YouTube, you devil you!

Introduction:

YouTube is a very peculiar and wonderful thing. Sometimes we love it, others we hate it … and with very good reason too! There are literally over one billion users on YouTube (around 1/7th of the population!!) uploading, watching, sharing, commenting (and complaining) every single day of the year. We’ve all heard Gangnam Style, we’re all cursing it for giving us Justin Bieber… Well, most outside of 10-24 year old girls.

So you’re probably thinking – “If there are this many people on YouTube, how do I stand a chance?” – and well, it’s fairly simple. As long as you make use of a few very simple techniques that are used across all channels regardless of the type of content they produce.

You may well already be utilising these techniques as well as some of the tools that are going to mentioned – and that’s ok. Just take that as a reminder that you’re doing what you can in order to get the best out of your experience on YouTube. This post (and all subsequent posts) can’t guarantee that you will become a massive success unfortunately – as much as I’d love it to do so – but as long as you keep up with the things mentioned you’re doing fine!

Content:

So the most important thing with regards to every single YouTube Channel is the content that they upload – without content, there’s no channel – right? There are so many different channels, all with different types of content and each content creator has their own individual personality drawing in a crowd which can make creating videos a very intimidating process.

You might look at the bigger channels and think – “That will never be me…” – but it certainly could! It takes time to build up a following, and it also takes time to get into a routine when creating content in the first place. The most important thing to take from this is that you shouldn’t allow yourself to get discouraged just because there are other people getting more views, more likes, subscribers etc. However, I will stress that you shouldn’t just make content for the sake of gaining momentum… Only produce the content that you know you will enjoy making and stick to it. Channels that change the content they produce after building a following often begin to lose their loyal fans due to the changes – be wary of this!

So, how do you figure out what kind of content you want to make?

Well, it’s really as simple as asking yourself – “What do I enjoy doing?”. If you have an idea of the things you enjoy, then you probably already know pretty much what kind of things you would like to do for uploading on YouTube.

If you’re an anime fan, you might decide to review or create reaction videos to new series as they come out, if you’re a musician you might do music covers, whether you sing, play an instrument or even just arrange your own versions of other songs, if you’re pretty confident and can chat in front of the camera then you may enjoy vlogging, beauty tutorials, reviewing items you purchase – might even be able to break it down into specific categories depending on the kind of things you like! Finding the content you want to create for your YouTube Channel doesn’t need to be as intimidating and daunting as it often seems!

If you’re here, then you probably already know that I write music, I play guitar, I sing occasionally and post my works on YouTube frequently.

For my channel, the content I produce can be broken down into categories;

  • Anime / TV
  • Video Games
  • Vocaloid
  • Video Game Music Compositions
  • Electro Remixes

How did I get to this? Well it’s fairly simple; I love music and play an instrument (guitar), I have a level of skill in writing music, Vocaloid fascinates me, I play video games and often love their soundtracks, and I (at one stage) wanted to write music for games. So when you put it all together like that, it’s fairly easy to see why I produce the content that I do.

I hope that this helps any of you who are struggling with what to create in deciding what kind of content that you’d like to produce for your own YouTube channels.

I’ll go on to explain more in depth how to become more recognised for your achievements later in the post as I assume that this is typically the biggest thing holding people back.

Views & Subscribers:

I’m lumping these two together as, more often than not, they go hand in hand. Gaining views on your channel can often be the hardest part of being a YouTuber – especially for those just starting out. You would think you would upload a video and people would just watch it… And while some do indeed do this, most of the time when you’re at the beginning of your adventure, people won’t find you.

So what can we do to encourage that people view your videos?

Friends & Family:

Make use of your friends and family as they will be crucial to the initial development of your channel – their support is arguably the most important. Ask them to watch your videos – ask for feedback, criticisms, things you can improve upon and either make the changes and re-upload or just carry the advice over to your next video. Ask these folks to share your video to their respective social media profiles, Twitter and Facebook are arguably the best places for this due to the high volume of users! This will encourage others that they happen to be friends with to check out this new video you’ve uploaded which will generally get you your first few subscribers.

A word of caution though; don’t make friends or befriend people purely for the sake of boosting your YouTube channel and acquiring more subscribers. It’s shady, and not very many people will like you for this. Not only that, you’ll find yourself without any friends in the end so it’s a bad idea!

Social Media:

We all use it. Social Media is incredibly important to all YouTubers. Every day, videos are being posted on Facebook and Twitter by fans of your favourite YouTube stars – and thus more people will watch these videos. Make sure you create appropriate Social Media profiles, make yourself approachable and start talking to people who are in similar circles to yourself. This ultimately allows you to build up a rapport, and prospective fans will find it easier to approach you if you seem easy enough to chat with!

There are a couple of key aspects to make use of within Social Media that will assist you in getting your content to the right people. And there’s nothing difficult about this, it just takes a bit of effort to sit down and do!

Facebook Groups:

We’ve all been invited to them, there are literally millions of them and they’re always brimming with undying energy.

