You’ve picked a catchy channel name, bought a camera and produced a killer video. You posted it on YouTube but it didn’t get the response you were hoping for. Why?
Getting your video noticed on YouTube takes a while. Anyone who says they’ve got a quick fix is lying to you, but there are a lot of things you can do to help get exposure. I don’t want this post to come off an an expert opinion, because the truth is, it’s anything but. What I want to do is maybe share a handful of the things that I’ve learned from the couple years of doing this. In my mind, sharing your work is super necessary and hopefully this information will help someone else get a bit more of the exposure that they were looking for.
YouTube has over a billion users. A billion. Wow. In 2015 – 500 Hours of Video Uploaded To YouTube Every Minute. So, the point is that there is not a shortage of people who could potentially be watching what you do. So how do you get your video in front if their eyes? I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll share with you what has helped me.
There is a huge difference between making a video for your viewers and finding an audience for your video
I believe that there is an audience for every video on YouTube, but you need to find one that is comparable with what you do. That doesn’t just mean posting with a catchy title like “MOST AMAZING VIDEO EVER!” and crossing your fingers. You need to share it with people who would be interested in it.
As a video creator it is easy to think all you have to do is post a video to YouTube and let the system do the rest. The truth is, with the sheer number of videos and cannonade of sounds emanating from the gaping maw that is YouTube, if you don’t promote yourself then your not going to find your audience. Finding your audience is the real key to connecting with people.
Sharing your video on websites you are part of is of more use than a fly by link
This takes time for sure, but you will reap rewards. For me, I was already very active on reddit, imgur and several woodworking forums before I ever started making videos. It made sense for me to start sharing my work to those places first, as I was already part of their community. I share almost every project I make, but I try not to do it in a SPAMing sort of way.
- I follow the rules of the website/community. They’ve built a site with a user base that you would like access to. Be respectful of their rules.
- Give them more than just a link or embedded video. Explain what you’ve created and make it worth their time. For instance, when I post one of my projects on another site I will post pictures of the process and a write up explaining what I did in addition to the video. Not all of those folks who read that post are going to watch my video but at least I’ve given them something of value so they know that I’m not just trying to hijack their user base.
- That website has an audience that you want to connect with. Take time and answer questions or feedback you get there.
Who is your audience?
Many websites have points, love, upvotes, likes and whatnot. Many also allow follows and friend type connects. These are great tools to gain support for your work and build up an audience for your videos on other platforms. Some though, require you to do the work of accumulating followers. I’m thinking of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. These sites are a great way to connect with viewers you already have, but it is not a replacement for sharing you work with folks who have never seen it before.
Finding your audience, means sharing your work in places that have people who would be interested in what it is you do.
As a someone who makes often unusual items, such as Salt Bracelets or Geeky Wall Hangings I’ve found that some communities just aren’t interested in what I do, and that is fine. For example Reddit.com/r/videos will ban you for posting links to your own channel, but Reddit.com/r/somethingimade was started for the sole purpose of sharing your creations. You want to share in places that find what you do of interest. Finding your audience takes time, and building up a subscriber base is more than just hoping to get noticed by other YouTubers. You have to go out and find them!
Share on sites with like minded users.
Think of the Internet just like the real world. Seeing someone on the side of the road trying to get you to buy their ceramic vases doesn’t make sense. You go into to a store that sells similar items and ask if you can have access to their customers by selling your pieces there. Are you going to be upset if the store owner ask for a cut of the profit? Of course not, it’s the owners customers that you are soliciting for your gain.
Take the time, grow an audience and use the website to your advantage. I post a lot of what I do on imgur. In fact one of my most popular posts, the Colored Pencil Ring, started as an imgur project post that went viral after getting shared by someone else to Reddit and making the front page. It’s sort of like Instagram but with an instant access to views. No one has to follow you to see your post, it ‘s just out there for all to scrutinize.
Instructables is another sort of quirky site that has a large audience that appreciates my type of offbeat projects. I post almost every project I make to Instructables. I have built up an audience over there, and I respect that audience. I try to be detailed in my descriptions and I post photos in addition to sharing my video. Again not everyone who reads the article on Instructables is going to watch my video, but that is okay.
Whenever I make a more or less “classic” woodworking project I will share it on the woodworking forums that I already frequent. I tend to skip the video and instead share my website article. It’s about knowing your audience and what works best on that site.
Engage your audience. They want to be part of what you’re doing.
Do your best to read and respond to comments, both on your video and on the various site you share your work on. You cannot respond to every comment or email you get. You might be able to do it for a while, but at some point it will overwhelm you. Responding to as many comments as you can helps to connect you to your audience and it’s a great way to get a feel for how that audience views your work.
It is important to remember that a negative comment isn’t always a criticism. These are like minded folks and sometimes it’s just “I would do it this way” That’s cool. Nothing wrong with constructive criticism. Dislikes should be viewed the same way. A handful of dislikes means you didn’t please 100% of your viewers. You’re never going to please a 100% of anyone. It’s just life, try not to take it personally.
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See what I did there?! 🙂 Thanks for sticking around to the end!