17 Ways to Get More YouTube Subscribers (2018)

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How to Get More YouTube Subscribers

In this post you’re going to learn how to get more YouTube subscribers in 2018.

In fact:

These are the exact strategies I used to grow my channel from zero to 165,900 subscribers.

Backlinko YouTube subscribers increase

And today I’m going to show you how I did it…

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…and how you can do the same thing.

1. Use “Power Playlists”

“Power Playlists” are like regular playlists… but better.

Here’s exactly how they work:

You see, most playlists are organized by topic.

Power playlists

But Power Playlists are different.

Instead of topics, Power Playlists are organized by outcomes.

Here’s an example from my channel:

Backlinko – Power Playlist example

As you can see, the title of that playlist is an outcome:

Backlinko's Power Playlist title gives an outcome

Which makes people MUCH more likely to watch my playlist… and subscribe.

And that leads us to…

2. Publish LONG Videos (10+ Minutes)

Yup, this goes against conventional wisdom.

But stay with me.

I recently did the largest YouTube ranking factors study ever.

YouTube Ranking Factors study

And we found something surprising:

Longer videos rank better in YouTube.

Longer videos tend to rank better in YouTube

For example:

A few months ago I published this video.

As you can see, my video is almost 14 minutes long:

Backlinko YouTube video length

And that’s one of the main reasons that it ranks #1 in YouTube for the keyword: “backlinks”:

Backlinko YouTube video – Ranking for

3. Promote Videos In Your End Screen

Here’s the deal:

The more of your videos someone watches, the more likely they are to subscribe.

The question is:

How do you get people to watch 2, 5 or even 10 of your videos?

Promote another video in your End Screen.

Here’s an example from my channel:

Backlinko End Screen – Next Video

This simple “Next Video” has led to TONS of bonus views and subscribers:

Backlinko – End Screen – Extra views and subscribers

Here’s how you can do the same thing:

First, include 10 seconds of time at the end of your videos specifically for your End Screen.

Here’s what mine looks like:

Backlinko – End Screen template

Then, use YouTube’s End Screen editor to add a link to a related video:

Backlinko – End Screen editor

That’s all there is to it 🙂

4. Branding Watermark = Subscribe Button

This is the ultimate YouTube subscriber hack.

You probably know that you can add a Branding Watermark to your videos.

Branding Watermark

This watermark lets viewers subscribe to your channel inside of your video.

Branding watermark allows subscribing inside video

Unfortunately, most Branding Watermarks are completely ignored.

For example…

Last year I added this watermark to all of my videos:

Backlinko – First watermark

And it did absolutely nothing.

So I decided to try something new.

Instead of a watermark that looked cool…

…I used one that looked like a normal YouTube subscribe button.

Backlinko – Latest watermark

And it worked!

My new watermark generated 70% more subscribers than my old one.

Backlinko – New watermark success

Pretty cool.

5. Focus On Quality… Not Quantity

When I first started my YouTube channel, I read the same advice over and over again:

“If you want to grow your channel, you need to upload videos on a regular basis”

As it turns out, this is HORRIBLE advice.

I’ll explain.

When I first started my channel I published videos on a consistent schedule…

…but no one watched them.

Backlinko – Low YouTube view rate

And the few people that watched my videos didn’t even bother to subscribe.

Backlinko YouTube channel – Low subscriber conversion

It was REALLY frustrating.

So I decided to change things up.

Instead of quantity, I decided to focus 100% on quality.

And this “quality over quantity” approach worked like magic.

Flash forward to today and my channel generates over 200k views per month from only 24 total videos:

Backlinko – 200,000 views per month

And because I pour my heart and soul into every video, 7k people subscribe to my channel every month:

Backlinko – 7,000 monthly subscribers

6. Reply To EVERY Comment

This is one of the EASIEST ways to get more subscribers.

In fact, YouTube’s internal data has found a clear correlation between replying to comments and subscribers:

“When creators take the time to interact with their loyal community, it can encourage audience participation and ultimately result in a larger fanbase.”

 

Why does this help?

Well, most YouTubers never reply to comments.

Which means you instantly stand out when you do.

Brian replying to YouTube comments

That’s why I do my best to reply to as many comments as I can.

(Especially right after a new video comes out)

7. Write a Compelling Channel Description

Your YouTube Channel Description is HUGE.

Sadly, most Channel Descriptions look like this:

Bad YouTube Channel Description

Imagine that you’re considering subscribing to that channel.

Is that description going to make someone lunge for the subscribe button?

Probably not.

Contrast that weak description with this one:

Good YouTube Channel Description

This about page works because it:

  • Tells you what the channel is all about
  • Gives you important information on the channel (like the upload schedule)
  • Includes a strong call to action to subscribe

Here’s a template to help you write your own Channel Description:

YouTube description template

Pro Tip: Sprinkle in a handful of keywords in your description. This can help your channel rank better in YouTube search.

