YouTube subscribers are the most valuable asset for a web video producer. They’re the people who have opted in to receiving updates about your content, and as such, they’re a highly receptive audience.
Everyone publishing content on YouTube should aim to cultivate a healthy subscriber list. But how?
1. Create a consistent buzz around your videos
Make every video you produce at least as good as the one before it. Subscribers have chosen to follow you because they’ve enjoyed content you’ve produced in the past; don’t slack off once your subscriber count starts to rise, or you may well find your subscriber count actually starts to fall.
With each video, try to think of a better way to approach a key element. Surprise people by going further. Incorporate new ideas, improve your production techniques and critically examine your video for ways you can improve.
Also, monitor your comments. Some YouTube commenters may generate ‘noise’, but plenty of others will give you useful feedback. Don’t be offended if they pick faults; use comments as your market research tool.
2. Encourage new subscriptions
The call to action is a key element of content production, whether it be video, copy or an infographic. Users need to be be given one clear, concise instruction. When creating a call to action, don’t be too vague and don’t leave anything to chance. Remember: you are literally telling people what to do.
Try ending your video with a call to action, or placing it in a video annotation. Remember that annotations can be made into hyperlinks, so why not make your call to action text into a real, clickable link? By doing so, you’re giving people a direct route to a place they can subscribe. The easier you make this, the more people will use it.
3. Publicise your channel
YouTube may be the second biggest search engine on the internet, but it’s not a self-sustaining referral network. Video content should be actively and consistently promoted from your blog, your website, your social media feeds and anywhere else you can think of.
YouTube provide a Subscription Widget which can be embedded in any website or blog in under a minute, but there are other ways to do this. Got a Facebook icon on your site? Put a YouTube icon next to it. Add your channel link to your Twitter profile, post useful content on LinkedIn or add interesting stills to Pinterest (don’t forget to link them back to your channel subscription page). Add a QR code to physical goods.
Weaving a close network of social media sites is a really good way to bring fresh subscribers in. Don’t forget to check each site regularly and send personal messages to anyone who makes the effort to Like or Share your content. Comment on videos from like-minded users, and subtly - but consistently - promote yourself.