Carla Marshall has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, and SEO. She was previously Editor in Chief at ReelSEO.com, and as a journalist and video marketer, she's covered news stories, creator journeys, and digital-first publishing initiatives across all the major online video platforms. She is YouTube Certified and a judge for the Shorty Awards, as well as the UK, US, Canadian, Global, and EU Search Awards.
How to Get Your First 1,000 YouTube Subscribers
JUMP TO SECTION:
- 1. Put Your Audience, Rather Than Revenue, First
- 2. Break Your 1,000-Subscriber Goal Into Smaller Goals: 100, 250, 500, and So On...
- 3. Define Your Value Proposition on YouTube
- 4. Double Down on YouTube Content That Works
- 5. Identify Which Videos Attract the Most Subscribers
- 6. Create an Engaging YouTube Channel Trailer
- 7. Take YouTube SEO Seriously
- 8. Identify Your Pain Points Right Now
- 9. Stay Weird. Be an Innovative YouTube Creator
- 10. Engage Your YouTube Audience
In this post, we're going to guide you on the journey to 1,000 YouTube subscribers. But first, answer this question: Why do you want 1,000 subscribers?
If your answer is to monetize your YouTube channel, well, don't forget, you need 4,000 hours of Watch Time too.
You also need to apply to the YouTube Partner Program and be accepted into it. Along the way, YouTube will check to see if you're buying subscribers to manipulate the metrics.
Ready to grow your channel the right way? Let's kick off the eight ways you can attract 1,000 subscribers.
1. Put Your Audience, Rather Than Revenue, First
Are you on the right YouTube path? If your goal is to build, inspire, and educate a community of 1,000 or more people, we'd say you are.
We've uploaded over 600 videos on the vidIQ YouTube channel, and we've had over 2 million comments. We haven't read them all, but from what we've seen, it's clear most creators don't understand the YouTube platform.
New creators are thinking about what they can get from YouTube rather than what they can give to their audience. But we've always advised people to stop thinking about metrics likes views, subscribers, and Watch Time – at least at first. Simply focus on what's valuable to your audience.
I can almost guarantee that when you shift your mindset from you to your audience, your channel will grow so much faster. You'll hit 1,000 subscribers before you even know it.
That's because your content, your daily interaction with your community, becomes far more important than any milestone you're trying to achieve.
2. Break Your 1,000-Subscriber Goal Into Smaller Goals: 100, 250, 500, and So On...
Now, while I did say that milestones aren't necessarily that important, especially to your audience at this stage, they probably still do rattle around in the back of your head. So let's touch on this to help with your mental welfare. Getting to 100 subscribers is one of the hardest things you will do on the YouTube platform. Here’s a video you should definitely watch to learn more:
Now, let's say theoretically that it took you three months to get 100 subscribers, and then, your next target is 1,000 subscribers. That might be a bit of a stretch, but it's not going to take 30 months to get to 1,000 subscribers. Like any YouTube channel, yours will gain momentum over time.
So you want to have incremental increases in milestones – going from 100 subscribers to maybe 250 subscribers, and then 500 subscribers. Next, you can shoot for 750, slowly working your way to 1,000.
Set a goal that makes sense and track of your progress. That will nourish you as you nourish your audience with valuable content.
3. Define Your Value Proposition on YouTube
What is a value proposition? Simply put, it's when you describe your channel in five seconds or less, in a catchy, memorable fashion. For example, our value proposition could be that we're a "YouTube growth channel." But we can actually say "educating your YouTube journey," which is more personal and speaks directly to our audience.
Let me give you some more examples.
Example 1: Value Proposition for a Gaming Channel
Let's say you have a Fortnite gaming channel. There are literally of thousands of these on YouTube already, so how do you describe your channel in a catchy, memorable way? You could say something like, "Improving your gameplay performance in Fortnite." That gives your content a focus. Your audience knows exactly what your channel is about, and it's memorable.
Example 2: Value Proposition for a Travel Channel
Next, imagine you have a European travel channel. That's kind of broad and generic, but let's try this: "I'm a Euro-penniless traveling nomad." That means you're a traveler visiting European countries, most likely on an extreme budget. And who is that going to appeal to on YouTube? Young students. Suddenly, your value proposition just became laser-focused.
Your Value Proposition Can Change
Your value proposition won't always be the same. That's OK because no matter what, you'll always know the value you bring if your channel has a core theme. The messaging may change, but the value of your content will stay the same.
4. Double Down on YouTube Content That Works
When it comes to starting and building a YouTube channel, nothing beats experience. By now you hopefully have some videos uploaded, a decent amount of views for your experience, and a few subscribers. What you've gained from that is called social proof.
Certain videos will have performed better than others. You'll have videos where people comment and ask you to do a follow-up video. Or they may have general questions. In either case, you could provide an answer with new content.
My advice to you now would be...
- Start researching your channel. Go to the video tab on your channel page and sort by the most popular videos.
- If there are positive patterns in the top five or 10 videos, take note of that. Make more of that content, whether it's about a particular topic or a video style.