For example, I sprinkled in a few different keywords that people searching for my content would use…

…like “SEO”, “link building” and “content marketing”.

Backlinko YouTube channel keywords

8. Funnel People to “Subscriber Magnets”

This is working GREAT for me right now.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

First, head over to your YouTube Analytics.

And click “Subscribers” → “YouTube Watch Page”.

Next, identify the video that brought you the most subs last month:

Identify the video that brought the most subscribers

(This video is your “Subscriber Magnet”)

In my case, this ONE Subscriber Magnet from my channel brings in as many subscribers as 13 other videos from my channel… combined.

Subscriber magnets

Why is this important?

Your Subscriber Magnet video is PROVEN to generate subscribers.

And if you can get these video in front of more people, you’ll get more subscribers

Here are 3 ways to get more eyeballs on your Subscriber Magnet.

First, feature that video in your End Screen.

Feature your Subscriber Magnet on your End Screen

Second, make a playlist that starts off with that video:

Make a playlist that starts with the subscriber magnet

Finally, promote that video in a card:

Promote video in card

You can even make your Subscriber Magnet your channel trailer.

For example, Evan Carmichael uses his high-converting Steve Jobs video as his trailer:

Evan Carmichael – Trailer

That way, Evan’s high-converting video gets in front of everyone that visits his channel page

9. Use an Awesome Channel Icon

Your Channel Icon shows up EVERYWHERE on YouTube.

Channel Icon

That’s why it’s really important to use the right one.

So if you’re a personal brand, use a high-res headshot:

Personal brand – High-res headshot

If you’re a company channel, use a version of your logo designed for YouTube.

For example, ESPN rounded their logo so it works perfectly as a Channel Icon:

Company Channel Icon

10. Create a Channel Tagline

Let’s face it:

Most YouTube channels do NOTHING to stand out.

And hey, I’m not judging.

In the early days of my channel I completely ignored my channel’s positioning.

Backlinko – Old YouTube channel

And it was one of the main reasons that I struggled.

Once I started to strategically position my channel, my views and subscribers shot up like a rocketship.

Views and subscribers rising from strategic positioning of channel

Fortunately, you don’t need an MBA to position and brand your channel.

In fact, all you need to do is create a simple tagline.

Here’s the 3-step process:

First, identify ONE thing that makes your channel unique or different.

Maybe you’re a busy mom that can deadlift 500 pounds.

Maybe your channel teaches software companies how to grow their blog.

The exact “thing” doesn’t matter.

As long as it’s different than the other channels in your niche, you’re set.

For example:

My videos teach people marketing strategies they can use to grow their business.

Backlinko videos

But if I made my tagline “I teach marketing strategies” or “I help you grow your business”, I’d blend in with thousands of other channels on YouTube.

So I decided to focus on the ONE thing that my channel focuses on:

Higher rankings and more traffic.

Second, put that tagline in big font on your Channel Art.

Here’s mine:

Tagline in Channel Art

Finally, say your tagline in your Channel Trailer.

Say tagline in channel trailer

11. Heart Awesome Comments

A while back YouTube launched “Creator Hearts”.

Creator Hearts

Creator Hearts make it easy to highlight awesome comments from your community:

Backlinko – Creator Heart example

Now for the interesting part…

When you heart a comment, that person gets a notification:

Brian hearting a comment

And according to YouTube’s own data:

“We’ve found that viewers who have received a heart on their comment are three times more likely to click on the notification (than with other types of notifications), potentially leading more viewers back to your channel.”

 

That’s right:

Heart notifications get 300% more clicks than average.

So whenever someone leaves a solid comment, hook them up with a heart:

Brian hearting a comment

As you just saw, this will bring them back to your video… and make them VERY likely to subscribe.

12. Make a Killer Channel Trailer

Here are 3 tactics for making a channel trailer that converts:

Kick things off with your tagline

Start your trailer off with your channel’s tagline.

(Don’t have a tagline. Check out technique #10 from this post)

For example, I say my tagline (“Higher Rankings and More Traffic”) within the first 5 seconds of my trailer:

Tagline in the first 5 seconds of the trailer

Stick to 60 seconds (or less)

YouTube themselves say that shorter trailers convert best:

Shorter trailers convert best

That’s why I made my trailer about a minute long:

Backlinko's trailer is about one minute long

Show off your best stuff

Your trailer is a GREAT opportunity to promote your best content.

That’s why the middle of your trailer should be a 20-30 second highlight reel.

For example, my trailer includes LOTS of clips from my other videos:

That way, viewers can quickly get a feel for the type of content that I publish.

13. Create Videos That CRUSH Watch Time

Yup, Watch Time is a massively important YouTube ranking factor.

And not just for YouTube SEO.

Videos with high Watch Time numbers get promoted more often on the YouTube homepage:

YouTube watch time promoted

And in the Suggested Video sidebar:

YouTube watch time sidebar

That’s why YouTube states that:

“The longer you can keep people watching on YouTube because of your content, the more your content may get surfaced.”

