Welcome to Grin‘s ultimate guide for getting and keeping YouTube subscribers on the web. In this massive guide we’ll tackle everything you need to know to accelerate your growth on YouTube. So let’s begin!
Why are they important? How do they affect me?
On YouTube, a subscriber is a user that has chosen to subscribe to your channel. This means that when you post new videos, your videos appear in their subscription feeds and on their home page. Having an engaged subscriber base is important for landing YouTube sponsorship. When a user is subscribed to your channel it allows your followers to keep track of your work as you release new content over time, and gets you more consistent viewers. Consistent views means a more stable income for monetized videos, as well as a familiar audience that you can interact with in the comments of your videos.
There are some catches, however. YouTube is notably iffy about sending your videos to all of your YouTube subscribers- especially subscribers who are already subbed to hundreds of other channels- and will also, at times, remove YouTube subscribers from your total account for what might seem to be no reason. We’ll get to that in a bit- for now, let’s talk about how you can grow.
What is the most efficient way to gain YouTube subscribers?
If you’re looking for free YouTube subscribers, the only real way to do it is by putting in the work. In this part of the article, we’ll be discussing all the ways you can earn your free YouTube subscribers. After all, outright paying for subs is usually pretty shady.
Working for natural growth like everyone else will ensure your success on YouTube.
Use YouTube Collaborations to Cross-Promote
Ever heard of a YouTube collab? YouTube collaborations are a term used to describe when two or more content creators or YouTube channels decide to work with one another. If you haven’t heard the term “content creator” before, it actually describes a wide range of Internet users. Today, people aren’t just writing stories, updating their blogs and directing videos. They’re creating content of all different kinds, and YouTubers are called content creators for this reason, since it’s such a diverse platform and they often use the Internet’s unique capabilities to go beyond just video.
Of course, this doesn’t tell you how YouTube collabs work or why they’re effective. Let’s look at it from the perspective of a small YouTuber. When you’re growing your YouTube channel, it’s typically agreed that the most difficult milestone for a YouTube to pass is their first 500 subs. One hundred is also a popular figure, but this can be reached with just a few good videos: reaching a total five times that requires regular, quality content being produced on a regular basis. Earning people’s subscription isn’t just about making one good video, it’s about them having multiple to watch after they see your first.
Unfortunately, a YouTuber working in an isolated pool may never reach that number and start boosting their growth. Think of your favorite channels on YouTube- beyond any doubt, there are literally hundreds of other creators on YouTube making content suited to your tastes. The thing is, you haven’t heard of them, and you may never get the chance. The world is a massive place, and YouTube reflects this.
The only way for YouTubers to grow in this massive ocean is to start working with others. A basic YouTube collaboration between just two creators will cause their audiences to bleed into each other and combine, effectively multiplying their power on the site. Small channels can take advantage of collaborations to become stronger than the sum of their parts, and big channels can collaborate with other big channels to keep their growth at a steady rate.
Everyone on YouTube is collaborating with someone, and it’s important that you don’t go it alone, either. To get more YouTube subscribers, you have to work together.
Pay Attention to YouTube video SEO
This may be a new term for some of you, so for right now we’re going to go ahead and explain what exactly SEO is. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and refers an assortment of actions people might perform to make their site more attractive to search engines. It is one of the most effective ways to get your content discovered organically and organic discovery leads to free YouTube subscribers for your channel. Since you’re an Internet content creator, everything you know is being silently policed by search engine bots through a process called indexing. Indexing, as the name implies, indexes and sorts your content, but it also looks for things like keywords and statistics to determine how relevant and helpful your content actually is.
SEO basically determines whether or not people are going to find your content online. You can’t earn your free subscribers if you aren’t giving YouTube and other search engines the necessary information to find your channel and your videos out of the millions already available on YouTube.
In order for your video to meet proper SEO standards, you’ll need to mind both your description and your tags. The tags in your videos are used for search results, meaning you want to have as much info as you can in your tags. However, you don’t want to falsify tags or lie about the content of the video, as that can be punished. Here’s some tags you should include in all of your videos:
- Your channel name or identifier. :Using your channel name in the tags means that people searching for your channel will see the video. You can also use tags like “[your channel] commentary” or “[your channel] fashion tips”, all depending on what you’re doing in the video.
- What you’re actually doing. There are many genres and subgenres of videos on YouTube, so you’re going to need to include these in the tags. For instance, you may be doing a review of a particular video game. If you were reviewing Metal Gear Solid 3, you’d want to have the tags “mgs3”, “mgs3 review”, “metal gear”, “Metal Gear Solid 3 Review”, “video game review”, etc.
- Prominent fixtures in the video. Is there a cat? Everyone knows that cats = free subscribers, so tag that video “cat video”.
If you aren’t sure how to tag your content exactly, don’t hesitate to take a look at how other creators are doing it. Most creatrs with a high volume of YouTube subscribers under how to properly tag their videos. Checking them out is often fairly enlightening, and there’s no harm whatsoever in finding out how people who make similar content are tagging it. Categories, too, are an important SEO factor.
Besides your tagging and categories, you’ll also want to have an effective description. Your description should always start with a sentence or two describing the video, because this is what is going to appear in the search results. Is it a video about earning free subscribers? Then you open with that. You want to make sure they can tell what your video is about while also sneaking in one of your keywords.
After the first few lines, you have more room to stretch. You can add a longer synopsis below, or a table of contents if you have a very long video covering multiple topics. You can also start adding links here- the bottom of your description should always have links to your social media outlets, such as Snapchat, Facebook or Twitter. If you’re reviewing something, link to that product (with an affiliate code, if you can).
