How to Grow a YouTube Channel the Right Way

The social media landscape is constantly evolving, but one platform that consistently commands attention is YouTube. Yet, as this social site becomes increasingly saturated, one thing people still want to know how to grow a YouTube channel.

In this post, we’re going to dissect the key elements required to grow a YouTube channel today. By the end, you should have a bit better awareness of what levers you can pull to satisfy YouTube’s algorithm.

Jacqueline Foster
Demand Generation Marketing, Lever.co

We can count on them to bring new ideas to the table consistently

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Get That Engagement Cooking

Once upon a time, you could post a cool YouTube video, watch the likes roll in, and call it a day:

YouTube hot video - 4 guys eating spicy food

Those times are long gone.

Nowadays, likes are good, but comments are gold. Remember, we’re talking about meaningful engagement — comments that add substance to the conversation. Your videos should aim to be so compelling that viewers can’t help but drop their two cents in the comments section.

Why is video engagement so important? Because YouTube loves it, that’s why. That may seem like an easy explanation, but that’s because it’s that simple. Right now, YouTube’s number one concern is supporting content that captivates people for longer periods of time.

If you think about it, it’s completely in YouTube’s interest to make engagement and view duration the key motivators for its own algorithm. The more users engage and watch your content, the more value YouTube delivers to its users.

Not only that, but longer view times mean more opportunities for ad revenue generation for YouTube. So, as you might have suspected, there’s a financial incentive for YouTube to prioritize videos with denser view times versus just likes. In ten out of ten situations, YouTube will favor the videos that cause more people to hang out on this platform for longer.

For that reason, YouTube gives prominence to videos that foster interactions.

And the more chatter there is around your video, the higher your video climbs in YouTube rankings.

The takeaway? The next time you create a video, end it with a provocative question that encourages viewers to share their perspectives in the comments.

Fresh Content Is King

If your strategy revolves around merely rehashing what’s already been done, your content will drown in an ocean of mediocrity.

So, what’s the pro move here?

Either dive into uncharted waters by creating content on topics that haven’t been explored yet, or breathe new life into a well-worn subject with a refreshing spin.

Consider taking an existing subject and adding your unique touch — maybe it’s fresh data points, innovative solutions or viewpoints that prompt a double-take. The idea is to make your audience pause and think, “Wow, I never considered it from that angle before!” Now, you’re not just another creator; you’re the one who makes people see old topics in a new light.

And while we’re on the topic of standing out, here’s something elementary but vital:

Don’t forget to optimize your video titles for keywords.

It sounds like SEO 101 — and it is — but you’d be surprised how many creators forget this fundamental tactic, only to wonder why their brilliant content isn’t getting the eyeballs it deserves.

Marketing School video thumbnails

SEO Isn’t Just for Google

YouTube is more than a platform for viral videos and cute animal compilations, it’s the world’s second most popular search engine, right behind its parent company, Google.

If you’ve been reserving SEO tactics just for your blog posts or website, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity. Everything from your video title to the transcript — yes, YouTube’s algorithm takes into account the text in your video — needs to be meticulously optimized for search.

Here’s a little tip:

Your video’s initial performance can significantly influence its long-term success.

Videos that spark a frenzy of likes, shares and comments in the initial stages often ride this momentum, creating a snowball effect. These videos end up quickly ranking for competitive keywords, attracting an even larger audience as they climb up the search results.

So don’t skimp on the time spent crafting those irresistibly click-worthy video titles and descriptions. Invest in the quality, and the algorithmic recognition — and, more importantly, viewer engagement — will follow.

Diversify Your Video Content

YouTube in 2023 is not a one-size-fits-all platform. While long-form videos remain a staple and command a significant share of YouTube traffic, the platform has diversified its appetite.

This is where YouTube shorts enter the picture.

These short-form videos are quick, snappy and often less resource-intensive to produce. They’re the platform’s answer to the TikTok phenomenon and have a lower barrier to entry, making them an ideal playing field for new creators or for testing new content ideas.

Short-form content on YouTube isn’t just a novelty, it’s rapidly gaining ground:

Leveling Up YouTube shorts

In diversifying your video content to include both long-form narratives and quick, punchy shorts, you’re not only appealing to a broader range of viewer preferences but also injecting your channel with an element of surprise and dynamism.

It keeps your audience guessing, “What’s coming next?” and encourages them to regularly check your channel for new uploads. In other words, diversification doesn’t just make your channel more versatile; it makes it irresistibly engaging.

Not to mention, it’s a format that YouTube is pushing really hard right now, and it behooves any digital marketer trying to excel with YouTube to ride the wave with it.

Quality Over Quantity, Always

When crafting YouTube videos, ask yourself a simple but potent question: “Would I share this video with my friends and family?”

This should be content that not only elevates your brand but also contributes positively to those you feature. YouTube’s algorithm is now more discerning than ever, recognizing and rewarding quality over quantity. Mediocre content won’t cut it in today’s competitive landscape; you need to make an impression, and fast.

Here’s a concrete metric to gauge your video’s effectiveness: the 30-second retention rate. Losing more than half your audience in the first half-minute is a red flag that demands immediate attention. It’s crucial to kick off your video with a compelling hook, one that grabs the viewer’s curiosity and practically glues them to the screen. Aim to captivate your audience within those initial 30 seconds.

Nail that, and there’s a strong chance your video will not only retain viewers but also engage them enough to spur comments, likes, and shares — key indicators that you’ve created content that’s both entertaining and meaningful.

Last Thoughts on How to Grow a YouTube Channel

The game has changed, and YouTube is raising the bar for what counts as quality content. From engaging your audience to diversifying your video formats, mastering YouTube in 2023 will require you to equip yourself with a new set of marketing skills. So, are you up for the challenge?

As they say in the YouTube world, don’t forget to like, comment, and — well, you know the drill. 😄

If you’re ready to level up your YouTube channel, Single Grain’s YouTube experts can help!👇

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For more insights and lessons about marketing, check out our Marketing School podcast on YouTube.

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