How To Start And Grow A YouTube Channel
If you are reading this blog post, there a high chance you found out about Clever Girl Finance from watching a YouTube video on the Clever Girl Finance YouTube Channel. YouTube has been an incredible platform for creating brand awareness for Clever Girl Finance and for connecting with my incredible audience.
I've learnt a lot so far from being on YouTube and I wanted to write this blog post to share some of that because I get asked all the time about how I was able to grow my YouTube channel.
"In my first year on YouTube, my channel grew from 0 to 26,000+ subscribers."
In my first year on YouTube, my channel grew from 0 to 26,000+ subscribers and there were a few key things I did that contributed to this. So below are my tips and suggestions in no specific order:
1. Create and upload videos on a consistent basis
I think one of the barriers to entry when it comes to creating video is that people think that their videos need fancy editing or require super fancy equipment but to be honest, my videos were (and still are) super basic and I used (and still use) the free editing software that came with my Mac - iMovie - to edit them.
Initially, I recorded my videos using my built-in computer camera and by placing my laptop on some stacked books (yup, I improvised) but then I upgraded to the following equipment that all together come in well under $100:
In time, I will plan to upgrade my editing software and camera equipment (perhaps I'll purchase final cut pro and I'll get a DSLR camera with video capability) but until I decide, I'll keep making my videos with what I have now.
If you've been on the fence about making a video because of your equipment (or lack thereof) my advice to you is to just use what you have now, even if it's your phone's camera - the key is to make sure you have good lighting!
2. Find a video accountability partner
I got a friend to be my video accountability partner and we each set a goal to record a video for our businesses once a week. I recorded videos specific for YouTube but on the weeks when I couldn't, I would just upload a video I had made for Instagram or FB live. The goal was to keep consistent content going because when it comes to content creation for platforms like YouTube, consistency is key and YouTube loves that.
I also uploaded the audio of my podcast for people who listen to audio on YouTube and organized them into different playlists. In my experience, I've found that my YouTube videos do well when they are 5 to 15 mins long. This might vary depending on topic though - I speak mostly on personal finance and mindset and this works well for me.
3. Use good titles, keywords and tags with your videos
It's all about making it easy for people to find your content when they search for your topic on YouTube and that means using good titles based on keywords and searchable tags. Tube Buddy is a free browser extension and a pretty cool tool that can help you find good keywords to use in your titles and can help you find relevant tags to add to your videos. Also since Google owns YouTube, the Google Keyword Planner Tool works great too. I highly recommend signing up for and exploring both tools so you get a sense of how they work.
4. Sharing your videos everywhere = more views + more subscribers
Sharing your videos as much as you can will drive more views and will also drive more subscribers to your channel (as well as drive your chances of going viral - more on that below). Share your videos with your email list or newsletter, on your blog, on IG, on FB, on Twitter etc. The more views your videos get the more inclined (I believe and have read) the YouTube algorithm is to promote it.
Also, going back to point one, the more video you create, the more content you have to share, the more views you can get. Note: Don't be spammy, be consistent. Once a week (or on a schedule people expect) is good.
5. Aim to go viral
While there are no guarantees of getting a video to go viral, having a viral video can have a big impact on the growth of your YouTube channel. This was one of my goals and when it happened it contributed immensely to my subscriber growth. It helped me gain 11,000 subscribers in a two month period. How did I do this? I picked my most popular blog post at the time and made a video of it (Using keywords, tags and also sharing it as much as I could).
Another idea is to determine what's popular on YouTube in your content category by doing a search for different topics and looking at the most popular videos, to get ideas for content to create and variations of titles to test out as well.
6. Get to know your YouTube Dashboard
A key part of succeeding with YouTube is understanding your metrics and also understanding how to use the dashboard available to you with your YouTube account. There are a ton of useful insights on your dashboard that will show you just how your videos are performing and there are some very useful features that can help your videos perform even better.
Some of my favorite features are the end cards and annotations where you can embed notes, polls and even showcase your other videos as your viewers watch your current videos keeping them engaged with your channel for longer. Not sure how to use the features on your dashboard or need some extra help? Do a search for a video tutorial on YouTube :)
Also as soon as your account is eligible, turn on monetization - over time and as your account grows, it will be a great way to earn passive income.
7. Engage with your audience
Just like with other social media platforms people will comment and ask questions. You should respond, like etc - it all helps. Plus engaging with your audience will help them get to know you better and will give you ideas for content to create that they want to see from you that will, in turn, help you grow your channel.
In addition, take advantage of your YouTube community page. It's another way to engage with your audience. You can recycle your IG and FB images, post text there and have conversations with your community.
8. Have patience
YouTube takes time to grow and while it's a slow and steady pace of growth, the results can be amazing! Plus your videos will return as results on Google searches (yay) and you'll also be building a community on YouTube that will help grow your business platform so be patient. It's well worth it.
I hope these tips are useful and be sure to check out the Clever Girl Finance YouTube Channel
Bola Sokunbi is the founder of Clever Girl Finance and she's passionate about helping women take control of their money so they can live life on their own terms.