Are you looking for the best ways to promote your YouTube channel? We’ve got you covered.
With over 51 million YouTube channels on the platform this year, there’s no shortage of competition.
Making great YouTube content is no longer enough. If you want to cut through all that noise, get views, and earn subscribers, you’ll have to put in the work promoting your YouTube channel too. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.
In this article, we’ll be showing you how to promote your YouTube channel the right way and revealing 18 powerful, lesser-known tactics that you can use to jump ahead of the competition.
Ready? Let’s get started!
1. Focus on watch time
The great thing about YouTube is that if it thinks your videos are good enough, it’ll take care of the promotional side of things for you.
The YouTube algorithm is designed to ‘push’ engaging video content that viewers seem to like to as many people as possible.
So if your YouTube video seems to be performing well with viewers, YouTube will start recommending it to more viewers by making it visible on their homepage and in the sidebar of relevant videos:
The question is: how do you convince YouTube that your videos are worth promoting?
Easy—you make sure your watch time is as high as possible.
Watch time is a metric that tells you how long viewers watch your videos for. If the average viewer clicks away from your video within the first 30 seconds, it sends a pretty bad signal to YouTube.
On the other hand, if they usually watch right up until the end, it tells YouTube your video is highly engaging and will improve your visibility.
You can view your watch time by going to your YouTube analytics.
One way to improve watch time is to make sure you grab your viewers’ attention in the first 30 seconds of the video. For example, you could kick things off with a ‘coming up…’ teaser in which you share a highlight from later on in the video.
If viewers like what they see in the trailer and want to know more, they’ll have no choice but to keep watching to find out exactly what happened, thus boosting the view duration.
2. Use clickable titles and thumbnails
Aside from watch time, it’s also important to maximize your click-through rate (CTR). CTR refers to the number of viewers that click your YouTube video as a percentage of total impressions.
For example, if 100 people see your video on their YouTube feeds but only 10 of them click it, that’s a CTR of 10%.
The greater your CTR, the more likely YouTube is to promote your video for you, and the more views you’ll get.
The easiest way to improve your CTR is to use clickable video titles and thumbnails—or ‘clickbait’ if you will. MrBeast’s YouTube channel offers a great example of this:
All his thumbnails are super eye-catching and his YouTube video titles can’t help but grab your attention. This is no doubt a big part of the reason he’s grown so quickly and garnered a whopping 89 million subscribers.
Both are awesome design tools that offer YouTube thumbnail templates and tons of graphics that you can use.
3. Comment on popular videos in your niche
Commenting is one of the most underrated and least-known techniques for promoting your YouTube channel. It works like this:
First, make a list of popular channels in your niche. By popular, we’re talking about channels with at least 100,000 subscribers or more.
Then, subscribe to each of these channels and hit the bell so you get notifications whenever they upload a new video.
As soon as you’re notified that there’s been a new upload, watch it as soon as possible and leave a detailed, insightful, or funny comment. Aim to be the first one to comment if possible.
The idea is that if you comment early, other viewers will see it and like it, which will push it to the top of the comments feed, maximizing its visibility to other viewers. It might even get pinned if you’re lucky.
Once it’s at the top of the comments feed, there’s a good chance other viewers that are interested in similar content to what you’re producing will see your YouTube channel name there and click through to watch your videos. The more comments you leave, the greater your YouTube presence will be.
For example, this simple comment on a MrBeast video received a whopping 465k likes:
If even a tiny fraction of the people that liked that comment clicked through, that’s still thousands of new channel views.
It should go without saying but this tactic isn’t going to work if comments don’t come across as spammy.
The best comments will be those that provide significant value to viewers of that video.
4. Cross-promote your videos with end screens and cards
From the YouTube studio, you can add end screens and cards to your videos:
You should always make sure to do this, on every video you upload. It’s an easy win that can help you to promote your videos with very little effort.
Once you add end screens, they’ll appear in the last 20 seconds of the video.
After they’ve finished one video, viewers can click on the screen to immediately go to your next video, which can help you to squeeze out more views and watch time, and in doing so, improve. your channel’s organic visibility.
