There’s no doubt about it: YouTube is a very crowded place.
After all, people upload 400 hours of video to YouTube every minute. And there are already millions of videos on YouTube… many of which cover your video’s exact topic.
So if you want people to watch your videos, creating great content isn’t enough. You need to actively promote every video that you publish.
Fortunately, promoting your YouTube video isn’t rocket science. All you need to do is follow the best practices outlined here.
Promote in Forums and Q&A Sites
People visit these types of sites for two main reasons:
1. To see new content
2. To get their questions answered
And your video can help with both of these things.
For example, let’s say that you just published a new video about the Paleo Diet.
Your first step is to find places where Paleo followers go to find new content about the Paleo Diet (like the r/paleo subreddit).
Then, share your video with that group.
You don’t want to just drop a link to your video. Make sure to write a full post that outlines what the community could learn from your video. And hang out to answer questions and participate in the discussion.
You can also use your video as a way to answer questions on Quora.
Just search for open questions on your video’s topic:
Then, answer the person’s question. And embed your YouTube video at the end of your answer in case people want to learn more.
Here’s an example of how your answer should look:
Promote Content as a Community Post
Your Community Tab is an underrated place to promote your new (and even your old) videos.
All you need to do is create a Community Post that explains why your community should check out your video. Then, link to that video in the post.
Here’s an example:
Actively Promote in the First 24 Hours
When it comes to video promotion, the first 24 hours of your video’s lifespan is super important.
That’s because YouTube tends to promote new, popular videos on users’ homepages.
So if you get traction on your video right after it goes live, you can get a huge spike in views from YouTube’s homepage.
For example, here’s the traffic source report for a new video from the Backlinko YouTube channel:
Note how 38% of that video’s views come from “Browse Features”.
“Browse Features”, basically means: views from YouTube’s homepage. Over time, the percentage of views that you get from “Browse Features” drops significantly.
But in the early days of your video, as you just saw, “Browse Features” is a massive source of views.
Social Media Promotion
Social media is still one of the most effective ways to promote new YouTube videos.
So make sure to share your videos with your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Even if you have a small following on these platforms, the views you get from your followers tend to be high-quality (in other words: they’re super likely to engage with your video).
The Video Preview
The one “catch” about sharing your videos on social media is that most social media algorithms favor content that keeps people on those platforms.
So if your post is simply a link to your YouTube videos, sites like Facebook are going to limit the reach of that post.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem: The Video Preview.
Here’s how it works:
First, grab a 30-60 second clip of your video. This clip should be able to stand on its own. For example, you can make the clip a tip from your video or a moment that represents your video well.
Then, share that clip on social media as a video post. Here’s an example:
Finally, link to the full video on YouTube as the first comment:
Because your video post is native to the platform, it will get maximum reach. And your clip will entice people to want to see your entire video… which they can easily do thanks to the link in the comments section.
Send Your Video to Email Subscribers
Promoting your video on social media is great.
But if you want to get the most amount of eyeballs to your video, nothing beats email.
Here’s how to do it:
First, write an enticing newsletter email that describes why your video’s topic is important. Here’s an example:
Then, transition into how your video can help people… and link to your video:
Now, there are two ways to link to your YouTube video from your newsletter.
You can either link directly to the YouTube watch page OR embed your video in a blog post and send people there.
For example, Marie Forleo sends her email subscribers to a blog post that has her YouTube video embedded in it:
The upside of this approach is that you send people to your own website. So when people share your video, they share a page from your site, which sends traffic your way. Also, the conversation and community happens on your site.
The downside is that you get fewer views, Watch Time and Audience Engagement Signals. After all, unlike on YouTube, people have to find and click the “play” button to watch the video. And when they leave a comment on your post, they’re not leaving one on YouTube.
There’s no “best” way to promote your video to your newsletter subscribers. Both approaches have pros and cons. So it’s ultimately up to you.
Collaborate With Other Channels
This is like guest posting… but for YouTube.
So find a channel in your niche that’s about your size (or slightly bigger).
Then, create an amazing video for that channel.
When you do, you can get your channel in front of thousands of new people. And because publishing a video on another channel is an implied endorsement, these people are super likely to subscribe to your channel.
For example, many popular gaming channels on YouTube got their start by creating a video for the DidYouKnowGaming channel:
Their single guest video on DidYouKnowGaming put their channel in front of millions of (targeted) people.
The key to a successful “collab” is to have a specific idea in mind. In other words, you want to send the channel you want to collaborate with:
- Reasons why they should collab with you
- What type of video you’ll create for their channel
- Why their audience will love your video
- A timeline of when you’ll send your guest video
Big channels get bombarded with requests all day long. So if you can send them a pitch that emphasizes what they get out of the collaboration, you’ll have a good chance of getting a “yes”.