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5 Hours of YouTube SEO and Marketing | How to Get to 1,000 Subscribers as Quickly as Possible




Luke: Hello, Rob. You're on mute.

Rob: Hey Luke, how are you?

Luke: Excellent. If anyone has been watching us from the very beginning, we are now approaching the end of the five-hour marathon webinar. If you have been watching us from the beginning, then kudos to you, I am seriously impressed.

In this final session, I'm now joined by Rob from TubeBuddy and he's going to be sharing his presentation on how to get your first 1000 subscribers on YouTube as quickly as possible. Rob, great to have you here. Where are you from today?

Rob: I'm in Vancouver, Canada. 

Luke: Absolutely awesome. Do you want to give everybody a very quick intro on who you are?

Rob: My name is Rob. I'm the brand evangelist at TubeBuddy. We're a YouTube tool, partnered with YouTube. And so, yeah, that's what I do here. I get to connect with all of our users, all of our partners and create and come up with cool ideas to get everyone to connect with each other. 

Luke: That sounds like an absolutely amazing role to be completely honest. Okay. I know we've only got a short session. It's only 30 minutes session, Rob. If it's okay with you, I think you just jumped straight into it.

Why is 1000 Subscribers an Important YouTube Channel Milestone?

Rob: First thing is really why is 1000 subscribers, such an important milestone on YouTube anyway? One of the biggest is really it's 50% of the requirements to get monetization. You need 1000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours over the last 12 months to get monetization. 

This is why if you guys search on YouTube, this is probably a very common video that you may find, how to get a 1000 subscribers on YouTube. That's why that's one of the biggest reasons that you guys need that.

I also have my own personal channel where I kind of pretty much just practice what I preach. I apply all the things that we get to teach at TubeBuddy and apply it to my personal channel, sort of a testing ground, if you may, for a lot of the strategies that we're sharing at TubeBuddy as well. For me, 18 months, this is the number of months that it took me to get to my first 1000 subscribers.

I know that sometimes it takes a couple of weeks; sometimes it takes much longer. But yeah, we'd love to know in the chat, how long it took those of us here that have more than 1000 subscribers. How long did it take you?

I started my channel October 1st, 2018, and I reached my first 1000, April 27th of this year, 2020, so 18 months-ish. Now the funny thing is that there is, if you're consistent, which I'm going to talk about this, but if you're consistent and applying learning, there's a bit of a snowball effect. Luke, I don't know if you can sort of agree with that, but there's a bit of a snowball effect in your growth on YouTube.

The funny thing is that now from 1000 subscribers to 2000, so my second 1000 subscribers, it should only take me about three months. If you guys go to my channel, it's maybe I'm 15 or 20 subscribers away from 2000 subscribers on my personal channel. It's a very interesting thing. 

 A lot of people have told me that that's what would happen, that there's a bit of a snowball effect. Your channel starts picking up momentum.

The Importance of Keyword Research for YouTube Channel Growth

Now we're going to jump into the tips here. These aren't things that I just kind of pull out of the air. These are things that I've learned over the sort of my journey over the last couple of years on YouTube with my personal channel.

The first thing is keyword research. Identifying long-tail keyword opportunities that have decent search volume, but are less competitive. It's really important to use and take advantage of description, your tags, your titles. Doing keyword research before you create videos is very important.

I'm going to show you guys a graph in a little bit of the growth of my channel, but what you guys will see is that in the beginning, I just really created videos that I just felt good about. Anybody else do that? I made videos that I felt good about, I saw some comments on a blog post.

I saw people DMing me with questions and I was like, “Oh, I'll make a video on that”. What would happen is I'll film it, edit it, spend a bunch of time. And then I would get to my computer again and start uploading the video. 

I would do some keyword research after the video was already done. And I would always end up getting cornered into a really competitive keyword. They wouldn't get any views, wouldn't get any traction. All that work making that video kind of resulted in very low success. 

Now I do keyword research first, so very, very simple things. LinkedIn content is one of the things that I talk about in my personal channel. LinkedIn live, for example, here, I can see that the score is 29 out of 100 for my channel based on search volume, competition, and optimization strength.

