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How to Grow Your YouTube Channel

Approximately 3,700,000 videos are uploaded onto YouTube every day. Looking at this number, you may wonder how others manage to stand out amongst the crowd and turn their YouTube channel into a full enterprise.

How to grow your YouTube channel

YouTube’s growth model is one of the things that make it so attractive to anyone trying to grow an online presence – naturally, YouTube’s traffic is completely organic, so cultivating a following through YouTube almost feels like magic. When first starting out however, it can feel like you’re all at sea, unsure how or where you’re going to gain a following. Despite this, interest in YouTube is only going to keep on rising, so now is a better time than any to find your feet on the platform.

What do I need to do to start seeing growth?

The prospect of building a successful YouTube channel lives and dies with engagement – you’re going to need viewers, and they’re going to need to be hooked. There are various ways to get them engaged in your content which involve some know-how around YouTube, but before anything technical, you should think about what’s required from you to maintain a good YouTube channel and grow a following. There are three central principles that cover what’s required: passion, patience, and consistency.

Growing your channel is going to be an uphill struggle if the content you’re putting out doesn’t interest you. You need to have a passion for your subject – in a way, this boosts the quality of your work significantly as you’re more driven for perfection and you feel much more satisfied after completing a project.

Gareth vlogging on YouTube

Building a following on YouTube takes time. There is no way to predict when your channel will gain traction: starting on YouTube you can upload as many videos as you like and see minimal progress, then one day you could finally get a hit, and every upload after that has the momentum you were looking for. This is why patience is so important; you have to be persistent to get the rewards that make YouTube so inviting – it’s all about keeping the ball rolling.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that YouTube commonly rewards good, consistent content. If you’re consistently uploading quality content to the platform, then there’s not much more they can ask of you, and it won’t be long until you start to reap the benefits through their recommendation algorithm. Viewers respect when someone puts the effort in to bring them a quality end-product.

The next few headings dive into more specific aspects of channel growth that you’ll need to understand and deploy to see those principles rewarded.

Gimbal set-up

How do I make engaging content?

One of the secrets to engaging viewers is finding a niche and sticking with it. It can be anything – just think about spotting gaps in the market. If you’re focused on making photography tutorials for example, think back to what would have helped you when you were learning yourself, as chances are others like you will be looking for the same thing. Just like that, you’ve found a demand for your content. It’s a worthwhile exercise to think about what others aren’t providing, and whether that’s something you could incorporate into your content.

Another way to ensure your content is engaging is to find what works for you. Viewers have the best experience watching content that feels comfortable and authentic, and the best way to achieve this is to adapt and figure out what comes naturally. If your content is short and informational, perhaps a weekly upload schedule would work for you, as it doesn’t take long to plan a video. Are the subjects of your videos closely connected? If so, it may be worth setting up a series so your viewers know to expect more of the same. Do whatever you feel works – often, YouTubers find that incorporating their idiosyncrasies into their content instead of ironing them out makes them more memorable and keeps viewers hooked.

Vlogging cookery class

To maintain a good fanbase, it’s worth making sure you’re aware of your image. Building a unique brand comes with time and experimentation, and varies from person to person, but can really help you stand out among the millions of other channels on YouTube. Reminding your viewers to interact (you may have seen thousands of YouTubers asking you to “like and subscribe” and “hit the notification bell”) can also increase the likelihood of your viewers staying in the loop. Asking for feedback is vital, as viewer involvement is brilliant for building a community around your channel – make the effort to interact with subscribers in the comments, replying to them and leaving hearts on their comments accordingly.

In short, keep a close eye on what’s working (and what’s not working) and you should eventually find a rhythm when making your videos engaging.

How does the YouTube algorithm work?

“The algorithm” is a bit of a buzzword across the internet right now, and rightfully so: social media holds a lot of influence in the sense that it can customise what users are shown, day in and day out. YouTube uses a mixture of your video’s performance and the interests of your viewers to decide whether they want to promote on their site or not. By knowing your way around this powerful system, you can make YouTube growth less of a coin-flip and much more strategic.