Find relevant groups that are likely to enjoy your content, engage with the group by posting and talking with members and ultimately begin sharing your work with these groups. Don’t spam!

If you’ve literally just joined a group, don’t just spam your content. It’s more or less unwritten law. Engage the group, then post your content. Always seek admin approval too – it helps!

Granted, there are some instances in which you can make exceptions – for example, most of the time I can’t converse with a large portion of the Vocaloid groups as the majority seem to be Spanish or Vietnamese speaking groups. In instances like this, just explain in the best way you can (without complicated language) what it is you’ve done, and that you think they’d enjoy the video. Most of the time someone will be able to respond, but to allow everyone as best a chance to understand as you can refrain from using complicated language and grammar.

Google+ Communities:

More or less the same deal as above. These are typically much bigger than groups on Facebook – I put this down to previously forced integration with YouTube. Ultimately, it can’t be a bad thing to post your content in groups with large population who will all be notified that you’ve actually posted in the first place – right?

These guys are typically a lot more strict with their rules regarding posting content in their Communities – said rules can typically be found on their about page, or on a pinned post. Again, I would refer to the previous section and recommend you engage with people and posts within the group for a while and try to make some friends in these Communities before you go posting your content in them.

Communities typically request that you post within a relevant category, if you can’t find a category that suits your upload either; 1) Don’t post it OR 2) Consult with one of the Admins of the Community about whether your content is suitable and get permission to post it.

Regardless, these are definitely valuable assets to be aware of. You may not be a fan of Google+ (I’m personally not) but it is definitely a viable tool that can be used to drive up your views and subscribers. There will always be someone who likes your work in these group environments.

Twitter & Hashtagging:

Arguably the most important social media site to make use of as a content creator in my experience. So much information is exchanged on Twitter on a daily basis, you’re confined to a small amount of characters (for now at least) and thus forced to get straight to the point. A lot of creators on other websites can get bogged down with words and drown a post in needless information. Twitter prevents you from doing this in a single tweet.

The Retweet function is also one of the best things you can utilise, and there’s no easier way than to simply ask for Retweets. It might well be the case that no one does it, but it could be the case that 10, 100, or 1000 people do. One thing to do to potentially boost the amount of these that you get is to use hashtags. I’m not particularly great at remember to do this myself so I’m not going to lie and say that I do. But if you use a #hashtag then not only are you tweeting out in the open, but you’re also exposing that tweet to possibly thousands of people sitting going through that particular hashtag.

Granted, for hashtags to be most effective you need to be specific. If you’re a musician and you only use the #music hashtag, well, I imagine you can understand how many thousand tweets per hour there are within this hashtag … But if you typically do music covers and happen do a cover of a song from an anime, then use the hashtag for that anime specifically you will likely expose yourself to not only more people but relevant people.

Instagram:

This is one I’m not actually particularly active in myself, I must admit I’ve never really understood the point… But this is largely down to me associating Instagram with thousands of angst-bearing passive aggressive teenage boys and girls competing for social dominance with their best selfies…

Apparently, Instagram can be a great platform for showcasing “teaser” content for things you’re looking to upload elsewhere. I can’t go into specifics, I’m still to try this out myself, but you can post 10 second videos that promote your content and again make use of hashtags to promote your content to the relevant people. The aim of this is to ultimately direct them to the main source of the video, being wherever you’ve chosen to upload it.

I’m definitely curious to try and make use of Instagram for this purpose in the future.

YouTube:

This is one of those sections that again can be broken down into multiple categories (yay, more reading!) but trust me – it’s worth it! I promise! YouTube is a massive search engine, so it’s only natural that there are methods that can be utilised to ensure that your video is relevant to particular searches. This is a practice known as Search Engine Optimisation and honestly, it’s a far bigger topic than you would assume so I can only cover it so much from personal experience. If you’re interested in SEO then I recommend you find some articles on it and try to familiarise yourself with the practice as its a very in-depth area in online marketing and business.

Video Titles:

This should more or less go without saying, but name your videos properly. I’ve actually found that use special parenthesis (such as Japanese brackets) actually makes it harder to search for videos. Why? Because these symbols don’t typically appear on a Western keyboard and thus with people not searching for your title with this parenthesis in it specifically, it falls down in the search engine ranking.

When titling your videos, try to use as many (but also as few) keywords as possible.

For example;

Bleach Chapter 566 Review

This is ok, but could be better.

Manga Review: Bleach Chapter 566

Adding the keyword Manga in the title makes the video easier to search for, thus will appear in more searches and leads to more views.

Manga Review: Bleach Chapter 566 by Channel Name

Adding the keyword Manga AND also adding your channel name makes it far easier to search for the video. How? Better indexing. Using your name in the title makes it more likely that the video will appear when your name is searched for – especially if your name on YouTube is similar to that of others.

Proper video titling is incredibly underrated. You should always make use of proper and relevant keyword based titles if you intend for your videos to be found without help.

