8 steps I used to grow my YouTube business to 1 million subscribers

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

I suspect a lot of people, entrepreneurs or not, started on YouTube like I did: with a channel that
remained relatively inactive. Now my business recently passed 1 million subscribers since I started – still a little unsure of what I was doing – in 2016. I’d love to double that and reach 2 million
subscribers in the next two years. It’s doable: more than 2.5 billion users each log into the platform
month.

Do I have a big secret? No. I learned along the way, and the beauty of YouTube is that if you
follow a few simple steps, it will soon do a lot of work for you. Here are some simple and concrete things to get started building and growing your brand with this influential medium.

Related: 6 ways you can use YouTube to reach your intended audience

1. Use your expertise to create your niche – and stick with it

This may seem obvious, but it’s important as you start building your brand. As an australiabusinessblog.com, your niche may be obvious, but for others – as with some service consultants, for example – you may be tempted to go outside a field of expertise or unsure of what specific skill you have where you can rise above others .

Pay attention to what people are attracted to in individual conversations; in my case, I was in academia and conversations with a marketing colleague convinced me I had a niche that would showcase my brand.

2. Work with people with different skills

Just as important as knowing your expertise is knowing what’s not in your wheelhouse and finding someone who can help. Many entrepreneurs are visionaries. Maybe some of them are business people too, but I wasn’t, and I recognized that – so I partnered up with that marketing colleague, who also had experience as a business owner.

3. Speak the language of your audience

This is a fundamental rule of public speaking, but you may not have done it very often. I was used to being in front of an audience every day, but those were erudite discussions – not interpersonal conversations.

To my YouTube listeners, I came across as pedantic and even worse, they didn’t know what I was talking about! It doesn’t mean your listeners aren’t educated or smart, but people come from different backgrounds, so you should summarize your arguments in simple terms that a wide audience can understand. This is especially important for people from specialized fields that are rife with industry-specific language, such as engineering and law, for example. The good news is that if you accidentally revert to your “old” way of talking, your audience will give you feedback. Don’t be defensive or offended – take it, learn and do better (and practice).

Related: Try out video marketing and watch your business grow

4. Learn how YouTube works

The beauty of YouTube is that if you keep producing content, the platform will figure out what niche you’re in and find your audience for you.

The more you use it, the more it helps get you in front of an audience based on their user profile. That’s why it’s so important to identify your niche and stay in it. Expect a learning process; I read a lot of articles about YouTube’s algorithm in the first few weeks.

5. Don’t rethink what works

This is just a repetition of “don’t reinvent the wheel,” but if you want to grow your brand on YouTube, it’s crucial — and easy.

Very simple: ask your competitors (I like to call them colleagues) to help you. See what they’re doing and review the analytics to determine what’s working for them, what topics users are responding to, and any patterns. Check out the comments to generate different ideas and content. Then develop your own unique content (which is of course very important) for your videos, but with similar keywords, titles, thumbnails, and the like to trigger the algorithm. In a way, you let those colleagues do the beta testing for you.

6. Get to know monetization

After you have just 1000 subscribers on YouTube, you can sign up for their Google Ads affiliate program and start monetizing Google Ads. YouTube also recently added channel memberships for your followers to join and support, with tiers starting at $4.99/month and up. Consider writing a book and promoting it for purchase on YouTube and your blog, if you have one. Then immerse yourself in merchandising.

7. Syndicate yourself

YouTube is a great way to start, but it’s also taking on other platforms – from social media to
purpose-built websites – to leverage and boost your content for greater brand-building power.

Related: Using YouTuber content as a promotional tool

8. Understand parasocial relationships

Parasocial relationships are formed when a viewer or user connects with an influencer or public figure. In the case of branding and YouTube, it can create more loyal brand followers through intimacy by creating special, premium “insider clubs” that grant additional access to your users. You can host smaller, exclusive, live discussions on a regular basis. You may have levels within those models; the more access they want, the more they pay.

There’s never been a better time to chart your own path and use YouTube to build your brand.
We are a networked society with a broad online ecology, and it connects our daily lives with others: our
public and our customers. Find and stick to your niche, find your voice, practice conversational skills, and learn from others, and you’ll be successful using this platform to build and scale your brand.

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