4 Tips to Grow Your Channel With YouTube Shorts

YouTube is adding more updates to Shorts beta. If you learn how to use the features, you can grow your channel with short, vertical videos.

YouTube keeps adding features for creating and discovering Shorts. In addition to the U.S. rollout of Shorts beta – a tool for recording, editing, and posting brief videos – the platform has changed the layout of Shorts, how they appear in search results, and more.

As a creator, you should know what these updates are to better grow your channel. We’ve seen creators get more views with Shorts, but the challenging part is keeping the momentum going.

With recent updates, you may have to think differently about the way you create short videos. The latest Shorts updates have revealed four undeniable truths:

  1. Shorts are appearing in search results, so you should absolutely create them.
  2. If you focus on making unique Shorts that go viral, subscribers will find you.
  3. Every Short needs a pinned comment.
  4. Musical Shorts may contain trends or dance challenges, which means you should research topics and songs before you press record.

We go into detail about each truth in the video below, so give it a watch:

Now that you have some background knowledge, here are four tips to grow your channel with YouTube Shorts.

1. YouTube Shorts are Becoming More Discoverable; don’t Hesitate to Post Them!

Are you familiar with the Shorts shelf? This display area for short, vertical videos has been on the app's homepage for months. Now it’s also appearing on search pages. If you’re posting Shorts to YouTube, this is a new opportunity to get your content discovered.

How to ‘Search’ For YouTube Shorts

Viewers can find your Shorts via search results but not in the traditional, topic-based way. Follow these steps to understand how they appear on YouTube:

  1. Open the YouTube mobile app.
  2. Next to your profile icon, click the magnifying glass at the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Type a channel name into the search bar and tap the appropriate result when it pops up.
  4. Scroll down past the first few results – the icon that takes you to the channel, latest posts from the channel, and regular, horizontal videos – until you see the Shorts beta shelf.

Here’s what you’ll see:

When we search for vidIQ, a shelf filled with vidIQ Shorts appears in the results. This contains some Shorts we’ve posted as well as those from other creators who talk about vidIQ.

If you don’t post any Shorts, your channel probably won’t appear on this shelf. But you can easily fix this by posting a few Shorts, searching for your channel, and seeing if the shelf appears. Our suggestion has always been to upload Shorts because you never know what YouTube is going to do with them. In this case, it’s a new display area we’ve never seen before.

What About Topic-Based Searches for YouTube Shorts?

There is one downside to this feature, though. Performing a topic search instead of a channel search doesn’t return the same results. There’s no Shorts shelf when we type the word “Minecraft” into the search bar, for example. The shelf only appears in search results when we type a channel name.

If you’re a how-to or educational creator making Shorts, this is something to keep in mind. Viewers won’t find your Shorts by searching for a topic, but that’s OK. Channels like Dental Digest are still getting millions of Shorts views from other display shelves.

2. Accept That Views, Not Subscribers, Are the Immediate Benefit of Creating Shorts

If you’ve struggled to gain subscribers from Shorts, that might intensify in the future. YouTube made some layout changes to the Shorts player, and the subscribe button is less prominent than it used to be.

In the old layout, the subscribe button was red and higher up on the player. Now the button is gray and very close to the bottom of the screen.

It seems like YouTube wants to take the emphasis off of subscribers, at least for Shorts. We’re not sure why. What we do know is that views, not subscribers, have always been the biggest reward for posting Shorts. Some creators get millions of subscribers, but that’s usually because they’re posting unique content that’s hard to duplicate – like Jake Fellman’s animated Among Us Shorts. Those videos attracted 4.08 million subscribers so far.

For now, create the best Shorts you can possibly make. Make them so entertaining that people deliberately search for the subscribe button, even if it’s harder to see.

3. Use Pinned Comments to Drive Viewers From a Short to Additional Content

Shorts are similar to TikTok; viewers watch them quickly, swipe to the next video, and repeat the process as they cycle through content. It’s hard to get people to slow down, but when they do, you should give them something to look at.

The comment section is a good place to do this. Because subscribers are harder to gain with Shorts, you should make sure each video has a pinned comment. You can highlight additional content – a playlist, a Short that serves as a part two, whatever you like – and encourage people to explore your channel. If people like what they see, they may hit subscribe.

The pinned comment is your best tool because Shorts don’t have info cards or end screens for suggesting content. Even the video description is hidden behind a two-tap journey.

4. Do Some Research to Make Unique, Music-Driven Shorts

Music helps videos go viral. That’s what’s been happening on TikTok and even older platforms like Triller and the unforgettable sensation that was Vine.

Now YouTube wants to create the same appeal on its mobile app. On March 18, the platform unveiled a feature for adding music to Shorts. The best part? You won’t be penalized for violating copyright rules.

As more creators get this tool, you should research which songs are appearing in certain videos. Then you can add something unique to a trend after seeing what others posted, hopefully making your content stand out.

To start researching, look for the icon below. If you see it, that means the creator added a song from the Shorts camera tool.

Tap the icon to see more Shorts using that song. This is where your research will really take off as you discover how the song is being used, if there’s a challenge associated with it, and more. At the top of the page, you can also see the original YouTube video for the song.

YouTube is slowly rolling out these features. You may not be able to do all the things in this post, but it’s good to know what’s coming. When the tools arrive in your app, be sure to do what we’ve mentioned in this blog. Upload Shorts without hesitation, make them entertaining, use pinned comments, and do your topic research.