Creating an engaging and successful YouTube channel is no easy feat.
Standing out in a sea of content requires not just great content but also effective marketing strategies.
In this blog post, we'll explore how to market your YouTube channel effectively, focusing on proven techniques to increase your visibility, engagement, and subscriber count.
11 Key Ways to Market Your YouTube Channel
1. Keep Showing Up
The rest of this guide doesn’t matter if you forget the all-important first step.
And that is, like every other content channel out there from your blog to social media, you have to keep showing up.
And that means posting new content—in this case, of course, videos—regularly and consistently.
If you’re already publishing content regularly elsewhere, such as on a blog, use that as a starting point, repurposing your blog content into video form.
Here are some guides to help:
- A Content Repurposing Guide to Creating Multi-Channel Content
- The Ultimate Content Repurposing Workflow for Your Business
- 21 Ways to Repurpose Your Blog Content
2. Make Videos That Emotionally Engage Viewers
Think about the videos you remember most.
They probably made you feel something, right?
There's a study from Harvard Business Review that says people who feel an emotional connection to something are more likely to want to continue that relationship.
“When companies connect with customers’ emotions, the payoff can be huge.” —The New Science of Customer Emotions, Harvard Business Review
In other words, if you can make people feel emotionally engaged with your YouTube videos, they're more likely to come back for more.
Here are some tips you can start putting into action:
- Start strong—the first few moments of your video are super important. Videos that grab attention right away keep 30% more viewers watching. Consider starting your video with a fun fact, a question, a sneak peek of the best part, or using a sense of curiosity to keep the viewer engaged and wanting more…
- Keep it interesting—hold your viewer’s attention by keeping things moving with something new and interesting every few seconds. This can be as simple as closing up and sweeping out again on the same frame, hand gestures, something new to show the viewer, changing scene completely, and so on… keep the viewer guessing, and surprise them every now and then. Leave them wanting to see what happens next…
- Tell a story—we all love stories, probably because they’re immediately emotionally engaging and fire up our imaginations. Stories have a beginning, middle and end, so use a similar structure for your videos, as well as for segments within them. A basic but effective structure is this: tell them what you’re going to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you’ve just told them.
- Emulate engaging videos you watch—notice when you feel engaged by the videos you watch on YouTube. What are they doing to achieve that level of engagement? Try doing similar things in your videos, and track your results.
3. Create Engaging YouTube Thumbnails
We all know a book cover is one of the biggest influences over our decision to buy it.
In the same way, a video thumbnail is crucial for driving views—and it needs to be engaging.
In fact, a well-designed thumbnail can boost your views by up to 154%.
Of course, it’s important to ensure your thumbnail accurately represents the video content, but here are some tips to help your thumbnails to stand out:
- Use the right size and quality—YouTube recommends a resolution of 1280x720 pixels (with a minimum width of 640 pixels). Ensure your thumbnail is under the 2MB limit and preferably in .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG format
- Use clear and bright images—a blurry or dark thumbnail will mean potential viewers don’t even notice it. Use high-quality images that help convey the essence of your video.
- Keep it simple—a cluttered thumbnail can confuse viewers. Stick to one main idea or image to represent your video.
- Use colors that pop—bright and contrasting colors can help your thumbnail stand out among a sea of competing videos.
- Use clear text—a few words can help convey the video's message, but make sure it clearly stands out from the background, and use as few words as possible for easy scanning by potential viewers.
- It should reflect your title—your video title and thumbnail should work together. They should give viewers a clear idea of what to expect.
Watch the following video for a quick overview of how to create a custom thumbnail for YouTube, or click here for our step-by-step guide:
4. Help People Find Your Videos
As the world’s second largest search engine after Google, YouTube processes over 3 billion searches a month.
In addition, 70% of YouTube views come from listings in its search results.
Helping your videos appear for relevant keyword searches is therefore crucial for getting them noticed and for marketing your channel in general.
So how do you do that?
SEO for YouTube is partly to do with using relevant keywords in the title, description and tags for your video.
However your ranking for particular keywords also has a lot to do with the actual content of your video.
YouTube analyzes your video to help determine what it’s about, such as by creating an automated transcript for it, analyzing the content shown within it, and examining your thumbnail.
