Area of Expertise

Leaving valuable, informed, and interesting comments on other YouTube videos shows that you’re truly an expert in your area and that you value community. The more social and informative you get on YouTube, the more you’ll create a reputation for yourself as a thought leader and expert.

It also helps that you’re willing to give something (in this case, information) away for free. Essentially, you’re building relationships with other YouTube creators and viewers, increasing brand recognition, and building a good reputation, all at the same time.

As you know, users can vote on your YouTube comments. If your input or feedback turns into a top comment, users watching the video may be interested in visiting your profile which leads to more viewers on your channel.

Participate in Forums

While getting involved in the conversations on other YouTube channels will get you a good amount of exposure, you can do even more to spread the word about your channel by seeking out forums related to your area of expertise.

Say, for example, that you have a cooking channel where you post fun and informative recipes and tutorials.

Go to Google and search for cooking forums. Peruse the results for active forums with chefs and foodies interested in the kind of cuisine you make and discuss in your videos.

Once you’ve found a couple of forums that suit your channel, make sure to read their terms of use and get to know the style and tone that people use when writing posts and responding to one another. This is important because forum posts that don’t comply with the terms of use will be deleted, and you may even be banned if you break the rules too often.

Read through several threads; don’t just jump in without getting to know the lay of the land first. Once you’ve gotten a feel for how a forum works, go ahead and get involved. As with the conversations you contribute to on YouTube comments, be sure that you’re really adding something to the thread and that your forum posts are informative and valuable.

Finally, many forums allow you to use a signature. A forum signature is like a customized message that will appear under each of your posts. If permitted, this can be a great place to promote your YouTube videos by placing a link to your channel, especially if the forum revolves around your topic area. Every time you leave a valuable post, members will be able to check out your channel.

Post Your YouTube Schedule – And Stick to It!

If your audience knows when to expect videos from you, they’ll know when to come back to your channel to find new content. This is essential for keeping your current viewers and getting more people interested in your YouTube channel.

Post your schedule on your channel’s homepage and on the profile pages for all of your social media accounts. Your video description and the intro can also be used. You can make this as simple as posting, “New videos every Thursday morning!” prominently on each of these pages.

If you post your schedule, though, be sure to stick to it. If your audience doesn’t know when you’ll be posting new videos, they might check back now and then. If they check back every Thursday, and half the time you don’t have a new video uploaded, they’re going to get frustrated and may even unsubscribe.

Being consistent with your uploading schedule is also very important for successfully building a brand around your YouTube channel. 

Start Guest Blogging

Reach out to bloggers who write about topics related to your vlogging channel.

In order to make this strategy work well, it’s important to guest blog or contribute on sites that are relevant to your channel. For example, if you make YouTube videos on your travel adventures, try guest blogging on sites that are centered around the travel industry.

This will ensure that the blog’s readership and community will be interested in your YouTube videos and content. Most blogs use an author bio for guest bloggers which can be used for your channel’s description.

You can even offer to write a guest blog post for them in exchange for a shout-out or a guest appearance on one of your upcoming videos. Much like making collaboration videos with other YouTubers, this increases both your exposure and theirs and works to promote both of your brands.

The more social you are – in all of your promotional efforts, but especially in working with other bloggers and vloggers– the more successful you’ll be.

Engage With Your Viewers and Subscribers

We’ve talked a good bit about starting and participating in conversations, and we cannot stress enough how important this is to your success. Engaging with your viewers makes you approachable to them. This builds an emotional bond with you and your brand, which promotes loyalty and repeat viewings. A few examples include:

  • Doing question and answer videos
  • Retweeting and tweeting your viewers on Twitter
  • Asking viewers what topics they would like to see in your next video
  • Responding to comments on your videos

Engage with your viewers in every possible avenue. Always encourage feedback. Do it in your descriptions, in your YouTube videos, and in your posts to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Then, when you get that feedback, keep the conversation going. The more your audience feels a bond with your brand, the more they’ll come back to your YouTube channel.

Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking lets you save links to interesting websites in a social forum. On a social bookmarking site, users can post, store, organize, and share links to sites that they want to come back to later, and they can do it socially. Think of these sites like sharing the bookmarks you’ve saved on your browser with others who have similar interests. Some great examples include StumbleUpon and Reddit. Post a link to your best videos on one of these sites with the right tags, and you could get a big boost in views.

Google Adwords for Video

If you’d like to promote your YouTube videos by advertising them to your target audience, check out the Google Adwords ad platform. Google AdWords continues to be one of the most successful pay-per-click (PPC) advertising programs in the world. With the PPC model, you bid on keywords, and when your ad is chosen, it shows up at the top of a user’s search page or on the sidebar of one of their Google pages (e.g., Drive, Gmail, YouTube, etc.). You don’t pay for the ad to appear; you pay when the user clicks on the ad and it takes them to your content.