Cards are less important than end screens, but they’re still worth adding. You can use them to suggest other videos to your viewers in the middle of YouTube content.
They’ll appear as a small notification in the upper-right corner of the screen, which your viewers can click on during the video in order to click through.
5. Promote your YouTube channel on Reddit
Reddit is a fantastic channel to promote your YouTube channel on. It’s massively underutilized by most creators so if you get this right, you can jump ahead of the competition.
Here’s how I’d recommend going about it.
First, search on Google for “site:reddit.com + [your niche] YouTube channels”. For example, if you make videos about living in Japan, you’d search for “site:reddit.com + Japan YouTube channels”.
This should bring up a bunch of threads about the topic. Usually, the posts are from Redditors looking for recommendations.
Leave a comment on these threads suggesting your YouTube channel—but don’t make it obvious that you’re promoting it. This is really important.
Redditors are notorious for disliking advertisers, and most subreddits have policies in place explicitly banning using the forum for promotional purposes. So make sure you phrase the suggestion in a way that doesn’t make it obvious that it’s your channel.
Act like you’re a subscriber, rather than the creator, and you’re just making a recommendation based on your own experiences.
It also helps if you have a lot of Reddit karma and if you’re active in the wider Reddit community. Try not to only comment on these kinds of posts and engage in discussions on other topics too.
Bonus tip: Join niche-relevant subreddits and check regularly for new posts. If you see an opportunity to naturally promote your YouTube channel without seeming spammy, go for it.
6. Share your videos on social media
Another great way to promote your YouTube channel is through social media. For example, an easy way to get started is to add a link to your channel in your Instagram bio.
You should also regularly create social posts to promote your YouTube channel to your followers and encourage them to subscribe. Every time you upload a new video, post an update on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to let your followers know about it.
You might even want to create short preview snippets of your video and share them across your social platforms. Video tends to perform really well on social media (particularly Facebook, where 500 million people watch videos every day) so you can drum up a lot of engagement this way.
Tools like SocialBee and Pallyy allow you to set up social media calendars so you can schedule posts in advance. It’s also worth reading up on the best times to post on social media for maximum engagement.
And if promoting your YouTube channel on every network still seems like too much work, you can focus your efforts on just one or two networks instead. We’d recommend choosing the social media platform on which your target audience is most active.
For example, if you make YouTube videos about crafting and DIY, Pinterest would probably be a great place to promote your channel. If you’re targeting a younger audience, you might want to focus on TikTok.
You can find out more about what kind of audiences use each platform in our social media statistics roundup.
7. Run a paid ad campaign
If you’re happy to invest in your success, you might want to try running a YouTube ad campaign. You can choose between various ad formats including:
- Overlay ads. These are in-video ads that appear as semi-transparent banners at the bottom of the screen.
- Skippable and non-skippable YouTube video ads. We’ve all seen these before. They’re the video ads that appear at the start of YouTube videos. Depending on how you set it up, viewers may be able to skip it after five seconds or have to watch it until the end.
- Display ads. These are ads that are displayed outside of the YouTube video screen, in the sidebar on the right.
- Sponsored cards. These are like the video cards we talked about earlier, except that they’re advertisements that appear on other creators’ videos rather than yours.
You’ll typically be charged per view or click. For in-video skippable and non-skippable ads, it may only count as a view if the user watches your ad for a certain length of time (i.e. 30 seconds or until the end of the ad).
You can design your own creatives for the ads. If it’s a video ad, it might be a good idea to choose a clip from a video from your YouTube channel that you think has performed particularly well and add a CTA directing viewers to subscribe to your channel.
8. Rank your videos in YouTube
YouTube is the second largest search engine. This means getting your videos ranking for search queries within the platform is incredibly important.
We’ve already written about SEO tactics that can help you to rank your website pages, but YouTube SEO works a little differently.
As with website content, keywords are still very important. Try to create some videos around topics that have a high monthly keyword search volume, then optimize them around those keywords by including them in the video title, video description, and tags.
