So You Want to Grow Your Audience on YouTube?
This page is to guide you through all the steps that you need to grow an audience when you're starting from scratch. I started my YouTube channel on the 1st of January of 2019 and managed to grow it to 1,000 subs in 42 days. After a couple more months I was hovering around 800,000 total views and almost 10,000 subs. That's when I quit to dedicate more to this blog because I love writing. Here I'll tell you how my process is when I start building an audience from 0.
But this isn't the only experience I have building audiences. I make a living from multiple audiences that I've built on the internet. Most of them come from different blogs that I own—this is one of them—and all of them are in different niches. So I have a couple of things that I can teach you. Even though English isn't my native language, I managed to build these audiences in this language coming from a 3rd world country with very bad internet and equipment. So if I can do it, you probably can do it too!
Unlike what most people think, you do NOT need expensive equipment to start growing an audience on YouTube. In fact, there's a 99% chance that you already have the equipment that you need. Here's the big list of things you'll need:
- A smartphone or webcam that can record at 720p at least
- That's it
Yep. I built my channel to almost 10k subs with my webcam. Unlike what most people think, you don't need any expensive equipment!
If you don't believe me, just look at these YouTubers and how big they grew using their old smartphones:
- Doctor Mike, who has 6 million subscribers, still records his vlogs with his iPhone.
- Cari Cakes is a vlogger who used her iPhone 6S to grow to over 100k subs. Her best video got 3.5 million views and was recorded with that same old phone. She got a new camera after reaching 100k subs.
- Jennelle Eliana published her first video on June 26 of 2019, and it got over 10 million views. She recorded it with her old iPhone.
What can we conclude from this? Well, that equipment doesn't matter a lot. What truly matters is the content. And that's something I want you to know starting from now. The only thing that matters is how GOOD your content is. You'll learn how to create great content in Step 3.
However, you do want to pay attention to your audio quality. This is the only truly important thing when it comes to equipment. If you're struggling to hear yourself in your videos, you should consider investing in a cheap lavaliere mic. If people can't hear you, they won't watch. You can get one from $15 or less on Amazon, so this shouldn't be an excuse not to start. Check out my mic guide to find out more. Still, bear in mind that most smartphones' built-in mic works just fine. This is just for some people with really old phones.
Finally, if you're really struggling to make your video look good using your phone's camera, you probably have a lighting problem. This can be easily fixed by recording in a place with plenty of light.
Choosing Your Niche
You'll often hear the words "you need to pick a niche!". And it's true, but there's a lot of confusion regarding what a niche truly is and I want to make it clear.
Most people who start on YouTube want to do a sort of "diary of my life" thing where they record themselves during the day and just show people what they're doing. You'll often see things like "a day in the mall", or "I bought a new car!".
Sorry to tell you, but the problem with this type of content is that nobody actually cares. They already know dozens of people who are making videos like these and that they follow closely.
You even have people like Will Smith vlogging on YouTube. People would rather follow the lives of famous people they already know. Just like you like to gossip over what your neighbors are doing!
Since nobody knows you, people simply don't care about your life! Instead, they only care about what valuable thing your videos can give them. Otherwise, why would they spend their valuable, limited time on earth with you? You need to give them something worthy of their time.
And the EASIEST way to provide value is to help them with a problem they have. Here are a couple of examples:
- Do you know how to play the guitar? Teach others to become the guitarist of their dreams, even if it's just by teaching them to play one famous song at a time. You can be like Paul Davids and talk about music theory and help people improve their guitar playing in general.
- Were you shy before, struggled to make new friends, but you overcame it later? Teach people how to change their lives in the same way. Give your charisma tips to people who are struggling to make new friends, just like the channel Charisma on Command.
Choose something you like, that you're good at, or that you're really interested in learning. And start creating helpful content around it! You don't have to be an expert at this thing you're teaching. You can learn as you create new videos. Tons of people have done it this way.
This is your niche. It's simply a group of people with a problem that you want to help fix.
And the more specific this group of people, the better you'll be able to help them. It's not the same a nerdy 18 years old teen who wants to get ripped to impress a chick than a 60 years old woman who wants to live a little longer with a good exercise routine that doesn't hurt her weak knees. See how being specific with your niche is important? It shouldn't be only about "fitness", or "makeup". If you create your entire channel targeting a specific group of people like this, you will be the perfect YouTube channel for them. You'll basically get rid of all competition this way.
There's way too much competition right now for you to go around just doing what the most famous people are doing. You are the underdog, the unknown upcoming star. You need to prove that you are worth it.
By exclusively dedicating to helping others you will attract people to your channel naturally because you'll have something of value to offer. And if your content is REALLY helpful, people won't hesitate to subscribe to your channel because they WILL want more of this free value!