Last but not least, be sure to link to any videos used within your own or as reference. YouTube is a community all about sharing the love, so don’t forget to do that.
Use Good Graphics And Polish
Your channel is not just your videos. It’s what’s holding those videos and for this reason having strong branding can be one of the most effective ways to drive free YouTube subscribers. Learning design doesn’t cost a thing. What you want to do is have a stunning channel banner and channel avatar that includes any signature logo or imagery that connects with your channel and your brand. In today’s age of tightly-designed modern web UIs and digital art, you have no excuse not to have a well-designed channel for your viewers to enjoy. To ensure that this is the case, you might want to look into hiring a dedicated graphics artist to help you polish up the appearance of your channel.
Additionally, you want to focus on usability as well. Content in your channel should all be organized into easy-to-browse playlists. A YouTube user should always be able to find what they’re looking for on your channel. Your thumbnails, too, should have easy, clear design. A user should be able to glance at your thumbnail and at least know the general topic of your video, even if they don’t know exactly what it’s about. This is what mobile users see before your title or description, so your thumbnail needs to be good!
Be Smart With Cross-Linking Videos
We covered a massive list of YouTube video ideas in our previous post and this is essentially an extensions of how you launch those videos. You’ve all seen it. You’re watching a YouTube video, and at the end someone pleads you to like and subscribe, in that exact order. There’s nothing wrong with this CTA (call to action) necessarily, but veteran YouTube viewers have filtered this out, and these messages often sound like white noise. For your end-video CTAs to actually be effective, you need to be able to smoothly segue into them and present them differently every time. LinusTechTips is one example of a channel that always has a different CTA.
Additionally, don’t hesitate to jump on trends to drive YouTube subscribers. Reaction videos are huge on YouTube, not just because they cover a popular topic, but also because they allow your viewers to get a better idea of who you are and how they relate to you based on how you react to certain news and events. If a lot of people are doing it, it’s generally worth exploring in some fashion: that doesn’t always mean you need to do it, too, but you should be smart and watch for trends. Don’t miss out on what could be a good opportunity for you.
Mind The Community
Last but certainly not least, always mind the community! YouTube isn’t just a platform for creating video content, it’s also a community full of like-minded creators with goals and ideas, who are all looking to improve and grow. You don’t exist in a vacuum, so don’t act like you do. Watching your favorite videos, you may notice that the comments are often full of other high-profile YouTubers. This is because engaging in the comment section is a great way to get people to check out your channel, and this is one way to interact with the community (and other audiences!) that’ll help you get more subscribers.
Additionally, you should socialize with your fellow creators. If they have more experience or subs than you, don’t hesitate to ask for their feedback or advice. More often than not, two creators can learn from each other and become friends, and in a community, that is quite valuable. In fact, they’ll often decide to give you a shoutout, which is one great way for you to receive free YouTube subscribers.
Lost Subscribers on YouTube
How to deal with one of the toughest issues on YouTube
Of course, this wouldn’t be a definitive guide to getting free subscribers on YouTube if you didn’t know what to do about lost subscribers.
Why You Lose Subscribers
- YouTube Spring Cleaning happens periodically to purge bots and inactive accounts. Nobody knows the exact timing, but it means you can lose a few subscribers- sometimes even a very large number, if you’re as massive as PewDiePie.
- Over-flowing feeds are the bane of a YouTube user’s existence. If you’re posting a lot of content on a regular basis- multiple videos per day- people may choose to unsubscribe just so you aren’t filling up their inbox. Keep this in mind.
- Offensive topics are divisive, and sometimes you may say something that’s so politically-charged that people feel like they don’t want to follow you anymore. This is an unfortunate fact of life on the Internet.
How You Can Avoid It
- Ignore Spring Cleaning losses- these are decreasing a number on a screen: nothing more, nothing less. You aren’t losing real subscribers in these purges- if anything, you’re getting a more accurate picture of who’s keeping track of your channel. Dropping numbers may hurt at first, but it’s important to move on.
- Focus on quality over quantity! Too many YouTubers think they can just flood their viewers with a large amount of unedited video content. This simply isn’t the case. You should upload 7 videos a week, maximum, and no more than 2 videos per day on the same channel. Learn to edit down so only the best content remains in your video, and evaluate the quality of your content if this is a difficult process. You won’t get free subscribers by flooding them with generic content.
- Tread lightly with controversial topics. In addition to YouTube’s advertising guidelines, sometimes it’s just best not to share your opinions if you know it’s going to be trouble. Unless that’s the explicit point of your channel, you have no reason to do that.
Cross-promotion is what happens when two brands choose to promote one another. Swap brands with content creators, and you’ll see why we’re talking about cross-promotion here, as this also frequently helps you with YouTube subs. Cross-promotion will allow you to share an audience with another YouTuber in a manner quite similar to collaboration. None of these methods cost anything, either, so they are yet another method for acquiring free YouTube subscribers.
Ways To Do It
- Host one another’s content.
- Use playlists on your channel pages to show off each other’s content.
- Shout each other out in videos and video descriptions.
- Promote each other on social media outlets.
- Do guest blogging, if they own a site.
Using Grin To Help
Finally, you may be wondering what we have to do with all of this. Here at Grin, we help YouTubers land sponsorships. Our simple tool helps you connect with advertisers who want to pay you money for your content.
Additionally, we also host our blog, which is chock-full of informative posts like this one. Stick around for more!