With a little bit of a tweak, just adding LinkedIn live tips, now the score is 83 out of 100, right? Really simple things like that help me to now understand that this is a better opportunity for me to actually go after this particular keyword and also using a longer tail, a title like that makes it more discoverable and obviously goes further down the road. 

Be Consistent with Uploading to YouTube

The second thing is to be consistent. I get to talk to a lot of content, creators, YouTubers, people that are trying to grow YouTube channels and consistency is one of the biggest things, one of the hardest things to keep up.

Being consistent is really important on YouTube, not just to sort of satisfy and work the YouTube algorithms, but also for you as a content creator to get into the rhythm of filming, leveling up your skills when it comes to talking to the camera, editing all those things.

I'm going to share a couple of tools as well that I use to make sure that I'm consistent. I would say from about nine months ago, I really started taking YouTube seriously uploading much more frequently doing live streams as well. I think Chase alluded to that, that he does a lot of live streams. Doing much more activity on YouTube and being more consistent. 

Now also part of this is editing. Understanding and having a system for editing, getting better at editing, if you do your own editing. Maybe perhaps you're fortunate enough to outsource your editing. But if you're doing your own editing, then you get into a groove of editing as well, having a template for your edits, for your videos, and so on. 

One of the tools that I use is Trello. You guys look here, this is my Trello board for my YouTube channel. And so I've got a full sort of a list here of different ideas on the left-hand side.

Every Monday I will kind of look at my ideas and say like, okay, well, which videos do I want to film over the next couple of weeks? And then I move them over to the next column. 

Once they're filmed, I move them to the next column for editing. And then once they're edited, then I move them over to the next column with the thumbnails and everything all done, ready for upload. And so that just makes things a lot easier for me. 

Also having a checklist. Having a checklist is very, very important. I think it might be a little too small on the screen here, but this is my checklist on Trello. You can do this on any sort of project management tool, Asana, Monday, whatever tool you use. 

I have all of my descriptions, my target keywords, my hook, introduction, my value propositions, my calls to action. What I want to say in the videos all done here. I also have three very distinct separate checklists within this. And it's broken down by what I do before recording, what I do after recording, and then what I do after publishing. 

There's so many little tasks and so many little details with YouTube, creating and uploading videos, that it's really easy to forget a step. This is just a way for me to not have to remember any of it because it's all listed down. It's always the same for every video I have. 

With the live streams, I also have a checklist, especially if there're guests that I'm inviting in. There's also a checklist for how we run our live streams, how we promote our live streams so that everything is systematic. 

The Power of Collaborations for Growing YouTube Subscribers

Speaking of live streams, the third thing that I've, that would really help me if I can tell myself 18 months ago, what to do with YouTube, is to do collaborations. This is a really easy way to get organic sharing with a targeted audience. 

You can do interviews with other experts. You can do roundup tips and you can also do scripted sort of content collaborations. Just a regular, really easy way to create content. And again, very organic, right. We usually schedule these ahead of time so that there's a YouTube URL that they can share. We send the guests the thumbnails and everything like that, swipe copy so that they can also share it on their social if they like.

Pay Attention to Your Watch Time and Session Time

Then the fourth thing is watch time and session time. Paying attention to watch time and session time on YouTube is something that we are doing more and more, probably actually more than we actually pay attention to subscribers at this point.

One of the things here, audience retention, right? When it comes to watch time, what watch time is for those that aren't familiar, is that it's the amount of time that people watch your individual videos. Session time is the amount of time they spent on YouTube altogether in that particular sitting. And so, one of the things that you can do, if you are paying attention to your videos is to look at the audience retention time.

If you just go to your analytics and then go into overview, you'll see it. And so if you see that, for example, your video, this video, it's a seven-minute video, and the average watch time was about 34%, 33%. Two and a half minutes. 

Then what we would do is we would put cards right before the two and a half minute mark. Two minutes, probably around there, to then suggest another video on our channel that they may be interested in so that instead of leaving our channel completely, they may go to, we'll try to send them over to another one of our videos. 

Also end cards, end cards you can put at the end. And again, this just helps with session time. If they watch your entire video to get to the end, send them to another video that's related to what they're watching. 

