YouTube has posted a new video which provides some key tips on how to build your audience in the app, and sustain performance over time.
The tips come from Rachel Alves, who currently works as a Product Manager for Recommendations at YouTube, but had previously been part of the platform's performance analysis team, which saw her examine thousands of channels to identify key growth trends and tips.
That puts her in a unique position to highlight the most important elements - here are Alves' top five channel-building tips.
1. Build Your Channel Around an Audience
Alves first key note is somewhat obvious, but also important from a branding and consistency standpoint.
Before anything else, you need to consider the audience that you're trying to reach, and what they want to see, both now, as well as what they will want to view in future, in order to keep your posts relevant, and keep viewers coming back.
"Think about who's watching your channel, what they're interested in, and how those interests are likely to change over the course of 6 months, to a year, to two years, if you're in this for the long term."
Alves says that trying to tap into short-term trends may work to get you some good stats, but that won't be sustainable over time, so you should be looking to build around people and their interests, and adjust as those interests change.
Alves says that you need to do two things in order to grow:
- Attract new viewers
- Keep those viewers coming back to watch more
Essentially, by aligning with a key interest, something that you can offer unique value in, and are highly attuned to, you can provide video content that evolves with the latest shifts, better catering to audience needs.
2. Find Your Niche
Alves notes that there's more content available now than ever before, which means that in order to stand out, you need to be creating content that's either better than what's already out there, or has a unique angle that people can't get anywhere else.
"For example, let's say that I wanted to start a cooking channel. I could go with a) a niche market or b) find a gap in the market. An example of a niche market might be instead of making regular recipe videos, I go after a specific type of recipe, so maybe all of my recipes are salad recipes. A gap in the market could be something that, let's say, I've identified that there's not a lot of videos out there for budget-conscious students, so maybe my entire channel is dedicated to recipes under $10."
This, again, may not be tapping into trends, as such, which is a popular growth hack. But by working towards a specific alignment, you stand a better chance of building an audience over time, as they'll come to know what you're content is about, and it's relevance to their interests.
3. Watch Lots of Videos
Alves says that if you were going to start a business, you'd conduct market research and competitor analysis, and building an effective YouTube channel is much the same.
Alves advises that creators should watch a lot of content in the niche that they're targeting to get inspiration for their approach, and inform their presentation choices based on engagement trends within that genre.
4. Create and Establish Your Brand
Alves says that having strong branding, by maintaining consistency between thumbnails, titles, colors, graphics and fonts, will help your channel stand out when your videos are shown to viewers within recommendations.
"Really think about what fonts, colors and styles best represent your brand, and then make sure that lows through your channel icons, your channel art, even your channel description, and of course, your channel trailer."
This is true in all digital marketing - by establishing your brand guidelines around visual representation, you can better establish your brand, and ensure people know your material, without even having to look at a brand or channel name.
5. Be Consistent
Alves last tip is essentially 'show up' and be present for your viewers when they go looking.
Alves says that in order to build repeat viewership, you need to post consistently, to a schedule, in order to become a part of their routine. Alves also notes that creators need to stay true to the promise that was first delivered in their clips, and that this is especially true when first establishing your channel.
Channels do also need to evolve their approach over time, but by aligning with a central focus, you're more likely to attract an audience interested in that topic, which will take time to build, but maintaining consistency in this is important.
These are some helpful pointers, and while there's no magic solution for maximizing your YouTube performance, aligning with these guidelines will go a long way towards helping you build channel viewership.
Really, the key lies in the content, and creating great, entertaining stuff, aligned to your target audience. That's the real trick here, and it's not easy to come up with, nor create, great, entertaining, episodic content. But if you focus on something that you're passionate about, and research what works on other channels, there are significant opportunities in YouTube clips.