How to Launch and Grow a YouTube Channel
This guide was compiled by Hootsuite.
YouTube reaches more 18 to 34 and 18 to 49-year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. and generates 4 billion views daily. That makes the network a no-brainer when it comes to choosing a platform to market your business’s videos.
But for many users YouTube is a domain for high-quality media. Creators film in HD, own lighting umbrellas, and don’t settle for anything less than perfect sound quality.
For these reasons, getting your business set-up on YouTube properly—with goals in mind and a plan to achieve them—can seem both daunting and expensive. How does one make a name for themselves with so many professional YouTube channels out there?
This guide will show you.
Do a competitive analysis
Taking a close look at what your competitors are doing can teach you a lot about what works for your industry and what doesn’t. Because they’re your competition, you’re likely to share the same target audience and similar marketing goals.
Check out your competitor’s YouTube channel. Look at the types of content they’re sharing—is it how-to videos or product demonstrations? How many views and engagements (likes, comments, and shares) does it get? This should give you some ideas about the type of videos to create or stay away from on your own channel.
Take a few minutes to scan the comment section to see what interests the audience and what doesn’t.
To learn more about conducting a competitive analysis on YouTube or any other social media platform, check out our detailed guide.
Create a content strategy
You’ve got an idea of who your target audience is and what they’re looking for, now it’s time to formulate a plan of attack. That means creating a content marketing strategy for the channel.
Like any platform, the major components of a YouTube content strategy are:
- Goals—If your aim is to drive traffic, for example, you should create your video with that goal in mind. This might mean adding a CTA in the description box with a link to your company’s website.
- Content type—Determine what kinds of videos your audience wants to consume on YouTube. This could be how-to videos, product demonstrations, or testimonials.
- A publishing schedule—It’s crucial to have a schedule so that people know when to expect new content and can engage with it when it’s published. Set realistic expectations here. If you only have the resources to make one high-quality video a month, stick to that (and save the iPhone videos for Periscope and Snapchat).
Set up your YouTube channel
Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve on YouTube, you can setup your channel. Our step-by-step guide—screenshots and all—on how to set up a YouTube account will walk you through each step in detail.
Upload existing videos
Since YouTube is a video-hosting platform and you’re here learning how to launch a channel—we assume that you’ve got some videos or content ready to upload. Here’s how to do it:
- Sign into your YouTube account.
- Click on the Upload button at the top right of your screen.
- Before you start uploading the video, be sure to choose your preferred video privacy settings.
- Select the video you’d like to upload from your computer.
- While your video is uploading, enter in your video details. This includes title of video, the description of the video, and any tags.
- Click Publish to finish uploading a public video to YouTube.
Et voilà. You’ve now got some content to your name. Welcome to the humble beginnings of hosting your very own YouTube channel.
Create and publish new content
There are various approaches when it comes to creating content. If we’re looking at what’s popular, many successful YouTube channels focus on producing professional-quality, short videos.
But that doesn’t mean it’s necessary for everyone to do the same.
It’s important to remember that the content strategy that works best is the one that considers both your audience and your marketing goals. Depending on these factors, your videos might not need to be professionally produced—nor do they have to adhere to a certain length.
Keep in mind that this step will be an ongoing effort once you’ve got your channel up and running.
If you’re still feeling a bit lost, don’t fret—we’ve got a handy guide with several tips on creating social videos.
Grow your audience
Growing your audience is like tending to a field—it takes a little TLC to make it happen. Here are a few of our best tips for attracting more subscribers:
- Post useful, quality videos—Focus on creating unique content that reflects the needs of your audience.
- Pay close attention to video titles and descriptions—These components of your video are the first thing people will see. Make sure they’re clear, accurate, and attractive.
- Include a CTA—YouTube’s built-in features makes it easy to include a CTA. Options vary. For example, you can choose to overlay a call-to-action button into your video or have the person speaking in the video tell the audience what action to take next steps.
- Stick to a schedule—We can’t stress this enough. Be reliable when it comes to sharing fresh new content.
- Analyze your audience—After developing a following, take a moment to examine who’s actually tuning into your channel. YouTube Analytics is conveniently integrated into the video-sharing platform and can offer you a wealth of customer data. You’ll find basic customer demographic information like gender, age, and location.
As with the previous step, this phase is simply about getting started. Growing your subscriber base will, of course, be an ongoing effort.
You can find more tactics on how to amass your own YouTube following in our post on how to get more subscribers on YouTube.
Promote your YouTube videos and channel
When it comes to YouTube, both promotion and optimization never really end. The constant ebb and flow of social media requires you to keep tweaking, testing, and perfecting the content you’re putting out there.
It’s a continuous endeavor to always be adjusting and promoting your YouTube channel. Things like video SEO, being active in the community, running contests, and collaborating with other YouTubers are some of the ways that you can to promote your channel.
One of the easiest ways to promote your YouTube channel is by leveraging your other social networks. When the time comes to upload the YouTube video you’ve worked so hard to create—why not send out a Tweet, an Instagram screenshot of the video, and a Facebook update to bump your post? With Hootsuite, you can easily schedule and share YouTube videos across all your social networks from one platform.
Like getting started on any platform and using it effectively, YouTube takes time and effort.
Our best advice to you—the brand-spanking new YouTuber that you are—is to be diligent and continue finding opportunities to make your channel better and better.