In the past few weeks, many people have approached me to ask what I’m doing to grow my YouTube channel, This Bahamian Gyal. Now, before I go on, it’s important for everyone to know that I don’t even have 1,000 subscribers.
I have just under 800 subscribers and my most popular video to date has over 9,000 views and growing. I post videos once a week. No more, no less. And I’ve only been at this YouTube game for a year-and-a-half.
I was not an instant hit. I didn’t post a video that racked up millions of views in a day and bring in hundreds of thousands of subscribers. My journey on YouTube has been slow, but steady. And that’s exactly how I like it because it allows me to grow into the role.
The reason I have gotten so many questions about my growth strategy is because in recent weeks, my numbers have been increasing steadily. I recently gained 45 subscribers in a week.
So many people struggle to gain an audience, let alone subscribers, that I suppose my numbers are inspiring to some.
There really isn’t a magic pill to growing a YouTube channel. There are strategies that you simply have to commit to. So, in this blog post, I’m going to share some of the things I did in order to grow my channel.
1. Be Disciplined + Consistent
A lot of people will tell you that the first thing you need to do when trying to grow your channel is to find a niche. In another post, I will discuss why I’m not big on niching down. But, for now, let’s focus on the point at hand. In my opinion, the first thing you need to do to grow your YouTube channel is to be is disciplined and consistent. This is also the most important thing I could tell you.
When I started my channel, I decided that I wanted to post on Wednesdays. I love hump day because it’s smack dab in the middle of the workweek and I love Wednesdays. There really wasn’t any other rationale.
I personally feel it doesn’t matter when you post, so long as you are consistent.
I never wanted to be that YouTuber that posts once and disappears. I made a promise to myself that I would treat my channel like NBC, ABC and CBS does theirs. If they say their news starts at 7am, their news starts at 7am.
So, when I say my video is going to start at 1pm on Wednesdays, you’d better believe it will be published at that time. No excuses, no exceptions.
I will never forget that time in January when I uploaded a new video and it mysteriously disappeared. I could not find it anywhere in my YouTube Studio. After panicking and praying, I bit the bullet and started to upload my video all over again. It took me 12 hours to do so. I was cutting it close but I knew I could not miss my publish date or time.
If you want to see growth and if you truly value the people who subscribe to your channel, you need to be disciplined enough to create content and respectful enough to make sure it’s posted on time.
2. Closed Mouth Don’t Get Fed
In The Bahamas, we have a saying, “closed mouth don’t get fed.” It means, if you want something, you have to ask for it. So, if you want your viewers to subscribe to your channel, you’d better ask. It’s your call to action.
It’s important to post reminders everywhere. In your video, in your description box, hell, even pin a request in the comments section. Doing so ensures that your request is at the top of the comments page every time.
When I first started out on YouTube, I asked family members, friends, former and current colleagues to subscribe to my channel. At the time, I just wanted to make it to 100 subscribers. That was a very important milestone for me. But, there’s an upside and downside to doing that.
The upside was, my numbers increased. The downside was there was very little engagement. Family and friends love you. They want to help you. So, they’ll do what they can. But, if they are not truly invested in your content, they won’t watch. And that will affect your watch hours. More on that later.
It’s best to create tasty content that people want to ingest. Doing so will keep them coming back for more.
3. Make Your Thumbnails As Attractive As Possible
YouTube is a visual platform. And naturally, we human beings, are attracted to pretty things. Think about the last video you clicked on. Why did you click on it? Sure, the topic interested you. But, on YouTube there are millions of channels – 31 million to be exact. So besides the title, what really made you click on the video?
I would venture a guess that it was the thumbnail. It doesn’t matter how good your video is. If your thumbnail is boring, you may not get as many views as you could.
You are competing with many channels, so yours needs to stand out and your thumbnail is one way to do so. There are many incredible apps that you can use to create a gorgeous thumbnail. Or, if you are proficient at Photoshop, use that. Thumbnails are the one area you don’t want to skimp on.
4. Watch Time Matters Big Time
Sometimes YouTubers get so focused on the subscriber count that they forget how important a channel’s watch hours are. You can’t even get monetised unless you have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours.
Go to my channel right now and look at my videos. The majority of them are over 15 minutes long. That’s intentional. I want my audience to stay on my channel longer. So does YouTube.
I know that my channel will be monetised soon and I will finally get ads on my channel. Ads mean revenue for my channel, and longer videos means more ads and thus, more revenue for more channel and for YouTube.
By no means am I advising you to stretch out your time just to increase your watch hours. Especially if your content is not good. But, if you have solid content that can keep a viewer connected for 15 to 20 minutes, then you’ll increase your watch hours. And that’s what you want.
People who spend that amount of time with you will make up their mind whether they want to subscribe to your channel. And trust me, if your content is compelling enough and they like your personality, you’d better believe they’re going to subscribe.
5. It’s All In The Cards
When you upload your video, YouTube gives you the option to add cards to your video. The cards allow you to promote other videos on your channel. You’d be surprised how many people fail to add cards to their video. Granted, every video might not warrant a card, but the majority of them should contain at least one. Especially if you want to promote related videos.
Again, the goal is to expose your viewer to more of your content, keep them on your channel longer and turn them into subscribers. Make sure you’re adding cards to your channel.
6. Sometimes, You Have To Chase The Trends
I used to run away from creating videos on trending topics. But, I now realise that there is a place for that. Trending stories are popular for a reason. It’s what people want to see. Gamers jump on the latest game to hit the market. Beauty gurus are quick to review Fenty Beauty’s latest bronzer or blush. And dancers will immediately choreograph a routine to Cardi B’s latest hit. It works.
However, trends will date your channel very quickly, so tread lightly. The goal should be to weigh in on a hot topic that will get new eyeballs on your channel. Take a look at one such example down below. A few months ago, I did a video on singer Chloe Bailey.
7. Engage With Your Audience
Don’t you just hate when you’re speaking to someone and they ignore you? That’s what millions of YouTubers do every day. They ask their audience to leave comments, then they leave them hanging. #SoRude
Your audience is talking to you, so you have to talk back. Really engage with them. That’s how you forge relationships that go beyond content creator-subscriber. The audience wants to feel like they have access to you. Give it to them.
8. Promote Your Video Everywhere
There’s no limit that some people will go to to promote their video. I feel ’em. You have to promote your video everywhere you can. I always promote my videos across the various social media channels repeatedly, and especially over WhatsApp.
I have already programmed my people to expect a video on Wednesdays at 1pm. You can also promote your video in Facebook groups, if it’s allowed. The goal is to get eyeballs on your video and your channel.
Well, kiddies, these are just some of the things I did to grow my channel over this past year-and-a-half. I expect to grow even more in the coming days, weeks and months.
Everyone has their own methods for growth. But, these are what worked for me so far. I wish all of you the best of luck on your YouTube journey.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel by clicking here.
This Bahamian Gyal