This video was about LinkedIn, then we sent them to another video about LinkedIn mistakes, for example. There you go, Luke. Really quick, quick and dirty few tips and then, yeah. Happy to answer any questions you guys may have.

Luke: Yeah, that was brilliant. That was really awesome. I really enjoyed that presentation and it was straight to the point. It was funny because I don't know why, but when I first started on YouTube, I had this big thing in my mind that I really wanted 1000 subscribers. 

Back then, you didn't need to have minimum requirements for monetization. You could get monetized at 100 subscribers. I don't know where I got it from, but it took me about 18 months as well. Interestingly.

Rob: It's a magic number.

Luke: Yeah, it must be a magic number for some people. Definitely. It's interesting you talked about things like the snowball effect as well. I think a lot of creators can take a lot of inspiration, but it could take a lot from that because I think when you first start out and it's a bit of a grind and you're creating a lot of content, but things are moving slowly.

It's nice to know that in the future, you will have this kind of snowball effect with your channel. I think like I said something about 18 months to get my first 1000 subscribers, but then the following year I had 6 or 7,000. It really does change.

Getting Views But No Subscribers 

Luke: We've got a question...they have some videos they've generated some great views and comments, but their subscribers are not growing. Do you have any hints or tips?

Rob: Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting. You may want to actually just ask, right? You might just want to pay attention to see if you are actually asking for people to subscribe. I, at this point again, just to repeat kind of what I said earlier is that we're really less and less concerned about getting subscribers. We are more concerned about building a community. 

We'll ask once in a while at the end of our videos, but for every video though, we do have a little bit of an animation that it does pop up in the introduction even of like, the little subscribe click thing with the cursor and the notification bell.

Don't be afraid, especially when your channel is a little bit smaller, mine included, just be really upfront. Like, “Hey, if you're new to the channel, we'd love for you to subscribe.” 

If this is the kind of content that you are interested in and also mention, what your channel is about. Give them the value proposition and that, while you're asking for this, for them to subscribe, yeah, don't just say, subscribe because you like me.

Luke: I think there's a couple of things there. I think the first thing is a lot of people put a lot of emphasis on the number of subscribers. It has that kind of the benchmark of success for their channel yet there's channels that are extremely successful, that maybe don't have as many subscribers as you might think. 

The other thing would be to consider what your value proposition is of your channel. Is there a reason for people to subscribe? Are they just watching one of your videos and they think the video is good, but then there's nothing really else that's going to interest them in terms of getting them to subscribe to your channel? It's a bit of a loaded question. I think you only need to have a bit of a closer look at their channel to give them some real-world advice.

How Live Streams Help You Get Video Content Ideas

Just out of curiosity, you mentioned that you started doing live streams. You talked about your whole process, which was a very organized process with your planning going all the way through to your editing. Have you started doing more live streams because you kind of don't have to have that whole editing side?

Rob: Yeah, yeah. On a weekly basis, I do a couple live streams at the least. I do a live stream for the TubeBuddy channel it's called the Creator's Corner. And then also my own personal channel. And that's strictly community building, which is, I think really important, no matter how big or small your channel is. 

You guys can actually see the other replays. I leave the replays as a public video strictly because I want people to know when they come to my channel, that that is something you can expect. That every Friday I'm going to make myself available for an hour, hour and a half to answer your questions.

Previous to TubeBuddy, I was working at Thinkific online course platform for a number of years. I just, I kind of understand and hopefully understand how people learn and, you share content, right? 

That sort of the circular way of how people learn, right? They get content, they apply it, then they'll have questions for the instructor. And so that's what those Friday sessions are. It's just a really cool way to engage with the community, build community for them to engage with each other. And then also for me to understand the pain points and the questions that they have, which really helps me fill up my Trello board with different ideas of videos.

I have no shortage of video ideas because I feel like I'm fairly tapped into the audience and the subscribers. Same thing with our YouTube channel, with the TubeBuddy YouTube channel every Wednesday, religiously every Wednesday, we have one of our partners, YouTube experts take over the channel and just do a workshop and they just have full access to it.

Again, there's a lot of regulars, but there's also a lot of new eyeballs coming to our channel that way, and they're just getting massive value, without us asking anything, it's not a promotion, there's no upsell or anything like that. It's just strictly trying to just help them educate them on YouTube.

