How to Make a Successful YouTube Channel

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There are a few cornerstones of the Internet; websites that transformed the World Wide Web into what we know today. YouTube is the cornerstone of online video; it has become a definite source of entertainment and information viewing for over 15 years.

YouTube is the second-most used search engine in the world, behind Google. There is no doubt that the Internet overall and social media specifically have made the world a smaller place. On YouTube there is a video for everything — from dancing and music videos to political speeches and news, to how-to videos for everything, including how to change the clock in your car during daylight savings time.

YouTube Originated the Role of Video in Social Media Marketing

Social media as a global news and community force is a sub-trend of how visuals, and not just words, are taking over the digital sphere. Especially videos.

YouTube and other video-centric channels like TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, play an ever-important role in social media for organizations and individuals of all kinds. YouTube ushered in the first creators, giving rise to influencer marketing that has become so important over the past decade.

Audiences Sought Comfort, Connection on YouTube in 2020

In 2020 we had even more time to spend online and watch videos. The most popular videos in 2020 were those that aimed to connect with others as the world turned towards stay-at-home during the pandemic.

#WithMe videos that followed creators through their daytime activities grew by 600%. Audiences shifted to at-home content like cooking instruction and fitness and wellness tips. Socializing activities like trivia games were a hit, as were videos of coming together virtually, like virtual choirs and the “Some Good News” show. YouTube’s recap of 2020 trends is worth a look.

Let’s dive in to the 5 steps for creating a successful YouTube Channel.

Best Practice #1: Consolidate Into One YouTube Channel

There are 31 million YouTube channels (and counting). Finding the right channel and the right video is akin to the needle in a haystack analogy. To make your channel stand out, stop diversifying your business channel into many. Not sure how? Google has the answer.

Having one, consolidated channel is beneficial for audiences because they can find what they need. Separating by internal priorities may make sense to your HQ, but it doesn’t serve your audience. Bringing all videos together on a platform driven by search is beneficial for overall channel reach, subscriber counts, and engagement on the brand side.

Step 1: Master the Details

Pay attention to the little things on YouTube. When you hone in on the details, YouTube will reward you with higher visibility and search results in the algorithm.

  • Clean, accurate, consistent branding across the channel
  • Custom video thumbnails that are attractive
  • Easy-to-read video headline
  • Keyword-rich description with time stamps, links, hashtags, and call to action
  • Specific video as channel trailer for non-subscribers
  • Featured video for returning subscribers

YouTube algorithms recommend videos based on individual user viewing habits and related topic themes. The coordinated titling and tagging of the videos is essential to creating topic relevancy the algorithms can understand. Using a tool like TubeBuddy for video management is essential for growing channels and for video managers who want to edit in bulk.

Step 2: Post New Videos Consistently

One thousand views is nice, but do you know what is even better? One million views! To reach lofty YouTube view goals, you must post new content consistently. Running out of ideas? Identify your top audience targets and identify what questions they have as they are trying to solve a problem or reach a goal. Write these down, then make one video for each question and audience. You can also ask for community feedback by actively soliciting comments and suggestions to plan future videos.

Step 3: Encourage Subscribers

The most helpful tip I got from YouTube when I was building out the PGA TOUR YouTube channel was, “Channel subscribers watch, on average, 8x more videos than the general public.” From that point on, every video we posted had calls to action to encourage subscription to the channel.

Some of the key places to encourage video viewers to subscribe include:

  • Channel and video description copy
  • End cards with one-click subscribe button
  • Channel trailer video
  • Cross-promoting your YouTube channel in email and social media

Step 4: Use YouTube as a Social Network

Don’t underestimate the power of YouTube as a social network to engage with and grow your audience. Viewers will be more proactive to leave comments and share videos when they see the channel is actively engaged.

  • Take time to respond to comments on your videos
  • Engage on videos by peer companies, influencers and customers
  • Engage off YouTube by sharing content across other channels & engaging with users who are sharing your video content off YouTube.
  • Ask questions in the videos that specifically solicit engagement in the comments.
  • Encourage your viewers to interact with each other within videos and comments.

Step 5: Organize Videos for Replay

Channels can be organized into playlists, which help the audience to discover and watch more videos. Highlight videos by topic, audience or intent. Channels can display single playlists on their page, or group multiple playlists into a section and add a title.

Any older video content not driving new views or engagement should be moved to unlisted. Making a video unlisted does not affect embedded videos in blogs and other places it is linked. But it does allow you to “sunset” older videos and feature newer videos that better address the same topic.

Your Turn to Be a YouTube Master

Okay, maybe not.

But you and your organization can learn how to create awesome video content that gets the attention of your audience. The next step is to extend that engagement to other social networks. It doesn’t take a ton of money to make a splash on social media. But it does take hard work, consistency, and constant outreach to your fan base.

All YouTube channels started with just one video and one post — though many stopped there. So, stop putting it off. Do your competitive and market research, establish your social strategy, create some strong initial content, and launch!

This post was originally written by Margaret Dawson and completely updated by Lauren Teague in 2021.


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