Lydia Sweatt is a writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.
Promote Your YouTube Channel: 17 Tips for Small Creators
Does YouTube promote new channels, or does it only give credence to large, established ones?
Small creators always ask this question — and for a good reason. If you’re in those numbers, you’ll be happy to know that YouTube does, in fact, promote small channels! It may happen through titles and keywords instead of video recommendations at first, but it does happen.
Regardless, don’t let YouTube do all the work. There are good ways to promote your YouTube channel, from optimizing your videos to collaborating with others to networking through YouTube comments.
The Best Ways to Promote a Small YouTube Channel
Are you ready to start promoting yourself on YouTube? At a minimum, you should have two things covered already:
If you’re good in both of these areas, here’s how to promote your YouTube channel for free!
1. Write a Good Description for Your Channel
One of the easiest ways to promote your channel is by simply describing it. Explain your YouTube niche, the type of videos you make, and most importantly, what viewers gain by subscribing. It also helps to sprinkle in some keywords so your channel ranks higher on YouTube search pages.
Take Rix Flix, for example. This theme park channel has keywords like “Universal Studios” and “Florida” in its channel description. Plus, they accurately describe the channel’s purpose.
When we type “Universal Studios Florida” into the search bar and filter by channel, Rix Flix is near the top! That’s YouTube promotion at its finest.
2. Write Fascinating Video Titles
If you want people to pay attention to your channel, write engaging titles they can’t ignore. Typically, the best titles appeal to our strongest emotions, like fear, desire, and curiosity.
Here are some examples:
- Fear: “The Dark Side of the Stock Market (Protect Your Money Now)”
- Desire: “What You’re Doing Wrong in the Dating Scene”
- Curiosity: “How Getting Rejected by Harvard Changed my Life”
Emotional intrigue is the first thing to tackle when writing titles. After that, try adding relevant keywords near the front of your phrase. That helps the YouTube algorithm understand your content and promote it to the right audience!
3. Write Accurate Video Descriptions
Just like your channel needs a description, so does every YouTube video. The better you describe your content to viewers (and the algorithm), the more likely you are to get clicks, views, and watch time.
But writing a good description is an art form. You definitely want to use the right keywords and make your content sound intriguing. But beyond that, you want to get the length right — not too many words and not too few.
As a general rule, put your best keywords and descriptors in the first 100 characters, so viewers get the best information upfront.
4. Add Hashtags to Your Videos
YouTube hashtags help people discover your videos, which leads to more people noticing your content over time. It’s an underrated way to get more views, and it definitely works when you target the right topics.
So, how does it all come together? When viewers click a hashtag, they go to the official hashtag page for a specific topic. For example, #babysongs has dozens of nursery rhyme videos for young children.
Getting featured on a hashtag page offers enormous exposure, especially if your content surfaces near the top. All you have to do is add relevant hashtags to your title and description!
5. Design Beautiful YouTube Thumbnails
The power of thumbnails can’t be overstated on YouTube. The more intriguing they are, the more people want to click on them out of sheer curiosity.
Here are some best practices for thumbnails:
- Use images related to the video’s topic.
- Create a design that’s simple and easy to understand.
- Add some text that explains the video.
- Create harmony between the thumbnail and video title.
- Use a thumbnail style that matches your niche.
That last piece of advice is critical. While MrBeast can have a colorful, action-packed thumbnail (because he makes challenge videos)...
…a channel like Wolf Tea uses calm, minimalistic thumbnails to attract tea drinkers.
6. Cross-Promote Your YouTube Channel
Did you know you can use one video to promote additional content? This is called cross-promotion, and the best way to get it done is with YouTube cards and end screens.
YouTube cards can appear at any point during a video. They’re used to recommend other videos, and that content is usually related to the topic at hand. If the creator is talking about YouTube monetization, they might use a card to refer viewers to a video about that subject.
End screens are interactive outros that appear in the last 5-20 seconds of a video. You can add lots of things to an end screen (subscribe button, website link, etc.), but the best option is to recommend one more video to watch. That way, viewers click the next video without thinking too hard.
7. Create YouTube Playlists
You might think playlists are only helpful when someone’s browsing your channel, but they play a much bigger role. Most of the value actually comes from YouTube search!
Take a look at the typical search page on YouTube. You’ll notice you can filter the results by four content types: videos, channels, movies, and playlists.
So if you want more people to discover your channel, start making playlists!