Create Great Content
If you base your channel around helping people with a particular issue, then you have the cornerstone required to create great content. However, YouTube is a particular beast, and you need to understand how it works to grow on this platform.
The main problem that you'll face as a new YouTuber or vlogger is that your videos will be competing against dozens of others at the same time.
It's really easy for users to click away if they see a video title or thumbnail that attracts them more than your content.
Most new channels really struggle with this and end up losing the attention of their viewers too soon. If you aren't able to retain your viewers, your channel is not going to grow. To do that:
- Your video title must be enticing and interesting enough to attract a click.
- Your video thumbnail should catch the attention.
- Your content must deliver what the title promised.
- You have to be able to keep them watching for as long as you can.
Surprisingly, people think that you need to be funny or "entertaining" by talking loud and fast. However, I'm a really introverted person and I don't have high energy, and I still had an average of 14 minutes of watch time per video. So while this might help for some audiences (especially younger ones), it is not what truly makes people watch a video.
The thing that can truly keep someone entertained and on the edge of their seat is something called storytelling. It's the same thing Hollywood movies and novels use to keep people watching or reading for 2 hours or more. This is what you need to apply to your videos.
Combine good storytelling with some good but simple editing and valuable content (Step 2), and you'll be able to retain your viewers for long. You will grow your audience fast this way.
Every video you make should be structured like a Hollywood movie or book novel. I don't mean that you should "add drama" to your video just to make people watch. What I mean is that you should think about how you structure your videos:
- You have about 15-30 seconds to convince people to watch your video. So use these valuable seconds to make people interested in what they're going to watch.
- Get rid of all the unnecessary things in your video. Your video must be as close as it's possible to deliver 100% value. For example, saying something like "Today is Saturday and I want to show you my best tips to study without getting distracted during the weekend". Ask yourself, is saying "today is Saturday" really necessary? No, it isn't, so just edit it out. Also, avoid silences. Make sure you're speaking throughout the entire video. Things like these seem dumb, but they really add up and make people get distracted and click away from your video sooner. We have a really short attention span.
- Don't give everything right away. Deliver valuable things one at a time. Make them interested in learning every tip you have for them. This is why "top list" videos—e.g.,"5 Essential Calisthenics Gear for Training at Home"—are so popular. People who watch want to know about all 5, not only the first 2. It sparks the curiosity inside our human brains and makes them watch until the end
You do all of this to keep people watching your content. Also, do everything in your power to keep people navigating through your channel. If you do all of this well, your channel will explode and you will get overwhelmed with so many comments and new subs.
I know it's a lot of work, but nobody said this was easy. Fortunately, there are some really useful tools that will save you a ton of time. TubeBuddy is my favorite.
Monetizing And Living From Your Audience
If you keep creating good content and stick to a schedule of 1 video per week for long enough, you'll grow your channel to 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time.
When you reach this milestone, you'll become a YouTube partner. This will make your videos start earning money for you right away without having to do anything.
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling your own digital or physical products
Most YouTubers nowadays have their own online courses for selling. This is usually the best way to monetize a channel because you keep most of the profits.
And the good news is that if you followed these steps, your channel is already made around a particular problem that needs fixing. You can pack your "ultimate solution" into an in-depth online course that you can record at home just like your YouTube videos. Then you can sell it starting from $50 and up to $1,000 per student depending on the skill you're teaching.
At this point, you should be able to make a nice living from your audience. And remember, the more your audience grows, the more money you will make. There's no earnings ceiling when it comes to YouTube.
My Message to You
Don't make the mistake of waiting for the 'perfect moment' to start your YouTube channel. Believe me, it only exists in your head.
I wasn't 100% about the subject of my blogs and YouTube channel before I started them. I only had a "general" idea of what I wanted to do and started creating content right away. Slowly, I started discovering my niches and ended up building a great following that supports me even 5 years later.
Most people wait for that perfect moment when everything is planned and sorted out. That's probably not going to happen before you start. This is why you should start as soon as possible and start making mistakes and improving. You'll slowly get to the place you want to be.
I suggest you start reading all the useful content that I linked to from this page, as it will teach you so much about growing your YouTube channel.
And if you want me to help you even more, I have an online course that can teach you a lot more about growing a YouTube channel. You can sign up for free below:
But whether you join or not, my message to you is that you should start as soon as possible and not wait for the perfect moment. You will regret having spent years worrying about making everything perfect instead of spending all that time building your audience and doing the necessary grunt work.
And remember, YouTube is a long term thing. This isn't something that you'll do for a few months. If you want to start a vlogging or YouTube channel, you should want to do it for a year at a minimum. So you don't have to rush things and become super popular in a week or two. Take your time to learn and start practicing. You'll be surprised at how good you get at this the longer you do it.
That's all for today. Sit back, take a look around the site and start learning!
full-time content creator