So the best way to rank for a particular keyword is to deliver a lot of value related to that keyword.
As well as SEO, once people start watching a video from your channel, it's a good idea to encourage them to watch others.
The more videos they watch from your channel, the stronger their sense of relationship with you, and the more likely it is they’ll return in future.
One way to do this is by adding playlists to your channel.
Channels with playlists generally see a 20% increase in their watch time, as viewers tend to watch videos in succession.
You can also add cards in your video to suggest other videos. Use end screens at the end to guide viewers to another video for them to watch, and/or ask them to subscribe.
Finally, use hashtags to help people find your videos. Research has shown that videos with relevant hashtags get an average of 12% more views.
Hashtags work by connecting your video to a broader conversation or topic on YouTube, and help expose your video to people with interest in a particular topic.
5. Use Engaging, Relevant Copy In Surrounding Text
It’s not just the thumbnail that encourages viewers to watch your video. It may capture their initial interest, but viewers will then check out the title of your video, which effectively acts as your ‘headline’.
If that continues to pique their interest, they’ll often review your description too.
So all this copy matters.
Just like your thumbnail, your video’s title should grab attention and make someone want to click. Make it clear how the viewer will benefit from watching your video.
Use your description to then expand on the video's content. Be both informative and authentic.
As a quick example, let’s say you've made a video with some basic training about email marketing.
The title might simply be Email Marketing Basics. But it’s not particularly engaging, is it?
So you might change that to: Boost Your Sales: Mastering Email Marketing in Simple Steps!
Which do you think would attract the most views?
And what about the description?
A basic description might read: This video covers the basics of email marketing. We discuss different types of email campaigns, how to build an email list, and general tips for email content.
But again, it’s not particularly engaging.
So how about the following instead?
Dive into the world of email marketing with our expert guide! 🚀 Discover insider secrets to crafting irresistible emails that captivate your audience. Learn how to grow a loyal subscriber base, design campaigns that convert, and unleash the full potential of your email strategy. Watch the video now to transform your digital communication and see your sales soar! 💥📈
Note how the more engaging title and description are very clear about what the video is about and the benefits for the viewer, while using engaging language.
6. Use YouTube Ads (Via YouTube Studio Promotions)
Don’t restrict yourself to purely organic means of marketing your YouTube channel. Content and social media platforms are increasingly becoming pay-to-play, and YouTube is no exception.
Within YouTube Studio, you can promote your channel via the Promotions tab on the Content page.
This involves setting up simple ad campaigns for your videos where you:
Link a Google Ad account to your channel
Select a video you want to promote
Edit the headline and description for the ad (these are initially based on your video’s title and your channels name respectively)
Choose the country or countries you want to target, and potentially languages spoken
Decide on your total budget and end date.
7. Maximize Viewer Engagement
When you ask viewers clearly to do something in your video, like subscribe or click below, they're more likely to do it.
Having a good call to action can get you more likes, comments, and even subscribers. Big channels like Business Insider use this trick—they pop in a quick message at the end of their videos asking people to subscribe, and it works!
Even for those short YouTube videos, having a punchy call to action is super important, with research indicating it can help get your video noticed more and even increase sales by up to 30%.
8. Nurture Your Community
Every leading channel on YouTube is backed not just by significant subscriber numbers, but by a vibrant, engaged community.
Each subscriber isn’t just a number, but represents a genuine person who values your content and actively engages with it.
Here's how you can nurture and expand this sense of community:
- Engage actively in the comments—it might sound basic, but this is where most of the direct interactions happen. Reply to comments, ask questions, or even start discussions. For example, if you post a cooking video, ask your viewers about their favorite dishes or cooking tips.
- Hold live Q&A sessions—this allows real-time interaction. Viewers appreciate the spontaneity and directness. You could schedule these after major milestones (e.g., after reaching 10k subscribers) or after significant events related to your content.
- Utilize the YouTube Community tab—this is a goldmine for deeper engagement. Post behind-the-scenes photos, run polls about upcoming content, or just share thoughts and updates. For instance, if you're a tech reviewer, you can poll your audience about which gadget they'd like you to review next.