8. Host YouTube Live Streams
Did you know that live streams are promoted highly on YouTube? There’s an entire section dedicated to live videos, and getting featured there might not be as complicated as you think. After all, a live stream with 5,000 viewers was recently featured in the gaming section.
Your live streams don’t need to be perfect, either. You can build an audience by being friendly, engaging, and entertaining.
9. Collaborate with Other Creators
If you have a decent number of subscribers, it’s never too soon for a YouTube collab. It’s the ultimate form of promotion, as you can partner with a creator who agrees to feature you in their videos.
But you won’t grow from any old collab. Here are some tips to make sure you get what you need:
- Find creators on your level (in terms of subscribers).
- Collaborate with people in your niche.
- Brainstorm video ideas before sending collab emails.
- Pick a video collab style (in person, remote, etc.).
- Set a realistic date to publish collabs.
- Promote each YouTube collaboration.
10. Engage on the YouTube Community Tab
With the Community tab, you don’t have to leave YouTube to promote your channel. This social network allows you to engage with both viewers and non-viewers in exciting ways. You can create polls, share GIFs, and start conversations that truly matter to your audience.
We’re calling this a promotion tactic because polls can go viral with tens of thousands of votes. And like we mentioned before, YouTube shows Community posts to non-viewers too.
In a recent poll, 29% of people said they don’t watch our videos, yet YouTube suggested our poll to them!
11. Comment on Other YouTube Videos
Leaving comments is a great way to promote yourself and make people curious enough to visit your channel. They’ll think, Who is this person commenting on every video from my favorite creator? Let me check them out.
The golden rule for this strategy is to comment within your niche. So if you’re a gardening channel, start networking with other creators in that community. Comment on their videos to say what you liked or agreed with, so like-minded viewers know you exist!
12. Promote Your Channel on Social Media
Some of the best places to promote your YouTube channel are outside the platform itself. A few of those apps and websites include:
- Facebook groups
- Instagram Stories
- Reddit communities
- Discord servers
These are the best apps to promote a YouTube channel, but it helps to know the flavor of each community. What type of discussions do they have there, and better yet, how do the conversations take shape? Once you know that, you can create content in the best style for those users.
Also, what’s the culture like? Do people crack jokes, discuss politics, share memes, or post life hacks? All of this determines whether a platform is suitable for promoting your videos.
13. Embed Videos on Your Website
Do you have a blog or company website? If so, try embedding some YouTube videos on the different pages of your site.
When deciding which videos to embed, pay attention to the page’s overall topic. Your video should add context in a way that helps readers understand what the page is all about.
For example, you can embed the following:
- A tutorial explaining how something works
- A documentary of your adventures (travel, nature, gardening, etc.)
- A product testing video that supports a written product review
- A video Q&A
14. Draw Attention to Your Channel with YouTube Shorts
Thanks to an algorithm update, YouTube Shorts can help you get views on long-form videos. But how does this work?
Let’s pretend someone watches your Short, which has 100,000 views so far. Because it’s so popular, YouTube suggests a longer video from your channel to that same viewer. Whether they click or not depends on many factors, such as the video’s title and thumbnail. But overall, you have the opportunity to drive viewers from one place (YouTube Shorts player) to another place (long-form videos on your channel).
So if you haven’t already, start growing your views with YouTube Shorts.
15. Participate in YouTube Trends and Challenges
Many creators jump on YouTube trends when they want to grow their channel quickly. It’s one of the best ways to get discovered in 2023, especially when no one knows who you are as a small creator.
The key thing to remember is that all trends aren’t worth pursuing. Some of them will be far outside your niche, which makes it hard to turn those random viewers into a real audience. Some challenges will be dangerous, and others won’t align with your personal beliefs.
Before you jump in, make sure the trend benefits your channel. You can also read this article to find trending topics for your videos.
16. Post Videos Consistently
Sticking to a posting schedule isn’t easy, but it’s a surefire way to stay in the hearts and minds of viewers. The more they see your videos, the more they think about your channel. The more they think about your channel, the more they watch your videos and engage with your content.
So sometimes, showing up is the best promotion plan you can have!
17. Ask Viewers to Promote Your Channel
Lastly, ask your audience to promote your channel for you. It takes less than 10 seconds to ask viewers to like, subscribe, and share your videos, so the effort is well worth it! These call to actions remind people that you need their support.
Channel Promotion: You Have TONS of Options
There are many ways to publicize a channel, both inside and outside of YouTube. So whether you use 10 of these tips or all 17, rest assured: Your audience will grow!
Now that you know the best ways to promote a YouTube channel, here's how to skyrocket your views in 2023.