To ensure that you don’t go over your spending limit, Google allows you to set a budget for your AdWords campaign. If, for example, you have a $50 budget, at $0.25 per click, your campaign will end once you’ve reached 200 clicks on your ads.

What does this have to do with promoting your YouTube channel? Well, Google has extended their AdWords program to include video advertising. With a Google AdWords for Video campaign, your advertisement will play before the video that a user has clicked on. You can also set-up advertisements for YouTube search results.

Like the traditional AdWords program, your advertisements won’t show up for people searching for unrelated content. They will only appear on pages and videos that relate to the keywords you’ve chosen for your campaign. For example, your advertisement video for your beauty vlog will appear in beauty related searches, but it won’t appear in searches related to sports statistics.

You will only pay for video advertising when a user actually watches your ad to its required completion. This ensures that you’re only paying for advertising that actually engages your target audience.

Though Google AdWords for Video is not free, you can set the budget for your campaign as low as you need to. Furthermore, you can use Google’s Analytics tools to track where traffic is coming from and how effective the campaign to promote your YouTube videos is.

Use Calls to Action in Your YouTube Videos

You might be surprised how effective calls to action can be for your videos. By just saying something like, “For more fun content, click subscribe below!” you’ve informed your audience that this isn’t a standalone video and that they can get more from your channel.

You can also use calls to action to increase viewer participation and engagement. If, for example, you’ve dedicated your channel to content in which you make prank videos, your call to action could be, “If you have ideas for more funny pranks, comment below. You might see your prank idea in next week’s video!”

Calls to action encourage your viewers to take action such as subscribing to your channel, leaving a comment, sharing your videos on social media and more. Most YouTubers like to use calls to action towards the end of their videos because this is when viewers have the best opportunity to take action.

Organize and Participate in Twitter Chats

Twitter chats (or Tweetchats) give you an opportunity to directly engage with your audience and create a promotional buzz around your YouTube channel.

All you need is a hashtag and a little bit of promotion. Let your viewers know ahead of time – using your channel and all of your social media accounts – that you’re going to have a live Twitter chat on X day at X:XX time. Be sure to let them know which hashtag to follow so they can get in on the chat, and then have fun answering questions and talking with your audience members.

You can focus your Twitter chat on trending topics related to your channel, how you make your videos, your own background, or anything else that your audience would be interested in. Be prepared for your chat to take a few minutes to get rolling, as all conversations take a little bit of time to get started. If the conversation seems to lull in the middle, encourage more chat by asking questions and making sure that you’ve responded to everyone’s tweets so far.

Every time users participate in your Twitter chat, their followers have an opportunity to see what’s going on. This could lead them to potentially joining the chat if interested and even becoming your new subscriber!

Attend Relevant Events and Conferences

Attending events and conferences is a great way to meet new people who may be interested in your YouTube channel. You can even sponsor an event, become a media partner, or join the speaking panel to get more exposure for your channel.

For example, if you have a cooking channel, you should definitely be attending cooking tradeshows and conferences. These events are great opportunities to do some face-to-face networking, find collaborators, and to increase brand recognition with a little bit of T-shirt marketing.

Transcribe Your YouTube Videos into Blog Posts

Not everyone can see your YouTube videos on their computers or phones. Sometimes they’ll be able to wait till later to see your content (after work, for example), but sometimes they want or need access to the information in your video and can’t watch it right then. You can make things easier and more convenient for your viewers by creating a blog and transcribing your video to it.

This creates brand loyalty, and having read posts, a lot of audience members will be curious enough to come back later and watch the video that goes with the transcript, as well as others. Most importantly, these blog posts will help promote your YouTube videos by bringing you traffic and visitors from search engine queries. Once you embed your YouTube videos to your blog posts, you can convert readers into viewers and subscribers!

Start an Email Newsletter

Especially if you only post YouTube videos once every few weeks, you can keep your audience’s attention with an email newsletter.

Include relevant articles, new video news, behind-the-scenes pieces, and guest blog posts to grab your audience’s attention and bring them back for more videos on your channel.

Be sure to always include links to videos on your channel in your newsletters. One newsletter with a few of your videos can lead to a lot of extra views with just one email especially if your subscribers forward the newsletter to their friends. Remember, don’t just make your newsletter seem like an advert to promote your YouTube videos. Instead, provide value by including exclusive content that’s of interest to your audience.

Reward Viewers Who Share Your Videos

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all let you know when users share your material. Let your supporters know that you appreciate them helping promote your YouTube videos by giving them a shout-out. You can do this by tweeting or posting a reply and thanking them, or you can give them a shout-out in your next YouTube video. People love getting recognition, and they love feeling like they’re really participating.

The more you show your audience that you appreciate them, the more they’ll share, like, and comment on your videos. Some of them will share your videos just because they want to hear their names on your next video, and that’s just fine! That means you have fans who care enough about your channel that they enjoy being mentioned. Shout-outs and engagement with your audience members cost you nothing, and they can do a whole lot to market your channel.

Use these strategies to promote your YouTube videos and get more views starting today!