Have you've already chosen your video topic niche, whether it be sports, gaming, politics, wrestling, or beauty? If so, now you need a sub-niche. That could mean offering predictions, tutorials, reaction videos or personal stories.
When you start your YouTube channel, there is nothing wrong with experimenting 80% of the time. But as your channel grows, you'll get to a stage where you are serving your audience the content they want to see 80% of the time. At that point, you can experiment with the other 20% of your content.
5. Identify Which Videos Attract the Most Subscribers
This tip is pretty simple: Learn more about your channel and discover what works for your audience.
To further explore that concept, identify the videos on your channel that bring in the most subscribers. Then you can make more content based on those videos.
The vidIQ Channel Audit tool can help you out. We have a column showing which videos bring in the most subscribers on YouTube. Go ahead and download vidIQ to use this tool and save yourself some guesswork.
6. Create an Engaging YouTube Channel Trailer
This next step may be way down your priority list as you build out your YouTube channel, but maybe you want to start thinking about creating a channel trailer. We've already talked about your value proposition. A channel trailer should capture that value proposition in a video of no more than 30 to 45 seconds. By all means, look at how successful creators have already used channel trailers to introduce themselves to an audience.
This is an excellent example from the Apartment Therapy channel. It includes their value proposition (Own Your Home), plus a good call to action (Subscribe to…), and is bursting with clips to give the viewer a taste of what they can expect:
What you're going to discover with channel trailers is that you have 1,000 fantastic ideas, but you only need to put one for the video. With that being said, there is an alternative to a dedicated channel trailer. Instead, you can use the video that converts most subscribers on your channel. It'll make a great trailer because it's already proven to work with your audience.
7. Take YouTube SEO Seriously
It's time to start taking search engine optimization, or SEO, seriously on the YouTube platform. After all, it is the second-largest search engine in the world, and most creators get their start on YouTube by having discoverable content through search. This means extensive keyword research into your topic to find out what people are searching for.
You can add keywords to videos titles, descriptions, and video tags, if you want to. And try to include keywords in the vocabulary of your video content because YouTube is watching and listening to everything you put out on the platform.
Some of these things are marginal gains, but remember this. If you're a channel with 100 subscribers versus another channel with 100 subscribers, would you rather be the one giving YouTube as much information about your video as possible? Or the one who's just throwing stuff onto YouTube and expecting it to be discovered?
Keyword research is a huge learning topic in itself, so here's a deep-dive:
8. Identify Your Pain Points Right Now
Every creator has pain points preventing their success. Those challenges could be:
- Thumbnails that aren't click-worthy
- Keyword research that doesn't reflect people are searching for
- Having to re-shoot scenes as you get comfortable on camera
Identify your pain points and facing them head-on. The longer you ignore that pain point, the more brittle that foundation on your YouTube channel will be.
You don't have tackle all of your pain points all at once. Work on what's holding your channel back the most. Usually, at this point in a creator's journey, it's thumbnails.
Whatever it is, spend an hour per video trying to improve on that pain point by 1%. If you start to improve on something today, in two or three months, you'll look back at where those videos were and you'll think, "Yeah, that was horrible. Those thumbnails were terrible, but I'm so glad they look like this today because I'm getting a higher click-through rate and more views."
9. Stay Weird. Be an Innovative YouTube Creator
Want to get 1,000 subscribers for sure? Stay weird. Do things you wouldn't normally do.
Eighty percent of the time, you want to deliver content to your audience and create thumbnails that are consistent. But there's nothing wrong with experimentation. If you don't test new things, you'll never know if there's a new trend worthy of your attention. Or a certain thumbnail that defies all logic but appeals to a certain demographic.
With our PewDiePie versus T-Series content, we experimented with different content, and it was highly successful. What a lot of regular viewers didn't realize is that it didn't impede on our regular vidIQ content. We still posted hundreds of educational videos, and the PewDiePie versus T-Series content was 10%-15% of what we did in 2019. Those videos brought in millions of views and tens of thousands of subscribers, many who have stuck around. We reached 450,000 subscribers and got 30 million views.
Now that the PewDiePie versus T-Series story has ended, what have we come back to? Our core value proposition. Educating you on your YouTube journey. It's just that 20% of the time, we're going to entertain you along the way.
10. Engage Your YouTube Audience
Every viewer won't watch your videos until the end. Most likely, your audience retention will be lower, and people will finish 30%-50% of your video. That's not the worst news ever, though. A 100% retention rate is rare. What you should focus on more than anything is increasing your percentage, whatever it is, over time. The more people find your videos satisfying, the more YouTube will recommend your content to viewers.
Read More: How to Increase Audience Retention on Every YouTube Video
Beyond that, appeal to the core members of your community in three ways:
- Engage with them by posting polls and GIFs on the Community Tab
- Respond to video comments
- Chat with viewers during live streams
As you grow, some viewers will become more than subscribers. They'll be your super-fans, and you should return that same loyalty and enthusiasm.