The idea of becoming a YouTuber can be daunting. After all, there are more than 37 million YouTube channels online, and of those, just a fraction rake in more than 1,000 subscribers. So, how do you join them and get more people to follow you? Read on and find out!
We’ve put together a starter pack to send you down the right path, but as with everything, it takes time and dedication! Here are ten things you can do to get more subscribers on YouTube and build towards your fanbase.
1. Make sure to reply to everyone
It’s always good to reply to viewers’ questions, compliments, and criticisms – no matter how popular your channel becomes.
YouTube’s own internal data clearly states that encouraging audience participation can result in a larger fanbase; make this a habit as soon as you begin, and keep it up. Viewers who feel they’re listened to and valued by a creator will be more likely to subscribe.
2. Keep your content structured
It might seem obvious, but keeping your content organized and sticking to a specific format will give you the level of consistency needed to grow a channel. Even if the delivery of your actual content is ramshackle and chaotic, its presentation on your channel should be clear, following a formula that potential subscribers can familiarize themselves with.
For example, professional photographer and cinematographer Peter McKinnon hosts various content strands on his YouTube channel, split into playlists. Each playlist acts as its own defined zone: his Shorts all follow the same pattern when it comes to their titles, alongside a more social media-friendly aspect ratio; the Filmmaker Reacts section features snaps of Peter’s face, well, reacting while supported by provocative headlines; and THE VLOG! often opts for personal photos of Peter.
This consistent visual language is a quick hack that keeps things organized, decluttered, and easy for potential subscribers to navigate.
3. Use music to create a mood
Peter’s videos are soundtracked to help amplify the mood. If he’s running through a tutorial or one of his Shorts, he’ll likely use some calmer, low-key electronic or lounge-style music. On the flip-side, if he’s running through his day on THE VLOG!, you can expect some up-tempo, beat-heavy tunes.
Using music creatively and consistently lets viewers experience your content the way you want them to, immersing them in your videos. It makes a difference – after all, bad sound kills good video.
Soundtracking your content in the right way lets potential subscribers know that you’re serious about creating a full experience. Still, sourcing and using third-party music can be a bit prickly. If you use copyrighted music without the right to do so, the owner of the track can actually monetize your video for themself by running ads on it.
You don’t want that. As you get more subscribers on YouTube and figure out your channel’s identity, you should be running your channel on your terms; it can be tough to get the right tunes to soundtrack that, given how complex music licensing and copyright can be for beginners – and pros!
If you’re struggling to find what you want, we’ve got you covered. Epidemic Sound has a catalog with more than 40,000 songs and 90,000 sound effects, which you can sort through based on genre, mood, length, tempo, and whether it’s vocal or instrumental. Basically, whatever you want, we’ve got it.
4. Identify your subscriber magnet
In a perfect world, new viewers will discover you via your most popular videos. You can help shepherd them through with a subscriber magnet: that is, the piece of content that converts the most people from viewers to subscribers. You can do this simply on YouTube Studio:
- Sign in to YouTube Studio, and on the left-hand menu, click ‘Analytics.’
- Identify your best-performing video for conversions. You can identify how many viewers were driven to directly subscribe by each video within a specific date range, which will give you a solid handle on which has been the most successful.
- This video is your ‘subscriber magnet,’ so start using it! Consider featuring this video as your channel trailer, the lead item in a prominent playlist, or the main attraction on your end screen. This video is the reason why people are subscribing, so use it to your advantage!
5. Post consistently
Established YouTubers will often stick to a schedule, giving subscribers something to look forward to. It’s good practice to get this up and running as soon as you can, as the YouTube algorithm doesn’t tend to work its magic until you have around 35 videos in the bank.
Naturally, you still need to prioritize quality over quantity. If you set yourself a target of one video per week, which then becomes unachievable, then that’s fine. Just make sure you let your viewers know what the deal is.
6. Directly ask viewers to subscribe
It sounds obvious, but it always helps to ask people directly to subscribe. It doesn’t need to be salesy if that’s not your style – just tell people they can sign up for all the cool content you have planned and that you have a catalog of great stuff they can check out in the meantime.
Some creators place the subscriber plug at the end of their videos, but you don’t have to. Some choose the middle, the beginning, or a combination – play around and see what works for you!
7. Use subtitles to ensure your channel is accessible and inclusive
A key part in attracting subscribers sits with the user experience. Beyond just making it look ‘nice,’ you can lend your channel a more accessible and inclusive feel with relative ease, giving viewers the confidence to subscribe and regularly watch your content.
Adding subtitles to your videos, for one, means your content ranks higher in YouTube’s algorithm. Aside from that, it’s also just a simple, considerate thing you can do to help people out and make your channel more inclusive, whether that be for YouTube’s massive non-English speaking audience, people who’re hard-of-hearing, or otherwise.
According to a study by Digital Discovery, when you add subtitles to your YouTube video, views increase by 13.48% in the first two weeks. At the same time, people tend to watch videos longer, and engagement also increases.
You can check out our guide on how to add subtitles to your YouTube videos here. It’s easy, we promise!
8. Avoid posting selfish content
You might want to stream games, set up pranks, be a travel blogger, or something else entirely. That’s all fine, but it has to be for someone other than yourself. YouTuber and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk talks about ‘selfish’ content and the binary functions of YouTubers: to entertain or educate.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine globally, and 65% of people use it to solve a problem. So, if you’re not educating them, you need to make sure that what you’re doing is valuable enough for people to subscribe.
9. Create a visual identity for your channel
The most successful YouTubers will usually have a clear visual theme running through their entire channel. Everything from the title font to the thumbnails’ color scheme will play into how the channel’s mood is conveyed, which bolsters their recognizable brand as a YouTuber.
There are endless details you can drill into when it comes to your channel’s visual identity, but for starters:
- Ensure your thumbnails represent the content you’re creating. If a suitable thumbnail isn’t automatically generated, you can easily create your own. If you want to learn more, we've put together a handy guide on how to make a YouTube thumbnail here.
- Create a banner. The banner ties your channel together, giving visitors a snapshot of who you are and what kind of content you create. It’s pretty easy to make a YouTube banner, and something you should consider before pointing anyone to your page.
- Make an intro video. A simple intro video can do a lot. For example, it helps set the tone of your channel and lets people know what they’re in for if they choose to subscribe. If you feel like you’re ready to jump in, we created a nifty how-to in collaboration with Adobe Stock.
10. Avoid takedowns and copyright issues
When you’re delivering content and collecting all the assets, it’s easy to fall foul of copyright rules. Whether for images, video, or music, YouTubers can risk a takedown if their content violates copyright – that’s not a great look for anyone looking to get more subscribers on YouTube.
You’ve not got time for that; you have content to create and subscribers to get! So let us take care of it. If you want access to royalty-free music, rights included, then sign up for a free trial at Epidemic Sound below.
Are you a YouTuber? Whether you’re an editing master or just a beginner, discover what Epidemic Sound has to offer on our Epidemic Sound for YouTube page. And, just in case you’re looking for some sound effects for YouTube, we got you covered.