Video Description:

The video description is important, however, it’s not particularly well understood how well it functions by many in regards to how it enables people to find videos more easily.

Quite simply, if you have a big block of text with “relevant” words at the bottom of your video description as is quite commonly found in videos – this will not benefit you as much as you may think it will. Yes, keywords are great and will ultimately make your videos more likely to appear in searches… However, there is a limitation on exactly what parts of the description affect searches in the first place.

When you search for YouTube videos, if the content creator is savvy enough then you will see a brief overview of the video in your search results beside the thumbnail. The amount of characters that appear is roughly the size of a tweet. Think, short, consistent and straight to the point. Having massive blocks of text that contain words that may well be relevant under the title “extra” tags will do no go if the first 140 characters of your description don’t fit the content of the video.

Writing a brief 100-500 word synopsis of the video, what or who inspired you to make it, why you wanted to make it as well as other general information about the video should be posted in the description. This is classed as relevant information and can be called up in a search should a person search for something that happens to appear in your description.

Video Tags:

Again, similar to the video description. A holder for relevant information only. If you’re writing about Naruto you should avoid using cats as one of your video tags as it will only serve to make your video less likely to appear in searches.

However, if you were to be reviewing the latest episode of Naruto, then tags like; manga, anime, sharingan, uzumaki naruto, uzumaki, uchiha sasuke, uchiha, sasuke will be more beneficial towards bringing you in results. Always include your channel name in the tags too, as it helps.

You may have noticed that above, I’ve broken Uchiha Sasuke into 3 different tags and will be wondering why – I hope! The reason for this is easy, keyword density. Keyword density is when you have multiple instances of the same keyword but different methods of how they’re searched for by other users. Another handy tip is to use common spelling mistakes in your tags also. The best thing about tags is that they’re not the easiest thing to view if you’re just a regular YouTube user – however certain tools allow people to view your tags so I wouldn’t go putting anything you shouldn’t in there!

Suggested Videos:

One key aspect of YouTube that many forget to utilise are suggested videos. It’s not the same as the old “Video Response” of days gone by, where you could get your friends to have your video showing as a response in order to essentially borrow some of their viewers.

Suggested videos is a featuring option within your YouTube Settings and it allows you to have a pop up in videos for something else, another video that you’ve created.

So let’s say that you’ve got a video that gets around 100 views per day, and one video that gets about 20. One way to drive more viewers to the video receiving less, is to feature it across all of your videos using this program function. This would then pop up on the video that’s viewed most, and encourage viewers to potentially check out the suggested video. And if they like what you do – they’re far more likely to click it and check the video out!

I personally use the “Most Recent Video” function rather than a specific video, meaning that if someone finds an older video of mine – that user is prompted to check out a recent video! Try it out!

Featured Channels:

This is another absolutely great YouTube feature that many are using these days. Featured channels are an excellent way for people to find new content and channels to follow.

On my channel, Lizz is a featured channel and on her channel I am a featured channel. On our Record Label (Terrific Tragedies) myself, Lizz, Kuraiinu and TechniKen are featured. This means that should anyone stumble across the Record Label YouTube Channel, they will see the associated channels and are likely to check them out.

You can do this – as can your friends. Come to an agreement, feature each other and you’ll see that it will help bring you more views and subscribers.

Comments:

You can always get a little attention by posting comments on other videos. I would advise against posting things that could be considered spam, like posting a link to your video with absolutely zero content behind it for example. Most of the time, the channel owner will delete these comments and in some cases will even prevent you from commenting on their videos in future – I’ve done it myself.

If you’re in a particular field within YouTube, and you’re looking for people to watch your content then the best thing you can do here is stick to your area. If you’re doing anime reviews, find other channels that post anime reviews, share your opinion, ask questions – at this point you could mention that you’ve done your own review which will likely encourage a few people to go and check out your review. I wouldn’t go to an anime review video and mention that I cover video game soundtracks – it’s just not relevant.

A Conclusion?:

Wow, this post certainly got very long, very quickly. Hopefully you guys find this information useful.

As you can see, YouTube is a bit of a behemoth with many mountains to climb. But the payoff for climbing these mountains is worth it. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it very satisfying interacting with the people who come and watch my videos when they leave me comments. Especially when they’re good comments! There is still a lot more to cover, but I’d rather spend some more time researching before I go on to write a follow up post to this.

I probably don’t need to point this out, but I will anyway. There is absolutely no guarantee that you will succeed in building massive followings – I’ve tried to stay away from sounding like I’m promising this to those who read. Ultimately, it’s down to how well you present yourself, your content and how easy it is for people to find it. Luck plays a pat – never forget that!

So, if you’ve enjoyed this post, please be sure to share the link to the post – you never know who could benefit from reading.

And I would appreciate it if you’d check out some of my music, covers and remixes over on my YouTube Channel while you’re here! You can get there by clicking the link at the bottom or on the sidebar

Thanks very much for reading guys,

Drew / Dysergy.

YouTube