Updated: Jul 17
The core goal of any YouTube growth strategy is to get as many eyes on your content as possible. That being said, we don’t want anyone and everyone because we’re not making content for anyone and everyone…
We’re making content for our niche. . . our target audience.
Regardless of whether you're a dietitian trying to grow an educational YouTube channel or a dietetic intern trying to get more subscribers for a vlog channel, we want people finding and watching our content who love what we have to offer.
We want people watching who are going to be engaged with the videos we put out; People who will watch through to the end of all our videos, *like* our videos, become a subscriber, leave (appropriate) comments, want to binge watch our videos, and maybe follow us on other platforms as well.
How do we do that?
I want to start by saying there’s no one way to grow a YouTube channel. There's no single path to success and there are WAY too many variables for me to be able to guarantee you'll achieve success by following my advice.
What I will say though, is these tips to grow on YouTube will offer some guidance in your YouTube growth strategy to attract your ideal audience.
So, let’s get into some strategies, whether you’re trying to grow your YouTube channel from 0 subs, or you’re a seasoned channel exploring ways to get more subscribers.
5 Tips On Growing A YouTube Channel
SEO Optimized Video Titles
SEO Optimized Video Descriptions
Engage With Your Audience
In this post I’m going to cover some elements of your channel to work on to help you grow your YouTube channel by finding and building a community of viewers that trust you and love your content.
Tip #1: Research
When it comes to growing a channel, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of research.
It’s important to research so you know who you’re talking to, what questions you can answer, what value you can offer viewers, and what already exists in your niche so you can add your own unique angle.
Get to know your channel goals.
Get to know other channels in your niche.
Get to know trends.
Get to know keywords and SEO.
Most importantly, get to know your audience.
When you’re first starting your channel, ideally you will already have some idea of these things. That being said, sometimes you don’t know everything and need to figure it out as you go.
This process can feel unsettling, but it’s normal. Sometimes you don't know everything about your audience, so you need data and the only way to get data is to start creating despite not having all the answers.
Once you start creating, you can look back at the data to learn more about your audience and fill in your knowledge gaps.
Even if you did start your YouTube channel knowing a lot about your audience, it's good practice to check back in with who’s watching your content and understand how their likes and dislikes may evolve over time.
If you notice changes happening, you may also have to evolve if you want to keep them around or pivot to attract a new audience.
In summary - A.B.R. - Always Be Researchin'!
Tip #2: Eye-Catching Thumbnails
How do we get more people to click on your videos?
Thumbnails are a key component of getting eyes on your videos so don't underestimate the power of a good thumbnail.
Check Out The Competition
Take a look at how other thumbnails look when you search the keywords you want your video to show up for.
Do they all look the same?
What thumbnails would you click on?
How can you make yours stand out from the crowd and show potential viewers that YOUR video is the one they’re looking for?
Sometimes bright colors, bold text, a key word or phrase, or a still shot from the video can help show to users that they should stop their scroll and click on your video.
Thumbnails Can Change
Another important thing to note about YouTube thumbnails is they can be changed.
If you posted a video a while ago that hasn’t gotten as many views as you expected, consider how you might be able to improve the thumbnail.
Experiment with swapping it out for a new thumbnail and check back to see if you notice any changes in clicks, watch time, ranking in search, etc.
Lastly, stay away from click-bait-y thumbnails because this can mean people click on your video, realize it’s not answering the question they have and then click off the video very quickly. . . hurting your watch time and not attracting a new subscriber.
It's just bad practice. Stay authentic and true!
Tip #3: SEO Optimized Video Titles
If you’re involved in the online space and are running your own website or blog you’re probably already familiar with the term Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
I’m going to forego explaining SEO here, but if you need more info on what it is, you can read more about over on the Unconventional RD: SEO for Dietitians
SEO is just as important for video content as it is for written content like blogs and webpages.
YouTube is a search engine, so utilizing SEO strategies as a component of your overall YouTube strategy can play a big role in getting found by new audiences for specific keywords and search phrases.
Your title, in combination with your thumbnail, is going to tell users scrolling through search results whether your video is what they’re looking for or not.
You only have a tiny flash of time to catch their eye and show them you have the answer they’re looking for so be concise and strategic with your titles.
Remember to review your title for length so it doesn’t cut off any important information in the search feed on desktop or mobile.
Tip #4: SEO Optimized Video Descriptions
Another component of SEO optimization on YouTube is the video description.
Only about 2 lines of text from your description show up before the user has to click "Show more", so put the most descriptive and important text here.
You can include up to 3 hashtags in your description to help users find your content.
Descriptions can also be used to link to content you mentioned in the video as well as links to your other social platforms so users can find you other places as well.
Here are some more tips for video descriptions from the YouTube help center.
Tip #5: Engage With Your Audience
Don’t forget - YouTube is a social media platform so be social!
This should be a no-brainer, but it can be easy to forget that you’re not in fact a content-creation machine and actually a person.
Encourage your viewers to leave comments, ask them questions, have them ask you questions, and then be there in the comments. Pin comments you love, respond to your favorite ones.
I’m not saying you need to reply to every single person, but hop onto your video page after it goes live and devote some time to audience engagement.
Ask for their feedback on future content and give them shoutouts. People appreciate it when a creator notices them and shows appreciation for choosing to watch that creator's content.
Side note: Nasty, negative comments are not worth your time. Period.
YouTube has a feature where you can hide a person’s comment - this hides their comments from your channel, but the user doesn’t get a notification so they don't know they've been hidden.
They can harass, complain, roast, or piss-and-moan into the void and no one even has to know they’re doing it.
Turds are always gonna stink, but there are systems you can put in place to avoid encountering them!
There's no one strategy to growing on YouTube, but following these tips can help guide your YouTube strategy and help your channel grow. Always make creating valuable content your top priority.
Do your research, catch your viewer's attention, find your place in the algorithm so you show up in search, and don't forget to engage with your audience.
What are you already doing with your channel? What new strategies are you going to try? What strategies have already worked for you? Let me know in the comments below and what you'd like to see from me next.
About the Author
Sara is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, artist, writer, and video editor. She holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Nutrition from Oregon State University. In 2021 she founded The Kerrminator LLC, which specializes in creative services for Dietitians including video editing, graphic design, and content creation.
New Product! YouTube Starter Kit
I created a YouTube Starter Kit for you if you're someone just starting out on YouTube and not wanting to fuss over what to put in your video description, or need some premade thumbnail templates.
The kit includes my video description template, thumbnail templates, channel banner templates, social media graphics, a closed captioning guide, and additional social media content guide. All the bits and pieces you need to get your videos posted and shared.
The kit is going to help you get the ball rolling on your channel so you spend less time worrying about figuring out all the little details that can prevent or slow down the launch of a new YouTube channel.
My hope is that this kit will help break down and eliminate some of the analysis paralysis you may be facing so you can get your content out there in front of your audience ASAP without feeling like you have no strategy whatsoever.