- Collaborate with your community—occasionally, you can feature viewer-generated content or shout out exceptional comments or fan art. It makes them feel valued and part of the channel's growth journey.
- Feedback loop—don’t be shy to ask for feedback. What do they love? What would they like to see more of? Channels that evolve based on viewer feedback tend to retain and grow their communities better.
Building a strong community is about acknowledging the people behind the views and subscriptions, and fostering an environment where they feel heard, valued, and connected.
9. Collaborate With Other Channels
When two channels join forces on YouTube, you cross over audiences, while introducing both to new content, fresh perspectives and additional value.
So, how do you find the right partner to potentially collaborate with? \
- Based on insights from Sprout Social, collaborations work best when you team up with creators who share similar content styles and values. This synergy often leads to more authentic interactions and a stronger connection with both audiences.
- Before jumping in, discuss goals, expectations, and ideas. Alignment at this stage can set the tone for a successful collaboration.
- Agree on a collaboration approach. You might decide to work on a joint video project, to do a virtual meet-up, or do a channel takeover. Decide on a format that suits both parties and excites the viewers.
10. Embed Your Videos
Repurpose your videos by embedding them elsewhere.
Apart from helping to market your YouTube channel and growing views and subscribers, it can also help grow the visibility of your other content.
For example, if you embed your video into one or more relevant blog posts, it helps your SEO.
That’s because a relevant video helps keep people on the page and engaged for longer.
By reducing the number of people who immediately ‘bounce’ back to the search results and pick another result, you indicate the relevance of your content for a particular search term and grow your ranking.
That’s exactly what we do here at EverywhereMarketer, helping to market our YouTube channel while boosting our SEO at the same time.
Within a few weeks of publishing a blog post, it’s repurposed as a video, and then embedded at the top of the original post. Here’s an example from a previous post:
It may also be embedded into other posts where the content is relevant and adds value.
You can also embed your videos elsewhere, such as content you publish on Medium or Quora.
Again, your videos will add value to that content too and grow its visibility, while helping to market your YouTube channel.
11. Track Your Metrics
As you continue your journey of growing your YouTube channel, one thing’s for certain.
You’ll have good times and bad. Times when everything seems to be growing and doing well, and times when things feel flat or even that they’re going backwards.
During the down times, it can be hard not to feel disillusioned, and perhaps feel like giving up.
But by tracking your metrics so that you can see the long-term trends, you’ll notice that even though there are peaks and troughs, overall you’re likely still growing (assuming you’re regularly and consistently creating new content, that is!)
That can stop you giving up and keep you holding firm during the inevitable low points.
By tracking the general trend of your channel into the future, you can see where it’s all headed in the end.
The truth is, YouTube’s Channel analytics are a bit limited.
For example, it shows how many subscribers you’re getting each day. But it doesn’t show you the overall trend of your audience’s growth.
So create a simple spreadsheet to track your metrics over time (just use Google Sheets).
Here at EverywhereMarketer, every week we track certain key metrics for the previous 28 days, including:
- Watch time (in hours)
From these, we then extrapolate other metrics, such as monthly averages and, for subscribers, a cumulative total.
After a few weeks of tracking, you can then start to add graphs and charts to the spreadsheet to visualize the data.
For example, our cumulative subscriber growth chart shows a very encouraging upward trend, after an initial relatively flat few months when the channel first started:
We also track how the number of subscribers added in any 28 day period is accelerating over time as a general trend.
YouTube’s own analytics doesn’t give you this kind of visualization of your data.
(There may be third-party analytics packages that help with this, but for now a simple spreadsheet is all we need.)
Given the amount of content out there, standing out on YouTube can certainly be a challenge.
But once you know how to market your YouTube channel effectively, as this post has shown, you’ll be on a path of continuous growth.
Remember to keep producing new content on a regular and consistent basis with videos that are designed to engage your audience while delivering value. Optimize them properly to get found, embed them on other channels for additional benefits, nurture your audience and collaborate with others.
Track how you grow, and just keep going. Marketing your YouTube channel isn’t a one-time task, but an ongoing process through which you continuously learn, adapt and refine your approach.