In this article we’ll explore how to grow a dedicated audience to help ensure your channel is profitable.
Find Your Niche
First and foremost, you have to produce compelling content that people are eager to view. Coming up with an engaging topic for your channel is, indeed, the hardest part.
When brainstorming ideas, consider your hobbies. Maybe you like to yo-yo. Are there hundreds of millions of potential viewers of yo-yo videos? Probably not. But, is there a possibility that you could attract several thousand viewers? Probably, and that could be enough devoted viewers for a successful channel.
Once you find that blockbuster topic, you’ll need to develop your unique brand. Adding a watermark to the lower corner of your videos is a great step toward establishing an identity. In the Channel section of the YouTube Creator Studio, there are tools for adding a branded watermark.
Few things repel an audience faster than poor production quality. Most YouTube viewers don’t expect Emmy-winning quality, but unintelligible sound, bad lighting and shaky, low quality videos will send your audience to the digital exits. Here are a few quick tips.
Don’t rely on your camera’s built-in microphone—the audio quality is likely substandard. Use an external mic for better results. Always use headphones to monitor the audio while recording.
Lighting is a key component of a quality image. If you don’t have adequate equipment to master indoor lighting, consider shooting outside on a sunny day. Use a reflective sunscreen, such as those designed to protect your car’s interior, to reflect additional light onto your subject.
Many cell phones capture decent quality video but consider stepping up to a dedicated video camera for better results. Be careful to avoid unwanted camera movements. Shaky video captured at the end of a selfie-stick might make your audience feel seasick. If you use a cell phone camera, remember to shoot in the landscape orientation, not portrait.
Know Your Audience
A critical aspect of a successful channel is understanding your audience. The YouTube Creator Studio offers a section called Analytics which provides valuable data to help you really understand your audience.
A good place to start is an exploration of your viewers’ demographics. This information is only collected when a viewer is actually logged into their YouTube (or Google) account while viewing your content. So, the data isn’t perfect, but it still provides useful insight. Through this demographic data, you’ll learn the age, gender and geographic location of your viewers, along with other useful information. Analytics can also give detailed information about your most dedicated group of viewers — your subscribers.
After you determine the demographics of your audience, use that information to inform your decisions.
After you determine the demographics of your audience, use that information to inform your decisions. For example, if your viewers tend to be younger males, choose music that you think will resonate with that audience.
Or, if you see that a large segment of your viewers are from Australia, you might consider eliminating references to the seasons at your home in North America. Southern hemisphere viewers may not feel included if you ignore the fact that their seasonal experience is the opposite of the northern hemisphere.
If a significant portion of your viewers are from Spain, consider using Spanish language subtitles to make your content more accessible. Using the Video Manager tools in the Creator Studio, YouTube makes adding subtitles a relatively easy task. Simply translate a transcript of your video using Google Translate then upload that text through the Video Manager feature. You can add other languages using the same method. Of course, Google translate isn’t always reliable, but it’s a good place to start.
Another source of valuable information is the Community section of the Creator Studio. This section provides even more information on your most devoted viewers. You’ll see data on subscribers that share their subscriptions publicly.
Be sure to ask for, and read, feedback from viewers. Let your viewers know that they have a voice in shaping what they see on your channel. Great ideas and suggestions for changes often originate from a loyal fan base.
You might also experiment with YouTube’s Live Stream. Live content can be more compelling to an audience. This offers a great way to communicate with your viewers in real time.
Finally, consider distributing your content beyond YouTube. Some viewers are more likely to find, and view, your content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Vimeo. Also consider launching a website or blog tied to your channel.
Let’s face it, your audience is your most valuable asset — without them you have nothing. There is no magical step-by-step recipe to create a YouTube goldmine, but developing a loyal audience is a big step in the right direction.