You should also mention keywords verbally throughout your video. YouTube’s algorithm is very clever and will look at a ton of data points in order to determine how relevant your video is for a given search query, including what you say in the video itself.
YouTube knows what you talk about in videos as it automatically transcribes the audio to create closed captions, so make sure to say your keyword and related keywords throughout (and especially in the first 15 seconds).
Engagement is another very important ranking factor on YouTube. Things like average view duration, click-through rates, engagement rates (i.e. likes, comments, shares), and watch time are all very important metrics to look at.
The more engaging, clickable, and watchable your YouTube content is, the better chance you’ll have of ranking at the top of the search results.
9. Rank your videos in Google Search
Getting your videos ranking in Google Search is another great way to promote your YouTube channel.
Google Search is the most popular search engine and it integrates YouTube videos directly into SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for a large number of queries.
And for some queries, Google will give priority to videos (rather than articles). For example, videos often rank well for “how to” keywords.
Try creating these kinds of videos and optimizing them for search to increase your chances of ranking in Google. If you can do that, you’ll get more eyes on your content and potentially bag yourself a ton of new subscribers.
For the best results, create blog posts around your target keywords, and embed your videos. This will make it more likely that you will rank not only in the video pack, but also within the regular organic results.
Remember – if it can be measured, it can be improved.
Note: If you’d like to learn more about SEO, check out our beginner’s guide to SEO.
10. Embed videos within relevant blog posts
We’ve discussed ranking your videos in YouTube and in Google Search.
But there’s one more SEO-related step you can take to get more views and subscribers from each video you publish – embedding videos within relevant articles on your blog.
If you don’t have relevant blog posts. Create them.
Be sure to start off by doing some keyword research and examine SERPs to ensure you have a solid understanding of the types of content Google is ranking. Then create that type of content.
You’ll need to optimize your content too. These SEO content writing tools will help.
Once published, promote your content extensively to help drive additional traffic. Backlinks are a still an important ranking factor so link building will be helpful too.
It’s a good idea to link to your article from YouTube as well. Some of your readers may appreciate a written version. And it gives you a chance to gain new email subscribers, providing you’ve got opt-in forms on your site.
But above all else, there are several insanely good reasons to go to all of this extra effort:
- You’ll have two opportunities to rank on Google’s first page for your target search queries – one in the video pack and one in the organic listings. This, collectively, means you’ll get more clicks.
- Embedding videos in your content keeps visitors on your website for longer – it’ll lower your bounce rate.
- You’ll get more views on your videos from outside YouTube. These views will come from your initial promotional efforts and Google Search (if your content ranks). All of this will help you build up those all important engagement metrics for YouTube. If all goes well, you’ll start seeing more views from within YouTube.
11. Answer questions on Quora
Another little-known strategy you can is to promote your video on Q&A websites like Quora.
First, search for niche-relevant questions. For example, if you make beauty tutorials, you might look for questions that ask about beauty tips, skincare product recommendations, hairstyles, or fashion tips. You get the idea.
Then, provide an answer to the question and try to subtly promote your YouTube channel in the process. Of course, this is even easier if you find a question where the user is specifically asking for channel recommendations.
You should also try to include a link to your channel within your answer. Users that open up the Q&A post and see your answer can then click through to your channel, which can help you to get more subscribers. As an added bonus, you’ll also be building relevant backlinks, which may help with your SEO efforts.
12. Add your videos to custom playlists
YouTube’s playlist feature lets you chain up your videos and organize them into different playlists. This can help with your promotional efforts by making it easier for your viewers to navigate through your channel and binge on your video content by watching multiple videos in a row.
But there’s also another, even sneakier way to use playlists to promote your videos.
If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have a large audience yet, you can create playlists featuring other videos from more popular YouTubers in your niche and embed your videos in the same playlist. Here’s what I mean.
In the image above, you can see a custom playlist featuring videos about Russia from various different YouTube channels. This playlist shows up in the search results when you search for “Russia travel” and filter the results to only show playlists.
Viewers who are interested in this kind of content often click these kinds of curated playlists and binge-watch content.