Luke: Perfect love that. I noticed that one of the things you said, which I completely agree with, by the way, was that collaborations can be a fantastic way of building up your channel, especially if you're trying to build it quickly. 

Should You Mix Niches or Build Separate Channels on YouTube?

Luke: Right. We've got a question from Standup Beauty. They have asked, my channel is about makeup reviews, but I'm also passionate about photography and filming. Do you recommend to have two separate channels or build one stronger channel with more diversity of topics?

Rob: Ah, good question. I would say that it really almost, it's actually probably a question of your audience. Would it be the same audience that would be interested in your makeup and your photography content? If it is, make it one channel, right. If it's not, then make it separate channels. 

This is a question of whether or not you want to grow your channel as a business, or you want to grow it really fast. If you want to grow it really fast, then you probably want, you'd want to separate it out because YouTube, they need to understand what your channel is about.

If they get confused, they're like, “Oh, there's some people here for the makeup, but then they're not watching the photography content. Like, what is this channel about?“ Because then they don't know who to send and share your channels with new audiences. They don't know who to share it with. 

That would be my answer to it is just think about the audience. If you are going after, people that are interested in makeup, but also interested in, photography, it could be the same audience. 

Luke: I think that's a really good way of thinking about it. Thinking about it from your audience perspective. Generally speaking, I would say particularly if you're starting out, to really try and stick within a single niche, because you are going to create a bit of confusion in terms of the kind of content that you're creating.

The only caveat to that would be exactly what Rob just said. If your photography was about fashion photography or kind of beauty photography, so there's a bit of crossover, so you've maybe got appealed to the same audience, then maybe you could get away with doing it as a single channel. But more often than not, I would probably say they need to be separate because they sound like quite different things.

Driving Traffic from Older Videos

Next one. We have a question from Kyle, how do you drive traffic from older videos? I'm assuming that meant to be, how do you drive traffic from older videos that don't have space to add end cards to newer videos?

Rob: That they don't have space. That's going to be a little tough if you, I mean, you could put end cards depending on the last 20 seconds of your older videos, you can still put an end card there. It'll just block, obviously a section of that 20 seconds of the frame, but if there's a good place, you can, you can put it there for sure. You can do that with the older videos.

You can also turn an older video into a playlist. If you want to take all your older videos, if they're not in a playlist already, you put in a playlist with other related videos on your channel, and then when you're sharing your videos on social or anywhere else, if you're doing that, then share that older video, the link within the playlist so that when people watch, they'll see the other videos that are related. Also, YouTube will automatically send them to the next video in the playlist; that will help with session time.

Luke: Yeah, they are really good tips. I think the only thing I'd add to that as well is when you're saying you haven't got enough space to add an end screen, I have that with some of my older videos. And instead of using the normal end screen, or maybe it has two videos and a subscribe, I'd only have maybe one kind of call to action. I mean, maybe have just a single video. I'm probably going to be blocking something, but at least there is a link to the video.

And again, as well, think about maybe using cards as well, or even adding things into description or pinned comments, there might be a few of the different ways in which you can sneak something in there. I think.

Luke: Well, we're definitely approaching the five-hour mark now. I think it's potentially a good time to wrap things up if that's okay with you, Rob.

Rob: Absolutely.

Luke: I'm just going to kind of one final reminder that again, all these sessions have been recorded. They're all going to be available online. And I think you'll agree, Rob, there has been some absolute gold in some of these sessions today. It's definitely worth going back and watching some of these.

On a final note, I just want to end with a big thank you to SEMrush for arranging this and for hosting everything and bringing together the best speakers and providing you with the best content and the latest information. I got a little bit of insight into how much work goes in behind the scenes to actually organize all of this. Before I go, Rob quickly, where can everybody find you online?

Rob: Anywhere @TubeBuddy for all the TubeBuddy channels and then just copy and paste my name. I got a really long last name. You can find me on YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram is usually where I'm hanging out. Feel free to connect with me in DM me any questions, happy to help.

Luke: Amazing great stuff. And on that note, I think it's goodbye. Thank you, everyone. Goodbye.

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