How to Build an Audience on YouTube
YouTube is a massive opportunity. Over 1 billion — imagine that! — unique users visit the social networking site each day. Over 6 billion hours of video are being watched on YouTube every month. It's constantly growing. YouTube has become a very important part of our daily lives. This social network reaches more adult viewers in the US than cable TV. Millions subscribe to different channels.
And it's not going anywhere.
That's why if YouTube is not a part of your marketing plan, you're making a big mistake. YouTube has to be there, because people expect to interact with your content on YouTube. People like watching stuff on YouTube and using this trend is a smart thing to do.
For that, first and foremost, you need some quality content. However, even if you are producing great videos you won't achieve any success without an audience. To have an audience, you have to build one. Sadly, with YouTube, it's not the matter of cream rising to the top — there's simply too much content. That's why you have to build your audience yourself. There are a lot of tools for better interaction with YouTube and none simple instrument for making your channel popular. You have to gain it by hard work.
Good news? There are some proven techniques that will help you do so. Today we'll talk about them — how to find and win over your new auidence.
Identify Your Target Audience
Who are they and what do they need?
Those are two very important questions. To attact new people — and to make them stay — you have to answer them. First, understand who your audience is. The age group you're aiming at, their income, all those statistics. You have to keep them in mind. Then try to think about their needs. There may be people who want answers and all they are getting is rehashed or wrong information. Or people who want to be entertained. Or people who watch YouTube videos with no particular expectations in mind.
When you understand who your audience is and what does it want you will understand what type of content you need to produce to make them stay.
Rick Wion, the Director of Social Media at McDonald’s, said that the company spent three months monitoring conversations about its brand before creating content on YouTube. Results? Videos with very hight watch count.
They are a great place to find recurring questions in your niche. What people seek for, what people talk about. What matters to them. There are hundreds of questions which need answering, in-depth tutorials and how-to guides in wait to be produced. All that can be turned into videos. If you work closely with specialized forums you will understand how to make better content and find people who will be eager to interact with it. People on forums are usually very dedicated.
Need help? Use Boardreader. It’s a search engine for forums, of sorts. Entering a keyword lists all the threads discussing the topic.
Searching in this manner will give you a handy list of trendy topics.
Never forget to use built-in statistic tool in YouTube — we've talked at length about that topic in the previous piece on YouTube marketing. Publish your videos on Facebook and Twitter and then analyze who watches those. There are plenty of tools available online for that, in addition to those that are already built-in.
When you understand who watches your videos and what matters to them, you will understand what content to make. The combination of interested audience and useful content is like a powerful combo in a video game — the results will blow your mind. That's because even though there’s a lot of information online most of it is spread far and wide. The information is not streamlined for an audience. Do it.
Following the same strategy, Matthew Woodward was able to generate over $70,000 in profits with his video tutorials that catered to a very specific audience.
Tell Your Audience Immediately What’s In It For Them
Most viewers drop off because they can’t understand why they would want to continue watching your video — or subscribe to your channel. That's a big problem. What can you do with it?
To solve it you can include a short intro which tells your viewers the benefits of watching your video. This is especially helpful for tutorial videos. Finding how to install a blog template or what is happening with Syria should be easy. Today is the age of information flooding. People often close the tab before it loads. Quickly explaining to them what you talk about is very helpful both for you and for your viewers. If anything, people will appreciate that you don't intend to waste their time — and will visit again because of that.
This is an example. A few bulletin points, a half hour video explained in simple terms.
Statistics would convince anyone that shorter videos are the best. But longer videos can be popular, too — if you explain what's in it for your audience.
Focus on SEO
When ranking videos, YouTube algorithms and Google search factor in lots of things — engagement, views, comments, drop-offs, to name just a few. However a proper title, tags and keywords could make that work easier — and your life better.
The title is the most important thing in YouTube SEO optimization. It should have a nice ring to it and capture attention. At the same time don’t forget that including keywords is of utmost importance for Google to process your video properly.
If you're interested in connecting your YouTube channel to your blog or main website, you would need to optimize your video for conversions. The description section could help you with that. The video itself can hardly produce conversions. To have conversions pay special attention to the description. Since longer descriptions are truncated to show just the first few lines, include a link to your landing page or site in the first or second line. The CTA (call-to-action) should be visible and not require an extra step from the viewers.
Tags are the keywords that you enter below the description. It's easy to not pay attention to them, but they are very useful. Tags could give more perspective to the video, make it more attractive for Google searches and be another way for people to find your work.
It's a difficult advice to follow, but keep it in mind nevertheless. Once done with the video, it is useful to make a transcript and upload it to YouTube. Google understands text and doing so will help rank. You will appear higher in search results and your audience will thank you — sometimes it's just convenient to read instead of watching.
Custom thumbnails are way better than thumbnails from video screenshots. They convey the purpose of the video and make it stand out in search results. Custom thumbnails also provide a sense of consistency.
Is Regular Content a Must?
Short answer: it depends.
In depends on a number of things. If you have a cooking channel then your viewers would want new recipes at least once a week. If you are into creating tutorials which take 18 hours or so to produce then once a month would do. Regularity of content has to match both audience needs and expectations and your abilities.
Of course, producing great content regularly is the best but it's a utopia — at least in the beginning, when you're only trying to understand how to do it properly. Try to seek balance between quality and quantity. The videos should be regular, but it's always better to produce one good video a week than ten bad videos a day.
How to Make Viewers Stay?
Engaging with your fans is a great way to find out what they want and make them stay. Do it! Ask what they want, ask for their opinion, ask for their advice.
Not only this will give you some ideas on what to create next, it will also lead to more engagement at the same time. And when people are engaged in a community or a discussion, they don't want to leave. Try creating a healthy discussion around each of your videos. People often say that YouTube comments section is full of hatred and vile, but actulally it could be a great place if you curate it right.
Building an audience on YouTube is not very difficult once you get the basics right. Find what people need. Understand what they want. Make it easy for them to find you. Produce great content. Do you have any other techniques for building an audience around your YouTube channel? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.
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