Manfrotto head for moviemaking

YouTube uses a variety of different metrics to gauge whether or not your video is worth promoting, which are as follows:

  • Watch time – The more people watch your videos, YouTube assumes your content is more engaging and is more likely to recommend it to viewers. The key here is to ensure your viewers are engaged quickly, as YouTube only counts a ‘view’ after 30 seconds have been watched.
  • Audience retention – YouTube uses a measure of how much of your videos viewers get through as a percentage. If more people are watching your videos through to the end, YouTube infers that your content is high-quality and engaging.
  • Click-through rate – This is the percentage of viewers that click on your video after seeing it on their home page. This is boosted by eye-catching titles and thumbnails.
  • Upload frequency – The more videos you upload regularly, the more YouTube will recommend your content. Try to strike a balance – upload regularly and consistently, but keep it manageable and avoid leaning into spam territory.
  • Session duration – this is how long viewers spend watching your videos in a viewing session. You can boost this metric by putting your videos in playlists, as one video in a series will come after the other and the viewer will spend more time watching your content.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) can also be greatly helpful. Tools like TubeBuddy and VidIQ provide you with key words that make your content stand out among millions of search results. If you’re really looking to optimise your reach, it’s absolutely worth looking into and is used by professional marketing channels worldwide.

Ring lighting for vlog

How to make high-quality YouTube videos

Your videos require production value – above all of the algorithm optimisation, the metrics and the tricks of the trade, your videos must be high quality. With so many advanced video creation tools available to consumers, you can really spoil your viewers with first-rate content without breaking the bank.

Cameras like the Nikon Z30 combine the best of vlogging cameras and APS-C mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras into one for great quality video. The Sony ZV-1 II is a more lightweight option for run-and-gun style videos.

Crisp, clear audio is a must – I’ve found brilliant quality in the DJI Mic, a discreet lavalier mic set with loads of functionality, but RODE has a versatile set of options like the cheaper VideoMicro and the advanced Wireless PRO. Audio problems are very noticeable and can make your viewers want to turn off quickly if they can hear background noise or humming. Lighting makes a surprisingly huge difference – Godox and Nanlite have good options to keep your lighting even and natural.

Vlogging cameras are a relatively new introduction to the camera world and cater to smaller content creators trying to take their videos to the next level. These cameras place excellent audio-visual proficiency into your own hands and help you make content with quality that makes a real statement. They come packed with technology designed for content creators to make your filming experience more streamlined, so you can get to editing and publishing your videos faster than ever before.

Streamlining the editing process using good software makes uploading content a breeze. As a user of the MacOS ecosystem, I’m a fan of Apple’s brilliantly-optimised Final Cut Pro, however, Adobe’s Premiere Pro is arguably the most widely used video editor among content creators and is trusted by many. Wondershare Filmora is a great freemium editor for those looking to get started with the basics.

Recording a skater

Using jump-cuts, multi-cam and transitions effectively gives your videos a professional appearance. Adding additional media like background music, your own B-roll, or stock footage complements this to give your videos a cinematic quality. However, remember that less is more – stuffing your video full of unnecessary edits will make it come off as tacky, so be subtle if you can.

Before getting to filming, it’s good to have a pre-conceived idea of the video’s subject, purpose, and target audience. Using a script can help to implement this, but those who prefer a more conversational flow should write up a point-by-point plan so that they’re not just reading word-for-word. To create a good video, you can build a roadmap template that you follow regardless of the subject – often by doing so; you can pick up a ‘style’ in your content.

It almost goes without saying that you should avoid using clickbait – while it may work from an algorithmic viewpoint, it leaves you with unsatisfied viewers, a low-quality end product (that you likely won’t be proud of) and you’re very likely to get lost among the thousands of other clickbait channels out there.

Growing a YouTube channel requires a lot of persistence, but it is by no means impossible. Once you find what works you’ll inevitably start to see progress – the reason that content creation appeals to so many of us is that, eventually, hard work and high-quality output lead to results. By combining patience, persistence, a good workflow, an experimental mindset, and a unique focus, chances are your channel will be flourishing before you know it.

We stock a wide variety of accessories to help you with your YouTube journey at Park Cameras – browse our video equipment today to make quality content creation a breeze.

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By Thom Pyle on 27/09/2023

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