 

Question is:

How do you maximize Watch Time?

Use lots of Pattern Interrupts.

PI

Pattern Interrupt

noun


Definition
An event that changes a person’s thought patterns.

Pattern Interrupts make your videos more dynamic…

…which keeps people watching.

That’s why I use TONS of Pattern Interrupts in every video.

Including graphics:

Jump cuts:

And corny jokes:

Remember:

Pattern Interrupts don’t need to be anything fancy.

For example, check out this video from Safiya Nygaard:

Safiya uses lots of super simple Pattern Interrupts (like camera angle changes and simple graphics) to keep things fresh.

Safiya pattern interrupts

14. Embed YouTube Videos In Blog Posts

Your blog is a HUGE untapped source of views and subscribers.

Why?

Well, if someone’s reading your text content, they clearly like your stuff.

Which means they’re primed to subscribe.

That’s why I embed lots of videos in my blog posts.

Sometimes the video makes up an entire step or tip:

Video as an entire step

But I also embed videos as a way for people to learn more about something from the post:

Embed videos to impart extra information

Either way, these embeds get my videos in front of more people.

And not just random people.

I’m showing my videos to people that are SUPER likely to subscribe to my channel.

15. End Videos With a Strong CTA

When someone get to the end of your video, they think:

“What’s next?”

And unless you give them something to do, they’re going to click over to another video from another channel.

User clicking on another channel's video

So tell them to subscribe to your channel.

And don’t be afraid to tell people exactly what to do.

For example, here’s how I end all of my videos:

Video ending captions

I literally tell people to click on the subscribe button below the video.

That way, there’s no guesswork or thinking involved.

And that’s one of the main reasons that so many people subscribe right after watching one of my videos:

People subscribe after watching Brian's videos

16. Promote Your Channel In Ebooks, Webinars, Presentations and Lead Magnets

The next time you create ANY piece of content, ask yourself:

“How can I funnel people from this content to my channel?”

For example, I include a link to my channel in every lead magnet:

Link to channel in lead magnet

I even promote my channel in podcast interviews:

Brian promotes the Backlinko YouTube channel in podcast interviews

17. Optimize Your Channel Page

When someone lands on your channel page, two things can happen:

  1. They leave right away
  2. They watch more of your videos and subscribe

And I can tell you from experience that an optimized channel page can increase your subscribers by 2-5x.

For example, my channel used to look super unprofessional:

Old Backlinko YouTube channel – Unprofessional

Needless to say, VERY few people that landed on my page decided to subscribe.

That’s when I decided to put more time and effort into my channel page.

Specifically, I hired a pro designer to make my Channel Art:

Backlinko Channel Art

And I organized my videos so that my best stuff appeared at the top:

Backlinko YouTube channel – Best things at the top

That said:

There’s no “perfect” way to organize your Channel Page.

But here’s a template that I notice a lot of top YouTubers use:

Top YouTube users template

Bonus #1: The “Social Media Preview”

I used to share my videos on social media like this:

Brian – Old style of social media video sharing

And my posts got BURIED.

Why?

Because Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites want to keep people on their platform.

Which means they don’t like posts that send people to YouTube.

Well, I recently discovered a way around this problem:

The “Social Media Preview”.

And this simple strategy has helped me get INSANE views on social media:

Social media preview – High number of views

In fact, one of my recent Social Media Previews got over 30k views on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn – 30,000 views

Here’s how to do it:

First, grab a 30-90 second clip from your YouTube video.

This clip should be a single technique, idea or point.

Next, upload that clip as native content.

Upload clip as native content

This is key.

Like I mentioned earlier, social media sites want to promote native content on their platform.

And there’s data to back this up.

Native video Facebook posts get 10x more views than posts that linked to YouTube.

Native Facebook video posts get 10x more views than LinkedIn / YouTube videos

Finally, include a link to your video as the first comment on the post.

Include link to video as first comment on post

That way, if someone wants to see more, they can easily head over to the full video on YouTube.

And you’re set.

Bonus #2: Include a Subscribe Link in Your Channel Art

You probably know that you can link to external sites in your Channel Art:

Linking to external site in channel art

But what you may not know is that you can sneak in an extra subscribe button there.

Here’s an example:

Subscribe button in Channel Art

All you need to do is create a YouTube subscribe link:

YouTube subscribe link

Then, add that link as one of your Channel Art links:

Add a

Make sure to give your link a compelling title:

Give your link a compelling title

And when someone clicks on that link, they’ll see this high-converting prompt:

YouTube subscription confirmation

Nice.

Now It’s Your Turn

And now I’d like to hear from you:

Which strategy from today’s post are you excited to try first?

Or maybe you have a question about something you read.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

The post 17 Ways to Get More YouTube Subscribers (2018) appeared first on Backlinko.