So one tactic you can try is to create your own curated playlists on topics that your target audience might be interested in. Include videos from very popular channels in your niche at the start to maximize clicks, and then sneakily insert your own video a few videos later.
Then, viewers that click the playlist to watch content from their favorite channels will stumble upon your channel a few videos later, thus boosting your exposure.
13. Collaborate with other YouTubers in your niche
Collaborating with other YouTubers with a similar audience to your own is a great way to promote your channel. It exposes your channel to a brand new audience that you know is interested in the kind of content you produce.
And because you’re working with a creator they already trust, they’re much more likely to subscribe than viewers you reach through other channels.
In order to maximize the success of your collaborations, it’s important to be picky about who you partner with.
You should only reach out to YouTubers with a similar audience and audience size to your own. Ideally, they should also share the same interests as you and produce similar types of content as this will make your collab feel more genuine and authentic, and less promotional.
If you have a gaming channel, an easy way to collaborate with other YouTubers is to play games alongside them. Another idea is to host an influencer challenge or tournament and invite other YouTubers to join in.
MrBeast has used this same strategy to help grow his channel to almost 90 million subscribers:
He regularly hosts influencer tournaments with some of the biggest names on the platform. These videos typically perform really well and have collectively received hundreds of millions of views.
14. Ask your audience for help
One easy way to promote your YouTube channel is to get help from your audience.
A simple call to action at the end of your videos encouraging your YouTube audience to like, comment, subscribe, and share the video goes a long way.
If you can create videos worth sharing, this can have a snowball effect. Your regular viewers might recommend it to their friends, who could watch it and recommend it to their friends, and so on. Before you know it, you have a viral video on your hands with millions of views!
15. Build a community
Viewers are more likely to share your videos with their friends and family if you foster a sense of community.
That’s why an important part of marketing your channel is interacting with your viewers and subscribers. One way to do this is to set up a Discord channel or members-only Patreon page and use it as a community hub:
Here are a few other, simple steps you can take to build your community:
- Always like and pin a few of your favorite comments on every video you post
- Ask your viewers what type of content they want to see from your channel next
- Interact with your viewers on social media. Social media listening tools like Brand24 can help with this by notifying you whenever someone mentions your brand on social.
16. Create an email list
You can also use email marketing to promote your YouTube channel. This is a great, underutilized strategy that few YouTubers know about.
First, you’ll need to build a mailing list. You can start by setting up an email opt-in form using an email marketing tool like ConvertKit, and then offer some kind of incentive to encourage people to join your list.
For example, let’s imagine you make French language learning tutorial videos on your YouTube channel.
In your video descriptions and CTAs, you could offer to send a short free French course outlining your recommended language learning method to viewers who join your mailing list.
Hugely popular polyglot vlogger Xiaomanyc uses this same strategy:
If you have a blog or website that gets some monthly traffic, you can also use that to drive opt-ins.
Once you’ve built up a mailing list, you can send regular emails out to your subscribers whenever you publish a new video. That way, they’ll get a notification straight to their inbox, which can help you to get more views.
17. Run a giveaway
The idea is to offer some kind of reward to the winner of the giveaway, which users can enter by liking, subscribing, or sharing your videos on social media. You can even award extra entries to users who share it multiple times.
If your giveaways gain enough traction, it can make your videos go viral and potentially land you hundreds of new subscribers.
18. Create YouTube Shorts and live streams
Don’t just stick to standard 10-minute YouTube videos. Try experimenting with other video formats in order to maximize your channel’s visibility and reach new audiences.
For example, you might want to experiment with live streaming on YouTube in order to reach viewers that prefer live content.
Live streaming has surged in popularity in recent years and now commands a big chunk of online viewing time.
You can also try creating short-form videos (~1 minute in length) and tagging them with #Shorts.
Again, these types of videos are growing increasingly popular, thanks in no small part to the meteoric rise of short-form video platform TikTok.
That concludes our guide on how to promote your YouTube channel. Hopefully, you found some new ideas to take your YouTube strategy to the next level.
Just remember: it’s all about consistency. You can’t grow a successful YouTube channel overnight but if you keep creating great content and promoting it far and wide, you should get there eventually.
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