I previously wrote a post about promoting your blog and found that a lot of the methods are similar. To ensure the best results I'll give an overview of the methods which work for both and then go into the methods that are specific to YouTube.
Obviously, your best bet for promoting anything is social media. YouTube videos will be easiest to share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (especially because it will just be clips that will draw people in to see the rest), and Google Plus. You also want to be an active member of your targeted community. Reddit & Quora are good for direct interaction, while you can also just comment on other YouTube videos or Facebook posts and pages. Giveaways and contests are always an easy call back for people. Even with YouTube you still don't need to come out of pocket for these. You can offer something so simple as a shout out or a link in your description or a download. E-mail will most likely always be helpful in your promoting endeavors. Newsletters with multiple videos, updates, and even something as simple as adding your signature to any emails are simple ways to increase traffic. Search engine optimization is your best friend! Titles, tags, and descriptions should always include commonly searched for phrases that are related to your video, not just words. And oddly enough, blogging will help bring traffic to your videos. Sharing your information in multiple formats will help reach a wider variety of viewers, which are always welcomed! If you're utilizing blogging, then you would want to put on a YouTube subscribe widget so they can subscribe to your channel without even leaving the blog. Now let's get to the YouTube specific stuff!
Easy enough, right? You want your thumbnails to be clear and precise images that show what your video is about. Your thumbnail should be a capturing image that sets you apart from other videos in your genre. If you have words to grab attention, make sure that they are still clear when shrunk down to thumbnail size (best resolution would be 1280×720. If you're not sure what kind of image or text would be the most eye catching, test out different styles with each video you post and see which videos are getting more traffic. Along with your thumbnails you should be making sure that your titles are short and sweet but also intriguing. This goes along with SEO, get the most out of a few words.
Always make sure that embedding is enabled on your videos to allow others to share your content for you. To do this you would just go to your Video Manager and selecting edit on your chosen video then go to Advanced Settings and just check the box for "Allow Embedding". This allows your viewers to utilize YouTube's share feature. It's as simple as your viewers copy and pasting into their blogs or social media. You could also reach out to blogs similar to yours with this link for them to share. You can also use your link in your signature for your email or to post on your websites. You always want to make sure with every share of the video you are still getting credit for it to make sure you are still receiving the desired traffic to your channel and website.
Creating a playlist of your videos is your best bet for receiving more views once somebody has already viewed one of your videos. When creating a playlist, it would be best to choose your videos that speak the most volume to your brand. YouTube will automatically play a new video anyways but it will usually play videos that are like yours, so instead of increasing your own traffic you might just send them off to somebody else's channel. If you're struggling with views on certain videos you could also add those into playlists to help increase them. I would suggest that you add in a few of your videos with less views with a majority being your best videos.
Consistency is truly key. If your viewers know that you are going to release your videos on a specific day it would make it harder to miss your new video releases and information. Having a consistent schedule and number of videos will keep your channel active and your viewers coming back. The more content that you have the more your channel will appear in searches. When recording, your videos make sure to tell your viewers to tune in on your release date for your next video and remind them that you always release new videos on that specific day. If your video sparks an interest in somebody, then they will be more likely to check back in to see your next video.
Obviously, you want to stick to the content that you know, but every now and then there are YouTube specific tags. These tags will usually end up on the auto play once somebody watches one video. If you can find a tag or trend that doesn't fall too far from the content of your channel you should take advantage of it. This will draw in a new array of viewers that wouldn't necessarily go out of their way to find your channel. Even if they don't come back to watch more they may know somebody who would be interested in your content. Word of mouth is still an amazing form of marketing.
Interacting with your audience is very important. It keeps you connected with your viewers instead of just being something they watch or listen to online. If you have people email you or comment on a video their questions you could easily just make a video with your answers. This keeps you from needing to respond individually to each question you get and maybe even release some extra information you wouldn't have thought to include that could draw you more viewers. If you have a channel that is focused on your opinions or reviews, then a Q&A for your viewers to get to know you more on a personal level will make them feel like they know you more than just on YouTube. This helps people to trust you and will be more likely to suggest your channel and videos to others.
Call to Action:
Another simple trick for getting shares and more viewers is to just ask for them. It never hurts to ask your viewers during your video to share it with all their friends and coworkers if they enjoyed it or found it useful. Also, asking for their suggestions and to leave comments on your video will not only show them that you value their opinions but could also spark conversations between your viewers. If people feel they can discuss your content they will be more likely to bring that discussion outside of YouTube, thus creating more traffic for your channel. If your channel is paired with a website, always be sure to include that in your description or a video annotation. In addition to your website you could make annotations suggesting another video of yours that is the most related to the current video. At the end of your video is a good time to also link your other videos and website. The more ways you have your information available the better, you never know which method will speak the most volume to your viewers.
YouTube Fan Finder:
YouTube has a feature that allows you to choose up to 5 advertisements for your channel. The best part? It's free! The YouTube Fan Finder will play your ad on related videos to attract an already interested audience. When somebody clicks on your ad it will take them to your channel. Your ads should be short and sweet. Because people can skip ads you want to make sure you are getting your most intriguing information out in the beginning of your ad. Your ads should be a clear preview to your content, you want to get the most information out in a short amount of time. You would want your ad to be a description of your content, enough to make them want to click but not too much to make them skip over it.
Partnerships and Collaborations:
Partnering with a brand would help not only you but also the brand. When partnering with a brand you could do something as simple as your review of new products or simply just promoting them. When you are consistent with a brand people will pointed in your direction simply because of the brand. Tubular Creator Profiles is one option to help connect with brands. Collaborations are also helpful; this compares to guest blogging. When you do a collaboration video with somebody this will help get your name out with new viewers. If another YouTuber has a strong following their viewers will be more likely to go check out your page and vice versa. Your collaborations should be with people who share similar content to yours, a second opinion never hurts!