There is nothing more satisfying than hitting a milestone with your videos. One important one is your first 1,000 subscribers. This is important because YouTube offers live streaming once you have achieved this milestone and you have an account in good standing (Since the publishing of this post there has been a change: YouTube now offers live streaming for free for verified non-profit entities. Instead of needing 1,000 subscribers you now need 100 subscribers.)
Getting more subscribers can seem like a difficult task, but I'll share 10 tips to help you get your first 1,000 subscribers.
1. Post Useful Content Consistently
This is one of the most difficult things to do as a content creator. If you take a look around YouTube you might think that every video under the sun has been created and that is most likely true, but you can put your own spin on a popular topic. For example, there are many “unboxing” tech videos...what if you created a “reboxing” and talk about the various components of tech while you put it back in the box? The key here is creativity and that will certainly boost subscriptions.
2. Name Your Videos Strategically
One of the most difficult things is to name your video. You have the name in your head, but it may be something complex or too long. My rule is to keep it basic and use the YouTube autocomplete to name the video. There is nothing wrong with your video having the same name or something close to a popular video, as long as it's relevant.
3. Spruce Up Your Channel Design
Most visitors first impression of you is from your channel and your design. This is where visitors interact and get to know what you are about. Create a engaging header and show off your brand. On my channel, we were intentional about our design making it fit into our overall branding strategy. The key takeaway is to design with purpose.
4. Show Your Lighter Side
Lighten up and laugh at yourself. Bloopers make you more human and show something different than an ordinary talking head video. Also, switch up the video and catch your viewers off guard so they don't know what to expect.
5. Shoot In Various Locations
I believe that shooting in various locations can lead to more interest. I understand that may not be possible or you may have a set, but try to change a background or even use a green screen. Like the cliché says, “variety is the spice of life” so mix it up with your backgrounds and locations.
6. Create A Custom Thumbnail
I have seen my subscriptions and views increase by adding this step. I use impact font that is seen on many internet photos to grab attention and I format the photo using Adobe Photoshop.
I usually title the photo thumbnail differently than the video because when people are scrolling through other videos to view, they can easily tell what my video is about.
7. Use Annotations
Annotations are those annoying things that pop up during videos, but they can be a content creator's dream. I add annotations to every video and make it easy by creating a link for them to subscribe. This is extra work, but once you see your subscription rate increase you will continue to add them to every video.
8. Ask For Subscribers
This is very basic. At the end of every video ask viewers to “like” and subscribe to your channel. You should also tell them why they should subscribe, for example if you are a DIY Home Improvement channel I would say, “subscribe for my DIY projects, tricks and insider tips delivered to you weekly.” Remember, be careful what you ask for, because you might get it.
9. Be Yourself
You are the best you—you can be. Being on camera was difficult for me at first because I compared myself to others who are natural on camera talent then I realized, “I just have to be me.” Let your personality shine in your videos and I guarantee someone will connect with you.
10. Create An Engaging Channel Trailer
With the new channel design, YouTube gives content creators a great opportunity to create a trailer to share what your content is about. Have you ever attended a movie without viewing a trailer? Not me, because you want to see what it is about. Keep your trailer under 90 seconds and show scenes from your other videos and provide a strong call to action of why a viewer should become a subscriber.
Keep people coming back by putting some effort into your videos. Did you notice I didn't mention any technical details about lighting, audio and composition? This is because I assume you should know that already. The more comfortable you are on camera the more subscribers you can get. It may take a while, but you can do it.
What other methods do you use to get subscribers on YouTube? Leave in the comments below.